Is Cancun in the Caribbean? + 31 Interesting Facts About Cancun and Questions Answered

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Is Cancun in the Caribbean? When is hurricane season? And where can you find the underwater museum?

This popular Mexican Caribbean tourist destination sees people from all over the world, but there are still some things that might surprise even the city’s most dedicated fans.

Whether you’re headed there for the first time or you’re a returning visitor aiming to upgrade your knowledge of the city, these facts about Cancun are sure to add a new dimension to your vacation.

1. Is Cancun in the Caribbean?

Cancun is a beautiful place that draws in tourists from all over the world. But is it actually in the Caribbean? The answer may surprise you.

Yes, Cancun is part of the Caribbean. The Caribbean is considered the be part of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, the islands inside it, and the surrounding coasts.

Those surrounding coasts include the Southeast coast of Mexico, along the Yucatán Peninsula, which is all part of the Caribbean.

Not only does this Caribbean coast area include Cancun, but also Cozumel and Riviera Maya, all the way down the coast of Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia, and Venezuela’s northern coast all the way where Tobago Island marks the limit of the Caribbean sea.

Map of the Yucatan Peninsula and Cancun - Is Cancun in the Caribbean

2. Where is Cancun located?

Cancun is located on the top southeast coast of Mexico, along the Yucatan Peninsula. It is about 190 miles east of Merida, and about an hour’s drive from the Mexican Caribbean destinations of Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos, and just over two hours away from Tulum.

It’s in the Mexico State of Quintana Roo but although it’s a popular city it’s not its capital. The Capital City of Quintana Roo is in fact the less popular city of Chetumal, close to the border with Belize.

3. Is Cancun English?

Cancun’s official language is Spanish, like the rest of Mexico. However, because international tourism has such a large impact on the city, you’ll find that many Mexicans that work in the travel industry have some level of English knowledge.

The other interesting thing about the language in Cancun is that many local indigenous people speak Mayan as well.

4. Is Cancun a city?

Yes, Cancun is considered a city. With a population of over 888,797 recorded in 2020, Cancun serves as the capital for the state of Quintana Roo. Cancun demographics are fairly even with 49.6% women and 50.4% men.

Punta Cancun Aerial view
Punta Cancun Aerial view

5. Is Cancun an island?

The city of Cancun is not an island itself, however, there is an island that’s part of Cancun. Cancun Island is the location where you’ll find the city’s resort area called the Hotel Zone. It makes up the eastern side of the city.

6. Is Cancun in America?

Cancun is part of Mexico, which is part of North America. However, Cancun (and Mexico as a whole) is not part of the United States of America. That said, you will probably find a lot of USA citizens there, since almost 5 million visits per year, and many choose Cancun as their second Home.

7. What does Cancun mean?

The most accepted meaning of Cancun is “nest of snakes.” It derives from kàan, which is Mayan for “snake” and kum, Mayan for “to swell, overfill.”

However, it’s possible you might come across a second meaning, which is “the place of the golden snake.”

8. What do you call someone from Cancun?

Locals from Cancun typically call themselves Cancunenses. Which would also be Playenses from Playa Del Carmen, Quintanaroenses from Quintana Roo. There you go! You’ve just had a quick Spanish lessons 🙂

9. Is Cancun dangerous?

This resort city on the Yucatan Peninsula is considered to be a safe place to visit for the most part, but you do need to take precautions.

The United States government has issued a travel advisory for the state of Quintana Roo, suggesting that visitors “exercise increased caution” when traveling within the state.

Essentially, you’ll want to keep aware of your surroundings and look out for scammers and pickpockets — which you should do regardless of where you’re traveling.

In general, Cancun is considered a relatively safe place to travel to.

10. What country is Cancun in?

Cancun is in Mexico or better said, officially, the United Mexican States. In fact, Mexico is organized as a federal Republic of 31 state and Mexico City, Mexico’s capital.

Cancun is located in the State of Quintana Roo in the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Yucatan Peninsula is a geographical region that consists of three states, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, and Campeche.

Another interesting fact about Cancun to learn is that although it’s the most popular city of Quintana Roo, it’s not its capital, which is, instead, Campeche.

11. What ocean is Cancun on?

Cancun is on the Caribbean Sea.

12. What is Cancun known for?

A quick Cancun overview would describe it as a beautiful Caribbean resort city known for its white sand beaches, clear blue waters, and Mayan ruins. It’s also a popular tropical party destination, with many bars and clubs open until the early hours of the morning.

While Cancun might have a reputation as a party town, there are activities for every type of traveler. From exploring the ancient Mayan ruins to lounging on the beach with a good book, going on an adventure, and taking a plunge into a cenote, Cancun has something for everyone.

13. When is hurricane season in Cancun?

Cancun’s hurricane season coincides with that of the Atlantic Basin. It runs from June 1 to November 30th, and typically peaks between August and October.

If you’re planning a trip to Cancun during hurricane season, it’s important to keep an eye on the forecast and be prepared for some changes to your plans.

However, it should be noted that tropical storms and hurricanes can form outside of this timeframe. For example, Hurricane Alex formed in January 2016 and Hurricane Otto formed in November 2016.

They are rare occasional events, but I just wanted to give you the heads up, as with weather anything is possible.

14. What color is the sand in Cancun?

Cancun is known for its beautiful, soft, white sand. It’s made of pieces of coral and shells, which give it its light hue, and sits against crystal clear turquoise water. Besides the color makeup of the sand, its other unique feature is that it remains relatively cool.

Unlike sand in other parts that can burn your feet after hours in the hot sun, the sand in Cancun remains tolerable to the touch.

15. How old is Cancun?

Cancun was founded in the early 1970s as a resort destination for tourists from around the world. Since then, it has become one of the most popular vacation spots in Mexico.

One of the most interesting facts in the history of Cancun is when they started the tourism project only three people lived in the city! Today, Cancun is home to almost 1 million people and continues to be a popular destination for travelers from all over the globe.

16. When is turtle season?

The turtle-hatching season is a magical time in Cancun. From May to September, sea turtles head to the shores of the Caribbean to lay their eggs.

The incubation period is between 6 to 8 weeks, so starting in July, little baby turtles hatch and move back into the ocean. It’s a special time for both tourists and locals alike.

There are some hotels that have a specific program to protect this endangered species, here are the most popular ones.

👉 Palace Resorts group

Palace Resorts have a fully-fledged team of biologists and volunteers who mark nesting areas by scouring approximately six miles of the beach surrounding Moon Palace Cancun and other sections where Beach Palace and Sun Palace are located.

👉 Royal Resorts

From May to October, Royal Resorts have security guards patrolling the shoreline at night on the lookout for female sea turtles emerging from the waves and they watch over them as they dig their nests.

The eggs are picked up and protected in turtle nurseries at The Royal Sands, The Royal Uno, and The Royal Islander in Cancún.

Then May through October, guests may witness one of nature’s greatest spectacles, baby turtles scuttling down the beach towards the sea.

👉 Sandos

Sandos Cancun also works with veterinarians and biologists to make sure the human impact on this engendered species’ life cycle is minimal.

They also involve the wildlife protection organization known as Balam Ka’an Wild, which provides them with experts who stay at the resort from May through October to protect and monitor the nests.

17. What is Cancun’s average temperature?

Cancun has a gorgeous tropical climate with an average overall temperature in Cancun is 26°C (78°F). However, temperatures can range from 25°C (77°F) in the winter to 33°C (91°F) in the summer. humidity levels are also high, averaging around 80%.

The city averages 240 sunny days and 112 days with rainfall each year.

The rainy season runs from May to October when hot temperatures, high humidity, and quick, but intense summer thundershowers are common.

Cancun’s dry season typically runs from mid-November to April as the northeast trade winds bring northerly breezes, sunshine, and relative humidity is lowest.

So if you are wondering when is the best time to go to Cancun, there is no one absolute best time. It depends on what you are looking for. Check out my guide linked above to learn more about Cancun seasons and what you will find in each one of them.

18. Where is the underwater museum in Cancun?

The Cancun Underwater Museum can be found in the Cancun National Marine Park located between the northern tip of the Hotel Zone and Isla Mujeres. It’s roughly a 25 to 30-minute boat ride away, and you’ll need to book a tour to be able to visit.

You have the opportunity to see over 500 life-size statues here created by British eco-sculptor, Jason deCaires Taylor.

If you want to take a closer look at the museum you can see it by snorkeling, scuba diving or even taking a glass-bottomed boat excursion. It’s a truly unique Cancun experience.

19. How many passengers does the Cancun Airport see?

Cancun International Airport is the second busiest one in Mexico. In 2019, they saw over 25 million passengers.

It’s located a bit outside of the city, which means you’ll need to hire an airport transfer to get to your hotel in the Hotel Zone or Downtown Cancun.

I recommend you opt for a private transfer as it’ll be the quickest and most comfortable way for you to get there — plus, it’s pretty affordable!

20. What reef is near Cancun?

The eastern coast of Yucatan, the peninsula where Cancun is located, is next to the breathtaking Great Mayan Reef.

It is the second-largest coral reef in the world. Its size is approximately 620 miles long and is home to six natural parks.

This unique underwater ecosystem is home to more than 500 species of fish, five species of turtle, 60 types of hard coral, and a ton of whale sharks.

21. What time zone is Cancun in?

Cancun is in Eastern Standard Time (EST). One of the most interesting Cancun facts about time is that it does not observe Daylight Saving Time (DST), which means the clock does not change at any time during the year.

22. What is the most popular season in Cancun?

The most popular time to visit the city of Cancun is during the months of March and April when the weather is warm and sunny, and Spring Break is in full bloom.

However, the city experiences high tourist traffic during the winter season as well due to the area’s warm weather.

December through April is considered the peak season in Cancun. Budget travelers looking to avoid the crowds should plan their trip for September through November because, during the summer, locals flock to the area for their summer vacations.

23. What is the most photographed spot in Cancun?

The most photographed spot is Cancun’s famous Playa Delfines. This stunning beach is known for its clear turquoise waters and powdery white sand. It’s also a great spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying the incredible views. Don’t forget to grab your own shot while you’re there!

Cancun playa delfines
Playa Delfines

24. Where can I find the colorful Cancun sign?

The colorful Cancun sign is one of the most photographed spot in the city, but where can you find it to grab your own pic?

You can find this sign on Boulevard Kukulkan (aka the road that goes through the Hotel Zone), at kilometer 19.5.

Snap your own picture and post it to your feed — the place even has free WiFi so you can upload it right away!

Cancun Letters

25. How many people live in Cancun year-round?

Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico, but how many people actually live in Cancun year-round? According to the latest census, the population of Cancun is 998,000 as of 2022. That’s a far cry from the millions of tourists that visit each year, but it’s still a pretty big city!

26. How long are the beaches in Cancun?

Cancun’s Hotel Zone is a small island (Cancun Island) that has 14 gorgeous miles of white sandy beaches that you can enjoy. The beaches are lined with hotels, resorts, and restaurants.

27. How many hotels are there in the Hotel Zone?

Despite it only being 14 miles long, the Cancun Hotel Zone is home to over 100 hotels. From luxury all-inclusive resorts to pumpin’ party joints (like the Riu Cancun All-Inclusive resort), there’s the perfect hotel in the city for every kind of traveler.

28. How many cenotes are in the Cancun area?

There are over 60 cenotes in the Cancun and Riviera Maya area. The cenotes are underground freshwater caves with crystal-clear water that can be explored via snorkel.

29. How many weddings take place in Cancun per year?

The Ministry of Tourism reports that more than 25,000 tourist weddings take place in Cancun each year. That means an average of 68 weddings take place per day. Chances are you’ll come across one on your Cancun journey.

30. How many days should you spend in Cancun?

Most tourists headed to Cancun (especially those on an all-inclusive vacation) visit the city for around 7 days. However, there’s plenty to do that can fill up your stay. When you’re trying to figure out how many days to spend in Cancun, consider:

  • Your budget
  • What you want to do when you get there
  • What else you want to explore on your trip
  • Then you can compare hotel prices on Expedia, which is great for packages hotels+flight.

31. How far is the Riviera Maya From Cancun?

This is a difficult question because the Riviera Maya is an extensive area that stretches from Puerto Morelos to Sian Kaan and therefore it depends on where you are going. The distance between Cancun Airport and the first town in the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos is about 30 miles.

Final thoughts: Interesting facts about Cancun

Cancun is a fascinating and wildly popular tourist destination that sees millions of people come through each year. Despite the fact that the city itself isn’t very old, it has a rich culture and an amazing history.

There are plenty of things to do and see while you’re here. Make sure that you take advantage of this amazing city. Cancun is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and has been for a very long time.

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

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