When people ask me what my favorite country to visit is, I almost always say there’s nowhere I’d rather be than Mexico. I am completely in love with everything about this country — the beautiful and vibrant culture, the to-die-for food (seriously, does it get better than eating chips and guacamole for a week straight?), the stunning beaches, the laid-back-lifestyle, and, of course, the margaritas. There’s just nowhere like Mexico for a tropical getaway and Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in the country! Just minutes from the airport to the beach, it’s hard to beat the ease and beauty of traveling to the famous Mayan Riviera area. Surrounded by turquoise water, nightlife, cenotes and ancient Mayan pyramids, there is definitely not a lack of things to do. The only hard part is deciding where to stay! Picking where to stay in Cancun can be quite difficult just because of the sheer number of hotels in the area! Cancun and the areas around Cancun are very popular for all-inclusive resort experiences, adult spring breaks, honeymoons, and more. So I’ve got the round up on all the best places to stay, from Cancun city center to Isla Mujeres, Playa Mujeres, Playa del Carmen and more.
The Best Luxury Stays in Cancun and the Surrounding Areas
$500/night and up
Stretching south from Cancun lies the infamous Riviera Maya, dubbed the ‘Venice of Mexico” due to its gorgeous interconnected canals and lagoons. Nestled in the stunning mangroves of the Mayakoba community lies the world-famous Rosewood Mayakoba, a resort oasis composed entirely of villas and large free-standing luxury suites, all with private plunge pools and some with outdoor showers. Upon arrival, you are taken to your room by a teak boat with direct access to private docks. The Rosewood brand is ALL about service, and this place will blow you away. Did I mention a beautiful full service Sense spa, golf course (which regularly hosts the PGA tour) and extensive biking trails? This hotel is the pinnacle of luxury.
Unico is one of the best all-inclusives in the Caribbean, and a huge cult favorite for adults looking to escape whether with a group of friends or on a romantic getaway. This adults-only resort that beautifully combines a peaceful Caribbean waterfront with three gorgeous pools and five mouth-watering restaurants. It’s stylish and hip and the food and cocktails are ACTUALLY SO GOOD (hard to find in an all-inclusive!). Many of the suites have great ocean views, and some even feature tubs on the terrace! Huge win.
Photo credit @waterproject and @unico2087 on instagram
This serene oasis in the middle of Cancun has been nominated for several awards by different prestigious travel magazines like Condè Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure and Fodor’s. With 5 unique on-site dining options and gorgeous Balinese architecture, Nizuc is one of the most aesthetically pleasing hotels in the greater Cancun area. If you’re a big marine life fan, you’re in for a treat because Nizuc sits facing the white sands of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef-the second largest coral reef in the world! They have two private beaches for lounging and an incredible 8,500 square foot spa! Doesn’t get much better than this!
Ritz-Carlton’s 5-star Cancun resort is renowned for its highly-awarded culinary offerings, like the 5-diamond restaurant Fantino which offers Mediterranean fare. Immerse yourself with cultural experiences that range from cooking lessons and tequila tastings to helicopter tours of the surrounding Mayan Pyramids! When you’re not exploring, lounge in their beach cabanas or treat yourself to their holistic Kayantá Spa that specializes in treatments inspired by Mayan traditions. Along with their classic ocean-view suites, they offer full service beachfront casitas as well! I’m SOLD!
Just 30 minutes south of Cancun center, escape to the tranquil paradise of Chamble Yucatan. With a huge focus on sustainability, Chamble was voted one of the top 5 international destinations by Travel + Leisure in 2019, and then went on to win the top international spa of 2020! Accommodation ranges from smaller jungle and beach-front casitas to the 8,000 square foot presidential villa. There is a huge emphasis on the guest culinary experience-which I’m HERE FOR! Their organic and seasonal cuisine comes mainly from the hotel’s traditional Mayan gardens and the menu is designed seasonally by acclaimed chef Jorge Vallejo (whose restaurant Quintonil in Mexico City has been recognized several times within “The World’s 50 best Restaurants”). This resort is a fab blend of natural beauty, mayan culture and modern architecture, and refined luxury.
If an adults-only resort with action-packed activities, nightlife options, nine all-inclusive restaurants, 11 bars (including swim-up, pool, and a disco bar), seven pools, and a full service Miilé spa, is what your after – Excellence is your adult vacation or adult spring break playground. At Excellence, you’ll have your choice of everything from complimentary bicycle tours, water aerobics, yoga, pilates, Spanish dancing and cooking lessons, diving, snorkeling, ping pong, darts, tequila tasting, nightly entertainment, a state-of-the-art fitness center, and more. You’re also within walking distance of tennis courts and the Playa Mujeres Golf Club! Enjoy the more secluded beaches of Playa Mujeres to boot!
Just 25 minutes from the mainland of Cancun lies this secluded adults-only retreat on Isla Mujeres. If you’re looking to escape the crowds while still being close to everything, Isla Mujeres might just be the spot for you! You’ll be transported to and from the island via yacht (we expected no less), where you’ll then be treated to tranquil and holistic spa services, snorkeling/scuba diving excursions, access to their salt water jacuzzis and pools as well as indulgent gourmet dining! PLUS, if you’ve always wanted to swim with whale sharks, once per year the Isla Mujeres is blessed with the arrival of these giant gentle beauties so time your trip right!! (Usually July/August time).
Check out rates for your dates and more info here.
Or go the VRBO route…
The Best Mid-Range Hotels in Cancun
If you’re looking for a great all inclusive and family friendly resort that doesn’t sacrifice luxury, The Grand Fiesta should be your top choice! A 5-diamond award winner, The Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach boasts the best location in Cancun, right in the heart of the Punta Cancun area in the center of the Hotel Zone. The city’s best shopping, restaurants and nightlife will be right at your doorstep! The hotel’s sprawling lagoon-style pool lined with three palapa swim-up bars and small waterfalls almost make you forget about the beach! But the calm crystal clean waters of the Mayan Riviera are just steps away, protected offshore by the Isla of Mujeres. While you’re there, try one of their gemstone spa treatments!
Hyatt Ziva is an all-inclusive beachfront property in the heart of Cancun. This sprawling hotel has 8 on-site restaurants, 6 bars and even its own micro-brewery! The indoor/outdoor spa has any treatment you could dream of along with a hydrotherapy circuit. The concierge service will set up day excursions for you so that you don’t have to go through the trouble of researching and booking activities! This resort is perfect for couples or family vacations!
Perched on the remote white sand beaches of Isla Mujeres, Beloved is an intimate all-inclusive adults-only boutique luxury resort of only 109 rooms. With four a la carte restaurants, a stunning stretch of beach, an incredible spa and three gorgeous pools, it is the perfect setting for a romantic couples trip and or honeymoon! This clean, modern romantic resort features suites with enormous beds, separate sitting areas and outdoor daybeds, a well-stocked, all-inclusive bar. Fast WiFi, iHome docks, Nespresso machines, and 42-inch flat-screen TVs for all the modern comforts. Double vanity bathrooms, gigantic showers with multiple jets, and separate jacuzzis as well as lovely Bulgari amenities.
This hotel is an ideal honeymoon resort for anyone looking for where to honeymoon in Cancun!
The Best Airbnb’s and VRBO’s in Cancun
It’s hard to find a hotel with a full service spa at a budget price-point, but the Westin Resort and Spa came through and delivered! This resort offers both suites as well at beach villas, and has several upscale restaurants on the property. Nestled oceanfront, you’ll have access to the beach as well as water-sports! This is a great home base for exploring the best of Cancun, whether it is getting rowdy downtown or having a cultural experience in the ancient Mayan ruins.
The Best Budget Hotels in Cancun
$250/night and below
Located in the central hotel district with direct beach access, this is upscale at a budget price! This hotel is also bookable with Marriott Bonvoy points – at rewards category 5! It is close-by to all of the restaurants and shops but also has two on-site restaurants to choose from. There is also a great outdoor pool and pristine fitness center.
The Best Airbnb’s and Vrbo’s in Cancun
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