spring break on a budget

How to Have a Fun Spring Break on a Budget

 

Classes are about to end and all of your friends are heading to exotic locales to enjoy a couple weeks off. Unfortunately, you might lack the funds to have the ideal spring break you had in your head. While you might not be able to stay in a five-star resort in the Bahamas, that doesn’t mean you can’t let loose and really enjoy this time off! Here are some tips for having a fun spring break while on a budget.

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Choose a Low-Cost Destination

 

Just because you can’t afford to spend your spring break in Cancun or Nassau doesn’t mean it won’t be memorable. While staying in certain areas of Florida’s coast tend to hike up their prices during this time, making it difficult to afford a hotel on your own, there are other places in Florida that are often more affordable. For example, you can stay in Sanibel Island and choose one of the modest resorts that aren’t right on the beach. This is a fun place to spend time with your friends and enjoy time without classes and books, but still get the spring break experience. If you are on the west coast, you can’t go wrong with Seattle, Washington. You avoid the high prices of staying in California, but still enjoy the warm weather, interesting culture, and exciting nightlife.

 

Ask About Student Discounts

 

Regardless of where you go for spring break, make sure you bring your college ID. That ID is often good for discounts when renting a car, booking a hotel room, or even going to nearby clubs and attractions. You will often get some amazing discounts by being a student, especially during spring break time. These establishments want your business and know you are on a student’s budget, so many of them are more than willing to accommodate you. That way, you aren’t spending your entire savings on drinks during a single night of the spring break vacation.

 

Stop Eating Out Every Meal

 

While it can be fun to try some of the local food, that doesn’t mean every single meal you eat needs to cost a lot of money. Consider having some smaller meals in your hotel room, such as eating breakfast before you leave for the day’s adventures, and spending a few nights in your room while you and your friends enjoy a pizza. If the room has a refrigerator and microwave, there are many foods you can prepare in the room, from storing milk in the refrigerator for cereal in the morning, to heating up leftovers for lunch the following day.

 

Get Your Own Booze

 

Another thing that costs a lot during spring break is drinking. You will likely spend most nights at local bars and clubs, or want poolside drinks during the day, but keep your budget in mind when choosing drinks. One good idea is to pack some of your own booze. When you get to the hotel, take a trip to the local supermarket and buy some alcoholic beverages you and your friends will enjoy. Stock up your room’s mini-fridge with the drinks and make sure to get plenty of cups and ice. You can make a drink or two before heading to local clubs, reducing how much you need to spend on expensive bar drinks.

 

Take a Road Trip

While gas can get pricey, traveling with friends in a vehicle to the destination instead of each of you paying for your own airplane ticket can save a lot of money. Either bring just a few friends and your mom’s SUV or rent a van for a few more people. Split the cost of gas and maintenance during the trip. Part of your spring break will be the fun and adventure you have during the road trip itself. This also reduces how many days you actually pay to stay in the hotel when you arrive.

When planning your spring break trip, remember that many of the costs can be split up between you and your friends, including the cost of the hotel room. Think about low-cost destinations and other ways to save money.

Tulum in Mexico

The setting of Tulum is perfect. It is something out of a James Bond movie. The dramatic Mayan ruins of Tulum stand on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean sea.

To visitors, Tulum can mean several things. First, it’s one of the most picturesque of all the ancient Maya sites, poised on fifteen-metre-high cliffs above the impossibly turquoise Caribbean. Tulum also refers to a stretch of broad, white beach that’s the finest in the Riviera Maya, dotted with lodging options that range from bare-bones to ultra-swank; many of them, as well as many ultra-casual beach bars, still show their backpacker-friendly roots in style, if no longer in price. Finally, it’s a booming town (often called Tulum Pueblo to distinguish it from the beach) that has evolved from roadside waystation to real population centre, where visitors can arrange tours into the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, among other things.
tulum mexico
Tulum was an important port and trading center for the Yucatan’s east coast Maya. Within the walls of the city lies a series of platforms and buildings, including ruined palaces and elevated temples. The most impressive structure is “El Castillo”. The temple of the Frescos is also interesting. It has murals that are similar to the designs of the Paris Codex, one of the few surviving Mayan books.

Go early to Tulum, no later than 9:00 a.m. to avoid the bus loads from Cancun. This area has heavy tourist traffic. Large market, bargaining is expected. The pueblo has Money exchanges at good rates.

The little town of Tulum is slowly developing to offer various services (like an Internet Cafe for example) phone service, and more. There are several very good local restaurants and a few on the beach in the various properties in the hotel area on the beach that are absolutely wonderful and still very cost effective.

Accommodation:

Although Tulum’s beach is an obvious draw, you may want to stay in town if you arrive late in the day, have a limited amount of time (and money) or prefer hot water round-the-clock. Hotels in the zona hotelera along the beach road do not connect to the electric grid, relying instead on varying combinations of solar panels, windmills and diesel generators; most have power for only about six hours in the evening. Depending on your point of view, the candle-lit ambience is rustic charm or expensive primitivism, and the thatched palapa roofs on most places can be a liability in the rain. Basic sand- or cement-floor cabañas made this area famous with hippie backpackers, but they’re in short supply now (and are plagued with reports of theft), as ritzier places, with prices to match, have sprung up. There are now very few mid-range beds on the beach, and, as in Playa del Carmen, most hotels also charge high-season rates in the European holiday period of July and August.

Playa Del Carmen in Mexico

Once a soporific fishing village where travellers camped out en route to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen (often called simply Playa) has mushroomed in recent years to become a trendy place touted as the next Miami Beach – and, from a local’s perspective, a goldmine of employment in construction. Not only do Mexico City’s elite pop in, but so do day-trippers from Cancún and passengers from cruise ships. As a result, the town’s main centre of activity, Avenida 5 (also called La Quinta), a long, pedestrianized strip one block back from the sea, is often packed to capacity with tourists rapidly emptying their wallets in pavement cafés, souvenir outlets and designer-clothes shops.

playa del carmen
Nonetheless, the low-rise development and numerous European-owned businesses make it, compared with Cancún, seem positively cosmopolitan and calm. The nightlife in particular has a hip edge, and you will also find sophisticated cuisine, hotels for most budgets and diverse shops. Everywhere visitors will want to go is compact and pedestrianfriendly – even a walk to the Playa Norte, the better beach on the north side of town, is an easy one.
Playa, as the locals call it, is a beach-side city located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. You generally fly into Cancun airport then transfer to Playa, which is an hour’s drive.

Playa del Carmen stretches from the beach west to highway 307 and beyond, however the tourist zone is the area along the coast. Most tourist buses pull into Playa turning off the highway at Benito Juarez Avenue and drive to the downtown bus station which is located right on 5th Avenue. The ferry docks to Cozumel are located close to the bus station as well. This is the busiest spot in all of Playa.

5th Avenue [Quinto Avenida] is the main street that runs parallel to the ocean. It’s around 500 meters from the water. In between the water and 5th are hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Inns, Rentals, Timeshares, and restaurants. It is commonly referred to as, “Playa del Carmen’s Pedestrian Walkway”.
Along 5th Avenue you will find numerous stores selling interesting items as well as restaurants and hotels. There are clothing stores selling the latest trends from Europe as well as Cuban Cigar and Rum stores. It is a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival. We have seen live lions, fire breathers, giant boa constrictors and a cavalcade of characters parading down 5th.
There are also lots of bars along 5th making it a good place to party. The after hour clubs swing into action after 12:00. These clubs are located on the beach away from the majority of hotels and resorts because of the noise level.
Intersecting with 5th are streets that all lead to the beach. Along many of these streets are dive-shops, convenience stores, hotels, tour operators, Internet cafes, currency exchanges, and restaurants. All the beaches in Playa are open to the public.
Playa’s beaches are nice. Along 5th, in the tourist zone the beaches are all clean white sand, not white powder. There is some coral but not much. The seaweed and other garbage is cleaned up every day. Within a short walk to almost any point on the Playa main beach is a bar/restaurant. There are also a number of snorkeling, dive and fishing boats ready to take you out.
The beaches closest to the ferry docks are the busiest and you have to walk either north or south to find seclusion. Outside the tourist zone the beaches are lined with jungle.
The restaurants along 5th are mostly Italian but there are American restaurants and Mexican restaurants that cook American style food with some Mexican dishes. Off 5th on any of the intersecting streets that head away from the beach you will start to find Mexican restaurants as well as numerous Italian cafes.
The farther away from 5th Avenue you go the cheaper things get. You also will find the best Mexican restaurants not far from 5th on 30th, which puts you in Mexican territory, out of the tourista zona. In fact, in-between 5th and 30th are all kinds of interesting stores selling everything you can think of, from live chickens to computers.
If you’re there during the summer and have kids then this is the perfect place to get your school clothing. You will find all the latest trends here. The Mexicans are right on top of fashion.
There are lots of Europeans in Playa, mostly from Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Americans have always been going to Playa. More Canadians would go but for the outrageous airfares.
At night 5th Avenue comes alive. Couples, all dressed up, head out for dinner. The young girls are decked out in their new acquisitions, hair braided. International bohemians walk the strip, many know each other, and it’s a friendly place.
Many Mexicans visit Playa for their vacations as well. Don’t be surprised if the family across the hall are Mexicans. Just say Hola and you will have new friends.
There are banks, money exchanges, pharmacies all over the place. Playa is not that big and everything the vacationer might need is within the tourist zone. You can walk up 5th Avenue in about 45 minutes but the main strip is only around a kilometer long. After the main strip there are still hotels and stores but they are not as plentiful, however the area north of Constytiones is under development.
Accommodation

Hotels are being built all the time in Playa, so you will have no difficulty finding a room. Competition keeps prices relatively low, but it’s still virtually impossible to get a room for less than M$400 in high season – which here includes the European vacation months of July and August, as well as mid-December to April. In general, the further from the water, the cheaper the accommodation; the central beach is somewhat eroded, so seafront hotels are generally not good value. Hotels on Avenida 5 can be noisy due to the bars.

Chichen Itza

The most famous, the most extensively restored and by far the most visited of all Maya sites, Chichén Itzá lies conveniently along the main highway from Mérida to Cancún, a little more than 200km from the Caribbean coast. A fast and very regular bus service runs all along this road, making it perfectly feasible to visit as a day’s excursion from Mérida, or even as a day out from Cancún, as many tour buses do. But both to do the ruins justice and to see them when they’re not entirely thronged with tourists, an overnight stop is well worth considering – either at the site itself or, less extravagantly, in the nearby village of Pisté or in Valladolid, which is both convenient and inexpensive.

chichen-itza-
Chichén Itzá is also just a few short hours from Akumal and one of the largest ancient Mayan cities in the north-central Yucatan. The first large- scale archaeologial investigations began in 1924 and were conducted for 20 years by the Carnegie Institution. Chichen Itza means “opening of the wells of the Itza”. Chichen Itza has many elaborate structures, the most impressive being “El Castillo”, the Great Ball Court, Temple of the Warriors and The Caracol. Plan to spend the day at this site. Wear your hiking boots and go early in the morning, as it can get very hot and humid later in the day.
Climbing the Great Pyramid of Kulkulkan or El Castillo, is no longer allowed. Neither is climbing up the Temple of the Warriors. The route into the smaller pyramid inside the Great Pyramid is also closed.
Many visitors choose to visit the site as a day-trip from either Merida or Cancun, but this leaves little time to explore the ruins. Also, it means arriving at the hottest part of the day. The trick is to overnight at one of the hotels near the ruins, which means that you get the ruins almost to yourself in the morning!

Accommodation:

Visitors to Chichén Itzá have a choice of staying in a handful of more expensive hotels immediately east of the ruins (all but one are on the short access road off Hwy-180, signposted “Zona Hotelera”), or along the main street in the town of Pisté, to the west of the site. In Pisté, most hotels are on the main road, between the village and the ruins, so it’s easy to shop around for the best deal – though quality can be low and occupancy high; the reliable posadas have only a few rooms apiece.

Merida in Mexico

Even if practically every road didn’t lead to Mérida, it would still be an inevitable stop. Nicknamed “La Ciudad Blanca” after its white limestone buildings (now covered in peeling layers of gem-coloured paint), the capital of Yucatán state is in every sense the leading city of the peninsula, with a population of some 1.6 million. But within its historic core, there’s a sense of small-town graciousness coupled with an extremely lively and sometimes avant-garde cultural scene.
Also known as “White City” because of the large use of white limestone and white paint this traditional city depicts much of the splendor of Colonial Mexico. This is by no means to say that Merida still exists in a time warp and the contrary could be said. There is old and new exhibited in everything from fashion to architecture.
The Spanish Conquistador Francisco de Montejo founded present day Merida in 1542. An insight into the horrendous pain and suffering of the people who were brutalized by the conquering conquistadors exists in magnificent paintings that are on display in the Governor’s Palace located in downtown Merida. Left in seclusion for many years because of the difficulty of traveling to Merida the people of this region have cultivated a distinct contemporary society that is unique in Mexico.
Merida is a safe place to visit and the people are warm and friendly. Being such a close-knit society I took it to mean that violent acts of crime are simply not committed here that often because they are more or less one big family. It draws thousands of visitors, both Mexican and foreign, and has seen a rash of expat investment in the last decade. But even as the buzz increases, the city retains its grace and manners: every street in the centre boasts a well-maintained colonial church or museum, and locals still ride in little horse-drawn taxis, which gather by the plaza in the evenings. Not only can you live well here, but you can also find good beaches nearby, and it’s a great base for excursions to the Maya sites of Uxmal and Chichén Itzá.
There is lots of traffic in Merida, especially downtown. Taking the local bus can be tricky if you do not speak Spanish. The majority of streets are one-way and the bus routes wind all over the place and if you are not on top of things you can end walking more than you expected. If you are in relatively good shape and don’t mind the heat (it’s hot in the summer) then you can walk to almost every attraction if you stay near the downtown main plaza. This is a great way to get to know the city and once you figure out the street numbering system, getting lost is unlikely.
The biggest problem you will encounter in Merida is finding a hotel with a swimming pool that fits into your budget. You may want to inquire if the pool is indeed in operation before you make your booking if you feel you need to have the use of a pool, especially in the summer months.
Merida is nothing like Cancun or Playa del Carmen and if you want to experience Mexican culture while staying relatively close to the Caribbean Sea then Merida is a great place to go. There are lots of interesting shops to browse in, if you seek some familiarity, the Merida WalMart is well stocked and also has a food-court.
Outstanding regional dishes and traditional music and dances local to this region can be found in restaurants, theatres and shops housed both near the main plaza and in palatial mansions along Paseo de Montejo – a boulevard fashioned after Paris’ Champs Elysée. Progreso, Merida’s port city, is 30 kilometers north and is an interesting area to visit to see the salt-flats and flamingos.
Being centrally located, Merida is a practical hub to explore numerous ruin sites and ecological wonders. Many charters fly into Merida or you can take a four-hour bus ride from Cancun. There are also two highways connecting Cancun and Merida plus many roads winding their way through the jungle from Tulum.
Eating and drinking

Good restaurants are plentiful in the centre of Mérida, though the best (and some of the least expensive) are open only for lunch. At dinner, many restaurants are a bit overpriced and cater largely to foreigners; locals tend to frequent the snack stalls on Plaza Santa Ana (Calle 60 at Calle 47) and Parque de Santiago (Calle 59 between calles 70 and 72) for panuchos, salbutes and sopa de lima.
There are also sidewalk cafés on the Parque Hidalgo, along Calle 60 between calles 61 and 59. Juice bars – notably Jugos California, on the southwest corner of the plaza – serve all the regular juices, as well as home-made root beer, and La Parroquia (Calle 62 between calles 65 and 67) is a lechería, serving cinnamon-laced chocolate milk, fruit plates and yogurt. The bakery Pan Montejo, at the corner of calles 62 and 63, also makes a good breakfast.
Accommodation

Although Mérida can get crowded at peak times, you should always be able to find a good, reasonably priced hotel room. Unless you have a very early bus to catch, there’s not much point in staying in the grimier area near the main bus stations, nor in the generic upmarket hotels along Paseo de Montejo; the far more desirable options are all within a few blocks of the central plaza – which is still just a long walk or a short cab ride from the furthest transport and sights. In addition to the usual hotels, Mérida has excellent B&Bs, smaller inns and even hostels, all housed in converted old homes complete with vintage tile floors and lofty ceilings.

Yucatan

The three states that comprise the Yucatán Peninsula – Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo – are among the hottest and most tropical parts of Mexico, though they lie further north than you might imagine: the capital of Yucatán state, Mérida, is actually at a higher latitude than Mexico City.

Until the 1960s, when proper road and rail links were finally completed, the Yucatán lived out of step with the rest of the country and had almost as much contact with Europe, Cuba and the US as with central Mexico, resulting in a very distinct culture. Tourism has since made major inroads, especially in the north around the great Maya sites, such as Chichén Itzá, and on the Quintana Roo coast, where development has centred on the “superresort” of Cancún and the islands of Mujeres and Cozumel, but is now shifting to the so-called Riviera Maya, the stretch of beachfront that includes Playa del Carmen and Tulum. But away from the big centres, especially in the south, where towns are sparsely scattered in thick jungle, there’s still a distinct pioneering feel. In northern Yucatán state, the landscape is relatively spare: shallow, rocky earth gives rise to stunted trees, and underground springs known as cenotes are the only source of water. Campeche state, by contrast, boasts a huge area of tropical forest, the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve – though the trees are being thinned in places for cattle ranching and timber.
The entire peninsular coastline is great for spotting wildlife – notably turtles at the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve in Quintana Roo and flocks of flamingoes at Celestún and Río Lagartos in Yucatán – but the most spectacular, white-sand beaches line the Caribbean coast, where magnificent offshore coral reefs form part of the second largest barrier reef system in the world.

Yucatan beaches

The Yucatan is full of beaches.

Caught between the relentless beat of progress and the echoing shouts of tradition, the Yucatán Peninsula stands at a crossroads. On one side you have the brawny mega-resorts like Cancún and Playa del Carmen with their oft-preposterous pomp and circumstance.
On the other are the proud, steadfast traditions of the Maya, the mystery of the ceremonial centers created by their ancestors, and the Old World allure of colonial masterpieces such as Mérida and Campeche. And in between, on every peroxide­-blonde beach and every patch of jungle still echoing with the roars of howler monkeys, beats the heart of Ixchel, the earth goddess, marveling at her remarkable creation.
Despite overzealous development, the natural beauty of the Yucatán abides, and with it, the reverberations of civilizations past. Set in a vast, jungle-swathed natural reserve, the pyramids of Calakmul are a prime example of nature and ancient history in perfect harmony.
Far more famous and crowded – but absolutely unmissable nonetheless – are the ruins of wondrous Chichén Itzá, seventh modern wonder of the world. There’s a Maya ruin near Xcalak, too, although that’s probably not the reason you’d be visiting – this tiny beach town in the middle of nowhere has another attraction: its absolute isolation from the tourist trail…

Cancun

If nothing else, Cancún is proof of Mexico’s remarkable ability to get things done in a hurry – so long as the political will exists. In the late 1960s, the Mexican government decided to develop a new resort area to diversify the economy. Computers crunched weather data, and surveyors scouted the country’s natural attractions to identify a 25-kilometre-long barrier island just off the about cancunnorthern Caribbean coast as the ideal combination of beautiful beaches, sparse population and accessible position.

Construction of the resort paradise began in 1970, and when the first hotel opened in 1974, it relied on a generator for electricity and trucked-in water. In the twenty-first century, Cancún has struggled to shed its reputation for tacky fun, and it has also successfully courted Mexican tourists. But it is facing a mild crisis as seasonal storms in recent years have significantly eroded parts of the beach, the city’s literal raison d’être. Independent travellers often find the glitz of the hotel strip off-putting and the beachfront pleasures expensive, and, for anyone who has been out in the rest of the Yucatán or is eager to get there, all the concrete can be a downer. But a night spent here on the way in or out doesn’t have to be wasted, so long as you appreciate the city as an energetic, successful frontier experiment, rather than lament its lack of history.

A closer look reveals lively salsa clubs, bare-bones beach bars and inexpensive taco stands, all frequented by cancunenses who are friendly and proud of their city’s prosperity.

Cancún has two parts: the zona comercial on the mainland (also called the centro or downtown), which has developed a bit of soul in its short lifetime, and the zona hotelera, a narrow, 25-kilometre-long barrier island lined with hotels and tourist amenities. It encloses a huge lagoon, so there’s water on both sides. Paseo Kukulcán runs the length of the hotel zone, from the airport up to Punta Cancún (where the road splits around the convention centre and a warren of nightclubs and bars) and back onto the mainland. From Punta Cancún it’s a half-hour bus ride to Avenida Tulum, the main avenue in the downtown area that runs north–south and eventually turns into Hwy-307, the highway that follows the length of the Caribbean coast.

The superb location of Cancún, its year-round mild climate, and its gorgeous, warm, sandy white beaches washed by the Caribbean Sea are ideal for water sports.

The waters of the bay sheltered by Isla Mujeres are calm and perfect for surfing, sailing, underwater diving and boat trips; those facing the open surf have stronger currents but are also suitable for fishing and snorkeling.

Cancun has a first rate tourist infrastructure and services. The most famous hotel chains in the world have combined luxury and comfort with hospitality and all of them offer access to tennis courts and relaxing spas.

Nightlife in Cancun’s hotel zone is extremely varied. You will find some of the largest discotheques in the world and restaurants with some of the world’s most famous chefs as well as fast-food outlets. If you are looking for a calmer atmosphere, there are jazz or piano bars, as well as those with traditional mariachi music.

The numerous marinas facilitate all kinds of aquatic activities in both the bay and Laguna Nichupte where we recommend you try kayaking.

Cancun has fascinating Mayan remains, as well as a museum displaying pieces from this culture. Its excellent overland and air links will whisk you to some of the most impressive places in the Mayan World in both Quintana Roo and neighboring state of Yucatan.

However, Cancun also has plazas and malls carrying everything from handicrafts from all over the country to an impressive array of imported goods.

The city and beaches:

There’s little in the way of sights in downtown Cancún, though it is a pleasant place to stroll in the evenings, particularly around the central Parque de las Palapas, which is ringed with food stalls and often serves as a venue for live music; smaller parks in the neighbourhood host craft or art shows. For a sense of the city’s hum away from the tourist trade, head for Mercado 23, north of the bus station off Avenida Tulum at Calle Cedro.

The market is a small maze of stalls with the flavour of a village market, complete with butchers, herbalists and vegetable sellers. The bigger Mercado 28, west from the park on Avenida Sunyaxchén, was formerly the city’s main general market, but now stocks primarily tourist tat; it’s good for food stalls, though. Most visitors head straight for the zona hotelera and the beaches. The public ones on the north coast of the zona hotelera – playas Las Perlas, Langosta and Tortugas are the nicest – face a bay, so the water is calm and very good for swimming; they can be crowded, however, and all have loud bars nearby.

On the east coast, playas Ballenas, Delfines and others have more surf and occasionally dangerous currents; between beach erosion and condo construction, some have become quite narrow, but Delfines is by far the most scenic. All are free, but you may have to pay a small charge for a shower.

You can see a small Maya ruin at El Rey, at Paseo Kukulcán km 18, overlooking the Nichupté Lagoon. They’re the largest Maya remains in Cancún, but that’s not saying a lot. There’s very little information available to explain them, but the area is peaceful and good for spotting birds and iguanas. The best snorkelling in Cancún is at Punta Nizuc, at the far southern point of the peninsula. Its coral has been damaged by unchecked crowds, but the array of fish is impressive. When you visit by boat, a national-park fee is charged. The typical outing is the so-called jungle tour, which entails riding two-passenger speedboats through lagoon mangroves, then out to the reef.

Eating and drinking

In downtown Cancún, the most popular eating-places line Tulum and its side streets. For budget food, follow the locals for lunch at the downtown markets: Mercado 28 and Mercado 23. At night, excellent food stalls at Parque de las Palapas serve open-face huaraches and quesadillas with an array of toppings; they’re open until about 11pm. Almost all of the restaurants in the zona hotelera are geared towards one thing only: parting tourists from their money. But the few recommended here are solidly delicious. If you’re staying on the beach, you’re often better off taking a cab or bus downtown, where you’ll find more satisfying food at reasonable prices, plus a congenial mix of people.
Entertainment and nightlife

As Cancún’s goal is to encourage some two million visitors a year to have fun, the zona hotelera’s array of huge dance clubs, theme bars and top-volume everything (most clustered around Punta Cancún and rolling from about 10pm till the wee hours) is lavish – or remorseless, depending on your mood. Downtown, people often dance on weekend evenings at the Parque de las Palapas to traditional Mexican music, and the stretch of Avenida Yaxchilán north of Sunyaxchén is a popular local hangout, with terrace restaurant-bars and karaoke open till 3am or 4am, all punctuated by roving trovadores.
Accommodation

Cancún has a dizzying number of hotels, but most are very expensive for the casual visitor. Downtown, on or near Avenida Tulum, holds the only hope of a true budget room; in the zona hotelera, you can stay on the lagoon side for less than in the glittering beachfront palaces – but last-minute or low-season online deals can be impressive. All-inclusive resorts are on the wane – if you do book one, don’t skimp, as the cheapest places are all very old constructions, and usually cut corners on food. Hostels are numerous, though generally poor quality, and some have quite short lifespans. The most reliable hotels for Cancún are listed here.