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Cancun is seeing a comeback in tourism after levels dipped during the pandemic as visitors ditch their masks and flock to the white sand beaches.
A wide selection of activities catering to every taste coupled with virtually zero Covid-19 restrictions is helping the rebirth of the city.
Tourism Surges Past Pre-Pandemic Levels
The Airports of the Southeast group which operates the Cancun terminal said that the airport received 1.66 million passengers in September. This is a 4.4% increase from pre-pandemic levels in 2019, and is much higher than the 854,000 passengers in September 2020.
The increase in visitors is widely attributed to Mexico’s lax Covid-19 measures, as well as a non-existent travel ban. Many tourists are happy to leave the often oppressive restrictions imposed in the U.S. as well as Europe and Canada, for a relaxing time without the face mask.
Notably, the area welcomed its first passenger-carrying cruise ship since the pandemic began. The cruise landed on the island of Cozumel, south of Cancun, and marks the beginning of a new era in post-pandemic travel which is expected to match or exceed 2019 levels.
The state of Quintana Roo is home to some of the most popular Mexican beach towns including Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. With so many natural and cultural attractions, the tourism industry makes up about 87% of the total economic activity in the state.
While Mexico’s lack of Covid-19 restrictions is well known around the world, the state saw a surge in cases earlier this year. This was mostly due to spring break and Easter travel, as well as weak enforcement of mask policies. At the time the state had no choice but to reduce capacity for restaurants and hotels, but these restrictions are not currently enforced.
Exploring the Landscapes and Activities in Cancun
One of the most attractive sights for visitors are the cenotes scattered across Cancun’s state of Quintana Roo. Cenotes are natural deep water wells, or sinkholes, fed by rainwater through the soil. The water is often pristine in some cenotes and these make for a great place to swim or dive into, surrounded by jungle plants and birds. Among the most famous for tourists is the cenote of Ik Kil, however there are also amazing cenotes with fewer people including Zaci, Samula and Xkeken.
Scuba diving is also a very popular activity in Cancun due to the diverse marine and plant life just beneath the crystal clear waters. A short drive south of Cancun is Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town along the iconic Riviera Maya which offers great diving opportunities.
One of the most popular Caribbean islands, Cozumel, is also a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. There is also a diving spot 10 miles south called Paamul which is said to offer the best in underwater diving. However, there are also many places to snorkel such as in Xcaret or Xel-Ha.
Sailing in Luxury
Tourists looking to move away from the populated beaches along Cancun’s hotel strip can take a water taxi to Isla de Las Mujeres island for some exploring. Once there, it is easy to rent a golf cart and tour the island alone, stopping for a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants and relaxing afterward at Playa Norte beach.
However, there are those who prefer a more luxurious way to get from Cancun to Isla Mujeres, for which there are private catamaran tours available. Moana’s private catamaran in Cancun offers a high-end experience which includes fine-dining, open bar, and a trip through the turquoise waters surrounding the island. This is a great option for a romantic getaway, as well as for families looking for a more intimate ride to the island.
If water sports and cruises don’t satisfy the exotic traveler, Cancun still holds many secrets left to be discovered without worrying about quarantines or restrictions.