Cancun Neighbourhoods, Locations and Districts

(Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Cancun Aerial picture of coastal hotelA leading resort of the country's spectacular Caribbean coastline, the city of Cancun is divided into three main districts and a further series of neighbourhoods. On the mainland you will find Cancun's downtown district, which is usually referred to as Ciudad Cancún.

Most tourists staying in Cancun while find themselves based within the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) district, where many famous hotel chains reside, along with quality restaurants, shopping malls, cinemas and theatres. Finally, for the best selection of Mayan remains, pay a visit to Cancun's fascinating Archaeological district and be sure to being your camera.

Photo of the Plaza de Toros in the Downtown district

Downtown District (Ciudad Cancún)

The planned city of Ciudad Cancún was designed to function as a service centre for the thriving tourism industry and therefore features less attractions and hotels than the glitzy coastal Hotel Zone. The main area of interest for tourists visiting this part of Cancun is based around the 'el centro' area and along the Avenida Tulum, a major tree-lined artery which heads in a north to south direction and is lined with a series of eateries and shops.

Downtown Cancun is where many of the city's main local events and celebrations take place, such as the Grito de la Independencia in September, the Dia de la Raza each October, and the Day of the Dead in November. The Plaza de Toros can also be found within Ciudad Cancún and offers the Carretera Cancún-Mérida, where bullfights attract large crowds each Wednesday afternoon.

View of the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera)

Hotel Zone District (Zona Hotelera)

Also known as the 'Isla Cancún' and the 'Zona Hotelera', the city's Hotel Zone is where you will find a wealth of accommodation, large condos and many luxury hotels. Connected by the Boulevard Kukulcán, a major local thoroughfare, which heads in an easterly direction from the Ciudad Cancún, the Zona Hotelera is close to a number of large shopping complexes and home to the Ilsa Shopping Village, the Convention Centre (Centro de Convenciones) and also Cancun Point (Punta Cancún).

This is the main district for tourism and boasts a wealth or restaurants, bars, clubs and leading attractions, such as the Acuario Interactivo, the Interactive Aquarium Cancún and the Parque Nizuc, where you are able to swim with friendly dolphins. This is also a good spot for a round of golf and home to the highly acclaimed Club de Golf Cancún. Buildings within Cancun's Zona Hotelera rarely have actual numbered addresses, with their specific location being described is relation to the distance along the Boulevard Kukulcán, in relation to its northerly end in the Ciudad Cancún, referred to as 'Km 0'.

Picture of the El Rey ruins in the Archaeological district

Archaeological District

Cancun's Archaeological district is of great historical significance and offers a chance to learn more about the ancient Mayan settlements that were once based here, particularly around the El Rey site and the Centro Ceremonial Kohunlich. Located along the Retorno del Rey, visitors will find the Museo del INAH of particular interest and this museum is better known as the National Institute of Anthropology and History.