A Taste of Travel
Cancun City Guide
I bet that arriving to Cancun you have no clue that besides the touristic attractions and the Caribbean Sea you can discover much more. Cancun is a mixture of modern buildings and urban sights, luxury lifestyle and underground spots.
Cancun is one of those rare cases when you come to see a modern resort but can discover a city of art.
Mayan history lives here in every house and every street – and with one turn of your head you can jump from all exclusive concept hotels to the urban part of the city – intercultural, welcoming and persistently stunning for everybody who is just ready to see it.

Lets stroll down the streets of the city and take a look. We will start from a small park – Jardin del Arte. Here you can find a lot of murals and graffiti. This cannot be missed – it is one of the faces of the city – modern and artistic that you can find just here.

Charming small parks can be found across the whole city. And the main one, Parque Las Palapas, stays just next to the main avenue Tulum.

Parque las Palapas is the first and most important park in Cancun. The park area has been inhabited and considered a landmark since 1971. The architect Agustín Landa Verdugo created the city plan where the park contained a plaza with several palapas and public walkways. Parque las Palapas was the first place where Alfonso Alarcón Morali received the title of the first Municipal President before the City Hall was built.

Next to Parque las Palapas is "Blanquita Cinema", the first cinema in the city; Iglesia de Cristo Rey, the first Catholic temple in Cancun, a recreational zone with a strip of shops and restaurants. An open-air food court with 14 fixed food stands is located at the northern part of the park, and a few wooden carts with palapas covering them are distributed throughout, used by the artisans to sell their products. Must try in the park are marquesitas ( a crispy, salty-sweet rolled crepe made with shredded cheese ) - they are the best in the city and an artisan ice-cream paleta made of fruit juice.
From the course of history, you will know Cancun has been established as a city on January 23, 1970. Regardless of 50 years the city stubbornly protects the bits and pieces of its history, preserving its modern charm.

Formerly known as an important tourist destination in Mexico, it is one of the largest resorts in the country and a home to around 700.000 inhabitants. With two versions of the translations of the word "Cancun" as the "nest of snakes" and the "place of the gold snake", the city shows the prevalent position of the snake at the pre-Columbian era.

To know more about the city and its history you can in the City Hall - Palacio Municipal. Inside of it you can find the monument of Yuri Knorozov, a Soviet linguist, epigrapher and ethnographer, who played a major role in the decipherment of Mayan writing. Behind the City Hall is a rare mural dedicated to the chicle (the sap of chicozapote) and chicleros (natural gum producers).
When the Mayans ruled the Yucatan Peninsula, they extracted the sap of chicozapote and turned it into gum. The practice continued after the collapse of the Yucatecan Mayans. Chicle was consumed locally until Mexican general Antonio López de Santa Anna introduced it to American businessman Thomas Adams, who began importing it to the United States in the 1870s.

The chicleros and their families were the first ones who settled down in Cancun. Some of their houses we can still see in the city. Over 600 chicleros in 56 communities across the peninsula, many of whom are indigenous Mayans, keep working continuing an ancient Maya tradition of producing and selling natural gum. Nowadays, the organic gum is exported to 30 countries. By maintaining this ancient tradition, chicleros are helping to sustain local indigenous communities and the rainforest.

You can find more information about Mayan in Museo Maya de Cancún, located in Blvd. Kukulcan, km 16.5.
Crossing Tulum Avenue, coming closer to Nader street you will notice an unparalleled scenery. Modern houses, narrow alleys, delicate street planning and the whole street of the restaurants and cafes.

Named in honor of Carlos Náder Márquez, who was a legal advisor to Banco de México and was in charge of the purchase of land to develop the city, Nader is a truly gem of the city.
Go for a modern twist on tacos and hip relaxed atmosphere to El Socio Naiz. They have plenty of veggie options, unusual combinations, different sauces in addition to a wide selection of beer and cocktails. Sirena Morena is a great option for a healthy breakfast or brunch. A huge variety of tasty smoothies, fresh food (check their vegetarian dishes) and a beautiful patio.

For a friends/ family dinner visit El Tigre y El Toro (great italian food and relaxed atmosphere) or romantic dinner La Fonda Del Zancudo ( beautiful, intimate atmosphere and great Italian cuisine). Finish a night in Amarula (go for their signature cocktails ) or in a speakeasy bar next to Kotaro (Av Carlos Nader 104), enter through the restaurant.
The little streets of urban Cancun can make you forget that you are in a touristic place. Equally charming they have one distinct benefit over the popular competitors – the lack of tourists and an opportunity to experience a completely genuine and unchanged local lifestyle with the best tacos and beer.
Big crooked houses are built around spacious courtyards called supermanzanas– are great to explore on the morning or evening walk.

It is not only the city that amazes – the people here will conquer your heart. Always hospitable, they live by the famous Mexican proverb: "Mi casa es tu casa".

What to try in Cancun downtown:

  • try different types of tacos (al pastor, suadero, campechanos, seafood, arrachera, etc) and local craft beer;
  • discover murals by world known artists;
  • relax in the ecological Parque Kabah;
  • try marquesitas and esquites (a popular Mexican snack made from corn mixed with mayonnaise, freshly crumbled cheese, lime juice and chili powder) in Parque las Palapas;
  • explore the untouristed Cancun in a City Tour;
  • have fun in a speakeasy bar and try their signature drinks;
  • visit a family owned seafood restaurant/cafe in Puerto Juarez;
  • do shopping as a pro in Market 28 (its good for the souvenirs) or go for a local Market 23 (a market where the locals buy fresh food; there are non expensive cafes and the choice of souvenirs, clothes).
And what is Cancun for you?