The youngest state in Mexico, it nonetheless occupies the fifth place in Mexico in terms of economic size and development.
Nearly all of its economy derives from tourism; other economic activities include wholesale and retail sale, construction, transportation and warehousing.
Cancun has a semi-tropical climate, with highs from mid-May until the end of August that can reach 110˚F (43˚C) and balmier weather from December through the end of April, when the average temperature is 71-89˚F (22-32˚C). Rainy season (short afternoon showers) runs from September through the end of November.
The Cancun International Airport (CUN) receives nonstop flights from Atlanta, Amsterdam, Birmingham (UK), Bogotá, Boston, Buenos Aires, Brussels, Charlotte, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Cologne/Bonn, Córdoba (Argentina), Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Düsseldorf, Flores, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Frankfurt, Guatemala City, Hartford, Houston, Indianapolis, Lima, London-Gatwick, Los Angeles, Manchester, Madrid, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Moscow_Sheremetyevo, Munich, Nashville, New Orleans, New York, Orlando, Panama, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Pittsburgh, Raleigh, Rome, Saint Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Francisco, San José (Costa Rica), San Juan (Puerto Rico), San Salvador, Santiago, São Paulo, Seattle, Tampa, and Washington, DC
There are over 2,000 hotel rooms just within walking distance of the Cancun Convention Center that are part of the Punta Cancun Alliance. These include the Starwood Aloft, Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, Krystal Cancun Hotel & Resort, Krystal Grand Punta Cancun, Presidente InterContinental Cancun, Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites and Cancun Clipper Club.
The Starwood Aloft, is actually connected to the Center, with 177 rooms and a banquet space for up to 400 people. The Five-Diamond Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort has 602 all ocean-view rooms with 85,000 ft² (7,897 m²) of indoor meeting and banquet space, with capacity for functions from 14 to 1,700 attendees, just across the street from the Cancun ICC.
It also features the award winning, 40,000 ft² (3,716 m²) GEM Spa and one of only seven AAA Five Diamond restaurants in all of Mexico, Le Basilic. The Krystal Cancun has 453 rooms and four meeting rooms with space for up to 450 people, while the Krystal Grand Punta Cancun has 295 rooms with terraces and panoramic views, as well as meeting space for up to 310 people. The luxurious 300-room Presidente Intercontinental, renovated in 2014, has 7,204 ft² (669.3 m²) of flexible indoor meeting space and a variety of outdoor spaces. The four-star Beachscape Kin Ha Villas & Suites has 150 accommodations plus a meeting room for smaller groups.
Inspired by Mexico’s rich visual history, the event spaces at the 379-room The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun create memorable settings. An entrance foyer with spectacular views leads guests into a convenient 16-room convention area with 17,685 total ft² (1,643 m²) in the resort’s main building. The resort, an EP property, recently included an all-inclusive package in its line-up.
All-inclusive properties make up over 70 percent of the hotel offerings in Cancun, making life simpler for the meeting planner—especially if you manage large groups. One of the newest is the Hyatt Ziva Cancun, which opened in late 2015 with their signature Evolution of All-Inclusive luxury service and 547 suites, all with views of the turquoise waters, some with swim-up access and private butler service. Located on Punta Cancun just three minutes from the Convention Center, the Hyatt Ziva Cancun features 16,000 ft² (1,486 m²) of meeting, event and reception spaces with ballrooms that can accommodate up to 745 guests, plus 7 break out rooms. Outdoor events will be a hit on the roof deck with views of Punta Cancun, which can accommodate up to 650 people.
Other top-ranked all-inclusive luxury properties include the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort in Punta Nizuc, one of the largest hotels in Cancun with 2,133 rooms and one of Palace Resorts’ signature Awe-Inclusive meetings properties. This Four-Diamond property is one of the top all-inclusive meeting resorts in the Mexican Caribbean, with the Moon Palace Arena boasting 140,000 ft² (13,006 m²) accommodating up to 10,000 attendees, with additional state-of-the-art facilities including the Universal Ballroom Lower Level 55,850 ft² (5,188 m²), the Universal Ballroom Upper Level 36,000 ft² (3,344 m²), the Galactic Ballroom 26,800 ft² (2,490 m²), the Noir nightclub for up to 300 guests with a VIP section; 14 restaurants and 17 bars. Also part of the Palace group, the sleek Five-Diamond Le Blanc Spa Resort that has 260 guest rooms with 8,418 ft² (782. m²) of conference area with space for up to 440 people. Attendees also have access to a large foyer with an open-air patio with views of the lagoon. You can also choose to give your groups celebrity status at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun, an all-inclusive “rock star paradise” with 601 lavish guest rooms and suites and unlimited dining, cocktails and banquets to serve in their 16,408 ft² (1,524 m²) of meeting space.
Classic luxury on the beach can be found at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, known as Mexico’s most awarded resort. This Five-Diamond property has 365 luxurious guest rooms and award-winning restaurants, plus a 27,000-ft² (2,508 m²) convention center. It offers groups some tasty experiences you’ll want to look into, such as cooking lessons at its Culinary Center and Tequila Tasting sessions. Another top contender for white-glove service, the award-winning NIZUC Resort & Spa is tucked away in the secluded enclave of Punta Nizuc less than 15 minutes from the airport, perfect for executive incentive groups and meetings. It has 274 suites and villas and an 8,500-ft² (790 m²) Convention and Events Center, offering upscale activities that include yacht excursions on their private vessel, wine-pairing dinners and sushi-making classes.
If you’re looking to book adults-only properties for your group, the Hyatt Zilara should be on your list, set on the widest stretch of beach in Cancun 307 luxury suites and 6,888 ft² (640 m²) of meeting and event space, including a breathtaking beach and outdoor terraces. The Live Aqua’s innovative luxury—which includes your choice of aromatherapy in every one of its 371 guest rooms—extends to its 16 meeting rooms, with a total of 15,300 ft² (1,421 m²) of space. Secrets The Vine Cancun brings Unlimited-Luxury into its all-inclusive equation, with 495 rooms and suites, complimentary green fees at nearby Playa Mujeres Golf Club and more than 17,000 ft² (1,580 m²) of dedicated meeting facilities.
Family-friendly options that still cater to adults with kid-free areas and facilities include the chic ME by Meliá, a lifestyle resort with 354 rooms and 80 suites and plenty in the way of socializing, with meeting room capacity for up to 300 people and beautiful outdoor space for events. The Four-Diamond Sandos Cancun Luxury Resort has 214 rooms and an incredible Total Gourmet Experience, a total of 6,254 ft² (581 m²) of flexible meeting space with a terrace that boasts spectacular views of the ocean for up to 500 people in business conferences and meetings alike. The Paradisus Cancun Resort, with its sizeable pyramid-inspired architecture, offers the Royal Service for adults-only, the Family Concierge and a Kids Club for families. This 668-suite, Four-Diamond property has been named one of 30 best hotels for conventions in Mexico for five consecutive years. Its Paradisus Cancun Convention Center has state-of-the-art technology and can host up to 1,200 guests with 21 breakout rooms and a large foyer space. The stunning Hotel Riu Cancun All-Inclusive, (a five-minute walk from the Cancun ICC) boasts 569 guest rooms and a total of 2131.25 ft² (198 m²) of flexible meeting space.
Also great for families, the all-inclusive Gran Caribe Resort with 9,720 ft² (903 m²) of meeting space for groups, has 470-rooms in its sprawling facilities, keeping adults busy as well as the younger set with the Oki Kids Club and the T-Zone for Teens. The Omni Cancun Hotel & Villas has 341 rooms, suites and villas with plenty of water sports and activities, babysitting programs, and sensational kids and teens clubs. Groups can convene in their choice of seven meeting rooms totaling 12,500 ft² (1,161 m²) of space.
As many beautiful indoor function spaces as there are in Cancun, none tops the size and views of the Iberostar Cancun’s enormous Peninsula Convention Center, with 22 meeting rooms including three ballrooms—two with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea. It offers 49,000 ft² (4,552 m²) of indoor and 60,000 ft² (5,574 m²) of outdoor function space for events of up to 2,500 attendees. The hotel itself has 426 rooms and is an all-inclusive destination unto itself, with its on-site 18-hole championship golf, spa, seven pools and a splash park for kids.
Less than half an hour north of the Hotel Zone, Playa Mujeres is home to another crop of choice properties for planners. Excellence Playa Mujeres has 450 all-inclusive suites and sits at the heart of a self-contained resort community that also includes the Beloved Hotel Playa Mujeres, a 109-room all-suite boutique property. They share the Playa Mujeres golf club, an 18-hole seaside Greg Norman course; a 17,000-sq-ft (1,579 m²) conference center; 176-slip marina; and 35,000-sq-ft (3,252 m²) spa—the most extensive in the greater Cancun region. One of the newest additions to the area is the family-friendly Dreams Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort, with 502 rooms, private beach access, their Unlimited Luxury brand of all-inclusive and access to the Playa Mujeres complex’s amenities, which include a marina and an 18-hole Greg Norman course.
The award-winning Cancun International Convention Center has been recently renovated, upgrading interior meeting spaces and common areas on various floors. It offers 154,074 ft² (14,314 m²) of exhibition space and areas for meetings and conventions. There are 13 meeting rooms, divisible into 37 rooms for simultaneous sessions, as well as rooms and fully carpeted hallways for conferences and conventions. The Lakám Center Cancun-Riviera Maya has 125,938 ft² (11,700 m²) of expo space and 81,773 ft² (7,597 m²) of meetings and convention space.
The azure Caribbean is definitely of this destination’s biggest draws. Water sports are it in Cancun—scuba diving (this is the home of the world’s second-largest coral reef), snorkeling, fishing, boating, even fabulous ecoparks that combine modern facilities with natural wonders (check out Xcaret, Xpu-Há or Tres Ríos). “Green” tourists will revel in the magnificent biosphere of Sian Ka’an, the bird refuge of Isla Contoy and the Reserva de la Biósfera Río Lagartos. All are within driving distance of the Hotel Zone and a must for an unforgettable photographic safari.
On dry land, Cancun can keep your group busy round the clock. Air-conditioned shopping centers sell fashionable finds (check out The Luxury Avenue complex and La Isla Shopping Village), the local mercado will set you up with some fine souvenirs and there’s a restaurant for every night of the week. Golfers will love the manicured greens, and tennis buffs will find pros and night-lit courts to keep their game on. The Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum is a hit for learning more about the intricacies of this very Mexican beverage. Tour the Museo Maya de Cancun for an amazing overview of Mayan history, art and archaeology—its sleek and modern on the inside, but the 55,000-sq.-ft. (5,110 m²) property also includes the San Miguelito archaeology site. And do remind everyone to bring their dancing shoes: nightclubs, bars and discos are a Cancun staple.
And even though the resort is ultra contemporary, there are still vestiges of the ancient Mayan civilization that once ruled the peninsula (the ruins of El Rey are actually right inside the Hotel Zone). There are also some extraordinary ruined cities relatively nearby that make for unforgettable day-trips: ask about Uxmal, Chichén Itzá, Cobá and, closer in, the beachside Tulúm, perched on a sandy bluff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Coming Up: Renovations and expansions on terminals 2 and 3 of the Cancun International Airport have been completed, and construction has begun on Terminal 4. By the expected completion date of 2018 for the first phase the airport will have the capacity to move up to 25 million passengers. When completely finished in 2020, that number will increase to 32 million. This terminal will cater to domestic and international airlines and will boast two levels and a mezzanine, as well as duty-free shops, restaurants and other shops.