5 Cancun Travel Tips for First-Time Visitors

Cancun is a very popular Mexican travel hot spot - but you will need to be cautious about a few things as a first-time visitor.

Cancun is one of the most popular destinations in Mexico, but it is recommended that you and your travel companions protect your vacation investment with trip insurance for a variety of reasons. Though the sand, surf and resort atmosphere is second-to-none in Cancun, there are several health and safety concerns that you might want to be aware of before you hit the beach.

1. Not all seasons are perfect for travel: If you are looking for a remote experience, you might want to avoid high season in Cancun, which runs from mid-December to March, according to Viator. However, keep in mind that traveling during the summer puts you at a peak time in the Caribbean for hurricanes.

2. Choose your water wisely: Many hotels and resorts will claim that they filter their water with an in-house system, but you still run the risk of bacteria entering your glass. As a safety precaution, it's always wise to purchase bottled water when you land. In addition to drinking bottled water, you might want to rinse your toothbrush with it as well.

3. Tipping depends on the profession: Most resorts have all-inclusive packages that include gratuity for the various services provided. However, if you are opting out of a resort deal, you will still need to understand the tipping culture in Mexico, as it is different from the U.S. As a general rule, cab drivers do not expect tips. Tipping in restaurants, nightclubs and bars is expected and including gratuity for hotel staff and room service would be thought of as generous and polite.

4. Be careful where you lay your beach towel: It's likely that you will be spending some time in the water during your stay. However, you can't just sunbathe anywhere in Cancun. Many hotels and resorts have their own beachfront access spots and would frown upon outsiders taking up valuable sand space. However, there are 10 different beach access points throughout the city for non-resort guests, according to All About Cancun.

5. Sunscreen is a must: Even if you aren't prone to sunburns, it's wise to carry around a brand with an SPF of 30 or more. The sun's rays are notably stronger the closer you get to the equator, so the tendency for skin irritations is definitely prevalent in a Caribbean location like Cancun. Be sure to reapply too – even waterproof brands are known to fade after a few hours.

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