Cancun, Mexico: Exploring the Yucatan

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Facts and Figures

  • Location: Cancun is on the east coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea. Cancun is 1,446 miles (2,327 km) north of the equator and 530 miles (850 km) from Miami.
  • Lay of the Land: Technically speaking, Cancun is an island. The resort area is a 14-mile- (22.5-km-) long ribbon of sand that from the air looks like the number “7” with the top of the “7” being the north side of the island. To the left, or west, of the “7” is a series of lagoons that separate the beach from the mainland. To the right, or east, of the “7” is the Caribbean.
  • Population: about 630,000.
  • Time Zone: The same as the U.S. Central Standard time year-round.
  • Languages: Spanish is the official language. Many locals speak fluent Maya. English is spoken almost everywhere.
  • Climate and Temperature: Semitropical with an average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). Average daily high and low temperatures are as follows: January through March, 86 and 68 F (30 and 20 C); April through June, 89 and 71 F (32 and 22 C); July through September, 91 and 75 F (33 and 24 C); and October through December, 87 and 68 F (31 and 20 C). September and October, the height of the local hurricane season, tend to be the rainiest months.
  • Water Temperature: 76-82 F (24-28 C).
  • Currency: Mexican peso. U.S. dollars are widely accepted.
  • Getting There: Major airlines from numerous destinations in the U.S.
  • Departure Tax: Varies with exchange rate, about $48 U.S. per person.
  • Sales Tax: There is a 15 percent sales tax that is often hidden in restaurant charges, store purchases and tour fees.
  • Tipping: Ten percent to 15 percent of a bill is a common tip for good service.
  • Entry Documents: U.S. passport. Canadian citizens must present proof of citizenship and photo identification for entry into Mexico.
  • Getting Around: Taxis as well as rental vehicles are available. A valid driver’s license is required for rentals. Driving is on the right. U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico.
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