Parque Kabah in downtown Cancun is a taste of what the local flora and fauna looked like before development took its toll on the city. Paths wind through acres offering views of many different birds, butterflies and a representative Maya dwelling. A museum offers photographic displays, occasional exhibitions and programs. This building was transported here from the hotel zone. It was the first dwelling on the island. A shady play area for children is nearby. Open daily from six a.m. until five p.m. (Afternoon closings vary according to season.) Hotel Zone bus #27 goes to a side entrance. Easily reachable also by taxi.
Mercado 28 and Plaza Bonita are located alongside one another in downtown Cancun. An easy bus ride from the Hotel Zone on number 2 or 15 bus lets you off a five-minute walk through a nice neighborhood passing local stores. Mercado 28 has many stalls with items for every taste and budget. Handmade Yucatecan hammocks from baby to family size and other quaint accessories can be purchased at Hamacas El Aguacate, interior of Plaza Bonita. Traditionally dressed women from Chiapas sell articles of clothing and other embroidered handicrafts at the entrance of Plaza Bonita facing Mercado 28.
El Rey Ruins nestle on the west side of Kukulcan Boulevard in the Hotel Zone. Located at kilometer — the ruins are not visible from the road, so be sure to watch for the entrance found just past the curve at El Mirador (The Lookout). These Mayan structures were part of a coastal network of trading and strategic locations active in the Post Classic period. A beautiful place to walk through early in the day or late in the afternoon, it is a refuge for different kinds of birds and iguanas, so please be aware of their right to a quiet life. Hours are eight a.m. to five p.m. and admission is thirty five pesos. Open daily. Easily reachable by Hotel Zone bus.
Plaza La Isla Shopping Village, Kukulcan Boulevard at kilometer 12.5, is a charming complex with quaint architecture and meandering canals. Especially recommended: Ah Cacao Chocolate Café is located in the interior of La Isla Shopping Village. The shop is a few doors down from the aquarium.The best coffee available in Cancun, grown conscientiously in Chiapas. The chocolate products are made from beans grown in Tabasco. You can purchase coffee beans to take with you, and an exciting array of coffee and chocolate gift items in pretty wrappings. Your purchases help support local conservation programs. There are tables outside the shop for savoring an exceptional chocolate shake or an excellent cup of coffee.
There are several discos in the Hotel Zone, but The City is the largest club in Latin America and offers a variety of international acts that have included Fergie, Ludacris, Akon, Flo Rida, American Eagle, MTV, 50 Cent, Sasha, Tiësto, Paul Van Dyk, Snoop Dogg, Paris Hilton and more. The City has a million-watt sound system and 650 sq ft of video screens. The stage is designed for live entertainment, music concerts and DJ presentations, with a capacity for more than 5,000 people in 8,000 sqft of floor space and 9 bars over three floors. Located at Punta Cancun hub of the Hotel Zone, it has its own beach club with pools, seating and other amenities. The newly widened beach is in front of the club.
Written by Jules Siegal. Jules is an American journalist whose work has appeared in Playboy, Rolling Stone, Best American Short Stories and many other publications. He has lived in Cancun with his family since 1983. He is the author of the Cancun User’s Guide.
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