CANCúN (/kænˈkuːn/ or /kɑːn-/ ; Spanish pronunciation: ) is
a city in southeastern
Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatán
Peninsula in the Mexican state of
Quintana Roo . It is an important
tourist destination in Mexico, and the seat of the municipality of
Benito Juárez . The city is on the
Caribbean Sea , and is one of
Mexico's easternmost points.
Cancún is just north of Mexico's
Caribbean coast resort band known as the
Riviera Maya . In older
English-language documents, the city’s name is sometimes spelled
"Cancoon," an attempt to convey the sound of the name.
* 1 Place names and shield
* 1.1 Place names
* 1.2 Shield
* 2 History
* 3 City layout
* 4 Cancun Airport\'s old Control Tower Memorial
* 5 Maya archaeological sites
* 6 Transportation
* 7 Climate
* 8 Education
* 9 Sport
* 10 See also
* 11 References
* 12 External links
PLACE NAMES AND SHIELD
A fountain allusive to Benito Juárez's coat of arms, Cobá
and Náder Av.
There are two possible translations of Cancún, based on the Mayan
pronunciation kaan kun. The first translation is "nest of snakes". The
second version and less accepted is "place of the gold snake".
The shield of the municipality of Benito Juárez, which represents
the city of Cancún, was designed by the Californian Mexican American
Joe Vera . It is divided into three parts: the color blue
symbolizes the Caribbean Sea, the yellow of the sand, and the red of
the sun with its rays.
As documented in the earliest colonial sources, the island of Cancún
was originally known to its Maya inhabitants as Nizuc (
Yucatec Maya )
meaning either "promontory" or "point of grass". In the years after
the Conquest, much of the Maya population died off or left as a result
of disease, warfare, piracy, and famines, leaving only small
Isla Mujeres and
The name Cancún, Cancum or Cankun first appears on 18th-century
maps. The meaning of
Cancún is unknown, and it is also unknown
whether the name is of Maya origin. If it is of Maya origin, possible
translations include "Place/Seat/Throne of the Snake" or "Enchanted
Snake". Snake iconography was prevalent at the pre-Columbian site of
Nizuc. Cancun Island aerial view, from the top of the
Escénica Tower adding 80 meters of height. May 2008 Cancun
skyline The virgin area of the Cancun Island was filled with
luxury hotels Crowded beach at Cancun Island La Isla
When development of the area as a resort was started on January 23,
Cancún had only three residents, caretakers of the coconut
plantation of Don José de Jesús Lima Gutiérrez, who lived on Isla
Mujeres . Some 117 people lived in nearby Puerto Juarez, a fishing
village and military base.
Due to the reluctance of investors to gamble on an unknown area, the
Mexican government had to finance the first nine hotels. The first
hotel financed was the Hyatt
Cancún Caribe, but the first hotel built
was the Playa Blanca, which later became a Blue Bay hotel. It is now
named Temptation Resort. At the time it was an elite destination,
famous for its virgin white sand beaches.
The city began as a tourism project in 1974 as an Integrally Planned
Center, a pioneer of FONATUR (Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo,
National Fund for Tourism Development), formerly known as INFRATUR.
Since then, it has undergone a comprehensive transformation from being
a fisherman's island surrounded by virgin forest and undiscovered
shores to being one of the two most well-known Mexican resorts, along
Acapulco . The
World Tourism Organization
World Tourism Organization (WTO), through its
foundation UNWTO-Themis, awarded the Best of the Best award "for
excellence and good governance" to the Trust for Tourism Promotion of
Cancun on February 3, 2007. This award ensured
Cancún the ongoing
support of the Department of Education and Knowledge Management of the
Most 'Cancunenses' are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A
growing number are from the rest of the
Europe . The
municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for
the constant influx of people, as well as limiting squatters and
irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen
percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city.
In the 21st century,
Cancún had largely avoided the bloodshed
associated with the trade of illegal drugs, but is known for its
retail drug sales to tourists as well as for being a center of money
laundering . The links with
Cancún date from the 1990s and early
2000s, when the area was controlled by the Juárez and Gulf drug
cartels. In recent years
Los Zetas , a group that broke away from the
Gulf Cartel , has taken control of many smuggling routes through the
Yucatán, according to the U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration
Drug Enforcement Administration .
2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Cancún
from November 29 to December 10 of that year.
El Meco archaeological site
Yamil Lu'um (Temple of the Scorpion)
Aerial view from El Castillo of the archaeological site El Meco
Master plan of INFRATUR
Town Hall Town Square
Apart from the island tourist zone (part of the world's
second-longest coral reef), the Mexican residential section of the
city, the downtown part of which is known as "El Centro," follows a
master plan that consists of "supermanzanas" (superblocks), giant
trapezoids with a central, open, non-residential area cut in by
u-shaped residential streets. These open centers usually have walkways
and 'sidewalks' around a central garden park, or football fields, or a
library, etc. which make the mainland "Mexican" Cancún
bicycle-friendly. The residential roads of central or 'Mainland'
Cancún, U-shaped and culs-de-sacs, insulate housing from the noise
and congestion of the main flow of traffic. Mainland
Cancún has a
central market that resembles an outlet mall, colorful buildings on a
pedestrian city block.
Tulum is the main north-south artery, connecting downtown to the
airport , which is some 30 km (19 mi) south of downtown.
bisected by Ave. Cobá. East of Ave. Tulum,
Cobá becomes Ave.
Kukulcan which serves as the primary road through the 7-shaped hotel
Tulum ends on the north side at Ave. Paseo José López
Portillo which connects to the main highway west to
Chichén Itzá and
Mérida . Another major north-south road is Ave. Bonampak which runs
roughly parallel to Ave. Tulum. The main ferry to
Isla Mujeres is
Puerto Juarez , on Ave. Paseo José López Portillo.
To save on the cost of installing sewer systems and other public
services, the design of much of the rest of the city reverted to the
grid plan after
Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. The newest
upper-middle-class residential areas reflect the original plan, but
are much less intimate. Less expensive developments are composed
almost entirely of identical one- or two-story small row-houses,
sometimes built around interior plazas or 4 story apartment
blocks.Until recently, most mainland buildings were four stories or
shorter; since 2005, there has been an influx of condominium and
luxury retail and office space concentrated along Ave. Bonampak.
Cancún's Mainland or Downtown area has diverged from the original
plan; development is scattered around the city. The remaining
undeveloped beach and lagoon front areas outside the hotel zone are
now under varying stages of development, in Punta Sam and Puerto
Juarez to the north, continuing along Bonampak and south toward the
airport along Boulevard Donaldo Colosio. One development abutting the
hotel zone is Puerto Cancún, also Malecon
Cancún is another large
CANCUN AIRPORT\'S OLD CONTROL TOWER MEMORIAL
Despite being a young city, Cancun has a memorial monument of its
foundation on a replica of the old Airport Control Tower that
resembles to its own date of foundation. The original Control Tower
was a provisional wooden structure to satisfy the operative needs of
the recently created airport. Some documents of the city mention that
on that time there were no other formal buildings constructed in the
city, being possibly the first built structure of Cancun's recent
The old airport was located on the same part of the city that today
corresponds to the Kabah Avenue. The tower is 15 meters tall, has a
staircase of 45 steps, and has a base dimension of 5 x 5 meters. The
memorial was first built in 2002, with the donations of Aerocaribe, a
local airline, but the structure was damaged after
Hurricane Wilma in
2005. After the claims of the local people asking to rebuild the tower
memorial, a new version was built on 2010, which was later abandoned
without proper maintenance until Woox Pinturas, another local wood
maintenance company, made a donation to restore the structure to its
MAYA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES
El Rey archaeological site
There are some small Mayan vestiges of the pre-Columbian Maya
civilization in Cancún. El Rey (Las Ruinas del Rey) is located in the
Hotel Zone. El Meco, a more substantial site, is found on the mainland
just outside the city limits on the road north to Punta Sam.
Close by in the
Riviera Maya and the Grand Costa Maya, there are
sites such as
Muyil (Riviera) the small Polé (now
Kohunlich , Kinichná, Dzibanché, Oxtankah,
Tulum , and
Chacchoben , in the south of the state.
Chichén Itzá is in the
neighboring state of Yucatán .
Cancún International Airport
Cancún is served by the
Cancún International Airport with an added
main runway that commenced operation as of October 2009. It has many
flights to North America, Central America, South America, Asia, and
Europe. It is located on the northeast of the Yucatán Peninsula
serving an average of about fifteen million passengers per year. The
airport is located around 20 km (12 mi) from the hotel zone,
approximately a 20 minute trip by car. The island of
Isla Mujeres is
located off the coast and is accessible by ferry from Puerto Juárez .
Cancún has a tropical climate , specifically a tropical wet and dry
climate (Köppen Aw ), with few temperature differences between
seasons, but pronounced rainy and dry seasons. The city is warm
year-round, and moderated by onshore trade winds, with an annual mean
temperature of 27.1 °C (80.8 °F). Unlike inland areas of the
Yucatán Peninsula, sea breezes restrict high temperatures from
reaching 35 °C (95 °F) on most afternoons. Annual rainfall is around
1,340 millimetres (52.8 in), falling on 115 days per year. More
temperate conditions occur from November to February with occasional
refreshing northerly breezes, it is drier and becomes hotter in March
and April. It is hottest from May to September, due to proximity to
the Caribbean and Gulf humidity is high the year round, especially
during hurricane season (averages close to 70% on rainfree days). The
hotel zone juts into the Caribbean Sea, it is surrounded by ocean
therefore daytime temperatures are around 1-2C less and windspeeds are
higher than at the airport located some distance inland, which is the
official meteorological station for Cancún, averages as shown below.
CLIMATE DATA FOR CANCúN
RECORD HIGH °C (°F)
AVERAGE HIGH °C (°F)
DAILY MEAN °C (°F)
AVERAGE LOW °C (°F)
RECORD LOW °C (°F)
AVERAGE RAINFALL MM (INCHES)
AVERAGE RAINY DAYS (≥ 0.1 MM)
Source: Servicio Meteorologico Nacional (1951–2010)
Average Sea Temperature
26 °C 79 °F
26 °C 79 °F
26 °C 81 °F
27 °C 82 °F
28 °C 84 °F
29 °C 84 °F
29 °C 84 °F
29 °C 84 °F
29 °C 84 °F
29 °C 82 °F
28 °C 81 °F
Thanks to the Yucatán current continually bringing warm water from
further south, the sea temperature is always very warm, with lows of
79 °F (26 °C) in winter and highs of 84 °F (29 °C) in summer.
The tropical storm season lasts from May to December, the rainy
season extends into January with peak precipitation in October.
February to early May tend to be drier with only occasional scattered
Cancún is located in one of the main Caribbean hurricane
impact areas. Although large hurricanes are rare, they have struck
Cancún in recent years,
Hurricane Wilma in 2005 being the
Hurricane Gilbert made a devastating direct hit on
September 1988 and the tourist hotels needed to be rebuilt. In both
cases, federal, state and municipal authorities were well prepared to
deal with most of the effects on tourists and local residents.
Hurricane Dean in 2007 also made its mark on the city of Cancún.
Hurricane Gilbert was the second most intense hurricane ever
observed in the Atlantic basin. It landed on the Yucatán peninsula
after crossing over the island of Cozumel. In the
Cancún region, a
loss of $87 million (1989 USD ) due to a decline in tourism was
estimated for the months October, November and December in 1988.
On October 21, 2005,
Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's
Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful
Category 4 hurricane, with strong
winds in excess of 150 mph (240 km/h). The hurricane's eye first
passed over the island of
Cozumel , and then made an official landfall
Playa del Carmen in the state of
Quintana Roo at around midnight
on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph (230 km/h). Portions of the
Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours
with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. The eye slowly
drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of
Cancún, Quintana Roo.
Two years later after Hurricane Wilma, in 2007,
Hurricane Dean made
landfall as a
Category 5 storm in
Majahual , 190 miles (310 km) to the
south of Cancún. Fierce winds at the edge of Dean's impact cone
stripped sand off 7.5 miles (12.1 km) of beaches from Punta Cancún
(Camino Real Hotel) to Punta Nizuc (Club Med). The authorities asked
tourism operators to suspend sending tourists to
Hurricane Dean was approaching, but did ask airlines to send empty
planes, which were then used to evacuate tourists already there.
THIS SECTION NEEDS EXPANSION. You can help by adding to it . (June
Cancún is better known as a travel and tourism destination,
in recent years some colleges and universities have been offering
higher education to both Mexican and foreign students.
Private schools in
Centro Educativo Monteverde
* International American School of Cancun
* Instituto Césare
The city has been home to
Atlante F.C. , a traditional
football club, since 2007.
Atlante F.C. was moved to Cancun's Andrés
Quintana Roo Stadium when that stadium opened. Its games had low
attendance at its previous stadium,
Azteca Stadium , which it had been
renting. The team currently plays in the
Ascenso MX , the second level
of the Mexican football pyramid.
The city is also home to the baseball team Tigres de
Quintana Roo ,
who play in the
Mexican League (LMB). Andrés Quintana Roo
Stadium , with a very slight increase in its capacity for Atlante F.C.
* ^ 2010 census tables, MX: INEGI, archived from the original on
May 2, 2013
* ^ "Cancún".
Merriam-Webster Dictionary . Retrieved 2016-08-11.
* ^ "OMT concede premio excelencia a la promoción turística de
Cancún (México)" (in Spanish). ES: El Economista. 02/3/2007.
Retrieved June 17, 2011. Check date values in: date= (help )
* ^ United States. Congress. House. Select Committee on Aging.
Subcommittee on Federal, State, and Community Services.
Transportation, improving mobility for older Americans: hearings
before the Subcommittee on Federal, State, and Community Services of
the Select Committee on Aging, House of Representatives, Ninety-fourth
Congress, second session. Google Books. U.S. Government Printing
Office. Retrieved 9 November 2014. CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors
list (link )
* ^ "Fast Facts". ’’World Atlas’’. Retrieved 2013-04-18.
* ^ Varillas, Adriana (19 August 2013). "Centro de Cancún, tan
mexicano como cosmopolita". El Periodico de Quintana Roo. Retrieved 6
* ^ "MEXICO: Quintana Roo". Citypopulation.de. 2012-01-08.
Retrieved June 1, 2012.
* ^ A proper Maya spelling of Nizuc may be “Ni’ su’uk”
which translates to “promontory” or “point of
grass”-Source-Some Historic Notes and Observations on Isla Cancún,
Quintana Roo, published at FAMSI by Andrews, Anthony P.
* ^ Government of Mexico,
Cancún 2014, published in Cancún
government official page cancun.gob.mx
* ^ Snake iconography was prevalent at the pre-Columbian site of
Nizuc-Source- Historic Notes and Observations on Isla Cancún,
Quintana Roo, p. 5 published at FAMSI
* ^ A B C Siegel, Jules (2006). Cancun User's Guide. Lulu.com. p.
204. ISBN 1-4116-3944-8 .
* ^ Booth, William (May 27, 2010). "Mayor of Cancun, Mexico,
charged with drug trafficking, money laundering". Washington Post.
* ^ Hawley, Chris (May 26, 2010). "Drugs cast cloud over Mexican
paradise". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-27.
* ^ El Centro supermanzanas-Source-La arquitectura norte
americana, motor y espejo de la arquitectura española ... By José
Manuel Pozo Municio, Javier Martínez González
* ^ "Location". Puerto Cancun. Retrieved 2013-08-26.
* ^ Archived July 22, 2011, at the
Wayback Machine .
Cancun's Airport Old Control Tower.
* ^ CANCUN AIRPORT MAP (CUN) ICAO CODE (MMUN) LATITUDE 21.0°
* ^ Cancun Weather
* ^ "Normales Climatologicas 1951-2010" (in Spanish). National
Meteorological Service of Mexico. August 2011. Retrieved 6 March 2015.
* ^ "Cancun Climate and Weather Averages, Cancun and Riviera Maya".
Weather to Travel. Retrieved 9 July 2013.
* ^ "Cancun weather - water temperature". Cancunmap.com. Archived
from the original on July 27, 2013. Retrieved August 26, 2013.
Hurricane Dean On Course for Cancun
* ^ Benigono Aguirre. "Cancun under Gilbert: Prelimenary
Observations" (PDF). International Journal of Mass Emergencies and
Disasters March 1989, Vol. 7, No.1, pp. 69-82. Archived from the
original (PDF) on December 10, 2005. Retrieved October 1, 2006.
* ^ Novedades de Quintana Roo
* ^ Vacationers flee Cancun and Belize resorts after Dean, now a
Category 5 storm, barrels past the Cayman Islands
* (in Spanish) Official city government website
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for CANCUN .
Wikimedia Commons has media related to CANCúN .