Cancún is a hateful place

Born of the Mexican government strategy of highly developing pristine spots in the coastline, filling them up with hotels and then selling them to foreign capital groups (the money goes out of the country: the pollution stays in), Cancún is an exercise in concrete gone wild.

Basically the place did not exist until it was developed. There is no old city centre. All is modern, in the bad sense of modern.

The worst bit is no doubt the main beach, completely raped by enormous buildings and accessible only by a road that (get this) has no sidewalk !
Basically, the best part of the place has been sold and shat upon.

Use Cancún only as a cheap air access to Yucatan. Once you land, get the hell out of town. And the climate is terrible: hot and mega-humid. Great if you fancy heatstroke and sunburn.
This having been said, the city market is not bad, and the seafood is tasty.

Anyway, if you want a place that is more real, less corporate and has access to sea, I would take Veracruz or Villahermosa, Tabasco any day.

I agree with baffo's assessment. Here is some more detail:

Cancun is a narrow isthmus between a lagoon and the Ocean, on the Eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The isthmus is just wide enough for one road and a strip of luxury hotels on both the lagoon and ocean side. The only residential portion of the town is where the legions of poorly paid hotel workers live and is at the northern end of the isthmus where it joins the mainland. Cancun did not exist until the Mexican government decided to make it a tourist destination. Most of the hotel workers were drawn from surrounding areas of the Yucatan.

In addition to the hotels, there is a mall with some tourist oriented shopping, and a few cheesy large bar/restaurant/dance clubs with names like 'Senior Frog's' which feature lousy Tex-Mex food and watered down fruity alcoholic drinks served in huge plastic flutes.

Cancun is home to what is arguably the most promiscuous American collegiate spring break. It features Abercrombie wearing frat guys having easy sex with drunken horny fat chicks who probably don't get the chubb too often unless there is alcohol and anonymity involved.

The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are a two hour drive away.

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