Here across most of Canada, the snow is starting to fall, the cold temperatures are starting to set in, and a vacation to somewhere sunny and warm is surely on many wish lists for the holiday season.
It has been an interesting year, and so many of us are longing to experience the joy of travel again. Do you miss travel? Are you dreaming of a hot and sunny winter getaway?
Thankfully, we have some very good news – Canadians can travel safely to Mexico this winter, and we have the perfect destination for you where there are 240 days of sunshine per year – giving you plenty of time to soak up your beloved sunshine!
Cancun is a destination that TierOne Travel agents highly recommend for those looking to get their fix of sun and sand. Read on to learn all about Cancun, from our favourite restaurants, beaches, resorts and much more.
And remenber – If you are interested in planning a trip, your TierOne Travel Consultant can help get you there!
Cancun Entry Requirements
Mexico is among a few select nations that have very few health protocols for entry for Canadians. There are currently no quarantine periods for travelers entering Mexico (as of December 4, 2020).
Mexico does not require Covid-19 tests before or after arriving; however, visitors may be subject to a temperature check and general health screening.
Canadian residents’ passports must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Mexico.
Travelers should also have valid travel insurance that covers Covid-19 for the duration of their trip.
Cancun COVID-19 Safety Protocols and Procedures
Cancun is a great place to travel if you want to vacation to Mexico this winter. In fact, the Yucatan Peninsula (Cancun, Cozumel, and Riviera Maya) has not been significantly affected by COVID-19 and it is considered okay for travel by the government of Canada!
Cancun has recently made a new law that can issue fines to people that refuse to wear a face covering, which further adds to the safety of the destination.
Cancun became one of the first destinations in the Americas to receive the “Global Safety Stamp” issued by the WTTC to destinations that adopted its standards for traveler protection!
Strict hygiene and health protocols have been put in place in all Mexican destinations to guarantee the well-being of all citizens and visitors.
Want to learn more? Learn about the safety protocols implemented in Cancun here: https://www.mexicancaribbean.travel/faq-covid-19/traveling-safely-to-the-mexican-caribbean/
Returning to Canada
The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures to slow the introduction and spread of COVID-19 in Canada. When you return to Canada (unless you are flying direct into Calgary*), you must quarantine for 14 days, provide contact information, and monitor yourself for symptoms.
*2-Day Quarantine Pilot Project at Calgary International Airport:
The Province of Alberta, the Government of Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada recently announced an arrival testing program at YYC. Eligible arriving international passengers will be able to voluntarily get a free COVID-19 test upon arrival in Canada at YYC Calgary International Airport, when arriving direct on a non-stop flight. This will allow them to quarantine for less time (2 days vs 14 days), provided they test negative for COVID-19 and if they commit to following specific public health and testing measures.
Why Cancun is a Great Destination
Cancun and area is not only a beach lover’s paradise – it is also an adventure lover’s playground! There are so many different types of adrenaline-pumping and exciting tours and excursions you can take, from ziplining, to parasailing, to ATV tours, to jumping into turquoise-blue cenotes!
There are also an abundance of fantastic diving and snorkeling sites in Cancun, including a famous underwater sculpture museum. The beautiful cenotes feature a fascinating underwater cave systems. Nature enthusiasts will enjoy a day trip from Cancún to Isla Contoy, which is an uninhabited island that provides fantastic hiking, bird-watching and more. And, of course, there are truly gorgeous beaches with powdery white sand, where the water activities are endless and range from swimming and kayaking to kiteboarding, or just simply relaxing with your favourite book.
Hot Season: In Cancun, the “hot” season lasts for 3.5 months, from the beginning June to about the end of September. During this time, the average daily high temperature is often above 31 °C. The hottest day of the year is however, not too hot, with an average high of 32 °C and low of 25 °C, making these temperatures perfect for relaxing in the sunshine!
Cool Season: The “cool” season in Cancun lasts for 3 months, from the beginning of December to the beginning of March. During this time, there is an average daily high temperature below 28 °C. However, the coldest day of the year still has pleasant and warm weather, with an average low of 20 °C and high of 27 °C.
Best Time to Visit: As you can see, there is no “bad” time to visit Cancun. We think that December to April are the best times for visiting Cancun, as they offer the perfect mix of sunny skies and little rain. April and December offer the best weather, while May is best for wildlife viewing, since it’s the time whale sharks arrive here and sea turtles’ nest!
Top Activities & Excursions
Swim in an Underground River and Explore Cenotes
Cancun and its surrounding area are well-known for their hidden underwater world. In fact, the underground rivers that flow in the Yucatan Peninsula are the longest network of underground rivers and caves in the world! Definitely a must-visit on your next vacation to Cancun.
There are a few different places near Cancun where you can enjoy this network of crystal-clear water, the most popular place being Xcaret. This water park, theme park, amusement park, and eco-archaeological park is 74 km south of Cancun International Airport and about an hour-long drive.
Being located in the Mayan jungle, Xcaret is among underground rivers, cenotes and facing the Caribbean Sea. You can choose to enjoy water activities that will take you to mystical places in the territories of Chaac, the Mayan god of water. Enjoy underground rivers, a beach area, a lagoon, and natural pools of seawater. Xcaret is also a park that celebrates Mexico’s present and rich past, a country known for its traditions, culture, and folklore. You won’t want to miss it!
Take a Catamaran Cruise
In the peaceful Caribbean waters, there is no better mode of transportation than a catamaran! If you are wanting to just sit back and relax and see the waters around Cancun without getting sand everywhere, consider taking a catamaran cruise! You can decide to take a catamaran cruise during the day to enjoy the sights, to go open-sea snorkelling, or even just to bask in the sun with a cold drink. Either way, a catamaran cruise gets you offshore without any stress. You can even sail just offshore as the sun sets along the gorgeous Cancun beach coastline and take in remarkable sunset views. This will be a memory etched into your mind forever!
Your TierOne Travel Agent can book you the best catamaran tours! You can travel in complete style aboard a luxury sailing catamaran along the Riviera Maya Caribbean coastline. You can also opt to enjoy a half-day excursion that combines pure sailing pleasure, amazing service from an experienced crew, stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, and some of the best snorkeling in the Riviera Maya. There are so many options to choose from! Either way, you will be able to bask in the tropical sun and cool breeze as you take in the ambiance of a catamaran cruise.
Snorkelling is one of the more popular things to do in Cancun, and for good reason! Cancun is home to one of the largest reefs in the world, the Great Mayan Reef. The coastal waters of Cancun offer some of the best snorkeling that can be found anywhere on Earth and a wide variety of wildlife, from manta rays, colourful reefs and fish, starfish, nurse sharks and more!
If you’re looking for more thrilling things to do in Cancun, then put ziplining on the top of your bucket list!
Xplor is the most visited zip-line park in the entire world! With two circuits of seven zip-lines each, get ready for a thrilling exploration of the jungle. Flying over the treetops you’ll find spectacular scenes of nature, the lush jungle, and a distant Caribbean Sea. Your TierOne Travel Agent can book you the best-value and most adventurous ziplining tours.
Visit Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza was named one of the new 7 Wonders of the World. This ancient Mayan site was once one of the largest Mayan cities and was a major economic power in the region. Chichen Itza is home to many ancient buildings that are still in great condition, including the Great Ball Court, The Temple of Warriors, El Caracol (an ancient observatory) and the most popular – El Castillo (The Castle).
Visit Downtown Cancun
The Downtown region is one of the many places in Cancun most tourists seem to skip in exchange for beach visits or other activities. But if you are looking for a more authentic feel of Cancun away from the touristy Hotel Zone, then you should head downtown!
Downtown is home to a plethora of activities and restaurants offering a look into local life. If you are looking to do a bit of souvenir shopping, Mercado 28 (Market 28) is the perfect place. Mercado 28 is a flea-market style shopping area that has an abundance of handmade items, pottery, t-shirts, and souvenirs. You’ll find many treasures here!
Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is located just near Tulum and was declared a UNESCO site in 1987 because of its unique biodiversity and Mayan heritage. The entire reserve is about 1.3 million acres and is the largest protected area in the Mexican Caribbean. Sian Ka’an is home to nearly 115 species of mammals and over a thousand different species of insects.
On top of its extremely unusual and diverse animal population, the reserve has over 1048 species of flora. You can do boat tours that take you through the reserve making it one of the most incredible things to do in Cancun that is actually a hidden gem that not many tourists know about.
The Best Restaurants in Cancun
There is a true abundance of unique and delicious cuisine in Cancun for you to try on your vacation! Here are just a few of our favourites:
Offering an amazing 2-course tasting meal, Le Chique at the Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma has a beautiful oceanfront location and offers a truly dining experience. The restaurant is headed by El Bulli-trained Chef Jonatan Gomez-Luna, and his award-winning menu here delivers cutting-edge presentation and tantalizing flavours. This is one of the top “haute cuisine” dining destinations in Cancun, and you’ll see why the first time you visit!
Puerto Madero Cancun
This restaurant, decorated in dark woods, brick, and glass, brings the best of the Buenos Aires steakhouse to Cancun! Puerto Madero Cancun has a jaw-dropping view over the Caribbean that you can ogle as you devour delicious Argentine-style steaks.
La Habichuela Sunset / Downtown
La Habichuela is one of Cancun’s most popular restaurants, combining Caribbean seafood with Mexican cuisine. There are two locations, one downtown, and one overlooking the lagoon. Both locations focus on paying tribute to Mexico’s Mayan heritage with traditional décor, Mayan-inspired artwork and artifacts. The outdoor seating options are plentiful at the lagoon location, and this spot is a Cancun favorite for enjoying a romantic dinner.
Since 1975, the La Parrilla restaurant has offered Cancun locals and visitors a traditional Mexican dining experience that is lively and fun! The hacienda-styled interior design features colorful décor and even a live mariachi band, La Parrilla is full of life and energy, and their tacos al pastor are a much-reviewed favourite.La Parrilla is a fantastic option for those looking for a lively and fun dining experience during their vacation in Cancun!
Porfirio’s Restaurante showcases the best of Mexico! It transforms traditional flavors and textures into mouthwatering dishes using only the best quality ingredients. They have a wide selection of Tequilas and Mezcals that can be recommended by tequiliers to create incredible pairings with their dishes. Your Porfirio’s experience is complete with a truly elegant atmosphere, making this a meal you’ll never forget.
The Best Beaches in Cancun
There’s no doubt about it that Cancun has some of the world’s best beaches! Beach lovers who decide to venture away from their resort will find so many incredible beaches to relax at. Here are some of our absolute favourites:
PLAYA CHAC MOOL
This is one of the most visited beaches in all of Cancun area! With its beautiful white sand and a plethora of water activities. there’s no doubting why it is so popular. After spending the day swimming in its gorgeous turquoise waters, heading to one of the many beachside restaurants and bars is the best way to end your perfect beach day.
Located in the hotel area, this is also one of the most popular and most visited beaches in Cancun area. The color of its blue-green water happens naturally because this is an area where the sea meets the Nichupté lagoon, turning this beach water into a pure magic. Playa Linda is also a spot to start at if you want to visit the scenic Cancun tower, for the most incredible views.
Playa Delfines, or Dolphin Beach, offers the best dolphin viewing in the Cancun area! Thanks to this beach’s calm, clear waters, it is possible to see dolphins right from the shore. Though this beach is somewhat farther out from the large hotel resorts, it means that you can enjoy a quiet day on an uncrowded beach. Pure dophin paradise!
Whether you’re looking for a family-friendly beach or are hoping to do some adrenaline-filled activities, Playa Tortugas (or Turtle Beach) is a perfect place! This beach offers many dining options to choose from during your visit. It’s also possible to take a boat trip from here and visit stunning Isla Mujeres to add to yet another perfect day in paradise.
This beach features sugar-fine sand and shallow waters. This is the perfect combination for swimming and relaxing under the sun! It is further away from the busy touristy areas and is the best place to enjoy some peace and quiet. Visit the beautiful port in Playa Caracol (or Snail Beach) and enjoy panoramic views that you can’t find anywhere else!
Cancun Resorts We Highly Recommend
Planet Hollywood Adult Scene Cancun
You can Vacation Like A Star at the first ever all-inclusive Planet Hollywood Adult Scene! Check out authentic Hollywood memorabilia and enjoy Hollywood-themed experiences in a beautiful beachfront location in Cancun.
This is an adults-only resort that offers a perfect setting for a vacation that is both fun and intimate. With a private beach and multiple pool areas, exclusive check-in and check-out, global haute cuisine and much more, you’ll feel like a celebrity. Vacationers have access to all amenities at the Planet Hollywood Cancun next door and can relax in a glamorous Hollywood-inspired spa. True luxury!
To deliver safe, relaxing, and luxurious Safety-Assured Vacations for all guests, Planet Hollywood Resorts has introduced advanced sanitation measures, new physical distancing guidelines, a 360-degree Clean Approach and an international Safety Assurance Team. Here’s a couple of the new procedures:
- Pools, beaches, restaurants, bars entertainment facilities, lobbies, elevators, hallways, and other shared spaces around the resort will be cleaned hourly.
- Reduced restaurant capacities and implemented a one-step reservation system.
- Sanitation of all guest touchpoints in rooms, including remote controls, doorknobs, hairdryers, hairdryers, lamps, telephones and more.
- And much more…
Hyatt Ziva Cancun
Hyatt Ziva Cancun is a stunning all-inclusive beachfront framed by the sparkling Caribbean Sea. This is known as a playful family escape perched on Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Coast. Here you can experience all-Inclusive luxury, where you are inspired to live in the moment and take it all in. You can relax on white sandy beaches and swim in the crystal clear blue waters of the sea. Enjoy luxurious suites with balconies and breathtaking ocean views and indulge your senses at 8 delicious restaurants. There are also six bars on the property, and even a microbrewery! You could spend a day to rejuvenate yourself at the oceanfront spa, with options to purchase massages, holistic body treatments and even a relaxing hydrotherapy circuit.
Providing safe and clean environments for guests and colleagues is always a top priority for Hyatt globally, and they remain committed to enhanced levels of cleanliness—now and in the future. The Global Care & Cleanliness Commitment focuses on the safety and wellbeing of colleagues and guests and builds on existing safety and cleanliness procedures. Here are a few examples of these procedures:
- International cleanliness and training process, a trained Hygiene & Wellbeing Leader or team at all locations.
- Face masks or coverings are required in hotel indoor public areas and when moving around in outdoor areas
- Elevator spacing and revised maximum capacity guidelines—elevators, fitness centers and more
- And much more…
Club Med Cancun Yucatan
This is a great all-inclusive family resort that is located on the tip of the iconic Riviera Maya. It has three white sand beaches next to the world’s second largest coral reef, making it prime for snorkelling! This beautiful resort offers extensive options of water and land sports, a variety of activities for families and children, and even offers direct access to ancient Mayan wonders! You can enjoy an authentic Mexican dining experience here, explore their new wine cellar, and hang out at the totally revamped resort center which features a brand new main pool and lounge area.
Club Med has implemented health & hygiene protocols to ensure your total piece of mind during your stay. To create ‘Safe Together’ measures, Club Med has worked alongside government agencies, advisors and a committee of doctors and professors within the scientific community and are following WHO guidelines to take care of you and your loved ones. Their teams both in and out of their Resorts are here to ensure your safety is their number one priority.
Hard Rock Hotel Cancun
At the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun all-inclusive resort, you will find the ultimate beachfront celebrity playground! They have transformed the typical all-Inclusive vacation into a rockstar paradise. Immerse yourself in the exciting surroundings of the resort and its perfect beaches, with crowd-pleasing amenities that are studded with style. You can also enjoy rounds of championship golf before you kick back, relax and enjoy your Mexican getaway.
Hard Rock Resorts have implemented enhanced health and hygiene protocols to provide you with peace of mind during your stay. To create the “SAFE + SOUND” promise, Hard Rock has developed a comprehensive, enhanced cleanliness and sanitation plan that consists of added precautionary measures throughout all aspects of the guest and team member experience. Here are just a few examples of their protocols:
- Sanitization of guest luggage before it enters the lobby.
- Touchless in-room dining hallway service at guest room door.
- Hand sanitizer in every public space area and all restrooms.
- And much more…
Events and Festivals
Mayan Village Show
Throughout the month of January, at Xcaret Park you can enjoy recreations of favourite ancient Mayan festivals, including a jungle walk and celebration of the discovery of fire.
Dia de la Bandera (Flag Day)
In mid-February, the streets of Cancun are filled with Mexican flag vendors. On February 24, everyone places a flag on their cars while children present a celebratory ceremony. A site to see for sure!
During the first half of March, Cancun celebrates its version of this pre-Ash Wednesday event. It features floats, street parties, local food and drinks, and a variety of events, all over town!
Visitors come to the main temple at Chichen Itza in late March to see the descent of the serpent Kukulkan. History says that the Maya constructed the temple in a way that during equinox, a beam of sunlight creates a shadow, moving down towards earth resembling a slithering snake.
Anniversary of the Founding of Cancun
Locals celebrate the origin of their city throughout the downtown area with parades and street parties.
In the middle of September, Cancun residents celebrate the liberation of Mexico by Padre Miguel Hidalgo, on El Grito, or the “Shout” Day, with festivities all over the downtown and Isla de Mujeres areas.
You can take a side trip to the famous Mayan pyramid of Chichen Itza and marvel at the famous sunset optical illusion, when shadows zig zag their way to the stone carving of the serpent Kukulkan. This takes place around the third week of September.
Eve of All Souls Day
Residents bring flowers and candles to the graves of loved ones on the eve of October 31 all over the Yucatan Peninsula.
All Souls Day; Day of the Dead
Throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, families enjoy a traditional meal at the graves of loved ones, and various festivals are held in the area. This takes place during the first two days in November.
Cancun Tour Operators We Recommend
Air Canada Vacations
Air Canada flies direct to Cancun from Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Quebec and Halifax, making it so easy to get there!
Air Canada Vacations’ new COVID-19 Coverage & Assistance Plan, which is administered by Allianz Global Assistance, is available to travellers at no additional cost who book a vacation package to Cancun for travel between Sept. 4, 2020 and April 30, 2021. Plus, for added peace of mind, Air Canada Vacations’ CareFlexPlus travel protection is now offered for free!
Shortly after boarding your flight, you will receive a Customer Care Kit, containing a mask, antiseptic wipes, hand sanitizer, water bottle, a headset and a snack.
WestJet has flights 3 times weekly to Cancun from Toronto and Calgary! And starting December 05, there will be even more flights to Cancun from Edmonton, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, and Toronto!
To accommodate your changing travel needs and put your Safety Above All, WestJet is offering no-charge COVID-19 travel insurance coverage travel to and from Cancun until August 31, 2021.
Upon boarding, each guest is provided with sanitization wipes. You will also find a snack and bottled water at your seat when you board your flight!
Sunwing has so many flight options to Cancun from Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Regina, Winnipeg, St. John’s and Halifax!
Your Sunwing vacation package booking now includes COVID-19 Coverage. As part of Sunwing’s Safe with Sunwing commitment, they’re providing insurance underwritten by Manulife to help cover emergency medical or quarantine costs in the unlikely event that you contract COVID-19 on vacation. You’ll automatically receive coverage at no additional cost if you book an all inclusive vacation package (with Sunwing Airlines flights) or a flight on Sunwing Airlines between September 17th, 2020, and December 31st, 2020. You will also enjoy a welcome glass of sparkling wine onboard your flight to paradise.
READY TO ADD CANCUN OR ANOTHER OF OUR MEXICO VACATION DESTINATION RECOMMENDATIONS TO YOUR BUCKET LIST?
If you’re itching to travel with a bad case of the Travel Bug, we hope that our recommendation of Cancun as a beautiful and safe destination to travel to in Mexico has been helpful in assisting you to plan your winter getaway!
We’re always here to help you plan your trip and answer your travel-related questions. Reach out to your TierOne Travel Consultant if you have any questions to ask, or are ready to book your relaxing sunny getaway!
GET PEACE OF MIND WITH TRAVEL INSURANCE
Before you travel, be sure you have enough coverage. Travel insurance will provide you with peace of mind on your vacation. Find out more about Manulife travel insurance here.
START PLANNING YOUR VACAY TODAY
When you’re ready to explore Cancun or another destination and make your travel dreams come true, contact one of our TierOne Travel agents today! They have extensive experience in life-changing travel and will be able to craft something incredible that is suited to your unique needs. One call; endless experiences!
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.” – Anonymous