The Glistening City[ citation needed ]
Location of Cancún within Quintana Roo
|Founded||April 20, 1970|
|• Mayor||Remberto Estrada Barba (PRI)|
|• Total||1,978.75 km2 (764.00 sq mi)|
|Elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
|Highest elevation||10 m (30 ft)|
|Lowest elevation||0 m (0 ft)|
|• Density||380/km2 (970/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (EST)|
Cancún ( // or /-/ ; Spanish pronunciation: [kaŋˈkun] ) is a city in southeast Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a significant 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.
Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America. It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico. Covering almost 2,000,000 square kilometres (770,000 sq mi), the nation is the fifth largest country in the Americas by total area and the 13th largest independent state in the world. With an estimated population of over 120 million people, the country is the eleventh most populous state and the most populous Spanish-speaking state in the world, while being the second most populous nation in Latin America after Brazil. Mexico is a federation comprising 31 states and Mexico City, a special federal entity that is also the capital city and its most populous city. Other metropolises in the state include Guadalajara, Monterrey, Puebla, Toluca, Tijuana and León.
The Yucatán Peninsula, in southeastern Mexico, separates the Caribbean Sea from the Gulf of Mexico, with the northern coastline on the Yucatán Channel. The peninsula lies east of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, a northwestern geographic partition separating the region of Central America from the rest of North America. It is approximately 181,000 km2 (70,000 sq mi) in area, and is almost entirely composed of limestone.
Quintana Roo, officially the Free and Sovereign State of Quintana Roo, is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, make up the 32 federal entities of Mexico. It is divided into 11 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal.
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.
The Riviera Maya is a tourism and resort district south of Cancun, Mexico. It straddles the coastal Federal Highway 307, along the Caribbean coastline of the state of Quintana Roo, located in the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula. Historically, this district started at the city of Playa del Carmen and ended at the village of Tulum, although the towns of Puerto Morelos, situated to the north of Playa del Carmen, as well as the town of Felipe Carrillo Puerto, situated 40 kilometres (25 mi) to the south of Tulum, are both currently being promoted as part of the Riviera Maya tourist corridor.
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 Mexican-American artist 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.
Joe Vera is a Mexican-American graphic designer, creator of some of the most recognized logos of the early 1970s in Mexico, such as the Emblem of Cancun in 1974 and the poster for the Avandaro Festival of 1971.
As documented in the earliest colonial sources, Cancún was originally known to its Maya inhabitants as Nizuc (Yucatec Maya [niʔ suʔuk]) meaning either "promontory" or "point of grass". [ citation needed ]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 settlements on Isla Mujeres and Cozumel Island.
The Maya peoples are a large group of Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. They inhabit southern Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador and Honduras. The overarching term "Maya" is a collective designation to include the peoples of the region that share some degree of cultural and linguistic heritage; however, the term embraces many distinct populations, societies, and ethnic groups that each have their own particular traditions, cultures, and historical identity.
Isla Mujeres is an island in the Gulf of Mexico, about 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) off the Yucatán Peninsula coast. The island is some 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) long and 650 metres (2,130 ft) wide. To the east is the Caribbean Sea with a strong surf and rocky coast, and to the west the skyline of Cancún can be seen across the clear waters. In the 2010 census, the namesake town on the island had a population of 12,642 inhabitants.
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.
When development of the area as a resort was started on January 23, 1970, Isla 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 Juárez, a fishing village and military base.
Due to the reluctance of investors to gamble on an unknown area, the Mexican federal government financed the first nine hotels.The first financed hotel was a 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 with Acapulco. The 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 Cancún on February 3, 2007. This award ensured Cancún the ongoing support of the Department of Education and Knowledge Management of the WTO.
Most 'Cancunenses' are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A growing number are from the rest of the Americas and 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.
The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Cancún from November 29 to December 10 of that year.
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" [ citation needed ] 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. [ citation needed ] Mainland Cancún has a central market that resembles an outlet mall, colorful buildings on a pedestrian city block. [ citation needed ](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.
Ave. Tulum is the main north-south artery, connecting downtown to the airport, which is some 30 km (19 mi) south of downtown. Tulum is bisected by Ave. Cobá. East of Ave. Tulum, Cobá becomes Ave. Kukulcan which serves as the primary road through the 7-shaped hotel zone. Ave. 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 located in Puerto Juárez, 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. [ citation needed ] 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. [ citation needed ]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 development.
Despite being a young city, Cancún 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 in that time there were no other formal buildings constructed in the city, being possibly the first built structure of Cancún's recent history.
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 × 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 original appearance.
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. [ citation needed ]
Close by in the Riviera Maya and the Grand Costa Maya, there are sites such as Cobá and Muyil (Riviera) the small Polé (now Xcaret), and Kohunlich, Kinichná, Dzibanché, Oxtankah, Tulum, and Chacchoben, in the south of the state. Chichén Itzá is in the neighboring state of Yucatán.
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 and Playa Tortugas in the Hotel Zone.
Cancún is also served by three private bus lines that connect it to the downtown area and the "hotel zone" as well as more distant destinations such as Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Cancún has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical monsoon climate (Köppen Am ), with little difference between seasons, but pronounced rainy and dry seasons. The city is hot 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 36 °C (97 °F) on most afternoons. Annual rainfall is around 1,340 millimetres (52.8 in), falling on 115 days per year.
The rainy season runs from May through late October, when hot temperatures, high humidity, and quick, but intense summer thundershowers are common. The dry season normally begins in December and runs through April, when more temperate conditions occur as the northeast trade winds bring northerly breezes, sunshine, and relative humidity is lowest. 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.
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.
|Climate data for Cancún|
|Record high °C (°F)||33|
|Average high °C (°F)||28.3|
|Daily mean °C (°F)||24.1|
|Average low °C (°F)||19.8|
|Record low °C (°F)||13|
|Average rainfall mm (inches)||104.6|
|Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm)||9.4||5.9||5.0||4.1||6.7||11.0||9.3||9.7||14.0||16.4||11.4||9.8||112.7|
|Source: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (1951–2010)|
|79 °F |
|79 °F |
|79 °F |
|81 °F |
|82 °F |
|84 °F |
|84 °F |
|84 °F |
|84 °F |
|84 °F |
|82 °F |
|81 °F |
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 showers. Cancún is located in one of the main Caribbean hurricane impact areas. Although large hurricanes are rare, they have struck near to Cancún in recent years, Hurricane Wilma in 2005 being the largest. Hurricane Gilbert made a devastating direct hit on Cancún in 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.
1988's 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 near 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 island of 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 Cancún while Hurricane Dean was approaching, but did ask airlines to send empty planes, which were then used to evacuate tourists already there.
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Although 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 Cancún include:
The city has been home to Atlante F.C., a traditional Mexico City football club, since 2007. Atlante F.C. was moved to Cancún'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).
The city has been devastated by violent acts related to drug trafficking.Between 2013 and 2016 there were 76 murders, in 2016 they count 31 murders , and at least 193 during 2017, the vast majority related to drug trafficking, in the urban nucleus and, various violent episodes with firearms in the so-called "Zona Hotelera". Beginning in 2018 with a high wave of violence, Cancún is above the national average in homicides, only in January there were 33 homicides, triple the number of homicides in January 2017.
The violent acts have begun to put pressure on the tourism industry, where in January 2019, Cancún saw its first decrease in international passengers in seven years.
Coba is an ancient Mayan city on the Yucatán Peninsula, located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The site is the nexus of the largest network of stone causeways of the ancient Mayan world, and it contains many engraved and sculpted stelae that document ceremonial life and important events of the Late Classic Period of Mesoamerican civilization. The adjacent modern village bearing the same name, reported a population of 1,278 inhabitants in the 2010 Mexican federal census.
Cozumel is an island and municipality in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatán Channel. The municipality is part of the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Puerto Morelos is a town and seaport in Quintana Roo, Mexico's easternmost state, on the Yucatán Peninsula. The town is located in the northeast of the state, about 36 km south of the resort city of Cancún, and about 30 km north of the city of Playa del Carmen.
Benito Juárez is one of the eleven municipalities of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Most of its population reside in the municipal seat, Cancún. It is named after the 19th century president and statesman Benito Juárez.
Playa del Carmen is a city located along the Caribbean Sea in the municipality of Solidaridad, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is a popular tourist area in eastern Mexico. Playa del Carmen features a wide array of tourist activities due to its geographical location in the Riviera Maya. It has also been the destination of PGA Tour golf tournaments and the set location for various television shows. The town has become one of the fastest to grow in population size in Mexico.
Solidaridad is one of the eleven municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. Its municipal seat is the town of Playa del Carmen.
Tulum is the site of a pre-Columbian Mayan walled city which served as a major port for Coba, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The ruins are situated on 12-meter (39 ft) tall cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula on the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. Tulum was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya; it was at its height between the 13th and 15th centuries and managed to survive about 70 years after the Spanish began occupying Mexico. Old World diseases brought by the Spanish settlers appear to have resulted in very high fatalities, disrupting the society and eventually causing the city to be abandoned. One of the best-preserved coastal Maya sites, Tulum is today a popular site for tourists.
Tourism in Mexico is a very important industry. Since the 1960s, it has been heavily promoted by the Mexican government, as "an industry without smokestacks." Mexico has traditionally been among the most visited countries in the world according to the World Tourism Organization, and it is the second-most visited country in the Americas, after the United States. In 2017, Mexico was ranked as the sixth-most visited country in the world for tourism activities. Mexico has a significant number of UNESCO World Heritage sites with the list including ancient ruins, colonial cities, and natural reserves, as well as a number of works of modern public and private architecture. Mexico has attracted foreign visitors beginning in the early nineteenth century, cultural festivals, colonial cities, nature reserves and the beach resorts. The nation's temperate climate and unique culture – a fusion of the European and the Mesoamerican are attractive to tourists. The peak tourism seasons in the country are during December and the mid-Summer, with brief surges during the week before Easter and Spring break, when many of the beach resort sites become popular destinations for college students from the United States.
San Miguel de Cozumel is the largest city in Cozumel Municipality in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. With a 2010 census population of 77,236 persons, it is also Quintana Roo's fourth-largest community, after Cancún, Chetumal, and Playa del Carmen. It is a hub for tourism on the Riviera Maya, providing the sole ferries between the Mexican mainland and the island. In addition to the ferry service to Playa del Carmen, the first international cruise terminal in Quintana Roo is located in the city.
Tulum is the largest community in the municipality of Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is located on the Caribbean coast of the state, near the site of the archaeological ruins of Tulum. The community had a 2010 census population of 18,233 inhabitants. It is also the setting for Raymond Avery Bartlett's 2015 novel, Sunsets of Tulum.
The effects of Hurricane Dean in Mexico were more severe than anywhere else in the storm's path. Hurricane Dean, the most intense storm of the 2007 Atlantic hurricane season, formed in the Atlantic Ocean west of Cape Verde on August 14, 2007. The Cape Verde-type hurricane sped through the Caribbean Sea, rapidly intensifying before making landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. Accurate forecasts of the storm's location and intensity enabled thorough preparations; nevertheless when the massive storm made landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale it damaged thousands of homes.
The First Federal Electoral District of Quintana Roo(I Distrito Electoral Federal de Quintana Roo) is one of the 300 Electoral Districts into which Mexico is divided for the purpose of elections to the federal Chamber of Deputies and one of three such districts in the state of Quintana Roo.
Tulum is one of the eleven municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It became one of the newest municipalities in the country when it was formed on March 13, 2008, when it was separated from Solidaridad Municipality.
Same-sex marriages are performed and recognized in all municipalities in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The first two same-sex marriages occurred in Kantunilkin in Lázaro Cárdenas Municipality on 28 November 2011 after it was discovered that the state's Civil Code does not specify sex or gender requirements for marriage. However, future same-sex marriages were suspended in January 2012 upon review by Quintana Roo's Secretary of State. The two same-sex marriages in the state were annulled by the Governor of Quintana Roo in April 2012, but these annulments were reversed by the Secretary of State in May. The Secretary of State's decision also allows for future same-sex marriages to be performed in Quintana Roo.
El Rey is an archaeological site of the pre-Columbian Mayan culture, located in the southeast of Mexico, in the tourist resort of Cancun, in the state of Quintana Roo.
Yum Balam Flora and Fauna Protection Area is a Mexican Flora and Fauna Protection Area located in the state of Quintana Roo in southeastern Mexico. Established in 1994, the nature reserve was the first protected area in Mexico to be created at the request of local communities. The reserve includes wetlands along the north shore of the Yucatán Peninsula and adjacent Isla Holbox and has been designated as a protected Ramsar site since 2004.
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