I don’t like Cancun. That’s a broad statement, I know, but overall the city was built up specifically FOR tourism, importing any Mexican culture that you may see touted along the side of the road. There are too many “spring break” university students and annoying girls with daddy’s credit card to make it a city in which I would willingly spend a lot of time.
That being said, I enjoy walking around Parque Palapas in downtown Cancun on a Saturday night. Let me clarify something: downtown is where the locals hang out; the Hotel Zone is where the previously mentioned patrons spend their time. As part of the tour, we spend 2 nights in Cancun, arriving Saturday around 6:30pm. I take my group to a fantastic dinner at a local jazz club called “Roots”, and from there people can go out drinking, dancing, or just go to bed (which is my usual option). Something I like to do first, though, is walk through Parque Palapas, which is on the way home. Every Saturday night, this large central plaza/park fills with local families and their kids. The little ones can ride around on Power Wheels and mom and dad eat tacos, elotes (boiled corn cobs on a stick covered with mayonnaise, cheese and hot pepper) , churros and mariquitas filled with nutella or chocolate, everyone playing with balloons or watching the circus clowns that tell bad jokes surrounded by a laughing crowd of people. Of LOCAL people. This is the only time that I feel like you get to see a bit of authentic Mexico in the tourist-clad city of Coco Bongo and Senor Frogg’s and Starbucks. This is where you see the family values that Mexico and Central America are known for; this is where you see the arts and crafts from around the country; this is where you see why people love their country.
So Cancun isn’t all bad. Just mainly.