Best Hotels in Cancun

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25 Best Hotels in Cancun Mexico - 2023 Ultimate Guide

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If you’re struggling to choose from the many hotels in Cancun, don’t worry – I’ve been there too. It can be overwhelming to read through so many reviews and options. That’s why I’ve put together a list of the top hotels in Cancun to help you make a quick and informed decision based on your needs. No need to spend hours researching – just click and choose from the best options. 


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This guide offers options for both luxury all-inclusive resorts that provide everything you need and budget-friendly hotels that allow you to venture out and explore the city. You no longer have to worry about finding the right accommodation for your Cancun vacation.

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Cancun Best Hotels – Expert Tips

  • For 5-star resorts, Cancun is a really great option. However, if you prefer smaller boutique hotels, I would recommend checking out Tulum and Isla Mujeres, two of my favorite beach destinations in Mexico.
  • is the best site for hotel selections and the best prices and deals in Cancun is
  • Best Areas to Stay in Cancun:
    • Playa Mujeres has new resorts and beautiful beaches,
    • Riviera Cancun has nice beaches as well as family-friendly activities and natural swimming holes (cenotes), and the
    • Hotel Zone is a long strip of land shaped like a number 7. The Hotel Zone is divided into three parts: the North area is close to nightlife and has soft sand and calm waters, the Middle area has good beaches and is near both nightlife and water activities, and the South area is the quietest with more secluded beaches away from the bars and nightlife..
  • If you want to enjoy the activities, attractions, and tours in Cancun with ease, it is recommended to stay near the Hotel Zone as most of them are located there.
  • To move around within the Hotel Zone or to visit Downtown, taking a bus is the best option. You can find two bus lines, R-1 and R-2, running frequently every day, and there are many well-marked bus stops along the main road. You can flag the bus down from the stop, and the bus fare is 12 pesos (about $0.60 USD). Passengers receive tickets as proof of purchase in case of an inspection. However, these tickets are not valid for transferring to another bus. If you decide to get off and take another bus, you will need to purchase another ticket. Bus drivers have change for passengers paying with pesos, and they accept US dollars, but with a higher rate of $1 per person instead of $0.60. Please note that no change will be given if you pay with dollars. Bus stops are not named or announced. To ensure you get off at the right stop, you can either use your phone’s GPS or watch out for your destination. When you want to exit the bus, make your way to the back and press the red button near the exit or shout “Alto!”
Cancun Hotel Zone Map : Tourist Map Hotel Zone
Cancun Hotel Zone Map (courtesy of Mexmap)

If you don’t have the time to read the full article, here are some of our top selections:

  • Best Luxury Hotel in Cancun: Le Blanc 
  • Best Romantic Hotels in Cancun: Le Blanc and Nizuc
  • Best Boutique Luxury Hotel in Cancun: Nizuc – very luxurious and intimate
  • Best Cancun Hotels for Families: Hard Rock Hotel Cancun / Moon Palace The Grand / Grand Fiesta Americana

The 24 Best Hotels in Cancun

1. Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun– Middle Hotel Zone

Le Blanc is an adult-only resort that focuses on wellness and offers all-inclusive amenities. It features three pools, luxurious suites, and exceptional dining options. The resort’s grand spa offers a range of treatments, including a comprehensive hydrotherapy circuit which is free for all guests. The spa also offers couple packages and holistic body treatments. Each room and suite comes with double whirlpool tubs, aromatherapy, a pillow menu, and butler service for added relaxation.

The restaurants offer both fine and casual dining with a variety of international cuisines, creative cocktails at the bars, and an impressive wine selection. The resort credits program allows guests to customize their all-inclusive experience with excursions, spa services, and romantic beach dinners. Even though it’s only a short walk from Cancun’s famous nightlife, the resort’s beach area is peaceful and clean, with clear blue water that’s perfect for swimming. The beach is meticulously maintained, raked and cleaned every day.

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2. Kempinski Hotel Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

This resort is a great choice for families who want to relax on the beach. There are two pools with ocean views, a spa for guests who want to unwind, and some of Cancun’s best restaurants. The five-diamond restaurant serves delicious food with local flavors, and guests can also have a romantic beachfront dining experience in private cabanas. The kids club offers a variety of cultural, craft, and culinary activities all day, and there are night safari activities on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Grand is a hotel that offers a teens club and game room for older kids. All rooms and suites have balconies, soaking tubs, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Some rooms also come with private pools or outdoor Jacuzzis, as well as club level perks. The hotel is located on a beautiful white sand beach with clear blue waters that are great for swimming.

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3. Nizuc Resort and Spa Cancun – South Hotel Zone

Nizuc is a resort in Cancun that is known for its stylish design and luxurious amenities. The resort boasts five pools, a hydrotherapy spa inspired by Mayan traditions, and several dining options. Guests can choose from rooms, suites, and villas, all of which are spacious and come with private balconies. Some accommodations even have outdoor showers, soaking tubs, or private plunge pools.

The Ocean Junior Suites are exclusively for adults and come with access to an adults-only pool and restaurant. The dining experience at Nizuc is exceptional, with a variety of cuisines to choose from and fresh, locally sourced ingredients used in every dish. At La Havana, you can enjoy hand-rolled cigars and Caribbean rums.

There is also a popular kids’ club that offers various activities, crafts, beach toys, and a separate pool. The resort is situated on Nizuc Beach, which is the calmest beach at the end of the Hotel Zone. The beach has gentle waters, beautiful white sand, and a colorful reef that is ideal for beginner snorkelers.

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4. Grand Residences Cancun – Riviera Cancun

The resort is a luxurious, family-friendly, all-suite property located on a white sand beach. It features an infinity pool overlooking the ocean and offers personalized service with thoughtful amenities. The rates include round-trip airport transfer. The resort is ideal for families, especially larger ones, as its spacious suites can accommodate up to thirteen guests and have up to four bedrooms with a mix of king, double, and murphy beds.

All suites come with kitchenettes and whirlpool tubs, and some also feature washers and dryers, outdoor Jacuzzis, private pools, and butler service.Our resort offers a range of amenities suitable for families, including a kids’ club that offers sports, activities, and crafts.

Additionally, we provide bike tours, craft workshops, mixology classes, and a full-service spa for adults. Guests have the flexibility to choose their preferred stay package, including all-inclusive, daily breakfast or European plan. While the beach is beautiful, some areas are rocky and coral-filled. Swimming is possible, although the surf can be strong at times.

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5. Hyatt Ziva Cancun– North Hotel Zone

Hyatt Ziva is a modern, family-friendly hotel that has everything you need, including dolphins, three infinity pools, and a microbrewery. You can choose from a variety of room and suite options, such as oceanfront, dolphin view, or swim up, some with soaking tubs or club level benefits.

The new Turquoize wing is exclusively for adults and has outdoor Jacuzzis, butler service, and free access to the spa hydrocircuit. The hotel also provides family amenities, including a kids’ club with a mini-water park, climbing pyramid in the ocean, and dolphin swims. When it comes to food and drinks, choose from different international flavors and creative cocktails, including a 24-hour lounge and room service.The Punta Cancun lighthouse is next to a cove that offers super soft sand and mild surf, making it an ideal spot for novice swimmers.

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6. JW Marriott Resort & Spa Cancun– Middle of Hotel Zone

The resort is situated by the beach and has three pools that are connected. One of the pools is specifically designed for scuba diving and has a reef built in it. The rooms and suites are spacious, with private balconies, soaking tubs, and dual vanities. Connecting rooms are also available.

Additionally, the resort has a large, three-story spa that offers Mayan-inspired treatments for the whole family in a peaceful environment. The dining options at the hotel are great but not too daring, featuring an impressive Italian restaurant and a casual Southwestern grill. Guests can also enjoy the restaurants and kids’ club at Marriott Cancun Resort, which is located adjacent to the hotel. The beach is spacious and offers many loungers with shade, excellent food and drink service, and gentle waves that are perfect for boogie boarding and body surfing.

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7. Temptation Resort Adults – Only Cancun Topless Optional

Temptation Cancun Resort is an entertainment-focused resort that offers live performances and theme nights for adults over the age of 21. It’s like having a massive open-air nightclub in your backyard. Although the rooms feature simple interior design and king beds, you’re sure to have a great time!

Temptation Cancun Resort is conveniently situated at Kukulcan Km 3.5 in Cancun Hotel Zone, which is in close proximity to downtown and Albatros dock from where you can embark on a journey to Isla Mujeres. The resort’s location makes it an excellent choice to indulge in exciting activities like spinnaker and snorkeling on a catamaran. It is also a popular destination among college students for spring break in Mexico.

8. Hard Rock Hotel Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

The resort is a lively, rock-themed destination that caters to families and couples with its many amenities. It boasts large infinity pools, three whirlpools, and a full-service spa. One unique feature is the Sound of Your Stay program, which provides complimentary rental of guitars, mixing stations, record players, and access to a recording studio. Guests over the age of 12 can also participate in the Music Lab, which offers lessons in instruments, DJing, and vocals.

The program ends with a live performance at the end of their stay. Each room includes a private balcony and a Jacuzzi tub for two people. The suites available have two bedrooms, while the Family Suites come with a minibar and Xbox for kids. If you’re a couple, you might want to think about upgrading to the Rock Royalty level.

This upgrade will give you access to the third-floor adults-only pool, a free couples’ massage, and a personal assistant. Additionally, the beach is beautiful, with stunning blue water and impeccable service.

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9. Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun – North Hotel Zone

This resort is situated on one of the top beaches in Cancun and offers spacious suites that are perfect for families. The resort has a large pool, a luxurious spa, and a restaurant that has won awards. The suites all have balconies with ocean views – most are junior or master suites but there are also Presidential and Governor Suites with one or two bedrooms. The Presidential Suite comes with a full kitchen and a rooftop plunge pool. There are several excellent restaurants at the hotel, but the five-diamond Le Basilic and four-diamond La Joya, which serve French and Mexican fine dining respectively, are the standout options.

The spa is a three-story haven with expert massage and a hydrocircuit which is complimentary for hotel guests. The kids club is open for children aged three to twelve and offers unique amenities such as a water park, theater with costumes, a game room, and a night camp.

The Grand Fiesta is located in a protected cove just inside Punta Cancun and boasts pristine white sand and calm, turquoise waters that are almost as calm as a pool.

Hotel phone: +52 998 881 3200

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10. Live Aqua Beach Resort Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

This is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort that aims to revive your senses with stunning views, diverse dining options, music, massage, and aromatherapy available throughout the premises.

The resort places special emphasis on water-related activities such as a peaceful beach, seven pristine pools, and hydro-reflexology in the spa. The dining options are equally impressive, featuring regionally-inspired cocktails and an indulgent selection of cuisines with a mixture of styles and flavors. From al fresco molecular gastronomy to Asian fusion served in a serene jungle garden, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

When you arrive as a guest, you’ll receive a relaxing hand massage as a welcome. Plus, if you book a pool cabana, you’ll also get to enjoy a foot massage. There is live music played daily by the pool and elsewhere on the resort, and every night there are DJs at Egos Bar. Live Aqua is located on a beautiful white sand beach with warm, clear water and gentle waves.

11. Hyatt Zilara Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

This is an adults-only, all-inclusive resort with a Hacienda-style located on a wide, ivory beach surrounded by crystal clear turquoise waters. The staff provides excellent service and strives to make every guest’s experience memorable. Rooms and suites have private balconies, double whirlpool tubs, a liquor dispenser, and a “magic box” for room service.

The resort has an impressive infinity pool overlooking the beach, a lap pool on the rooftop, and a spa that offers Maya treatments, ceremonies, and a temazcal.

The food and drinks are delicious, and guests staying in oceanfront category rooms or higher can dine exclusively at the Chef’s Plate. The menu changes every evening. There are also various activities such as pool parties, cocktail classes, wine and tequila tastings, and show cooking every week. However, guests may have a hard time leaving the beach to enjoy these activities.

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12. Secrets the Vine Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

The Vine is an all-inclusive, adults-only resort with a beach-chic vibe. It boasts four stunning pools, a spa, and incredible food. The resort is recognized for its exceptional wine concept, as it has a vast wine cellar (featuring over 4500 choices!), wine-related spa treatments, and sommelier-led wine tastings offered three times a day. Rooms come with private balconies and are available in a variety of connecting options.

There are junior and two-bedroom suites, many of which include soaking tubs. By upgrading to the club level, you’ll get to enjoy extra perks such as exclusive access to an infinity pool, a private lounge, and rooms located on the highest floors which offer breathtaking views. The restaurants offer a wide range of exceptional cuisines, and you can enhance your dining experience with optional wine pairings. The beach is picturesque, clean, and well-maintained, with calm turquoise water that is ideal for swimming.

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13. Azul Beach Resort Cancun – Riviera Cancun

This is a luxury resort that’s great for families. There are six pools, a lazy river, and lots of fun things for kids to do. Every room has a private balcony and an indoor Jacuzzi. You can choose from different types of suites, some with full kitchens and butler service. The family suites have two sofa beds.

There’s a fun Nickelodeon-themed club for kids with character visits, a splash pad, and gymnastics. There’s also a special lounge for teens with games like pool and air hockey, as well as outdoor activities.

The resort has a separate wing exclusively for adults with a pool, swim up suites, multiple bars, and Le Chique, a famous five-diamond restaurant offering Mexican molecular gastronomy which is loved by couples and honeymooners. The beach is beautiful and clean, but the water is not as vibrant turquoise as it is in Cancun and the southern Riviera Maya. Despite being slightly rocky, it is possible to swim in the calm waves and enjoy snorkeling.

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14. Riu Palace Peninsula Cancun – North Hotel Zone

This is a family-friendly, all-inclusive resort with five pools, including one exclusively for villa guests. They have a variety of suites available, and there are phenomenal activities for both kids and families. All suites come with private balconies, soaking tubs, and liquor dispensers.

Some suites have Jacuzzis, while others are for adults only. The resort has options for both young children and families with older kids.

The kids’ club is available for ages four to twelve, with supervised activities in the pool and on the beach. Older children and families can participate in art workshops, offering painting and ceramics classes, and enjoy nightly theater and entertainment. The resort also provides a free scuba lesson in the pool and non-motorized watercraft such as kayaks, boogie boards, and catamarans. The resort has a variety of restaurants, including a la carte options (Mexican, French, Japanese, etc.) and high-end buffets that serve lobster. The service at all restaurants and bars is prompt and attentive, and the food is delicious. The beach in Cancun has a few more rocks than other beaches, but it’s still stunning with its soft sand, turquoise water, and gentle surf.

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15. Fiesta Americana Condesa – Middle Hotel Zone

This is a family-friendly, all-inclusive beachfront resort with a focus on Mexican hospitality. The resort offers a luxurious experience with local vibes. More than half of the restaurants serve delightful Mexican cuisine, along with international options. The spa incorporates Mexican products in all of their treatments.

The decor of the entire property showcases Mexican embellished tile, stonework floors, and palapa roofs. The kids’ club offers fun and creative activities all day, including a pirate-themed pool. The teens’ club has video games, billiards, and outdoor sports. During your stay, you can participate in onsite activities such as Maya language classes, Maya astrology, and tequila tasting. There are different room options available including standard rooms and two-bedroom suites attached studio. Some of the suites have sofa beds and terrace Jacuzzis, and the Presidential suite has a full kitchen. The beach has perfect white sand and medium surf making it ideal for experienced swimmers, while beginners could find it a bit challenging.

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16. Sun Palace – South Hotel Zone

This is a romantic, all-inclusive resort exclusively for couples. It’s located on a peaceful beach and has three infinity pools (one of which is covered), a hydrotherapy spa, and fantastic food and drinks. The decor is stylish and luxurious, with 96% of the rooms offering stunning ocean views. Each room or suite has a double whirlpool tub, a private balcony, a liquor dispenser, and a complimentary bottle of wine.

If you choose to upgrade to the concierge level, you’ll receive special amenities like a candlelit dinner, couples’ massage, pillow menu, and aromatherapy.The restaurants at the resort are excellent, especially the pan-Asian and steakhouse options. Guests can use their resort credits for various activities such as visiting Maya ruins, exploring colonial villages, enjoying spa treatments, or swimming with dolphins. Sun Palace is situated on a beautiful beach in the southern area that is peaceful and free of many vendors.

17. Crown Paradise Club Cancun – South Hotel Zone

This resort is located on the beach and is suitable for families. It is an all-inclusive resort and offers amenities for children of all ages. There are five pools, one of which is exclusively for adults and another is covered. The rooms and suites have balconies and some even have soaking tubs. Family Suites have a king bed and triple bunk beds. Guests can choose to upgrade to Club level and get access to Jacuzzis (indoor or outdoor) and a lagoon cruise.

At Their Baby Club, children between the ages of eighteen months and three years can enjoy story times and playtime in a designated room. The Kids’ Club caters to children aged three to twelve and offers a pirate ship pool, a castle with nine waterslides, and various activities. For older kids and families, there is access to a small waterpark, billiards, video games, and mini-golf. The beach is equipped with ample shaded loungers, beautiful white sand, and stunning blue water with moderate surf.

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18. Hotel Xcaret Mexico All-Inclusive – Great for Families

I highly recommend Hotel Xcaret Mexico for anyone looking for a relaxing getaway. The rooms all come with a private balcony featuring a hammock, which is perfect for taking in the beautiful views. If you choose a room in Casa Fuego, you will have access to an adults-only rooftop terrace, your own personal butler, and a variety of high-quality dining options. And if you opt for a Spa Suite, you will have easy access to the fantastic spa facilities located right on the property.

Staying at Hotel Xcaret Mexico and taking advantage of its All-Fun Inclusive Feature is a cost-effective way to visit two of the Xcaret parks and tours (such as Xcaret, Xel-Ha, and Xplor). This way, you can enjoy a luxurious stay at the hotel while saving money on the expensive park admissions.

Please note that Hotel Xcaret Mexico offers a great kids club but it is only for children who are at least 4 years old. If your toddler is younger than that, you will need to arrange for a babysitter.

19. Moon Palace The Grand Cancun – Riviera Cancun

This resort is designed for families and features many amenities, including a water park, kids’ and teens’ clubs, and various facilities for families and children. All suites have a private balcony, a two-person jetted tub, and a hammock. Grand Family suites are larger and have one king bed and two double beds, plus an Xbox 360 and a minibar for kids. The resort grounds include two pools, a lazy river, a flowrider, and a bowling alley.

The kids’ club is extensive and has a splash pad, black light mini-golf, bumper cars, and much more. In addition to family-friendly areas, there are also adult-only options such as a nightclub, day club, pool, and a French restaurant for parents. The resort credits program covers both family excursions like dolphin swims and relaxing activities like spa days. The beach offers great views and service but is not suitable for swimming. Guests looking for a traditional beach experience can use their all-inclusive privileges at the sister property, Beach Palace.

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20. Secrets Playa Mujeres Golf & Spa Resort – Playa Mujeres

This resort is located on a large beach in Cancun’s newest development and provides an all-inclusive, adults-only experience. The junior and one-bedroom suites are spacious and come equipped with hydro-spa tubs and balconies. Some of the suites have swim-up access or private plunge pools.

If you choose to upgrade to the Club level, you will receive access to the spa hydrocircuit and lounge, as well as a pillow menu and a daily breakfast from an a la carte menu exclusively for Club guests. On the grounds, you will find a large free-form pool (in reality, there are three pools situated very close together). The beach provides snorkeling equipment, catamarans, paddleboards, and a bar with a swing set. The beach itself is long and has soft, rock-free sand with calm water and deep turquoise coloring.

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21. Dreams Jade Resort & Spa Cancun – Riviera Cancun

This resort is a great option for families seeking a five-star, all-inclusive experience. The resort has spacious suites available in several styles, starting at 65 square meters, with private balconies and either indoor or outdoor Jacuzzis. The resort is located on a beautiful beach adjacent to a dolphinarium, and offers excellent amenities for children. There are two infinity pools on the property, one for adults only, accessible with club level upgrades.

Children between the ages of three and twelve can participate in various activities, arts, and adventures at the all-day kids’ club. The teens’ club offers breakdancing lessons, video games, and other forms of entertainment. The resort has sixteen restaurants and bars that offer fantastic and diverse dining and drink options. Among these, the French and pan-Asian restaurants, namely Mercure and Spice, stand out as the best. The beach has a Mix Bar that serves fantastic cocktails and is stunning, but the water can be a bit rocky and turbulent. However, if you walk five minutes south along the beach, you’ll discover a spot with smoother waters for swimming.

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22. Marriott Resort Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

This is a luxurious resort located on the beach that has a blend of hacienda-style design with traditional and contemporary Mexican décor. It is suitable for families and has a large infinity pool with a whirlpool that offers a beautiful view of the blue sea. The resort has rooms and one-bedroom suites that come in different sizes and views, but all have a private balcony. It also offers connecting rooms if needed.

If you opt for the Presidential Suite, you’ll get the luxury of having a second balcony and an outdoor Jacuzzi. The kids’ club is a favorite spot for children aged between four to twelve. It’s open during the day and has a pool and plenty of activities for the little ones. The dining and drink options are excellent and diverse, featuring various specialty restaurants such as Argentine, Japanese, and Thai.

However, there’s no Mexican restaurant available at the hotel. Although, guests can find a southwestern restaurant at the nearby JW Marriott property and many options for Mexican food within walking distance. The Bahia staff is attentive, and the hotel is situated on a wide, white beach with moderate waves that guests can swim in.

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23. Dreams Golf & Spa Resort – Playa Mujeres

This is a new family-friendly resort that offers all-inclusive packages. It has dolphins and great amenities for kids and teens. The beach is quiet and there are suites and villas that are all spacious with private balconies and sofa beds. You can choose from options with swim-up access, private pools, outdoor Jacuzzis, and two-person whirlpool tubs. For an even better experience, you can upgrade to the Club Level which gives you access to a lazy river, free hydrotherapy, and a private lounge. The kids’ club offers camping once a week in addition to daily activities and a mini water park. The teens’ club stays open until 1 a.m. and offers dance nights, video games, rock climbing, bonfires, and other activities. You can also enjoy the added benefits of dolphin swims, a luxurious spa, and an 18-hole golf course. The beach has soft sand and calm waves because of the nearby Isla Mujeres acting as a shield.

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24. The Westin Resort & Spa, Cancun – Hotel Zone Hotel

The Westin Resort & Spa Cancun is a luxurious resort situated in a calmer section of Cancun’s Hotel Zone. The large rooms boast a contemporary and stylish decor outfitted with Westin’s comfortable beds, private balconies, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Additionally, the rooms come equipped with modern conveniences like complimentary WiFi, 24-hour room service, and flat-screen TVs.

25. Sandos Cancun – Middle Hotel Zone

This is a beachfront hotel in Cancun that has a four-diamond rating and offers all-inclusive packages. The hotel has three infinity pools, several restaurants with delicious food, and a great music program. The rooms have floor-to-ceiling windows with views of the ocean and the lagoon, so you can enjoy both the sunrise and the sunset. Each room comes with a soaking tub, welcome wine, and most have one or two balconies. The hotel has one- and two-bedroom suites that come with kitchenettes. The Rhythm Experience music program presents live music and DJs playing different genres each day.

In the evenings, the music shifts to the bars where Bar One provides a relaxing atmosphere and Bar Two offers a lively party scene. The restaurants provide excellent food made with fresh ingredients. The most popular dining options are Gaijin Japanese and Zango international buffet.While St. Trop doesn’t have a Mexican restaurant, their menu includes Caribbean Mexican dishes. The beach is clean and has clear water, but the waves can be rough occasionally.

What Does All Inclusive actually mean in Cancun?

The term “all-inclusive” in Cancun usually implies that the cost of accommodation, food, beverages, and use of resort amenities are covered. It’s essential to note that the specifics of what’s included may differ by hotel. In certain situations, all-inclusive resorts may also provide activities and excursions in Cancun as part of the package price. As an illustration, guests staying at any of the Xcaret Hotels (Hotel Xcaret Arte, Hotel Xcaret Mexico, and Casa de la Playa) can access multiple attractions like Xcaret parks and tours at no additional cost.

This means that you can enjoy all the activities in Cancun without worrying about organizing or paying for them separately.

Expert Tip: If you want a vacation that is easy and stress-free, consider an all-inclusive resort in Cancun.

What’s is the difference between All-Inclusive vs Not All-Inclusive Hotels

All-inclusive resorts provide more than just a room – they also offer three meals and snacks. On the other hand, non all-inclusive hotels only offer a European plan which includes just the room or room with breakfast. Some resorts give you the choice to book either an all-inclusive package which covers meals and extra amenities or a non all-inclusive package which only covers the room. For instance, the same room can cost $300 for the non all-inclusive option and $380 for the all-inclusive option. See the image below where the different packages are highlighted in yellow.

Is it better to stay at an all-inclusive hotel or resort in Cancun or not?

Staying at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun is more cost-effective and convenient than staying at a regular hotel if you want to try different types of food and drinks or enjoy a clean beach. You will save money on food, beverages, and transportation by choosing an all-inclusive resort.

Where to Stay in Cancun Mexico

To have a great vacation in Cancun, it’s crucial to pick the appropriate area for your stay. The Cancun Hotel Zone is the best and securest option since all the resorts are located on the beach and have gated entries with 24/7 security patrolling the area.

It’s important to be careful when walking around outside of the resorts, particularly at night, as certain areas may not be safe. During the day, places like Parque las Palapas and El Centro in Cancun are safe to explore on foot, but I would suggest taking a taxi if you’re venturing out after dark.

Cancun is generally a safe city. By using common sense and taking safety precautions, you should be able to enjoy your stay without any problems.

Cancun’s Hotel Zone

The Hotel Zone in Cancun is where you will find most of the hotels and resorts. It’s a 22-kilometer-long strip of beach that’s shaped like the number 7 and runs along Boulevard Kukulkan. The majority of the resorts are on the northern and eastern beaches, while restaurants, malls, and attractions are on the lagoon side. The Caribbean Sea is to the north and east of the Hotel Zone, and the Nichupte Lagoon covers the interior.

The Hotel Zone is divided into three sections based on their kilometer markers. The North section includes km 1-9 and goes from the western edge of Downtown to Punta Cancun in the east. The Middle section includes km 9.5-17.5 and runs south from Punta Cancun, past Museo Maya. The southernmost section is called the South and includes km 18-21.5, stretching from El Rey archeological zone to Punta Nizuc.

Staying in the Hotel Zone, North

The northern part, also known as the “beginning,” of the Hotel Zone has the most immaculate beaches and the softest sand. This is because of its unique geography. Unlike the rest of the Hotel Zone, the northern part is partially shielded from hurricanes thanks to Isla Mujeres situated to the northeast and Punta Cancun’s horn to the east.

Thanks to its shielding, the beach still holds its original sand which has been weathered over time to a smooth, powdery texture, unlike the rest of the Hotel Zone where the sand had to be replaced following a hurricane a few years back. Additionally, its exclusive location protects it from seaweed accumulation that is common in the Middle and End Zones.The Beginning of the Hotel Zone is an ideal location for guests who prefer not to stay in an all-inclusive hotel. It is located close to Downtown’s amazing restaurants and cultural attractions such as Market 28 and lucha libre at the Cancun Arena. Furthermore, it is a short distance away from the Uptown Cancun nightlife on the south end of Punta Cancun.

The Best Hotels in the North Hotel Zone

  • Hyatt Ziva 
  • Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach 
  • Presidente InterContinental Resort 
  • Riu Palace Peninsula

Staying in the Middle of the Hotel Zone

If you want to experience the most lively part of Cancun, head to the Middle of the Hotel Zone. At the south end of Punta Cancun, you’ll find Uptown Cancun, which boasts a famous nightlife scene. Here, there are many nightclubs and bars clustered together, such as Coco Bongo, Mandala, and La Vaquita. The most popular night spots are The City and Congo Bar. As you continue to travel south along the main road, you’ll find Cancun’s most well-liked family attractions, such as Aquaworld, Museo Maya, and MUSA (the underwater museum).

The beaches in this area may be rougher compared to the North Hotel Zone and the waves are a little more intense. Nonetheless, this is where local sea turtles come to nest. From May to October, large turtles come ashore every night to lay eggs. From July to December, baby turtles hatch and are set free into the ocean. Hotels located in the central part of the Hotel Zone have specific areas to safeguard the eggs from predators. Visitors can observe the adult turtles as they lay their eggs each night or watch the newborns being released during the appropriate time.

Our Favorite Hotels in the Middle of the Hotel Zone

  • Le Blanc Spa Resort 
  • Kempinski Hotel Cancun 
  • JW Marriott Resort & Spa 
  • Live Aqua Beach Resort 
  • Hard Rock Hotel 
  • Marriott Resort 
  • Secrets the Vine 
  • Fiesta Americana Condesa 

Staying in the Hotel Zone, South

The South Hotel Zone, also known as “the end,” stretches from El Rey Ruins in the north to Punta Nizuc in the south. Compared to the North or Middle zones, it is less populated and provides easy access to the city’s attractions. Visitors can enjoy calm beaches with fewer vendors bothering them, making it a peaceful destination. The beach quality here is comparable to the beaches in the Middle area. The surf is moderate and the sand is soft, though slightly coarser than the North. Sea turtles are frequently seen here.

The South Hotel Zone has better snorkeling opportunities, particularly at the southernmost point near Punta Nizuc. Since there are only a few restaurants nearby, most resorts in this area offer all-inclusive packages. This makes it a great destination for travelers who want a real escape while still enjoying some city conveniences.

Our Favorite Hotels in the South Hotel Zone

  • Nizuc Resort and Spa 
  • Crown Paradise Club 
  • Sun Palace 

Staying in Riviera Cancun

The Riviera Cancun (map) is located in the northern area of the Riviera Maya, extending from Cancun to Puerto Morelos. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef runs along the coastline from Cancun to Guatemala and is situated in front of the Riviera Cancun. This area comprises a number of large all-inclusive resorts.Many of the beaches here are located in mangrove jungles and are protected by the reef, resulting in mostly calm waves. The beaches consist mostly of white sand, but there are also some rocky and coral areas.The areas with sand are ideal for swimming and body surfing, as the waves are not too strong.

On the other hand, the rocky and coral-covered areas are excellent for snorkeling, as you’ll find many different types of colorful fish there. The resort’s beaches are located far from any vendors, so they’re practically private. Tourists can explore a botanical garden and Croco Cun Zoo in the vicinity of Puerto Morales. Additionally, there are numerous inland cenotes for a refreshing dip and several adventure parks further south.

Our Favorite Hotels in Riviera Cancun

  • Azul Beach Resort Riviera Cancun 
  • Moon Palace The Grand 
  • Grand Residences Riviera Cancun 
  • Dreams Jade Resort & Spa 

Staying in Playa Mujeres

Playa Mujeres is located on the northern side of Cancun, positioned directly west of Isla Mujeres and to the north of the main ferry terminals, Puerto Juarez and Gran Puerto. It is considered the latest resort development zone in Cancun, and the oldest hotel constructed there dates back to 2007. This place is mainly for leisure and is composed of resorts, beaches, and golf courses.

There is also a dolphinarium on the main beach and campgrounds located further north. Playa Mujeres is easier to reach from the city and nearby attractions compared to Riviera Cancun. However, there are a limited number of restaurants in the area due to it being new.

If you want to visit Isla Mujeres from Cancun, take the Punta Sam ferry which is the closest point to the island. Playa Mujeres, located nearby has beautiful white sandy beaches, clear blue water and calm waves as the island protects it. However, when the wind is coming from the east, this beach tends to have more seaweed than the southern beaches. But worry not, as each resort in the area hires sweepers who clean the beaches twice a day to combat this.

Best Area in Cancún for First-Time Visitors: Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera)

If you’re a first-time visitor to Cancun and wondering about the best areas to stay in, then consider the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera) which has a wide range of accommodations. The Zona Hotelera is a 22-km stretch of high-rise hotels, resorts, bars, and restaurants.

For first-time travelers to Cancún, it’s recommended to choose a hotel in the Hotel Zone as they offer many amenities including dining, nightclubs, private beaches, outdoor pools, and water parks within their premises. These resorts are like mini-cities, making them a great home base for your vacation, and you might not even feel the need to explore outside the resort.

Despite everything, I preferred the Middle Hotel Zone in Cancun Zona Hotelera because it’s the hub of all activities. This is where you can easily locate the finest restaurants, nightlife, attractions, activities, and shopping options in Cancun.

Best Areas in Cancún for Clubs, Parties, Bars and Nightlife: Punta Cancun Hotel Zone

You can find partying and nightlife in various areas in Cancun and the Riviera Maya, but the most ideal spots for night owls and party enthusiasts are the Middle Hotel Zone (particularly in KM 9 – Punta Cancun) and Temptation Cancun Resort.

In Punta Cancun, there are vibrant bars and nightclubs, such as famous franchises Coco Bongo, Señor Frog’s, Mandala, and La Vaquita. These clubs offer multi-level parties with live music, DJs, acrobats, gogo dancers, showgirls, and more. The clubs here are some of Mexico’s top clubs, and they cater to different music genres. However, you should expect to pay a cover charge and slightly higher drink prices.

Best Areas in Cancún for Dining: Hotel Zone and Downtown

If you want to find excellent dining options while vacationing in Cancun, consider checking out the restaurants located in Downtown. This bustling downtown area offers some of the top dining experiences in Cancun. You can find a variety of dishes, including Yucatecan cuisine, classic Mexican food, and even high-quality French cuisine. Additionally, you can enjoy fine dining experiences at much lower prices than in the Hotel Zone.

Best Area in Cancun for Sightseeing: Downtown, Middle Hotel Zone

Tour operators in the Hotel Zone offer free pickup for day trips to Chichén Itzá or Tulum, regardless of where you stay. However, if you’re interested in local sightseeing, staying in the Middle Hotel Zone is a good choice. This area is close to La Isla Shopping Mall, the aquarium, and various opportunities for water sports like snorkeling and scuba diving.

Downtown Cancun, also known as El Centro, provides affordable lodging options located in residential areas that embody the local atmosphere. Visitors will also get the opportunity to savor authentic street tacos in small eateries, experience the local bar scene, and visit the vast outdoor market named Mercado 28. 

Playa del Carmen, which is situated in Riviera Maya and only an hour drive away from Cancun, is a captivating coastal resort town boasting of Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), which is revered for its lively ambiance. Moreover, it hosts some of Mexico’s premier all-inclusive resorts renowned for their exceptional service.

If you want to visit ancient ruins such as Tulum or go on a ferry ride to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen is the perfect starting point for your vacation. Don’t forget to visit the eco-tourism parks of Xcaret while you’re there. I suggest trying out Xplor for thrilling ATV rides and cave exploration alongside stalactite rivers, and Xcaret for cultural experiences and a stunning nighttime show. If you’re interested in water parks with zip-lines and hammock splashes, Xel Ha is a great choice too!

As part of the all-inclusive package, guests staying at Xcaret hotels will receive complimentary access to attractions, activities, tours, and parks at Xcaret.

Best Areas in Cancún for Families: Hotel Zone (and the neighboring city of Playa del Carmen)

For those seeking a destination suitable for families, the North and South Hotel Zones are recommended. A wide variety of resorts in these areas offer kids’ clubs and impressive pools, making them ideal for families with children. The calm waves and easy swimming add to their appeal. On the other hand, the Middle Hotel Zone is better suited for families with older children and teenagers, since it is in proximity to local attractions and activities.

Playa del Carmen is a recommended destination for families seeking an active vacation. It features big resorts that offer amenities suitable for children and numerous eco-theme parks that kids can enjoy exploring.

Bottom Line: Best Hotels in Cancun

When deciding between a non-all-inclusive hotel or an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, consider your preferences. If you like a vacation without a lot of planning or hassle, choose an all-inclusive resort. However, if you want more flexibility to explore Cancun on your own, a non-all-inclusive hotel might be a better choice.

Cancun is an excellent vacation destination that offers an outstanding experience no matter which option you choose.

FAQs Best Hotels in Cancun

Which is better: Cancun or Riviera Maya?

Riviera Maya is located on the Caribbean coastline below Cancun and offers a variety of resorts that are both all-inclusive and non all-inclusive. If you’re looking for beautiful white-sand beaches with calm waters, then Cancun is the better option. However, if you’re interested in activities like snorkeling and diving, then Riviera Maya has more options available.

What is the Most Luxurious Hotel in Cancun?

Le Blanc is considered the most luxurious hotel in Cancun, while in 2022 Hotel de la Casa Playa by Xcaret has been named the most luxurious hotel in Riviera Maya.

What is the Hotel Zone in Cancun?

The Hotel Zone, also known as the Zona Hotelera, is a 22-km stretch of high-rise hotels, resorts, bars, and restaurants. It can be categorized into three regions: the North Hotel Zone (up to Boulevard Kukulkan KM 8), where the beaches are quieter and offer easy access to Isla Mujeres. The Middle Hotel Zone, located from Boulevard Kukulkan KM 8.5 to KM 14.5, is a great area for shopping and nightlife. It has some of Cancun’s best bars, clubs, and dining spots. On the other hand, the South Hotel Zone is quieter and more peaceful, making it the ideal destination if you want a relaxing vacation without compromising comfort and safety.

Cancun Airport Map - Terminals
Cancun International Airport Map – Terminals

Which all-inclusive resorts in Cancun have the best food?

If you’re planning to stay at an all-inclusive resort in Cancun, it’s important to consider the quality of food they offer since you’ll be spending a lot of time there. Luckily, there are many all-inclusive resorts in Cancun that provide excellent food, offering good value for your money.

Our Favorite Resorts curated by Michelin Star chefs:

  • Kempinski Hotel
  • Le Blanc Spa Resort Cancun Adults-Only
  • Moon Palace Cancun
  • Hotel Xcaret Arte Adults-Only Resort (16+)

Is Downtown Cancun Safe?

During the day, El Centro (Downtown Cancun) is a safe place to walk around. However, if you plan on going out at night, it is advisable to take a taxi. Cancun is generally a secure city, and you can enjoy your stay here with some basic safety measures and common sense.

Where Do Celebrities Stay in Cancun, Mexico?

To increase your chances of seeing celebrities in Cancun, consider visiting Garza Blanca. The resort has been promoted on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” and a number of other famous people have been seen there, such as Ashanti, Flo Rida, and Floyd Mayweather.

Traveling to 🇲🇽 Mexico soon?

I recommend these travel resources for Mexico that I personally use:

🏨 Hotels: I have found that Expedia and consistently have the best deals on hotels and resorts in Mexico. If you prefer to stay at a vacation rental, check VRBO that is usually cheaper than AirBnB’s added fees!

✈️ Flights: To find the best flight deals to Mexico, I always use Kayak. Remember to subscribe to their price alerts for the travel dates you want. Another great alternative for flight deals is Expedia.

🚗 Rental Cars: I always use and highly recommend Discover Cars because it allows me to compare several car rental companies and view ratings on various factors such as overall value, pick-up procedure, agent efficiency, car condition, and total time taken.

🚙 Cancun Airport Transportation: For the fastest and easiest way to travel, I suggest arranging a private transfer with Cancun Airport Transportation. Honestly, no better way to travel from the airport to your hotel or resort.

🤿 Tours & Activities: For tours and activities in Mexico, I highly recommend using either Viator or GetYourGuide. These websites offer a full refund if you cancel your booking 24 hours before the start of the tour, and they also provide excellent customer service in case of any issues.

🚨 Travel Insurance: I always suggest purchasing travel insurance as a precaution before traveling, especially after a recent accident in a taxi in Mexico. For short trips, I recommend Travel Insurance Master, whereas for digital nomads, Safety Wing is a better option.

📷 Best Camera for your trip: I always carry with me a GoPro, It’s light, compact, takes great video and pictures, and most importantly, it’s waterproof! You just can’t go wrong with one. If you are interested in higher quality video and photography, I always carry with me on my trips and highly recommend the Sony A7IV which I think is the best travel DSLR Camera out there.

☀️ Biodegradable Sunscreen: Remember to include a good sunscreen to protect yourself from the summer sun. I always use and suggest Sun Bum Sunscreen, which is vegan, reef-friendly, and cruelty-free.