An L-shaped island nestled on the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is known for silky stretches of white-sand beaches fringed by crystalline waters. This sun-kissed island is a popular destination among expats, digital nomads, and tourists for a number of reasons, but its main pull is no doubt the affordable cost of living.
With ancient Mayan ruins, delectable dishes, and some of the best nightclubs in Quintana Roo, it should come as no surprise that Cancun receives over eight million visitors each year.
First-time visitors from Western countries will most likely be surprised by the slow, somewhat sluggish, pace of life in Cancun. As vibrant as its nightlife is, Cancun – like most Mexican regions for that matter – has quite a relaxed lifestyle. Mealtimes usually span across a couple of hours so people can properly savor the blend of ingredients as opposed to just chomping down on a sandwich in record time before returning to work.
Despite their relaxed approach to life, however, it doesn’t take one long to realize that there’s a very strong work ethic that permeates through the city, as evidenced by the many 24/7 establishments dotted throughout Cancun.
During your time in Cancun, you’ll also come to the realization that Mexicans are quite proud of their country’s cultural depth. In fact, the (unofficial) national motto is Como Mexico no hay dos which loosely translates to ‘There isn’t anything like Mexico’ and after spending nearly half a year in this glorious country, I must say that I quite agree with them on that!
As such, you’ll find that Cancun preserved plenty of its ancient Mesoamerican relics, most of which are free or inexpensive to tour.
While Spanish is the official language of Mexico, I never found language to be a barrier during my time in Cancun. Virtually every local that I’ve met was bilingual and even those who weren’t super fluent knew some basic English words or phrases, so it was quite easy to communicate.
With a solid community of remote workers from all around the world, Cancun can best be described as an absolute haven for digital nomads. Not only does the city offer various types of accommodation to suit all budgets, but you’ll find complementary and reliable hotspots in virtually every neighborhood.
Digital nomads who are planning on staying in the city for a long time may wish to get a local SIM card that will make it easy for them to work on the go. If you’re flying in from Canada or the US, you won’t need to get a local SIM card since your regular card should come with free data roaming for Mexico.
When getting a local SIM card, I can personally vouch for Telcel which apparently provides the most reliable 4G coverage in the country. Rest assured that you won’t need to spend more than Mex$200 – Mex$300 to get a local SIM card.
In terms of safety, Cancun is still safer than most Mexican cities, especially if you stick to populated areas, such as Centro and the Hotel Zone. Of course, it’s important to take the usual precautions, such as not leaving your drinks unattended in bars, avoiding remote areas at night, and the like. My local friends also advised me against traveling alone to the outskirts of Cancun where you’ll find high-risk neighborhoods, like Lopez Portillo and Bonfil.
Another thing that I quite liked about Cancun was how easy it was to head to other Mexican provinces from the city. For instance, you can very easily get a shuttle to Playa del Carmen for around Mex$400 while a one-way bus (Ado) ticket into Tulum only costs Mex$262.
If you’re not watching your budget, you can even catch a flight to Mexico City for around Mex$1000, although prices in low season can even go down to Mex$600.