Four decades ago, few knew of Cancun as it sat deserted in the Caribbean. Made up of sand dunes in the shape of a '7', it became a small fishing town in the seventies until its full potential was released, making Cancun what it is today. Powdery white beaches and turquoise waters set the scene for what is arguably one of the best spring break destinations, but that's not all this charming city has to offer.

Sitting pretty in south-eastern Mexico on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun dishes up an attractive mix of water sports, eco-adventures, bustling nightlife, magnificent Mayan archaeological sites and a range of cultural activities – all of which can be enjoyed on Cancun holidays.

This Mexican gem which is now a huge resort can be explored within its two parts: the downtown area, which is filled with markets and local eateries; and the Hotel Zone, which is bursting with electric nightclubs, restaurants and shopping malls. All this and more can be discovered when booking a trip to Cancun with Direct Holidays.

A pristine beach
The coast was once made up of jungle, marshes and undiscovered beaches, with a name meaning 'pot of snakes', or 'nest of snakes' in Maya. It has since come to be a flawless stretch of beach territory, carrying on for 22 kilometres along the world's second largest coral reef. On the north side of the shore, tranquil waters can be explored, with a small island protecting the shoreline from the open sea, while to the east, the crystal clear waters can be enjoyed with more vivacious waves.

Vibrant nightlife
Enter the Hotel Zone and an extensive choice of night clubs are at your disposal. From swanky clubs to sports bars and easy-going lounges, the nightlife can suit all palettes, with a selection of restaurants to do the same. Whilst Cancun is renowned for its energetic after-hours life, you can also enjoy a more laid-back evening with events such as the ballet taking place in the convention centre.

The Mayan zones
 article about Things to do in Cancun

Mexico as a country is rich in Mayan history, with one of the best-preserved sites being just a 90-minute drive away from Cancun. Day trips to Tulum run frequently from the city, where the site of a once bustling civilisation can be explored, alongside historical Mayan temples and castles. There are some smaller Mayan remains within Cancun itself, with El Rey being located within the Hotel Zone and El Meco situated just outside the city, heading towards Punta.