Cancun

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Cancún is a city in southeastern Mexico, located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a major world-renowned tourist destination, as well as being the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, and is one of the easternmost points in Mexico. Cancún is located just north of Mexico's Caribbean coast resort band known as the Riviera Maya.

Apart from the island tourist zone (actually 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" (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 soccer fields, or a library, etc. which make the mainland "Mexican" Cancún bicycle-friendly.[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]
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 Juarez, 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.

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.

The Nichupté Lagoon is on the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea, which is used for boating excursions and jet-ski jungle tours. Cancún is also the gateway to the Riviera Maya and the Yucatán interior, which has numerous archaeological sites, such as Chichen Itza, Cobá and Tulum as well as the many cenotes such as Dos Ojos and Ik Kil. English Sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has created a monumental underwater art museum in the National Marine Park of Cancún.
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