Most people I know have been to Cancun, and it does have its attractions. If you love the beach, then the powdery white sand and turquoise blue waters are irresistible. But the hotel strip that most people see is just that – a miles long strip of hotels and tourist malls. Not much else. The original town of Cancun is still there, but it’s pretty well overlooked by most visitors. The landscape of the Yucatan is pretty flat and featureless. Places like Tulum, Akumal and Playa del Carmen are definitely worth a visit as are the unique eco parks like Xcaret and Xel-Ha. The city of Merida is a beautiful old city with plenty of culture and reasonable prices. While it’s not on the water, beach towns like Progreso and Celestun are close by, and the ruins at Chichen Itza are not far away.
If you haven’t been to the Pacific coast of Mexico, you are missing out. The coastline is the opposite of the Yucatan, plenty of hills and mountains, beautiful beaches, and some very unique towns and cities that are definitely worth a visit. This piece in The Guardian has some wonderful ideas for your next trip to Mexico.