CANCUN -- Not content to rest on its laurels, Cancun is in the
midst of a tourism expansion that includes new hotels, a larger
airport and an expanded range of attractions and tours.
The following is a rundown of some of the bigger
• The 402-room Sofitel Cancun is scheduled to open next spring.
The resort will feature a private beach, eight swimming pools, a
fitness center, tennis courts and function space for 800 people.
For more information, visit www.sofitel.com.
• The 714-room Hotel Riu Cancun opened last month in the hotel
zone across from the La Isla Shopping Mall and the Cancun
The all-inclusive resort features 24 suites, four restaurants, a
pool with a swim-up bar, a fitness center, a children's club and
conference facilities for up to 250 people. For information or
reservations, call (888) 666-8816 or visit www.riu.com.
• One of Cancun's "newest" resorts is the 150-room Ambiance
Villas. Ambiance is the former Kin-Ha Hotel, which was rebranded
earlier this year after a $5 million renovation.
Ambiance features a main building and a series of three-story
buildings in a garden setting. They house a combination of single
rooms, studios with kitchenettes and one- to three-bedroom
All rooms were renovated with new furniture made from natural
woods; upholstery and window treatments feature bright, tropical
colors. The main restaurant was redecorated in a traditional
For more information or reservations, call (866) 340-9082 or
• Hilton Hotels now is managing the 426-room Hilton Cancun Beach
& Golf Resort following the acquisition of the property by RLJ
Development for $31.5 million. The resort formerly was a
The Hilton Cancun includes Beach Club villas that offer
concierge service; a private lounge for guest registration and
departure; complimentary continental breakfast along with beverages
and hors d'oeuvres in the afternoon; and daily newspaper
The resort also features an 18-hole golf course; a business
center and 28,000 square feet of meetings space; and a fitness
center. For information or reservations, call (888) 594-2483 or
• Alltournative Tours is a new local company offering day trips
for active travelers.
The Chi-Much and Coba itinerary features rappelling from the
side of a cave, zip-lining across a sinkhole and canoeing through
the jungle before sitting down to a traditional Mayan lunch made by
the local villagers.
After lunch, it's off to the ruins of Coba, home to the
second-tallest pyramid in the Mayan world. Prices start at $85 for
adults and $66 for children under age 12. Commission is 10%.
For more information or reservations, visit www.alltournative.com.
• Only 35 minutes south of Cancun, the popular Tres Rios ecopark
has been given a face-lift to accommodate corporate retreats. It
now offers team-building activities such as paintball, canoeing
down the freshwater mangroves and a "sensorama" garden, where team
members are blindfolded and guided through stations relying on
other senses to identify objects.
• Xcaret, an eco-archaeological park 45 minutes south of Cancun,
offers Xcaret by Night, a musical representation of Mexico
throughout different eras with interpretations of the ancient Mayan
ball and fireball games.
The first phase of a multimillion-dollar expansion and
renovation of Cancun Airport is complete, including an expanded
international cargo area and renovated shops in the international
The entire project is set to be completed by January. The Cancun
facility ranks as the second-busiest airport in Mexico and third in
all of Latin America.
Meanwhile, the airport opened a new VIP lounge on the second
floor featuring a number of business services and amenities,
including Internet access, computer stations with laptop and
cellular phone hookups, massage chairs and a flat-screen TV with
cable and flight information.
For business travelers and groups, secretarial services,
meetings rooms, audiovisual equipment and fax, photocopying and
printing services are available. There's also a multilingual
concierge staff, hors d'oeuvres, beverages and an open bar.
The lounge is open daily from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Access to the
lounge costs $25 per person and can be arranged through a hotel's
For the kids
Kids can entertain themselves while the grown-ups go shopping at
the La Isla Shopping Center, which created the Mayan Labyrinth, an
interactive game in which kids can accumulate clues and points
while they make their way through a Mayan maze and learn about
Kids also will like the new sea creatures on display at the
center's La Isla Aquarium, where they can learn about indigenous
life forms and pet sharks and rays.
For more information about Cancun, visit the Cancun Convention
and Visitors Bureau's Web site at www.cancun.info.