Today on April 20, Cancun celebrates forty eight years since its founding in 1970. In today’s blog we are going to look at the history of this world class tourist city, which began life as an elite destination famous for its virgin white sand beaches and crystal clear turquoise waters.
Birth of Cancun
Cancun began as a tourism project in 1974 as an Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR, the National Fund for Tourism Development. It transformed this fisherman’s island surrounded by virgin forest into one of the biggest and best known resorts in all of Mexico. One thing that makes this city distinct is that it was not founded by Spaniards, as is the case with the other cities in the Republic.
When development first began here in on January 23, 1970, there were only three residents. They were the caretakers for a coconut plantation who’s owner resided on Isla Mujeres. In the nearby fishing village of Puerto Juarez there were 117 people living there.
Cancun is considered a young city, but it has shown tremendous speed of growth over its 48 years. It has multiplying its population by a factor of 19. The southern city of Oaxaca, which has also grown the same amount, has taken 500 years do what Cancun did in under half a century.
According to TripAdvisor.com, the first hotel to be financed here was The Hyatt, Cancún Caribe. The first one to be built was the Playa Blanca, which later became known as the Blue Bay hotel, and is now Temptation Resort. According to figures presented by The Yucatan Times newspaper, Cancun now has over 150 hotels, totaling around 40,000 hotel rooms which receive the 4.6 million visitors per year.
Cancun is the number one tourist destination in Mexico, and one of the top in all of Latin America. It attracts visitors worldwide, with spring break and Semana Santa reaching peak figures in March and April. As a tourist project, the growth of Cancun has far surpassed what anyone could have imagined.
Today Cancun is a city of almost one million people, made up of people from 87 different countries. This is in addition to the Mexicans that move here from across the country, looking for work in the travel and tourism industry or to start a new life in this local paradise. All of these different nationalities and cultures make Cancun the modern cosmopolitan city that it is today.
Things to Do
Today Cancun offers many things to do for those that visit. There are nearby archaeological sites such as El Rey (Las Ruinas del Rey), located in the Hotel Zone, and El Meco, which is found on the mainland outside the city limits. The hotel district has many restaurants, clubs and bars aimed at nightlife and entertainment, while the downtown area of Cancun has everything that you would expect from a modern urban metropolis.
Happy Birthday Cancun!
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