The history of Cancun

    The transformation of Cancun from a deserted beach into a corridor lined with multimillion-dollar hotels is a success story of which the Mexican government is extremely proud. Selected as the prime spot for a new tourist destination by a computer program, Cancun has exploded since 1974, when the resort first opened its doors. The one-time tiny fishing village has swelled to a city of 200,000 residents and has become Mexico's most popular tourist destination, attracting a stupefying 2 million visitors each year. Cancun's glitzy strip is actually a barrier island separating the Caribbean Sea from the Nichupte and Bojorquez lagoons. Cancun enjoys the reputation of having the best weather of all the Mexican resorts for beach-oriented vacations; no sprinting between shaded spots is necessary here, since the limestone sand doesn't retain heat like many other varieties. Most people know about Cancun's downside--the absence of an established, authentic Mexican feel, such as that of Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta. Still, the upsides are many, not the least of which is its proximity to the Mayan ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza.