History of Cancun

Around forty years ago, the resort area of Cancun was nothing but a barren stretch of sandy barrier island separating the Caribbean Sea from a series of lagoons at the edge of the Yucatan Peninsula. Portions of this isle measured less than seventy feet in length. Inland consisted of nothing but a wilderness of marshland, mangrove tangles, and untamed jungle. It was amazing that this area even showed up on a map, but it was, marked as Kankun, a Mayan word for “nest of snakes.” From this completely undeveloped outback, a thriving government-backed construction project began developing one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. After government approval in 1969, engineers arrived in 1970 to begin the initial stages of development by constructing a road to nearby Puerto Juarez and an airfield in a space for future development.

The plan for creating a popular Caribbean vacation destination on the east coast of Mexico that could rival the popularity of Puerto Vallarta and Acapulco on the Mexican Pacific and bring tourist dollars into the Yucatan Peninsula. The civil engineers and architects were successful in implementing this extremely ambitious three-part plan by constructing a tourism zone along the coast with hotels, retail centers, marinas, and golf courses, as well as a thriving residential city inland with all of the necessary infrastructure and social services, and construct an international airport. After years of developing the infrastructure of utilities and roads, the first resort hotels opened their doors in Cancun in 1974, the same year the ribbon was cut on the new airport. Cancun continued to grow and develop until it has not only become the most popular tourist destination in Mexico, but also the most popular tourist destination in the Caribbean region with more visitors than even the Bahamas. The permanent residents of this city now have surpassed a population of one-half million. Cancun has come quite a long way in only four decades.

Vacation and Information Center