Half a century ago, nobody knew about the existence of a hidden paradise made out of crystal waters and pristine beaches along the coast of Quintana Roo Mexico. This heavenly place of white sand beaches and palm trees was touched by the Caribbean Sea.
This beautiful paradise existed as a result of thousands of years of nature’s creation of coral reefs. When these coral reefs were grown, they sheltered multicolor sea species and various forms of life, one of them and very special for Cancun is called ”parrot fish” or Cetoscarus bicolor.
This type of fish survive by biting and chewing the coral looking for nutrients stocked on the coral itself, after this they will spit the remaining as tiny pieces of white coral which gives place to the most beautiful white powdered sand in the world.
As the origin of sand is from coral and not from rock or silica, the magic of this beautiful beach area is that the sand reflects the sunlight, this gives place to the most incredible variety and shades of blue turquoise waters along the coast, it also reflects the sun heat so you can walk barefoot for hours in a romantic promenade without getting your feet burned by hot sand in the middle of the day, as it usually happens in most beach destinations.
Isolated from the rest of the country and only with a few concentrations of Mayans in rebellion, this enchanted waters and its islands, were crossed back and forth by the most famous Pirates of the Caribbean. Among those most feared in other latitudes we can mention Jean Lafitte, Molas and Mundaca who died in Isla Mujeres. Great pirate’s legends were born based on true story events, with treasures, maps, guns and stone fortresses where they hid and lived for a while and then they sailed away again.
In 1968 Mexican President Gustavo Díaz Ordaz ordered to the Bank of Mexico to create a National Tourism Plan; this plan should be strong enough to guarantee the payment of credits already given by external loans and provide investment opportunities for the private sector. Also he wanted to create enough employment to build self sufficient tourism industry cities and also achieve technological autonomy in services.
Under this premises, the Bank of Mexico created INFRATUR, (a government agency in charge of the consolidation of the President’s order). INFRATUR traveled around the country looking for the best spot to build a resort area and the Cancun Project was officially approved in 1969, when a computer decided that this beautiful strip of sand was ideal for a planned resort town. Well-behaved weather and the island's close proximity to North America ensured its success. The computer was right: Mexico's number-one tourist destination was born.
The construction begun in January 1970, when the first INFRATUR technicians arrived. The project’s initial objectives were to open up a road from the mainland to the island, design a Master Development Plan and build a provisional airport.
After the connection to the mainland the Master Plan called for three items:
1) To build a tourism zone without permanent residential houses, with hotel installations, development to build shopping centers, golf courses, water sports and marinas facilities.
2) To develop at the same time on the main land the infrastructure for permanent residents, in other words an integral and complete city with commercial areas, streets, avenues, schools, public buildings, hospitals and markets.
3) To build an international Airport. The Hotel Zone development was, in turn, divided into three phases. The first regarded the area from BahÌa de Mujeres to Punta Cancun and the coast up to the inner limit of Bojorquez Lagoon; the second phase ran from Bojorquez Lagoon to Punta Nizuc, and the third from Punta Nizuc south, to the limits of the territorial reserve.
Design and segmentation of the Hotel Zone followed the concept of "supermanzanas" (subdivisions) for the city, architecturally known as the "broken plate diagram": huge city blocks, separated by large avenues. The first segment of Cancún's urban area concentrated on what would become the city's main street, “Tulum” Avenue. City Hall was built on the largest lot in this area.
The first hotels saw the light in 1974. They were Playa Blanca, Bojorquez and Cancun Caribe. The international airport also with an operating capacity for wide cabin planes and the two mayor agencies that created this dream come true Infratur and Foqatur merged to form the FONATUR (National Foundation for the Promotion of Tourism) supervising just to date the entire development of Cancun.
The same year was important for Cancun since the territory of Quintana Roo was granted statehood.
Since that date to these days Cancun has been the most dynamic city of Mexico. It is responsible for a large part of the National Tourism Industry Revenue and it is the most prosperous city in the Yucatan Peninsula, it counts around 500,000 inhabitants in it’s urban area and it is the top Caribbean destination, with more than 27000 hotel rooms and over 2 000 000 visitors per year surpassing the Bahamas and Puerto Rico.
As any top destination, Cancun offers a mix of culture, tradition and modernity, easily noticeable in it’s colorful downtown area, where you can find first class services in accommodation, shopping malls, flea markets, hospitals with English spoken doctors, movie theaters, and the finest dinning, as well as bars and discos for all tastes and ages.
All this mixture, together with a friendly and welcoming attitude from the local people invite you to experience the Caribbean city to the fullest, this friendly attitude is genuine since the locals know that the city was originally created for them and for the tourist as well as it can be seen in the Cancun city banner which consist in a circle formed with the sun, the sand and the turquoise water from the sea.