Cancún

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Cancún
Cancunplaya.jpg
Motto: The Glistening City
Location of Cancún within Quintana Roo
Location of Cancún within Quintana Roo
Cancún is located in Mexico
Cancún
Cancún
Location in Mexico
Coordinates: 21°09′38″N 86°50′51″W / 21.16056°N 86.84750°W / 21.16056; -86.84750Coordinates: 21°09′38″N 86°50′51″W / 21.16056°N 86.84750°W / 21.16056; -86.84750
Country  Mexico
State Quintana Roo Quintana Roo
Municipality Coat of arms of Benito Juarez, Quintana Roo.svg Benito Juárez
Founded April 20, 1970
Government
 • Mayor Julián Ricalde Magaña (PRD)
Area
 • Total 1,978.75 km2 (764.00 sq mi)
Elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Highest elevation 10 m (30 ft)
Lowest elevation 0 m (0 ft)
Population (2010[1])
 • Total 628,306
 • Density 320/km2 (820/sq mi)
Demonym Cancunense
Time zone CST (UTC−6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC−5)
Postal code 77500
Area code(s) 998
Website www.cancun.gob.mx

Cancún (Spanish pronunciation: [kaŋˈkun]) is a city in southeastern Mexico, located on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a major world-renowned tourist destination,[2] as well as being the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. The city is located on the Caribbean Sea, and is one of the easternmost points in Mexico. Cancún is located just north of Mexico's Caribbean coast resort band known as the Riviera Maya.

Place names and shield[edit]

Allusive fountain to Benito Juárez's shield, Av. Cobá y Náder.

Place names[edit]

There are two possible translations of Cancún, based on the Mayan pronunciation kaan kun. The first translation is "nest of snakes." The second version and less accepted is "place of the gold snake."[3]

Shield[edit]

The shield of the municipality of Benito Juárez, who represents the city of Cancun, was designed by the artist vital Jesús Carmichael Jiménez (Elio Carmichael). It is divided into three parts: The color blue symbolizes the Caribbean Sea, the yellow the sand and the red the sun with its rays.

History[edit]

Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1990 167,730 —    
1995 297,183 +77.2%
2000 397,191 +33.7%
2005 526,701 +32.6%
2010 628,306 +19.3%
2014 722,800 +15.0%
sources:[4]

As documented in the earliest colonial sources, the island of Cancún was originally known to its Maya inhabitants as Nizuc (Yucatec Maya [niʔ suʔuk]) meaning either "promontory" or "point of grass".[5] In the years after the Conquest, much of the population died off or left as a result of disease, warfare, piracy, and famines, leaving only small settlements on Isla Mujeres and Cozumel Island.[citation needed]

The name Cancún, Cancum or Cankun first appears on 18th century maps.[citation needed] The meaning of Cancún is unknown, and it is also unknown whether the name is of Maya origin. If it is of Maya origin, possible translations include "Place/Seat/Throne of the Snake" or "Enchanted Snake". Snake iconography was prevalent at the pre-Columbian site of Nizuc.[6]

When development was started on January 23, 1970, Isla Cancún had only three residents, caretakers of the coconut plantation of Don José de Jesús Lima Gutiérrez, who lived on Isla Mujeres, and there were only 117 people living in nearby Puerto Juarez, a fishing village and military base.[7]

"Due to the reluctance of investors to bet on an unknown area, the Mexican government had to finance the first nine hotels."[7] The first hotel financed was the Hyatt Cancún Caribe, but the first hotel actually built was the Playa Blanca, which later became a Blue Bay hotel, and is now Temptation Resort. At the time it was an elite destination, famous for its virgin white sand beaches.

The city began as a tourism project in 1974 as an Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR (Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo, National Fund for Tourism Development), formerly known as INFRATUR. Since then, it has undergone a comprehensive transformation from being a fisherman's island surrounded by virgin forest and undiscovered shores to being one of the two most well-known Mexican resorts, along with Acapulco. The World Tourism Organization (WTO), through its foundation UNWTO-Themis, awarded the Best of the Best award "for excellence and good governance" to the Trust for Tourism Promotion of Cancun on February 3, 2007. This award Cancún ensured the ongoing support of the Department of Education and Knowledge Management of the WTO.

Most 'Cancunenses' are from Yucatán and other Mexican states. A growing number are from the rest of the Americas and Europe. The municipal authorities have struggled to provide public services for the constant influx of people, as well as limiting squatters and irregular developments, which now occupy an estimated ten to fifteen percent of the mainland area on the fringes of the city.[7]

In the 21st century, Cancún had largely avoided bloodshed associated with the trade of illegal drugs and reportedly known for retail drug sales to tourists and as a center of money laundering.[8] The links with Cancún date from the 1990s and early 2000s, when the area was controlled by the Juárez and Gulf drug cartels. In recent years Los Zetas, a group that broke away from the Gulf Cartel, has taken control of many smuggling routes through the Yucatán, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.[9]

The 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference was held in Cancún from November 29, 2010 to December 10, 2010.

City layout[edit]

Aerial view of the Cancún Island, from the top of the Torre Escénica in addition to 80 meters of height. May 2008

Apart from the island tourist zone (actually part of the world's second-longest coral reef), the Mexican residential section of the city, the downtown part of which is known as "El Centro," follows a master plan that consists of "supermanzanas"[10] (superblocks), giant trapezoids with a central, open, non-residential area cut in by u-shaped residential streets. These open centers usually have walkways and 'sidewalks' around a central garden park, or soccer fields, or a library, etc. which make the mainland "Mexican" Cancún bicycle-friendly.[citation needed] The residential roads of central or 'Mainland' Cancún, U-shaped and culs-de-sacs, insulate housing from the noise and congestion of the main flow of traffic.[citation needed] Mainland Cancún has a central market that resembles an outlet mall, colorful buildings on a pedestrian city block.[citation needed]

Ave. Tulum is the main north-south artery, connecting downtown to the airport, which is some 30 km (19 mi) south of downtown. Tulum is bisected by Ave. Cobá. East of Ave. Tulum, Cobá becomes Ave. Kukulcan which serves as the primary road through the 7-shaped hotel zone. Ave. Tulum ends on the north side at Ave. Paseo José López Portillo which connects to the main highway west to Chichén Itzá and Mérida. Another major north-south road is Ave. Bonampak which runs roughly parallel to Ave. Tulum. The main ferry to Isla Mujeres is located in Puerto Juarez, on Ave. Paseo José López Portillo.

To save on the cost of installing sewer systems and other public services, the design of much of the rest of the city reverted to the grid plan after Hurricane Gilbert in 1988.[citation needed] The newest upper-middle-class residential areas reflect the original plan, but are much less intimate. Less expensive developments are composed almost entirely of identical one- or two-story small row-houses, sometimes built around interior plazas or 4 story apartment blocks.[citation needed]Until recently, most mainland buildings were four stories or shorter; since 2005, there has been an influx of condominium and luxury retail and office space concentrated along Ave. Bonampak.

Cancún's Mainland or Downtown area has diverged from the original plan; development is scattered around the city. The remaining undeveloped beach and lagoon front areas outside the hotel zone are now under varying stages of development, in Punta Sam and Puerto Juarez to the north, continuing along Bonampak and south toward the airport along Boulevard Donaldo Colosio. One development abutting the hotel zone is Puerto Cancún,[11] also Malecon Cancún[12] is another large development.

Mayan archaeological zones[edit]

El Rey archaeological zone

There are some small Mayan vestiges of the pre-Columbian Maya civilization in Cancún. El Rey (Las Ruinas del Rey) is located in the Hotel Zone. El Meco, a more substantial site, is found on the mainland just outside the city limits on the road north to Punta Sam.[citation needed]

Close by in the Riviera Maya and the Grand Costa Maya, there are sites such as Cobá and Muyil (Riviera) the small Polé (now Xcaret), and Kohunlich, Kinichná, Dzibanché, Oxtankah, Tulum, and Chacchoben, in the south of the state. Chichén Itzá is in the neighboring state of Yucatán.

Transportation[edit]

Cancún is served by Cancún International Airport with an added main runway that commenced operation as of October 2010. It has many flights to North America, Central America, South America, Asia, and Europe. It is located on the northeast of the Yucatán Peninsula serving an average of about fifteen million passengers per year. The airport is located around 20 km (12 mi) from the hotel zone, approximately a 20 minute trip by car.[13] There is also a public transit bus system, servicing the hotel zone. The island of Isla Mujeres is located off the coast and is accessible by boat from Puerto Juárez.

Climate[edit]

Cancún has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate (Köppen Aw), with few temperature differences between seasons, but pronounced rainy seasons. The city is warm year-round, and moderated by onshore trade winds, with an annual mean temperature of 27.1 °C (80.8 °F). Unlike inland areas of the Yucatán Peninsula, sea breezes restrict high temperatures from reaching 35 °C (95 °F) on most afternoons. Annual rainfall is around 1,340 millimetres (52.8 in), falling on 115 days per year. More temperate conditions occur from November to February with occasional refreshing northerly breezes, it is drier and becomes hotter in March and April. It is hottest from May to September, due to proximity to the Caribbean and Gulf humidity is high the year round, especially so during hurricane season (averages close to 70% on rainfree days). The hotel zone juts into the Caribbean Sea, it is surrounded by ocean therefore daytime temperatures are around 1-2C less and windspeeds are higher than at the airport located some distance inland, which is the official meteorological station for Cancún, averages as shown below.[14]

Cancún
Climate chart (explanation)
J F M A M J J A S O N D
 
 
136
 
28
21
 
 
46
 
29
21
 
 
53
 
30
22
 
 
38
 
32
23
 
 
88
 
33
24
 
 
138
 
33
25
 
 
57
 
33
25
 
 
110
 
34
25
 
 
225
 
33
25
 
 
221
 
31
24
 
 
132
 
30
23
 
 
96
 
28
21
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: SMN[15]
Average Sea Temperature[17]
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
79 °F

26 °C

79 °F

26 °C

79 °F

26 °C

81 °F

27 °C

82 °F

28 °C

84 °F

29 °C

84 °F

29 °C

84 °F

29 °C

84 °F

29 °C

84 °F

29 °C

82 °F

28 °C

81 °F

27 °C

Thanks to the Yucatán current continually bringing warm water from further south, the sea temperature is always very warm, with lows of 79 °F (26 °C) in winter and highs of 84 °F (29 °C) in summer.[18]

The tropical storm season lasts from May to December, the rainy season extends into January with peak precipitation in September. February to early May tend to be drier with only occasional scattered showers. Cancún is located in one of the main Caribbean hurricane impact areas. Although large hurricanes are rare, they have struck near to Cancún in recent years, Hurricane Wilma in 2005 being the largest. Hurricane Gilbert made a devastating direct hit on Cancún in September 1988 and the tourist hotels needed to be rebuilt. In both cases, federal, state and municipal authorities were well prepared to deal with most of the effects on tourists and local residents.[19] Hurricane Dean in 2007 also made its mark on the city of Cancún.

Hurricane Gilbert[edit]

1988's Hurricane Gilbert was the second most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin. It landed on the Yucatán peninsula after crossing over the island of Cozumel. In the Cancún region, a loss of $87 million (1989 USD) due to a decline in tourism was estimated for the months October, November and December in 1988.[20][dead link]

Hurricane Wilma[edit]

On October 21, 2005, Hurricane Wilma made landfall on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula as a powerful Category 4 hurricane, with strong winds in excess of 150 mph (240 km/h). The hurricane's eye first passed over the island of Cozumel, and then made an official landfall near Playa del Carmen in the state of Quintana Roo at around midnight on October 22 EDT with winds near 140 mph (230 km/h). Portions of the island of Cozumel experienced the calm eye of Wilma for several hours with some blue skies and sunshine visible at times. The eye slowly drifted northward, with the center passing just to the west of Cancún, Quintana Roo.

Hurricane Dean[edit]

Two years later, in 2007, the eye of Hurricane Dean landed 190 miles (310 km) to the south of Cancún. Fierce winds at the edge of Dean's impact cone stripped sand off 7.5 miles (12.1 km) of beaches from Punta Cancún (Camino Real Hotel) to Punta Nizuc (Club Med).[21] The authorities asked tourism operators to suspend sending tourists to Cancún while Hurricane Dean was approaching, but did ask airlines to send empty planes, which were then used to evacuate tourists already there.[22]

Education[edit]

Although Cancún is better known as a travel and tourism destination, in recent years some colleges and universities have been offering higher education to both Mexican and foreign students.

Sport[edit]

The city is home to C.F. Atlante, who play in the Liga MX, the top level of Mexican soccer (football) and Tigres de Quintana Roo in Mexican Baseball League (LMB).

References[edit]

  1. ^ 2010 census tables, MX: INEGI 
  2. ^ "OMT concede premio excelencia a la promoción turística de Cancún (México)" (in Spanish). ES: El Economista. 02/3/2007. Retrieved June 17, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Fast Facts". ’’World Atlas’’. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  4. ^ "MEXICO: Quintana Roo". Citypopulation.de. 2012-01-08. Retrieved June 1, 2012. 
  5. ^ [1] A proper Maya spelling of Nizuc may be “Ni’ su’uk” which translates to “promontory” or “point of grass”-Source-Some Historic Notes and Observations on Isla Cancún, Quintana Roo, published at FAMSI by Andrews, Anthony P.
  6. ^ [2] Snake iconography was prevalent at the pre-columbian site of Nizuc-Source- Historic Notes and Observations on Isla Cancún, Quintana Roo, p. 5 published at FAMSI
  7. ^ a b c Siegel, Jules (2006). Cancun User's Guide. Lulu.com. p. 204. ISBN 1-4116-3944-8. 
  8. ^ Booth, William (May 27, 2010). "Mayor of Cancun, Mexico, charged with drug trafficking, money laundering". Washington Post. Associated Press. 
  9. ^ Hawley, Chris (May 26, 2010). "Drugs cast cloud over Mexican paradise". USA Today. Retrieved 2010-05-27. 
  10. ^ [3] El Centro supermanzanas-Source-La arquitectura norteamericana, motor y espejo de la arquitectura española ... By José Manuel Pozo Municio, Javier Martínez González
  11. ^ "Location". Puerto Cancun. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  12. ^ [4][dead link]
  13. ^ [5] CANCUN AIRPORT MAP (CUN) ICAO CODE (MMUN) LATITUDE 21.0° LONGITUDE 86.9°
  14. ^ [6] Cancun Weather
  15. ^ a b "Normales Climatologicas 1951-2010". National Meteorological Service of Mexico. August 2011. Retrieved 2012-08-30. 
  16. ^ Weatherbase:Historical Weather for Cancún, Quintana Roo, Weatherbase. Retrieved July 17, 2012.
  17. ^ "Cancun Climate and Weather Averages, Cancun and Riviera Maya". Weather to Travel. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  18. ^ "Cancun weather - water temperature". Cancunmap.com. Retrieved 2013-08-26. 
  19. ^ [7] Hurricane Dean On Course for Cancun
  20. ^ Benigono Aguirre. "Cancun under Gilbert: Prelimenary [sic] Observations" (PDF). International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters March 1989, Vol. 7, No.1, pp. 69-82. Retrieved October 1, 2006. [dead link][dead link]
  21. ^ Novedades de Quintana Roo
  22. ^ [8] Vacationers flee Cancun and Belize resorts after Dean, now a Category 5 storm, barrels past the Cayman Islands

External links[edit]