There are about 150 hotels in Cancún with more than 24,000 rooms and 380 restaurants. Four million visitors arrive each year in an average of 190 flights daily. The Hotel Zone of Cancun is shaped like a 7 with bridges on each end connecting to the mainland. Hotels on the vertical or long side of the 7 tend to have rougher beaches and beach erosion can be a problem. Resorts on the horizontal or short end of the seven tend to have more gentle surf because the waves here are blocked by the island of Isla Mujeres which lies just off shore.

The Hotel Zone offers a broad range of accommodations, ranging from relatively inexpensive motel-style facilities in the older section closest to the mainland, to high-priced luxury hotels in the later sections, great malls, theme parks and swimming with dolphins activity.

Many of the hotels are time-share condominiums with kitchen facilities. Some are all inclusive hotels which offer unlimited breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, hotel activities, entertainment, non-motorized water sports, and 40% discounts on tours to the Mayan ruins. Tips and taxes are included in the price of the hotel rooms. There are also upscale private residences and lavish condominiums for rent that cater to the rich. Restaurants, bars and shops in the hotel zone tend to be rather expensive compared with the downtown area and other Mexican resorts. Travelers will find many well-known theme restaurants and clubs here.

Although the Hotel Zone is frequently described as "posh" or "exclusive" the main Cancún tourism market is middle- and upper-middle-class, according to government statistics, which also report that more than 37% of Cancún visitors are Mexican.

On the opposite side of the island from the Caribbean Sea is the Nichupté Lagoon, which is used for boating excursions and jet-ski jungle tours.

Downtown is home to less expensive places to shop, including many supermarkets and several flea markets. Market 28, Downtown, is a well-known shopping place both for locals and visitors. Downtown also hosts a number of American franchises such as Office Depot, Office Max, Wal-Marts, Sears, Sam's Club, Costco, Blockbuster, and a number of Starbucks (also located at the Hotel Zone) just to name a few. It also contains countless smaller hotels that can be had at a fraction of the price for similar accommodations in the Hotel Zone. International brands in Downtown area include Radisson Hacienda Cancún, Best Western Plaza Caribe, Oasis America.
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Cancun is also the gateway to the Riviera Maya, another tourist pole in the area, where there are numerous attractions such as archaelogical sites, as Coba and Tulum, the many cenotes, the ecological parks as Xcaret and charming towns as Playa del Carmen, Akumal, and Tulum.

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