Located on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo, Cancun is known for its white sand beaches, breathtaking turquoise waters, history, historical Mayan culture and archaeological sites. When this tourist destination embraced its ecological framework and added an extensive infrastructure, Cancun blossomed into a hot spot for international business travel. Pretty impressive considering that nearly four decades ago Cancun was a heap of sand slabs primarily inhabited by Mayan villages.

Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa

Cancun’s Hotel Zona includes 20 major hotels providing more than 28,000 hotel rooms including the Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa. Photo © Diana Rowe

Recently Cancun’s 14 miles long strip of white sand beaches underwent a $71 million makeover. More than 625,000 people live in Cancun, and it attracts nearly 3 million international visitors. And business travelers represent about one in five.

Cancun hosts numerous international conventions each year. For qualified meeting and event planners, the annual Mexico Showcase & Travel Expo in Cancun is an opportunity to experience some of Cancun’s business travel highlights. Combined with the handling of recent international events, it is apparent Cancun is prime for business travel.

Business Hotels in Cancun, Mexico 

The Cancun area offers 147 hotels with nearly 28,000 hotel rooms (as of November 2010) — more than 50 offer meeting spaces. Dozens of first-class and all-inclusive resorts dot Cancun’s Hotel Zone, including the following five business travel hotels:

  • Hilton Cancun Golf & Spa
  • Ritz-Carlton Cancun
  • Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancun Resort & Spa
  • J.W. Marriott Cancun Spa & Resort
  • Gran Melia Cancun

Other popular Cancun business travel hotels include Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort and Beach Palace Wyndham Grand Resort.

Moon Palace Resort in Cancun

Moon Palace Resort in Cancun, Mexico. Courtesy image

Activities in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun offers four main shopping centers: La Isla Shopping Village, La Isla Shopping Village, Kukulcan Plaza & Luxury Avenue, and Plaza Caracol. For private venues or intimate business dining, Cancun offers hundreds restaurants, either tucked into the hotel, along the Hotel Zone or in El Centro (downtown Cancun). For incentive dining, Cancun offers three AAA Five Diamond Restaurants — two in the Ritz-Carlton Cancun and Le Basilic in the Fiesta Americana Gran Coral Beach.

One of the most popular group activities in Cancun is a visit to Xcaret, (See Video Below) a magical, mystical and ecological journey into the Mayan World. After exploring the park, groups can be entertained during the cultural Tlachco night show, featuring Mayan dance and song. Besides exploring the eco-adventure park, Xcaret also offers a wine cellar for private events.

Other Cancun venues for adventurous business travelers include Xplore, where activities include zip lines, amphibious vehicles and a stalactite river swim. Or book a private catamaran from El Embarcadero to enjoy reef snorkeling at Faritos Reef, or swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Discovery Isla Mujeres.

Cancun Business Information

In the heart of Cancun Hotel Zone is the Cancun Convention Center with two floors and total space of more than 152,000 square feet. The newly opened CancunMesse is in its first phase of expansion and currently spans more than 270,000 square feet of indoor space with an additional 100,000 square feet of outdoor space. When the two year expansion plan is completed, CancunMesse will be the largest trade fair grounds in Latin America.

Cancun Hotel Zone

Cancun hotel zone. Courtesy of Cancun CVB

Millions of visitors travel through Cancun Airport International (CUN), one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. Cancun is often the incentive and meeting destination of choice for planners due to its growing number of all-inclusive and first-class resorts, as well as a variety of activities, including nearby top golf courses and plenty of rich cultural and historical sites.

Cancun, Mexico even offers eligible meetings and events the V.A.T., a tax reform that eliminates sales tax on congresses, conventions, fairs and expos held by foreign companies in Mexico. It’s a city with a tropical mix of beaches, five-star and all-inclusive hotels, convention centers and meeting space, clearly poised to welcome business travel well into the future.

Updated. Initially published January 21, 2011.