Cancun as it is popularly known – a haven for fans of soft sand beaches and see-through sapphire water, a home to all-inclusive resorts catering to people who want a forget-the-world beach vacation – this is, in reality, but a part of this Mexican city.Â Drive away from the Zona Hotelera, or the hotel zone, and you will find the rest.Â
Away from the strand of sand where tanning tourists lounge is the real Cancun.Â Its people are the locals who make the beach life possible for vacationing foreigners – by building their hotels, staffing their hotels, and driving them from airport to beach and then back.Â This is the Cancun that I decided to see when I learned I was heading to the area.Â I found it to be a rather shabby little city of half a million people and not much in the way of sights.Â But it does have enough restaurants and shops to draw some tourists away from the protected environment of the resorts.Â It is in the city of Cancun, along the streets and amongst the people, that you can get a feel for real Mexican life.
Sabina Lohr finds that home is not where the heart is, and a good chunk of her life revolves around plotting her next trip, or traveling. She has a Bachelor of Arts with a major in German which, like many liberal arts degrees, has gotten her nowhere except overseas to study. Unlike so many other travelers, she has never kept track of the number of countries she’s traveled to but knows her continent count stands at only three. The other four are calling.