by Michael J. Shapiro | November 01, 2010
Meeting Hotels
Properties in Cancún include the 2,457-room Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort; 1,744-room Hotel Be Live Cancún; 687-room Gran Meliá Cancún; 602-room Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach Cancún; 601-room Cancún Palace; 502-room Fiesta Americana Condesa Cancún; 500-room Great Parnassus Resort & Spa; 450-room CasaMagna Marriott Cancún Resort; 448-room JW Marriott Cancún Resort & Spa; 426-room Hilton Cancún Golf & Spa Resort; 419-room ME by Meliá Cancún Hotel and Resort; 379-room Westin Resort & Spa, Cancún; 376-room Dreams Cancún Resort & Spa; 371-room Aqua Cancún; 365-room Ritz-Carlton, Cancún; 343-room Omni Cancún Hotel & Villas; 311-room Cancún Caribe Park Royal Grand; 299-room Presidente InterContinental Cancún Resort; 295-room Hyatt Regency Cancún; 287-room Beach Palace Wyndham Grand Resort, and 213-room Le Méridien Cancún Resort & Spa. 
Properties along the Riviera Maya include the 2,568-room Gran Bahia Principe Tulúm; 1,554-room Grand Palladium Riviera Resort & Spa; 1,492-room Grand Riviera & Sunset Princess; 1,266-room Aventura Spa Palace; 1,080-room Gran Bahia Principe Coba; 960-room Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya; 858-room Gran Bahia Principe Tulúm; 769-room Occidental Gran Flamenco Xcaret; 756-room Barceló Maya Palace Deluxe; 653-room El Dorado Royale & Spa Resort; 630-room Gran Bahia Principe Akumal; 627-room Barceló Maya Beach; 540-room Valentin Imperial Maya; 507-room Royal Playa del Carmen; 496-room Now Sapphire Riviera Cancún; 492-room Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort; 480-room Barceló Maya Colonial; 480-room Viva Wyndham Azteca; 438-room Azul Sensatori Hotel, by Karisma; 431-room Dreams Tulúm Resort & Spa; 412-room Secrets Maroma; 408-room Barceló Maya Caribe Beach, and 401-room Fairmont Mayakobá. See mcvenues.com for more area hotels.

Convention Centers
Can­cún Center: Conventions and Exhibi­tions; exhibit space, approximately 152,852 square feet; number of meeting rooms, 37; (866) 891-7773; cancuncenter.com

Cancunmesse; exhibit space, 233,498 square feet indoor, 107,639 square feet outdoor (scheduled to expand to 645,835 square feet indoor/322,917 square feet outdoor in two years); (011) 52-998-209-1366; cancunmesse.com

Entry/Exit Requirements
All U.S. citizens must carry passports for any air travel to and from Mexico. When entering Mexico, travelers receive a tourist visa (FMT), which they must present upon departure. Fines apply for lost visas.

Airport Transit
Cancún International Airport, 20 to 30 minutes away from Cancún's Hotel Zone. One-way transfer cost by taxi to Cancún starts at $35; private service starts at $45; shuttle starts at $9. One-way transfer cost by taxi to Playa del Carmen, about $60; shuttle, about $23

Currency
Mexican peso (MXN). At press time, the exchange rate was 12.40 pesos to US$1.

Taxes
Hospitality tax, 3%; sales tax, 11%; total tax on hotel rooms, 14%. A VAT exemption, which eliminates sales tax, is available to congresses, conventions, fairs and expos held by foreign companies in Mexico. For details, visit cancun.travel.

Group Venue
 
A relative newcomer to Cancún's Hotel Zone dining scene, La Habichuela Sunset (011-52-998-
840-6240) nonetheless has an exceptional Cancún pedigree: It's the new outpost of the Pezzotti family's downtown restaurant, La Habichuela, a local favorite that has been serving up classic (and delicious) Mexican cuisine and Caribbean seafood dishes since 1977. The newer venue combines much of its older cousin's same cuisine -- about 30 to 40 percent of the two menus overlap -- with scenic views of the lagoon. La Habichuela Sunset can accommodate groups of up to 200 people and also offers a private dining room that can seat as many as 30. Three-course set menus are available for larger groups.

Can­cún Underwater MuseumIncentives
The unique Can­cún Underwater Museum (MUSA, for the Spanish Museo Subacuático de Arte; musacancun.com) will celebrate its official inauguration in December. Located in the waters surrounding Cancún, Isla Mujeres and Punta Nizuc, the museum is the brainchild of British sculptor Jason de Caires Taylor, who sank the first three pieces last November. As of mid-October, aided by a team of local artists, the sculptor had sunk 380 incredible life-size sculptures of human forms; by opening day, the museum is slated to showcase 400 such works. The project has an ecological bent: to draw tourists away from the nearby natural reefs, thereby lessening human impact on the fragile ecosystem, while at the same time creating an artificial reef. Already, the first pieces immersed have revealed significant coral growth. Sculptures can easily be seen by diving, snorkeling or viewing from glass-bottomed boats. All tours must be accompanied by a registered guide (aquaworld.com.mx).

CVB Services
Cancún Con­vention & Visitors Bureau, (011) 52-998-881-2745; cancun.travel

Riviera Maya, (011) 984-206-3150; rivieramaya.com