Should I Visit Jamaica or Cancun?

If you’re longing for a much-needed vacation where you can bask in all the glory of splendid waters and picturesque landscapes, then nothing beats a trip to the Caribbean. Just imagine the beautiful beaches of Jamaica and Cancun, Mexico. Most travelers know this but it’s hard to choose which vacation destination is right for you.

So should you visit Jamaica or Cancun? In this comparison, we’ll discuss their selection of beaches, budget to a luxury range of resorts, a wide variety of attractions, and their tourist culture. Let’s find out which Caribbean destination will be perfect for your next travel adventure whether you’re flying solo, on a couple’s vacation, with your family, or a retiree settling down.

Destination #1: Jamaica

Everyone knows Jamaica as the home of great music and even greater beaches. Located in the northwestern Caribbean Sea, this country is one of the top tourists’ destinations when it comes to a tropical vacation. From their white sand beaches, Reggae, rum, and many more, here are some reasons why Jamaica might be the perfect Caribbean destination for you.

Beaches in Jamaica

The Caribbean seas are accessible at every corner in Jamaica. So you best believe that no beach will ever disappoint you. Get to feel the sun on your back and take a dip on the refreshing, azure blue waters of Jamaica — a beauty that is unparalleled.

There are a lot of beaches located in this country that will fit every kind of tourist. The island’s iconic Seven Mile Beach located in Negril is a perfect example of beach variations in Jamaica. Some parts are open to the public where you can just simply head down there are take a swim, while others are contained within resorts.

If you’re a party animal or you like having a good night out drinking alcohol, Montego Bay is a great place to start. They have several beach bars that you can explore, and nothing beats night shore parties.

Visit the Treasure Beach or the Frenchman’s Cove if you want isolation from the tourists. If you’re not too keen on the typical party scene on most touristy beaches in Jamaica, you can go to these places playing loud music is not allowed. The shores of Pellew Island are also recommended for those who are looking for peace and quiet.

Resorts in Jamaica

Like all of Jamaica’s beaches, you can also expect the resorts in Jamaica to impress you with their southern hospitality.

The famous way to visit Jamaica is by booking yourself an all-inclusive trip to one of their resorts. It doesn’t matter whether your budget is on the low-end or on the luxury side, there’s always a complete package that will fit you and your needs.

If you’re a solo traveler, there are a lot of inns and small resorts that can accommodate you. But, it might not be wise from practicality and financial point of view to check-in at all-inclusive resorts since most of them are generally sold by bulk (two persons and above). It might be cheaper and freer for you to get by on your own when it comes to food and transportation.

If you’re with a group (family or friends) or having a couple’s trip, then all-inclusive is the way to go since not only it will be hassle-free, you’ll actually save money. Check out the beachfront resorts in Negril and Ocho Rios for great package deals.

Since Jamaica is hailed as being one of the top romantic destinations, couples will surely enjoy the many benefits of different resorts available for them. Some of them are complimentary romantic dinner, couples’ rooms and suite, and most hotels will even arrange your proposal or marriage for you.

Other Tourist Attractions in Jamaica

There’s more to Jamaica than world-class beaches and luxury hotels. You can opt for nature or outdoor activities, cultural and themed tours, and a whole selection of adrenaline parks. Whatever nature offers, Jamaica will offer it to you.

Destination #2: Cancun, Mexico

The most popular Mexico resort area, Cancun is definitely a contender when it comes to a Caribbean destination. Thanks to its great weather, spectacular beaches, and wide arrays of resorts and hotels, this place is a hot destination for Spring Break parties and more.

Beaches in Cancun

Beaches in Mexico are divided into two camps and one of them is the Caribbean beaches on the side of Cancun. Cancun’s waters are warmer, calmer, and are mostly white-sand compared to the other side of the country.

The Caribbean seas are accessible to Cancun on one side only, so expect a bit of resort and tourist crowdedness compared to Jamaica. Most of Cancun’s beaches are located at the “Zona Hotelera” or hotel zone which is the main tourist area.

Nevertheless, the beauty of Cancun’s white-sand beaches definitely matches the ones that are in Jamaica. The waters of Playa Tortugas are one of the famous Cancun destinations because of its accessibility to the Isla Mujeres ferry.  

As stated, Cancun will be packed with spring break travelers from late February through April so expect the whole area to be dressed up for non-stop partying.

So if you’re a solo traveler looking forward to meeting new people on your summer trip, staying around the cosmopolitan area will be a socializer’s dream. Imagine non-stop beach and pool parties, cocktails, and DJs constantly blasting music.

But of course, Cancun also offers beaches where the energy is more focused on chilling and relaxing. Visit the Playa Chac Mool for a quiet beach day away from the maddening crowd. The fine sands are perfectly white, and the waters are calmer compared to other areas. So if you love swimming at the beach, this place is the best Cancun beach for swimming.

Resorts in Cancun

If you’re looking for a luxury experience without breaking much of your budget, hotels and resorts at Cancun are known for competitive prices.

Since this city is a hotspot for luxury resorts, businesses try to keep their prices appealing to the tourists while upping their services. So unlike in Jamaica where all-inclusive luxury resorts might be way too pricey, at Cancun, you might get better deals.

Beachfront hotels and resorts are lined up which makes it easier for you to pick your best accommodation. The ones on Zona Hotelera are more on the high-end and luxury accommodations where tourists and party-goers flock during the summer.

This is where the downside of Cancun goes in. If you want direct access to the Caribbean seas, you have no choice but to get accommodation from the resorts or hotels at Zona Hotelera where there’s not much of a range when it comes to pricing.

If you’re looking for economical hotels and amenities, then your best bet is accommodation at Downtown Cancun where it’s a bit of a journey to the beach. That is also challenging especially when there’s only one road running along the length of the hotel zone and all touristy amenities are concentrated in this area.

Peacefulness is also a factor that might affect your decision to have a vacation at Cancun especially during summer. The hotel zone located on the sand bar will be expectedly booked with students on spring break. So if you’re trying to have a quiet, romantic vacation with your partner or a wholesome holiday with your family, then you might want to avoid the peak season or strategically plan your trip.

Other Tourist Attractions in Cancun

If you’re looking for variations of destinations, then Cancun might not be ideal, but it is a great place to start. Most of the things that you can do in this city are concentrated on beach parties and water activities.

But, Cancun is a great place to start your vacation if you want to explore more cities in Mexico. Isla Mujeres, Playa del Carmen, and Mazatlán are all Mexican cities that you can go to for another wave of your summer trip.

Conclusion: Jamaica or Cancun, Mexico?

So which one is the right destination for you? This really depends on what you want to get out of your trip and what kind of traveler you are.

Jamaica might be the better summer vacation destination for you if:

  • You’re on a couples’ trip. Jamaica is really known for romantic getaways so it’s not surprising that this location will be better than Cancun. Hotels and resorts tailor their packages to give the best experience for couples so it’s sure that you’ll never have a bad experience in Jamaica.
  • You’re looking for a family-friendly destination. If you’re traveling during summer, Cancun might not be a family-friendly place with a lot of college tourists making the most out of their spring break. In Jamaica, the nightlife is more diverse and doesn’t necessarily go around alcohol parties.
  • You want a better selection of accommodation. Jamaica offers more accommodation choices that have direct access to the beach at different price points. Unlike Cancun where you might be forced to look elsewhere when you’re on a budget.

Meanwhile, Cancun, Mexico will be a better destination compared to Jamaica if:

  • You’re traveling solo. It’s comparatively cheaper to travel to Cancun than Jamaica if you’re going solo. Besides, if you’re a social butterfly who likes to meet new people during vacation, then this city is the perfect party hotspot for you.
  • You want luxury accommodation at a budget. Luxury resorts and hotels in Cancun are generally cheaper than in Jamaica because of high competition. It might not be as luxurious as Jamaica’s, but you’re definitely getting more than what you paid for.
  • You want to travel afterward. In Cancun, you have the option to explore the greater part of Mexico after a good vacation at the beach. It’s the best opportunity for an international road trip, whether you’re alone or with a company.