From the Bahamas 700-Island charm to Cancun’s beach and party scene, both these destinations, whatever you decide them to be, deserve the recognition they have. If you’re looking for a destination that boasts beauty, and excitement well, Cancun and the Bahamas are at the top of your search results and with plenty of good reasons.
One of the monarchs of the Mexican tourism trade, Cancun is a familiar name amongst the likes of Mexico City and Cabo San Lucas. Its very existence has enabled the Yucatan to become a shining beacon for the tired traveler — tired of the same old, same old.
Cancun is the spot to stay in to have a blast on Mexico’s eastern seaboard. Not convinced? Then first, choose from the selection of resorts and hotels for every type of traveler to get comfortable in. Next, feel the affluence of its Downtown. And finally, but by no means the end, its beaches host a plethora of activities, not to mention the exuberant parties.
This place is a fusion of the ancient and modern marvels of humanity; within eyeshot, you can travel from one epoch to another. There is no place better to start the Mexican experience than in Cancun!
What Makes Cancun Unique?
The Biggest Nightlife Scene in the Caribbean
Parties and nightlife are what come to mind when you hear the word “Cancun.” It often makes its way to age-old tv programs pertaining to spring break and such. “Why so?” you may ask. Well, the night is the lifeblood of Cancun — its greatest selling point, if you will; it gushes from places like the Downtown District, Hotel Zone, and all the way to the beaches.
Wake up in the morning to stretch your arms to the glorious sun, then relish the beaches and resorts like every other coastal city. However, when the sun goes down, these places transform into a heart-throbbing experience the likes of which make the avid partygoer feel ecstatic.
If you are looking for a great nightlife scene in Cancun, check out the Coco Bongo, Mandala Beach Club, The City, Palazzo, Dady O, and Cuncrawl.
Chichen Itza and the Mayans
If the nightlife is not your cup of tea, Cancun provides a starkly contrasting experience, something along the lines of Egyptian megaliths. Cancun boasts of being host to an ancient civilization — something that not every place in the world can do.
The Mayans and their mysterious ruins beckon the curious travelers who perhaps are seeking to solve some riddle they formed about this, that, and the other. One such place to contemplate the past (in the contorted form of The Thinker) is Chichen Itza, a place of great historical importance that has earned the designation of a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Inland and Aquatic Delight
Beyond Cancun’s cosmopolitan flair, it is a place filled with natural wonders — stroll along its 14-mile coastline (22.5 km), explore its swath of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, take a dip in the clear blue water of its cenotes, and go on an adventure in the caverns near the city. There is nothing like these natural formations to get the fire of adventure burning bright.
Reputed as a premier tourist destination in the world, Cancun sports the signature Caribbean fine white-sand beaches caressed by the froth of azure waters. But beyond the staple beaches, Cancun, or more broadly, the Yucatan, has another peculiar geographic feature called the ‘cenote,’ which is formed from the dynamics of limestone, water, and time.
Perhaps the most impressive of all, the monolithic place off the coast of Cancun, is the Mesoamerican Reef System. Truly, it is something to behold with all the explosions of life in and around it. You would be remiss if you did not arrange a dive or snorkeling expedition as part of your itinerary.
Virtually unlimited choices for you. There is no need at all to feel constrained with all the 100++ hotels that’ll give you a slice of what you can consider being a comfortable extension of your home. Whether you give importance to spending more on activities or are very particular about the grandeur of your accommodation, Cancun provides for each end of the spectrum.
If you are looking for a place you can cool down and return to at the end of your packed day of escapades, the Hotel Zone’s got you covered. The 13-mile zone (22 km) has got some skyscraping hotels, resorts, shops, and restaurants. But if you still have got the energy from all the adrenaline in your blood, there are nightclubs as well.
With 16 major islands to boast, and an entire reputation ringing across the globe, the Bahamas, and all its splendor is one of the Caribbean’s most favored children. Not in tourism alone, but in natural beauty. When you put the Bahamas head-to-head with Cancun, you know it’s a worthy comparison, because, for all intents and purposes, the Bahamas define the magic of the Atlantic and even the Caribbean.
Officially named the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, the nation is actually composed of around 700 islands that range from large to small islands, and cays that constitute the country’s awe-inspiring beauty. From white-sandy beaches to gorgeous blue waters of exquisite shade, the archipelago is one of the most famous places to visit on this side of the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Giving a whole slew of other islands a run for their money.
What Makes Bahamas Unique?
700 Islands, 700 Reasons
While the nation has six islands as its frontrunners, it actually has a slew of islands of over 700, each one having different characteristics that make the Bahamas even more special to explore. The challenge here is which one of these 700 islands should you visit first, but thankfully, there are tours specially made for this tourist woe.
The thing is that the best islands to visit first are the six major ones such as the New Providence, Paradise Island, The Exumas, Andros, The Berry Islands, Bimini, and The Abacos. Many of the 700 islands are uninhabited, many of which are perfect for a day excursion. But one thing you can be sure of is that most of these islands have that proverbial Bahaman beach beauty.
Pink Sand Beaches
Apart from a few places in the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and Southeast Asia, The Bahamas is one of the few places in the world where you can find pink sand beaches. One of the places to find them is in Harbour Island, northeast of Eleuthera. Complementing this charming pink hue in the sand, you also have the quaint Dunmore Town, which is speckled with colorful pastel cottages.
Apart from the raw beauty of the pink sand, you can also indulge in a number of activities on the island such as sunbathing, diving, or on a fishing excursion, out into the sea. Visiting Harbour Island, one of the Bahamas’ major islands, is worth a day trip. Getting there fast is simple, try the Bahamas Fast Ferries or perhaps fly there from the airports in Nassau. You can also arrange a day trip with participating resorts to make things hassle-free.
Cave Dive Extravaganza
Thousands of years ago before there were any inhabitants in many of the Bahamas’ islands the waters around them were more than 100 feet or 30 meters lower than they are currently are. Due to the constantly rising sea levels, mostly thanks to Global Warming, several caves on different islands which are made up of limestone were submerged.
This outstanding phenomenon has made The Bahamas one of the best places in the world to cave dive, apart from scuba diving, and snorkeling. All of which are some of the best activities during your holiday in the Bahamas.
Several local accounts argued that Columbus opened the gates to the new world, thanks to the Monarchs of Aragon, Castile, and Leon of Spain. It said that he first stepped in either San Salvador, The Bahamas, or Samana Cay in The Bahamas. Historians also argued that upon Columbus’ arrival the native Lucayan Taino people were already inhabiting the island. However, over time as more and more Europeans came, the local Taino people slowly disappeared from the islands.
Shortly after the start of the New World’s conquest, the Europeans were already making their mark on the Caribbean, and South America sourcing gold, and market, and commerce were booming, then came the pirates.
The ‘Golden Era’ or the ‘Golden Age’ was thought to be around the 1600s-1700s, when pirates were prevalent in the Caribbean, making great economic advances, particularly around The Bahamas. Pirates tend to attack merchant ships traveling through the harbor and rob them, especially of the bounty including gold, salt, and many other valuable supplies at the time.
With many pirates ruling the seas of the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Ocean none was more feared and well-known than the legendary Blackbeard. This conflict around the waters of the New World progressed until 1718, when British captain Woods Rogers was appointed Captain-General, and Governor in Chief of Nassau, marking the end of the Pirate Republic.
Due to the relentless Pirates in the region, forts were erected for protection. Today, these forts are not only historical icons but are also for the tourists’ delight, especially for the culture and history buffs.
First, visit Fort Charlotte. Fun Fact: this fort in New Providence, Nassau, is the biggest of all Bahamas’ antique forts. Lord Dunmore commissioned its construction in 1788–1789.
Second, Fort Fincastle, built in 1793, is another crowd favorite and got its name from British captain Lord Dunmore. According to local historians, Lord Dunmore built the fort for the special purpose of protecting the Nassau Harbor. It was also found to be a useful lookout point for pirates during their heydays.
Third is Fort Montague, which is known as being the oldest fort in New Providence. Records show that it has been up since 1725 and that it had undergone updates to its fortifications in the years 1741–1742 to repel the Spanish attempt at invasion.
And then there’s Blackbeard’s Tower. Not exactly a fort but more of a watchtower for pirates spotting their prey while rubbing their hands and licking their lips in anticipation of some fat loot.
The famed archipelago has long been the stuff of travel lists, articles, and wishes because just a glance of the islands in pictures is enough reason to go, the beauty speaks for itself. The Bahamas is yet another stunning destination to visit if you’re up for the perfect mixture of nature, beauty, vacation, and history, often vying for the best of the best of the tropics.
Is Bahamas or Cancun Better?
The gorgeous collectivity of the Bahaman islands and the grand city of Cancun each has their draws that certainly made them the cream of the crop of tourism. However, these very draws are also what sets them apart and can help to inquire travelers on which is potentially the best, while the only true answer to that is in what their wanderlust craves.
The Bahamas, unlike most of the destinations of the Atlantic and the Caribbean, isn’t a single island, or a seaside city or town, but a whole archipelago with six major islands at the forefront. Teeming with natural beauty, historical charms, and near-perfect weather conditions for that fabled tropical experience, the Bahamas is the perfect mix of culture and nature.
Cancun, on the other hand, is the Mexican tourist mecca of Mexican tourist meccas, thanks to its enduring fame and reputation Cancun is considered to be the most ideal place to spend a vacation. It is named the most famous Mexican destination, after all. Cancun’s draws and highlights often overshadow the rest of the Caribbean. Thanks to its genius mix of cosmopolitan delights, natural wonders, ancient history, and top-notch quality service, Cancun is still unstoppable and undisputed. A success story through and through.
Despite both their attractive draws and charms, their flavors are different enough for any traveler to be challenged in arriving at a decision, and you really can’t blame them. What decided which is the experience each of these offers to different types of travelers, for after all, what one wants doesn’t always apply to everybody.
Is It Cheaper to Go to Cancun or Bahamas?
If you do a bit of diligent research and comparison, you’d be surprised to know that famous Cancun isn’t really notoriously known for high prices and dramatic rates – leave that reputation to the Dutch and the French Caribbean. However, the Bahamas doesn’t fall far behind among the Caribbean’s, or rather the Atlantic’s most expensive, in fact, it’s one of the priciest in the region.
If you take a look at basic purchases like an inexpensive meal, it would cost you around 6 to 10 USD in Cancun, while the average price for the same meal in the Bahamas could set you back around 18 USD, while Aruba’s can go even higher. You can easily tell the disparity and could even potentially scare you away if you’re looking for a place that could you get more from with less cost.
To better equip yourself for the costs when visiting these destinations, it’s important to have an estimated budget per person, per week at most. In Cancun, you can enjoy everything it can offer with a budget of around 700 USD a week per person, while in the Bahamas, prep yourself with at least 1,211 USD a week for a single person.
Cancun Beaches vs. Bahamas Beaches
To start, Cancun has all its beach charms crammed into a 14-mile or 22.5 km stretch of white sand beach, while in the Bahamas, you have over 700 islands all perfectly equipped with gorgeous beaches, but you can already get so much from just its six principal islands. This means that if you’re a beach bum, you could probably get more out of the Bahamas than Cancun.
However, Cancun’s ace is that its single-stretch beach is well-developed, equipped, and maintained. Plus, the service of resorts, and hotels that line the beach is more than enough to give you that one-for-the-book beach experience. The Bahamas, despite them having more beaches, and a more expensive price range is not exactly famous for having developed beaches, and top-notch service. Which draws them to a near tie.
Many seasoned travelers and holidaymakers prefer Cancun’s beaches, and accessibility to the cosmopolitan highs of the city, offering a variety of experiences for visitors. While the Bahamas on the other hand, is perfect for those looking for a slower thrill, yet still being riddled with beauty all over. The pink beaches are something else, giving the islands a certain value.
The Bahamas’ other islands (other than the principal six), may or may not have well-developed and equipped beaches if you tend to lean more on that side, but if you love a more rugged, authentic, and natural experience, then by all means.