Trying to choose between Jamaica vs Cancun is understandably challenging. Both destinations have a lot to offer tourists of every form. From white sand beaches, all-inclusive resorts, incredible food, and a plethora of activities, there’s something for travelers of all ages.
First, you will need to ask yourself what kind of vacation you want to take. Since Cancun and Jamaica offer their own unique atmospheres, knowing the differences between the two will help you plan your trip.
This article will compare Jamaica vs Cancun, including their beaches, resorts, cost, safety, and culture. This way, you can rest assured you made the right decision for your next vacation spot.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Overview
Jamaica is one of the biggest Caribbean islands and is known for its vibrant culture and diverse landscape. Tourists don’t need to travel far in order to experience white sand beaches, mountainous terrains, jungle waterfalls, and coffee plantations.
With such a diverse landscape, the whole family can partake in plenty of activities. For honeymooners and those looking for a romantic getaway, luxurious resorts are a dime a dozen.
Plus, Jamaica’s vibrant culture is bustling with art, reggae music, and friendly locals. The other nice part is that the primary language is English, so it makes it easier to mingle with the locals.
Located on the tip of the Yucatan peninsula, Cancun is also known for its white-sand beaches and high-end resorts. However, the culture couldn’t be more different as you will be hit with mariachi music, street tacos, and multiple flavors of tequila.
For those staying at a resort, you won’t need to worry about being fluent in Spanish. However, if you are staying in the city, or plan on traveling on your own, then it’s a good idea to brush up on the basics.
It is recommended to venture away from your resort, as Cancun is known for its Mayan roots. Mayan ruins and cenotes aren’t far away and are something that you won’t forget.
Nonetheless, both destinations offer enough excursions to keep you busy. You won’t run out of activities from snorkeling to scuba diving barrier reefs to ziplining.
As you can see, both vacation spots have a lot to offer visitors, but which one should you choose? Keep reading as we closely examine their beaches, resorts, cost, culture, and safety.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Beaches
When comparing Jamaica vs Cancun in terms of beaches, both have post-card-worthy views. However, Jamaica is known for its iconic white-sand beaches touched by turquoise waters. They are so incredible that they have been featured in movies.
Cancun is no slouch when it comes to beaches, but you will find that they are infested with spring break travelers from February through April. This may be a prime spot for solo travelers looking to meet like-minded people.
But for those wanting to mingle with the locals and have a variety of beaches to go to then, Jamaica may be a better choice.
One of, if not the most popular beach in Jamaica is Seven Mile Beach, a long public beach. You will find watersport activities, all-inclusive resorts, and local bars and restaurants here.
Other beaches worth mentioning are Frenchman’s Cove, James Bond Beach, Doctors Cave, and Bloody Bay. As stated, each beach has its unique atmosphere and should be added to your itinerary.
You will find in Cancun that the beaches are lumped together in the Hotel Zone. Some of the most popular beaches include Playa Tortugas, Playa Delfines, and Playa Ballenas. Don’t be mistaken, these beaches are beautiful, but Jamaica beaches have scenic diversity.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Resorts
When it comes to luxurious resorts, you won’t have a problem finding one in either Jamaica or Cancun. Both Caribbean destinations have all-inclusive resorts, high-end hotels, overwater bungalows, and even budget accommodations for backpackers.
If direct access to the beach is what you are looking for, then you can’t go wrong with either destination. Jamaica is known for having resorts that have their own private beaches. Conversely, Cancun is known for mega-resort complexes situated shoulder to shoulder on the hotel strip.
So, is there a clear winner when it comes to resorts? We don’t think so, as there are so many options to choose from in either location.
If you are more interested in an all-inclusive stay, then you will have more options in Cancun. This once-small fishing village has become very Americanized, so you will find more all-inclusive resorts in the area.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Cost
As with most vacations, accommodations and flights will be the bulk of your travel costs. You can find budget accommodations and resort packages in either destination.
Since Jamaica and Cancun have a similar peak seasons, the cost of accommodations will be comparable. Where you may see a difference in costs is in the flights.
Direct flights from major cities in the United States easily access Cancun. If you are traveling with your family and children, flying to Cancun may be less of a headache.
Since both destinations are geared towards tourists, you will need to wander into the local areas for cheaper food and drinks. In both places, you can find meals for around $5 and beers that cost $2. However, food and drinks will be included if you decide to stay at an all-inclusive resort.
Even if you stay at a resort, you should still try the local cuisine. You can’t go wrong with street tacos in Mexico or a plate of jerk chicken in Jamaica. One of the best ways to experience a new culture is by trying their local dishes.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Culture
Jamaica and Cancun couldn’t be more different in terms of culture. As mentioned, Jamaica is known for its rum, whereas Cancun holds the tequila throne. In addition, you can’t venture far without hearing reggae music on the Jamaican island and mariachi music on a Cancun beach.
Both destinations have friendly locals that are excited to show you their city and country. However, it is easier to immerse yourself in the culture of Jamaica. It’s not to say you can’t do it in Cancun, but since the American influence is so strong, you won’t get a raw experience.
Even in downtown Cancun, you will find that there are high-end malls, fast-food chains, and casinos. While in another country, you may feel like you are vacationing in another American city.
If you aren’t looking to get out of your comfort zone, then Cancun is a safe bet. But if you want to easily experience a new culture, then Jamaica is the better choice.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Safety
Safety is always one of the biggest concerns when traveling to a new country. The truth is, every country has areas that should be avoided, and Jamaica and Cancun are no different.
When arriving in Cancun, you will find that the police presence is very strong. Due to the continuous cartel activity, they are always on the lookout for criminal activity. This also includes tourists who get involved in illegal activities when partying at clubs and on the beach.
Be smart, and avoid these types of things, as it’s likely you will be offered drugs while hanging on the beach. The last thing you want is to put yourself in a dangerous situation where you have to pay a hefty fine.
In Jamaica, you will see that there is a travel risk for tourists due to the rise in criminal activity. As with Cancun, avoiding putting yourself in a bad situation is best. You will be better off staying in the more touristy areas such as Port Antonio, Ocho Rios, Mandeville, and Negril.
At the end of the day, the key is to have simple common sense when traveling. By avoiding illegal activities, being aware of your belongings, and not being flashy, you will be safe in both Jamaica and Cancun.
Jamaica Vs Cancun: Final Verdict
Deciding between Jamaica or Cancun for your next vacation will depend on what you are looking for. If you want more diverse landscapes, beaches, and an immersive cultural experience, then Jamaica is the better choice.
However, if you want a more familiar setting with close proximity to the US, then Cancun is the way to go. From there, both destinations have various resorts; just be sure to plan ahead to get the best deals!
Decided on Jamaica as your next travel destination? The articles Everything You Need to Know About Blue Hole, Jamaica, Exploring Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and The Top 10 Excursions in Negril, will help you plan your trip.