Opinions about visiting Cancun are divided. Reviews say that the overdevelopment and lack of cultural attractions may not be for everyone. But there are still plenty of people who love it. Spend a few days there and you’ll see why. It’s sunny all year round and the resort is located a few degrees south of the Tropic of Cancer, with an average winter temperature of 23°C. The beaches are long and white and the reefs calm and turquoise.

Cancun doesn’t have as much history as other tourist towns – but it has had an interesting evolution. The town was created in 1970 when architects, planners and tourism experts, funded by the Mexican government, looked at resorts from Hawaii to the Caribbean and came up with an irresistible template for developing tourism. The market was ready-made: holidaymakers from the cooler northern Statues were already heading to Baja, San Miguel and other Mexican hotspots for their winter holidays.

Cancún has been described as a “multi-million dollar playground”. As was fashionable at the time – think Brasilia – it was planned by the sector: a “hotel zone” with high-rise hotels, shops, food and drink, casino and golf clubs; a major service centre; and residential areas for workers. Imagine the gorgeous dunes backed by white sandy beaches already there, where people wait for water sports and sunset canopies, cocktails and sunsets.

Over the years of development and growth, the Cancun effect has spread across the South Coast, now known as the Riviera Maya. Resorts range from the 500-acre luxury hotel enclave of Mayakoba, to the bustling, densely populated Playa del Carmen, to the smaller resorts that have grown up around the extraordinary Mayan ruins of Tulum. Some frequent Riviera holidaymakers prefer to hide away on offshore islands such as Cozumel, Isla de la Mujer or Holbox, while others prefer to stay in luxury haciendas deep in Cancun and the Yucatán.

Most people in Cancun visit the Mayan citadel of Chichen Itza at least once per holiday, and there are many other sites, large and small, that will thrill even the most demanding archaeology enthusiast. So it is also a town of historical research value.

Given the long northern winters, it’s only natural that Cancun should be a spring break classic. It’s full of fun, games, nightclubs and tequila and, like most major resorts, it has something to suit anyone with a variety of different budgets. But seeking out festivals for mainly 18-30 people doesn’t mean the coast is taken over by techno and pool parties. With some clever planning, you can have your own holiday – and the spring break crowd has its own. Avoiding the crowds will be the best option!