Finally made it South and must admit our first couple of days were definitely a little culture shocked. Having never travelled in a second world country, it takes a little time to adjust to how poor it is here. As well, just the strangeness of how everything works such as buses, getting groceries etc.
Cancun is truly the Vegas of Mexico. Everywhere you turned, someone was trying to sell you something (and often aggressively) and we were glad to have only spent a couple of days there.
Not much more to say about it other than the beaches were beautiful but heavily guarded by the resorts. Mexican law dictates that anyone can sit on the beaches in front of the resorts but you have to endure the watchful eyes of all the security guards who ensure you don't poach any beach chairs.
However, a few things were nice about the place. One was that our hostel was near the Parc Central which comes alive at night. It's funny because we had always heard that you shouldn't be going out at night in Mexico (unless it's on your resort) as it's unsafe but our experience was completely opposite. Our hostel owner told us to check it out and the plaza was filled with families hanging out and vendors selling all sorts of foods and crafts. It's too hot during the day for anyone with common sense to go outside (unless you're a gringo) but when the sun sets, the locals emerge. It was a great way to spend an evening.
We also went over to Isla Mujeres for a day. However, we made our first rookie mistake and hopped on a tour boat (cheap with free booze) over to the island. It was everything you might expect with the tour guides trying to sell you everything under the sun (wanna swim with some dolphins??). And to top it off, they played Achy Breaky Heart in Spanish over and over again on the boat ride back....ugh.
We snuck away as soon as we could and checked out the little town. Hurricane Wilma had trashed the place a few years ago and so the community had a kind of eerie feel to it with collapsed and abandoned buildings everywhere. The breaks were big though so if you were willing to brave some reef breaks, you'd have a kickass day of solo surfing on your hands.
Cancun was a good place to get our groove on but we were definitely glad to be on to the next place.