Some time back, around the year 2001, this was the bane of the typical tourist set and locals alike, a 21st century Ides of March in the adult playground of Cancun when a 100,000 or more young party types would manage all the alcohol they could spill, drink or throw until they were picked off at night by the pterodactyls or the local policia. Mostly it was raucous good times with an emphasis on Wet T-Shirt contests and 2×1 drinks at the evening bars and club scene, preempted by poolside games, crashes and low quality bathtub booze, bong hangovers. All courtesy of Mom and Dad’s credit card and the promiscuity brought on by one too many boat drinks, in other words, money for nothing and the chicks for free.
By the end of 2006, Cancun had remade herself, the hotels and restaurants devastated by Wilma were now mostly heavily renovated or completely rebuilt, the new clientele sought was to be middle to upper class tourists with a timeshare credit approval rating and and an eye for something better than sharing the Mexican vacation playground with their neighbor’s college kids. Of course with this new found image, someone had to help pay for it, so if Cancun was going upscale as were her guests, so was their hotel bill, not that Cancun isn’t still a bargain, just not as good a one as she use to be. With it however was a renewed disdain of the Spring Break crowd.
When 2007 rolled around, Old Man Use To wasn’t yet dead but the patient was in intensive care, Spring Breaker numbers were reeling back heavily as more and more hotels either through cost, age limits or downright refusal stopped catering or allowing Spring Breakers in their establishments. Estimates vary but by most accounts the 2000-2001 estimates of Breakers had dwindled from its peak of approximately 100,000 plus to a mere 35,000 by the 2008 season. Most of these Breakers being pushed into less than accommodating resorts that were more cattle pens with pools and taps than front line vacation Hotels.
However, still the allure continues, and with proper attitude it’s not necessarily a bad thing, the Spring Breakers that is.
Certainly from this perspective the numbers seem more manageable and despite the MTV and Real Cancun reputation, most of the young people landing in Cancun these days appear to be generally polite, reasonably behaved and obviously looking for a good time and aren’t we all. This year, 2017, the Cancun Hotel Association has been predicting anywhere from 45,000 to 55,000 Spring Breakers based on local press reports and that doesn’t look to be unreasonable, mostly bunched together at a handful of resorts that Mr. and Mrs. Average American wouldn’t take a liking to anyway.
So, the long and short of it is, for the typical tourist, research your hotel choice beyond “it’s on sale” and you should have little issue with the Breakers during any time in March. The reality is that if your staying at the Ritz and in bed by 10PM, you won’t see them anyway, other than huddled in masses during the day at soylent green operations akin to Mickey D’s and the like.
For the Breakers, as a veteran of almost every Cancun Spring Break since 1987, keep it cool and keep it from going over the top and you’ll have a great time in Cancun, do remember that in Mexico, your rights and law enforcement are quite different, respect the locals and the culture, enjoy the party but try and get a glimpse of Mexico while you’re there because it may be the only chance you get to see of her.
There’s plenty of great things to do in and about the Cancun area for everybody; Maya Ruins, Cenotes, small tropical Isla’s like Mujeres and Cozumel, Eco Parks, Snorkeling, Scuba and of course the surf and sand scene. Why spend a thousand bucks to shack up and swallow the Mezcal worm in Mexico, not that there’s anything wrong with that, without ever seeing what Mexico really has to offer.