Cancún  has scores of hotels, varying from backpacker hostels to ultra-high-end resorts. The experiences—and prices—are remarkably different depending on whether you stay in the Zona Hotelera or downtown.
The Zona Hotelera  has spectacular views, easy access to glorious beaches, and excellent familiar foods, but not much “authentic” interaction with local people.
Downtown Cancún  is culturally rich—offering good hotels, varied culinary treats, and a vibrant central park. In almost every way it’s less expensive than the Zona Hotelera (where you can expect to pay U.S. prices for hotels, restaurants, telephone, Internet, and so on), but staying downtown means taking a bus to the beach and not having access to hotel pools and beach clubs.