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LOCAL INFORMATION

About Cancun
Cancun is located off the northeast point of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, directly south of New Orleans, Louisiana, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is the doorstep to the ancient Mayan civilization as well as the successor Toltec cities. Cancun consists of two distinct parts. The "hotel zone is an island separated from the mainland by two narrow canals. Shaped like the number 7, the outside meets the Caribbean and inside the seven is the Nichupte Lagoon guaranteeing a water view for all Westin Regina guests. The other part of Cancun is the bustling downtown area, filled with shops and restaurants to fit any taste.

What To Do In Cancun
For many of the IPDPS 2000 attendees, this will be a return engagement to Cancun and the Westin Regina Hotel and a second chance to revisit various archaeological sites and enjoy anew Cancun's shopping, specialty restaurants, and active nightlife. Snorkeling areas are located a short walk along the beach from the hotel, and scuba diving cruises to nearby islands are available. Previous IPPS attendees sampled all of these activities and gave them high grades. For details, visit the Web at www.cancun.com

Air Transport
At this printing, the following airlines (and their partners) have routes to Cancun: American, Aeromexico, Continental, Iberia, LACSA, Mexicana, Northwest, United, and TWA. Check your travel agent to obtain the best fare & schedule. 

Entry Requirements
To prevent delays, a valid passport for all travelers is advised, although U.S. and Canadian citizens may present a certified birth certificate or other proof of citizenship. All travelers will be required to present a completed Mexican Tourist Card provided by the air carrier - upon arrival and departure. Those of other nationalities should check with a local Mexican consulate or their airline or travel agent to determine whether a separate visa is required. All departing travelers will be required to pay a $15 departure tax at the time they receive their airline boarding pass. 

Red Light, Green Light
After passing through immigration, claim your luggage and proceed to the Customs area with your Customs form in hand. You will next be instructed to press a button at a semaphore. Green light means go, red light means your luggage will be briefly searched.

Local Transportation
If your travel agent has not done so, you will need to arrange transport to the Westin Regina when you exit customs. You may go by private taxi, which is much faster but more expensive, or you may travel in a colectivo (sharing a taxi or shuttle), which costs less, but takes longer. Check travel books for suggested fairs.

Once at the hotel, the best value is the air-conditioned tourist shuttle bus service which runs all day and evening to all points in the hotel zone and to downtown Cancun City a real bargain at $1 U.S. per trip. Taxis are available twenty-four hours a day at the hotels for the short trip into downtown Cancun it is advised that you agree on the taxi fare before getting in the cab. Check with the hotel to get suggested fares to various destinations. There are daily departures from the hotel of tour buses going to the various archaelogical and marine sites, so a car is not needed to fully enjoy your visit to Cancun. If car rental is considered, travelers are advised to be fully informed as to local driving conditions and requirements.

Weather & Time
The climate is tropical more desert-like further inland and the temperature will average above 80 F (26.6 C). Casual, light clothing is the norm for meetings with more "dressed-up" attire for evenings. The official language is Spanish but English is widely spoken in hotels, shops, and attractions catering to tourists. The time is Central Standard 2 hours ahead of Los Angeles and 1 hour behind New York. Many places are closed for several hours in the afternoon, but then most shops stay open into late evening.

Currency & Credit Cards
U.S. dollars & Traveler's Checks may be exchanged for Mexican currency - the peso at local banks and most shops. Most businesses accept U.S. dollars and major credit cards (except Discover). You may get a better deal some places with U.S. dollars, so it is good to carry both. Note that you cannot exchange pesos when you are leaving the country, so plan accordingly.


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