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A growing number of CancĂșn hotels are now encouraging people to make their reservations online. Some allow you to book rooms on their websites; even hotels without their own sites usually offer reservations via online booking agencies such as www.docancun.com and www.cancuntoday.net. Since hotels customarily work with several different agencies, it's a good idea to shop around online for the best rates before booking.

Besides being convenient, booking online can often get you a 10% to 20% discount on room rates. The downside, however, is that there are occasional breakdowns in communication between booking agencies and hotels. You may arrive to find your Spanish-speaking front-desk clerk has no record of your online reservation, or only has a room that's different from the one you specified. To prevent such mishaps from ruining your vacation, be sure to print out copies of all your Internet transactions, including receipts and confirmations, and take them with you.

When booking a hotel online, be sure to ask if the hotel is currently undergoing renovation. Early-morning construction can be a painful wake-up call for CancĂșn party animals.