If you’ve seen Cancun depicted in the popular media in the last few years, the chances are that you think of it as the perfect getaway for someone who likes intoxicated minors, parties that last until dawn, and doing tequila shots out of a stranger’s bellybutton.

However, recently, the Yucatan city has been striving to shake its reputation as a haven for Spring Breakers, and is instead focusing its energies into building a solid foundation for its unique culture, art, and architecture.

Whilst “culture” used to mean liquor and “cuisine” used to serve as a byword for all you can eat buffets, Cancun has changed. Sure, the pristine white beaches are still just as incredible as before, but here are the new reasons to love the Glistening City.

The Cuisine

Obviously, Cancun is still great for the traditional stuff, like chimichangas, tacos and fajitas – it is in Mexico, after all! But nowadays a new scene is emerging, an upmarket one, dedicated to invention and innovation.

Right in the centre of the hotel zone, you can find Secrets The Vine, which opened only recently, but is already garnering rave reviews due to incredible dishes such as lobster and lime salad and avocado jelly clams.

Also taking place there is the 2014 Cancun-Riviera, an annual wine and food festival held in high esteem around the globe. Lasting for four days and featuring 30-odd chefs and about 50 wineries, the fest will offer tastings, demonstrations and parties. Come along for the ultimate taste of Mexico!

The Architecture

Cancun recently spent upwards of $70 million on improving the city’s infrastructure, and the shining beacon of all of it is the fantastic Museo Maya de Cancun. Opening at the end of last year, the museum deals with all aspects of Mayan culture, and is the largest structure to be by built the INAH (National Institute of Anthropology & History) since the ’80s.

Designed by the home-grown architect Alberto Garcia Lascurain, the building is strikingly modern. It is home to Jan Hendrix’s fountain sculpture and a living wall, but the centrepiece is the building itself – full of dramatic curves, it is sure to catch your eye.

The Airport

No, this isn’t a joke – Cancun International Airport was just voted the best airport in Latin American and the Caribbean! A great new building, paired with ingenious renovations and super-speedy service, contributes to its success, so what are you waiting for? Book flights to Cancun at now!

The Drinks

We know, we know – we said it wasn’t all about shots any more. And it isn’t! Now it’s cocktails! Currently enjoying a surge of popularity in Cancun is artisanal mezcal, a spirit derived from an agave plant. It has a long history in Mexico, but it has only recently been held in such high esteem, with people all over the country creating their own flairs.

Mexican wines are experiencing an increase in interest as well, so expect many tasting sessions to be on offer.