The 8 best places for day trips from Cancun, Mexico

Best 10 Day Trips from Cancun, Mexico

Cancun has great hotels and terrific nightlife, not to mention stunning beaches, but it’s just a gateway to the Mayan world. There are water parks, nature reserves and archaeological sites that you really shouldn’t miss. Even if your main interest is to relax and unwind, you should still visit some of these day trips to Cancun during your stay.

Chichen Itza

Named one of the wonders of the New World, this pre-Hispanic city has been the political, religious and military center of the Yucatan Peninsula for centuries. Admire the amazing Mayan art and architecture of this ancient city. Hire a guide to fully appreciate the archaeological excavations. Chichen Itza is 125 miles from Cancun, two to three hours away, about halfway between Cancun and Merida. If you go on your own, take care to arrive early before tourist groups enjoy the site with fewer people.

02 out of 10

Tulum

Tulum was once a busy Mayan ceremonial center and trading port. The ruins are in a picturesque location on a cliff overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. The archaeological sites in Tulum are small, consisting of about 60 buildings, and can be viewed in about two hours. Tulum’s beach is perhaps the most beautiful in Mexico. Tulum is located 72 miles south of Cancun. A visit to Tulum can be combined with a visit to Xel-Ha (see Next item on the list) for a full day excursion.

Xel-Ha

Xel-Ha is an aquatic theme park where interconnected freshwater lagoons combine with saltwater streams to create a unique ecosystem with many tropical fish. It’s a great place for kids and beginner snorkelers. Other activities include swimming along the river on inner tubes, swinging over the cenotes and swimming with dolphins. If you get tired of being in the water, you can take an eco-hiking tour of the surrounding jungle. Xel-Ha is 68 miles south of Cancun.

04 of 10

Playa del Carmen.

Once a sleepy fishing village, Playa del Carmen has become a cosmopolitan city, now the largest on the Riviera Maya. If you’re interested in shopping, nightlife and fine restaurants, this is the place, but the beach is also appealing. Go for a day or, better yet, an evening stroll down Quinta Avenida and admire the stores and people watching. Playa del Carmen is about 35 miles south of Cancun.

Cascaret

This is a unique ecological theme park with water sports, archaeological digs, a recreated Mayan village and jungle trails. You can spend a full day at Xcaret! You can swim in the underground rivers, snorkel, see a reenactment of a pre-Hispanic ball game, visit ancient Mayan ruins, and end the day by watching the spectacular cultural show that takes place every night. Xcaret is just under an hour south of Cancun, about 40 miles.

06 out of 10.

Sian Ka’an Ecological Reserve

One of the largest protected areas in Mexico, Sian Ka’an has about 1.3 million acres of unspoiled natural beauty with undiscovered Mayan ruins, freshwater canals, mangroves, lagoons and bays. Visitors can learn about its diverse wildlife and take part in conservation projects. Ecological tours of the reserve are offered, as well as kayak and fly-fishing tours. The Sian Ka’an Ecological Reserve begins just south of Tulum.

07 of 10

Isla Mujeres.

Isla Mujeres is a 5-mile long island with a tranquil atmosphere. It’s a great place to relax by the water or enjoy a meal at one of the oceanfront restaurants. There are many options for snorkeling, or you can rent a golf cart or scooter to explore the island. Attractions include Turtle Farm, Garrafon Park, and Contoy Island nearby. You can reach Isla Mujeres by ferry from the Cancun hotel area in about 20 minutes.

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08 out of 10

Cosumel

The largest island in the Mexican Caribbean Sea is a short ferry ride from Playa del Carmen. It is one of the best places for snorkeling and scuba diving, with clear water providing visibility up to 200 feet. The center of the island is mostly undeveloped jungle and lagoons with many endemic species of small animals and birds. Chankanaab National Park has a botanical garden with tropical plants and the Chankanaab Lagoon, a natural aquarium with more than 60 species of tropical fish, crustaceans and corals.

Continue to 9 out of 10 below. 09 out of 10.

Akumal

This fishing village is a good place for windsurfing and snorkeling and is also a popular place to swim with sea turtles. You can rent boats for sport fishing or a diving instructor to take you to the closest reefs. At the Environmental Center, you can hire a guide to take you through the jungle to learn about the local flora and fauna. There are beach restaurants with great seafood along the beach. Akumal is located 62 miles south of Cancun.

10 out of 10.

It is one of the largest Mayan archaeological sites, although only a few of its approximately 6,500 structures have been excavated. Coba was the center of a complex network of roads and was probably an important trade link between Maya outposts on the coast and the cities within. The tallest pyramid, Nohuch Mul, has 120 steps–if you don’t suffer from vertigo, you can enjoy a spectacular view of the jungle from above. Koba is 95 miles from Cancun.

What excursions can I take from Cancun?

What interesting places can I go to from Cancun? If you can, specifics are needed.

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If you are planning a vacation in a popular Mexican resort of Cancun, you can only envy, because you can visit many unique historical sites and see a huge number of objects of the tour. By the way, remember that excursions around the country with a Russian-speaking guide is quite expensive, it is better to rent a car and get to your own destination and there to take a tour. From Cancun you can go to the park Skaret, where you can walk all day, see the animals, ancient temples, the cemetery with colored graves, etc. In addition, the park has a beautiful beach with lagoons, and at the end of the day is worth a theatrical performance, where you can see dressed up in Mayan costumes. From Cancun you can also go to see the pyramid of Koba, which impresses all tourists without exception. Many travelers vacationing in Cancun, also tend to go on an excursion to Chichen Itza, but its price will depend on where you buy it, the duration and other factors (the cost varies from $50 to $ 200 c / person).

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There will be tons of excursions in Cancun and most of them are, in fact, insanely interesting and informative.

If you have already decided to travel to Mexico, you are probably not indifferent to the history of the ancient Mayan civilization, and therefore would advise an excursion to Chichen Itza. The cost of the trip for an adult is 105-115 dollars, for children – half as much. The distance from Cancun is 210 km, travel time with one stop is 2.5 hours. The excursion program will offer you a visit to the Temple of Warriors, which is a pyramid, you will see the largest ball field in Mesoamerica and the Celestial Observatory, swim in the sacred rain lake Ik Kil.

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For nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, a trip to the Mexican Jungle is an interesting experience. You will see tropical trees, rare species of birds and animals. But the most amazing thing you can see in these places – the ancient tribes who still live in the jungle. Many of them have no idea what life is like outside the rainforest. In addition to learning about the flora and fauna, you will be waiting for a stop at the beaches and swimming. The approximate cost of the tour – $100 for an adult, $50 for a child.

Another fun excursion for an active time is swimming with turtles. For $75 per adult and $60 per child in a small group you will be taken to the Caribbean Reef. Snorkeling, snorkeling, and flippers are available to watch sea creatures move about, a guide will show you the sea turtles, the colorful tropical fish that live in these waters, and a tour of the seaweed and beautiful coral reefs.

One of the most popular family excursions in Cancun is called “Captain Hook”. It is a sea voyage aboard a pirate ship with costumed entertainers, an exciting show, competitions, dancing and swimming in the clearest waters of the open sea. A ticket for an adult on board costs $90 and for a child $45.

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Both local travel agencies and tour operators, offer from Cancun a lot of interesting excursions for all tastes. If you are not embarrassed by the English or Spanish-speaking guide, it is better to buy excursions from locals – it’s cheaper. A standard set of excursions includes visits to the following places:

Park Skaret – on the territory you can see a garden of orchids, a butterfly garden, a bird park, quite a large area is occupied by a rainforest, through which tame animals walk freely. The park has its own Botanical Garden, a beach where you can do snookerling, there is a restored village of the Mayans, as it should have looked hundreds of years ago, and many more interesting things. The cost of the trip is from $100 to $150. This tour is one of the most popular, and deservedly so;

The Pyramids of Chichen Itza – an introduction is not necessary. The cost of the tour is from $100 to $200 (it depends on the agency);

Koba pyramids and the ancient city of Tulum – the city, the antiquity of buildings are not inferior to the Chichen Itza. Due to the location, both attractions are often combined into one tour, the cost of which is from $ 60 per person;

Dolphinarium Riviera Maya – one of the most interesting and entertaining excursions. Dolphinariums are made in the likeness of tropical islands and are among the top ten in the world, several entertainment programs offer not only to watch the show, but also to swim with dolphins. The cost of the tour starts at $120;

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We should not forget that Cancun is primarily a seaside resort, it is surrounded on almost all sides by water! And the organizers of recreation in Cancun did not fail to take advantage of this circumstance: coming here tourists, in addition to the possibility of visiting the many interesting places on the mainland, can make a number of unforgettable excursions in the other direction – towards the sea! Thus, eight kilometers from Cancun isla de Mujeres (Women’s Island) is one of the world’s most famous entertainment complexes – Garrafón National Marine Park. You can simply wander or ride a bike through the park, you can do water activities (scooters, quad bikes, boats, etc.) or you can experience hours of unforgettable diving in one of the world’s best diving spots, which, without a doubt, is the surrounding coast. In short, to visit Cancun and not visit Garrafon is like visiting France and not visiting Paris. It costs a day trip to Garrafón from Cancun inexpensive – $ 75 as a group, including transportation costs (but that is without water activities and diving).

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In addition, the sea invites tourists who arrived in Cancun to another island – unforgettable Kontoy (37 kilometers from Cancun). This island is completely occupied by the national park, which is called Isla Contoy. It brings tourists from all over the world to admire the unique enclave of pristine tropical nature, inhabited by a huge number of intrepid animals and birds (just some species of birds here – 150). The best excursions from Cancun to the island today organizes the Mexican company Asterix Tours (the cost of a group tour – $ 90 for an adult and 45 – for a child, including transportation costs).

So, it remains to be seen which excursions from Cancun are more interesting – towards the mainland or the sea!

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It should be noted that there is another possibility to make an interesting excursion from Cancun – namely, to visit the world famous resort island of Cozumel. The island is located in the Caribbean Sea at a distance of about 57 km west of Cancun.

The size of the island is 48 km from north to south and 16 km from west to east. Most of the island is occupied by the Chankanaab National Park, which is an exotic tropical forest with areas of picturesque rocks.

But the greatest attraction of Cozumel is, of course, the amazing beauty of scuba diving. The fact is that along the island is the second largest coral reef in the world (it is second only to the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific Ocean). By the way, in the southern part of Cozumel, on the coast there is another national park – Parque Nacional Arrecifes de Cozumel.

Therefore, Cozumel is now one of the universally recognized diving and snorkeling centers of the world.

You can get to Cozumel as direct from Cancun by passenger plane (the ticket price – about 75 am. ), and a ferry by sea – but then you would have to take a bus from Cancun to the town of Playa del Carmen (it is located 50 kilometers south), where the ferry to Cosumel depart every hour (round trip ticket price for an adult – 24 am. dollars, for children under 11 years – $ 14 am, travel time – 45 minutes).

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From Cancun there are many interesting and informative excursions, where you will get the most complete picture of the history and culture of Mexico. One of the most interesting is to visit the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza. From Cancun it is located at a distance of just over 200 km. Excursion bus covers it in about three hours. At the center of the cultural complex is a pyramid, which includes 365 steps. As many as there are days in the year, which was very symbolic for the ancient Mayans. There are several other ancient religious structures in the area of the pyramid, which will also be interesting to see.

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Another interesting excursion is to the Garrafón National Park. It is located on an island, where you can take a special catamaran from Cancun. For tourists in the park is a unique show program with dolphins. The panoramic views over the Caribbean Sea are worth taking pictures of. In Garrafon there are extreme kinds of entertainment for the most daring. For example, the famous bungee jumping or diving on submersible bathyscaphes to explore the beautiful barrier reef of the island.

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The most popular resort on the Mexican coast is Cancun. This city is one of the top five resorts in the world, located on the island of Yucatan on the Caribbean coast. It has beautiful clear sea water of no real color, long beaches with white sand and an ideal climate. The resort is ideal for holidays with children, young people, couples, fans of surfing, diving, yachting. On the shores of the coral reef you can ride on a submersible motorcycle and see the inhabitants of the seabed. In addition to resting there you can visit the interesting excursions to the town of Tulum, which contains the ruins of the disappeared mysterious civilization of the Maya. Tulum means “wall” in Mayan. Very interesting to visit the Temple of Frescos, the Temple of God and the Temple of the Sea. Tulum Archaeological Complex is open from 8:00 to 17:00 cost 57 pesos. The bus will take you from Cancun for 100 pesos. A must-see isle of Women’s Island with an abundance of female figures made of clay. Another great place to visit is Chichen Itza, a Mayan architectural monument. You will see the Mayan Astronomical Observatory, Temple of the Jaguars, Warrior Temple, Temple of Eagles and Tigers, palaces and pyramids, and a sacred well. Admission to the grounds is 160 pesos and access is from 8:00 to 18:00.

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Visitors to Cancun have an excellent and almost unique opportunity to swim with great whale sharks in the open waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The island of Isla Holbox, which is located about ten kilometers off the northeast coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, is home to a large number of whale sharks from May to September. Whale sharks are the largest of the shark family. More than ten meters in length of a standard adult, and some of them are sometimes as long as eighteen to twenty meters, although it is very rare to find such individuals. Unlike most of their congeners, whale sharks feed only on plankton and most of the time they remain on the water surface, swim quite slowly and are characterized by very apathetic and sluggish disposition, so they do not represent any danger to humans.

It is because of their apathetic disposition of these huge fish often absolutely do not react to people who are in the water, who can even touch them. Whale sharks are found throughout the world’s oceans, in warm waters of tropical latitudes, but most often they can be found in the waters near the Seychelles, off the coast of Taiwan, East and Southeast Africa, the Philippines, the Red Sea, as well as in the Gulf of Mexico and some of the coastal areas of Australia.

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These fish tend to swim in small and scattered groups, less often singly, and in areas of abundant food, sometimes you can meet a cluster of whale sharks numbering from a hundred individuals. During the same period, from May to September, groups of tourists come here to swim close to these huge but harmless sea creatures. Get a fraction of the absolutely incredible, incomparable experience of a trip to Mexico. Such an excursion usually begins in the morning. In Cancun itself, tourists are picked up by boats, and you will sail for about an hour and a half to the place where this species of shark resides. Once you reach the right place, tourists are team of two people, sometimes with life jackets, flippers and masks, together with an instructor, make a dive into the water to the whale sharks. You can swim as close to the sharks as you want, the only thing is not to interfere with their natural behavior in the aquatic environment. If you do not want to go with a group of tourists, then the only alternative is to book an individual tour or just go with your own company, this option is the most convenient for swimming with whale sharks in Cancun.

A visit to Tulum is one of the most popular excursions from Cancun. Tulum is a picturesque place located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. The city was once an important port of the ancient Mayans, during the night the main pyramid served as a lighthouse for the sailors. About a kilometer long fortress wall, which surrounds Tulum from the land side, and its width is sometimes five to six meters. Here you will see the Castle of El Castillo, the Temple of Frescos, the House of Chultun, the Temple of the Descending God as well as the remains of many other important residential and ceremonial buildings of the Maya. The interesting combination of subtropical coastal vegetation, gray stone buildings and the turquoise tones of the Caribbean Sea will undoubtedly draw the attention of photo enthusiasts. On average, a standard tour lasts about six hours. The price includes transfers, a Russian-speaking guide, snorkeling equipment and lunch, including snacks and drinks. Additionally, you will need to pay the port fee, which is five dollars per person and tips to the driver and guide. The price is $320.

Generally, time is allotted during the tour for a swim in the turquoise sea waters. After you go to the village of Tanka, formerly owned by the Mayans, it is located in the eco-park, hidden by impenetrable jungle. The village is also located above the SAC ACTUN, a system of underground rivers. In the eco-park itself there are many activities, here you can get a real pleasure from the unique views of the surrounding nature. Located here and the karst lake cenote, in the waters of which you can also swim. Still such a tour gives the opportunity to go down a steel cable to the canopy from the pier, to exercise in the management of canoes. It is also possible to go on a jungle safari, for this offer a rental jeep.

Typically, this tour includes transportation for the entire program, a guide (Russian-speaking), entrance fees to the village of Tanka and the archaeological area of Tulum. Plus lunch and refreshments. Additionally have to pay for renting jeeps and tips for the driver and the guide. The price is $155.

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