Cancun Day Trips

Best Cancun Day Trips

Are you looking for the best Cancun day trips to add to your Cancun itinerary?

Awesome, this list will help you know exactly what is in the area and what you can explore.

As you look at your options, you will need to decide if renting a car in Mexico or booking a tour is the right option for you.

Let’s explore all the amazing options near Cancun!

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Cancun To Tulum Day Trip
Located just under two hours south of Cancun, you’ll be in the bohemian beach paradise of Tulum, Mexico. For those who will be visiting Tulum for the first time, you’ll want to see the famous Tulum Mayan Ruins.

Tulum Ruins

At just $70 pesos ($4USD) to enter, it’s one of the cheapest and best things to do in Tulum.
While not a huge site, it is one of the most beautiful ruins in Mexico. The Tulum Ruins overlook the Caribbean Sea, and after you spend an hour or so walking the grounds, take the staircase down to the beach cove beneath and jump in the sea to cool down. 
When you’re hungry, head to any number of cafes along the Tulum Beach Road, like Matcha Mama for an acai bowl, or Taquería la Eufemia, for tacos on the beach. There’s also great shopping along the beach, as well as many photo ops in Instagram-worthy Tulum.

How to Get to Tulum

To get to Tulum from Cancun, you can drive your rental car, book a tour, take a taxi for about $1,000 pesos ($50USD) each way, or take the ADO bus for about $300 pesos ($15USD) each way.

Day Trip to See The Whale Sharks

Swim with the Whale Sharks in Cancun

If you’re after a unique Day trip from Cancun, then you might like to try snorkeling with the magnificent Whale Sharks. This can be done by everyone, and Cancun is one of the best places in the world to experience it.

Whale sharks are the biggest fish in the ocean, growing up to 12 meters long and averaging about 20 tons in weight. They might be part of the Shark family, but no need to be afraid, as they are known as filter feeders and their favorite meal is tiny organisms called plankton.

Best Time To Experience the Whale Sharks

From May to September, plankton is in abundance, and hundreds of whale sharks migrate through the Cancun area. You can book a day tour boat leaving from the Cancun Marina and set forth to witness these enormous creatures in the wild.

Make sure you pack the GoPro, so you can re-live it over and over again. Two people will enter the water at a time, dropping you in the path of the gliding Whale Shark. While snorkeling just under the water’s surface, you will observe its natural grace and beauty while passing you by. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience and should not be missed.

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Cancun Day Trip to Chichen Itza

Visit chichen Itza In Mexico

If exploring ancient ruins is on your list, Chichen Itza is the perfect day trip from Cancun.  

How to Get to Chichen Itza

A Chichen Itza tour from Cancun is the easiest way to get to Chichen Itza.  It is located 2.5 hours away from Cancun.  You could also rent a car if you prefer to drive.  The road to get to Chichen Itza is a toll road and costs over $60 so keep that in mind.  

Things to Do at Chichen Itza

The famous Chichen Itza pyramid (El Castillo) is located in the center of the complex.  It is the highlight of your day trip.  Exploring all the ancient ruins will take you most of the day.  There is so much to see including the ball court, cenotes, and the observatory. 

A visit to Chichen Itza is one of the most popular Cancun day trips.  


Day Trip to Cozumel from Cancun

Day trip from Cancun - Cozumel

One of the best islands to visit in Mexico is the Caribbean gem Isla Cozumel. This beautiful paradise in the Yucatán peninsula is one of the must-visits on any Mexico trip, especially as it’s close to popular Cancun.

How to Get to Cozumel

Isla Cozumel is a Caribbean island, located in front of Playa del Carmen and not far from Cancun. You have a few options to get here from Cancun. You could take public transport to Playa del Carmen and take the pedestrian ferry to the island from there. Or you can drive your car to another ferry just south of Playa del Carmen, so you can bring your own transport to the island. You could also book a tour and transportation will be included. 

That’s also what makes Cozumel different from all the other Mexican islands: it’s the only one with cars, creating the option to bring your own with you and drive yourself around the island. It’s much bigger than the other islands with many more attractions and great things to do.

Things to Do on Cozumel

Relaxing at the Caribbean beach is of course one of the main reasons to visit the island. The best beaches are on the west side of Isla Cozumel, where the ferries will drop you off and where the main town is. The main town is San Miguel de Cozumel and it’s big enough to have many supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, suburbs, bars and much more.

Explore the Art in San Miguel

One of the best things to do in San Miguel is exploring street art. Isla Cozumel has been part of the Sea Walls project several times. Each year, a coastal town is picked by this project to decorate it with stunning street art to create more awareness for healthy oceans.  Isla Cozumel has 53 of those artworks and you’ll find them all over San Miguel.

Explore More of the Island

If you don’t have a car with you, these beaches and San Miguel is where you’ll spend your time during your day trip from Cancun. If you do have your own car, you can opt to drive the ring road around the island. You’ll get to visit the rough coast on the eastern part of Cozumel, where the waves are intense and create blow holes in the rocky parts of Cozumel. You could visit the Maya ruins on the island or drive to the Punta Sur Eco Park in the south.

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Cancun to Merida Day Trip

Cancun to Merida Day Trip

Called the Cultural Capital of the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida offers visitors the chance to experience Mayan culture in ways they wouldn’t be able to in Cancun.

How to Get to Merida

Located about 3.5 hours away, a Cancun to Merida day trip is possible via the ADO bus. This is Mexico’s largest bus company, which operates day and night so you don’t have to drive back to Cancun after a long day of exploring. Round trip tickets prices vary, but figure about $25USD.

Things to Do in Merida

There are so many things to do in Merida, including strolling the beautiful Paseo de Montejo, a tree-lined street where you can see the Monumento a la Revolución and Palacio Canton, and Centro Historico (Historic Downtown).

Downtown Area

In downtown, there’s fair trade artisanal stops to buy handicrafts, like the Mercado de Artesanias, famous restaurants like La Chaya Maya, the bustling park in Playa Principal, the historic Merida Cathedral, built in the 16th Century, and colorful colonial architecture as far as the eye can see!  Photographers will especially love Merida, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico.

Yucatecan Cuisine

To sample authentic Yucatecan cuisine, you’ll also have no shortage of amazing restaurant options in Merida to try things like cochinita pibil and sopa de lima.
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Day Trip From Cancun to Punta Laguna

Cancun Day Trip to Punta Laguna

One of the most fun day trips from Cancun is the nature preserve at Punta Laguna. To visit this natural area in the middle of the jungle is just under two hours drive from Cancun. The natural area offers one of the most unique attractions: spider monkeys in their natural habitat!

How to Get to Punta Laguna

To visit, it is best to rent a car for the drive from Cancun. You can hire a Mayan guide right by the entrance, or walk independently. Take a walk through the jungle to see a plethora of wildlife. Your best chances of spotting the elusive spider monkeys will be with the help of a guide or a good deal of luck.

Things to Do at Punta Laguna

Bring closed toe shoes and a charged camera, to easily spot the moving monkeys. This walk through the jungle is appropriate for all ages! Adults and older children may also enjoy canoeing across the lake. There is a zip line you can ride on the other side! Take a break from the sun and sand and explore this gorgeous jungle.

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Day Trip From Cancun - Cenote Crystal

Day Trip From Cancun to Cenote Crystal

When looking for day trips from Cancun that will give you a full morning or afternoon of adventure, why not head over to Cenote Crystal?

Get Off the Beaten Path

Located just outside of Tulum Pueblo, this is a great way to get off the beaten track a little and do some cenote snorkeling or diving. The best thing is that you’ll encounter fewer tourist crowds there compared with some of the other more popular cenotes.

Swimming in Cenotes

If you were wondering whether or not cenotes in Mexico are safe for swimming, you’ll find that Cenote Crystal is perfect for swimming and you can even jump off a ledge that stands at around 3-4 meters high into the water.

If you are not a strong swimmer, don’t worry there is a secure rope that you can hold onto that leads into the water.

How to Get to Cenote Crystal

Also, if you are driving from Cancun you’ll find there is a free car park. Or, if you decide to travel via collectivo you’ll need to get to Tulum Pueblo and change there.

Cenote Crystal is open from the hours of 8 am to 5 pm 7 days a week, but it is a good idea to arrive as early as possible to make the most of your time here during the morning hours. 

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Day Trip From Cancun to Playa del Carmen

Cancun Day Trip to Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is the perfect day trip from Cancun. It takes just under an hour to drive there and it’s a fantastic spot to escape the crowds of tourists in Cancun.

Playa del Carmen is also a popular tourist spot but it has fewer resorts and more public beaches. It has a larger nightlife scene and lots of bars and restaurants to choose from.

Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

For a day trip, you should definitely have a drink at one of the bars along the Quinta Avenida, one of Playa del Carmen’s busiest streets. This is also where you’ll find the best opportunities for souvenir shopping and browsing. If you’re looking for a place to spend a full day you should check out one of Playa del Carmen’s beach clubs. There are several rooftop clubs to choose from such as Puro Beach.

Of course, no trip to Playa del Carmen is complete without some authentic Mexican tacos and other famous dishes from the area.

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Visit Xcaret Near Playa del Carmen

Activities at Xcaret Snorkeling

Xcaret is one of the best Cancun day trips.  There are so many Xcaret activities to keep you entertained and sites to explore. 

How to Get to Xcaret

Xcaret makes it very easy and convenient to visit.  Xcaret includes a bussing option making it very accessible from Cancun.  You can also rent a car and drive to Xcaret. It is located in Playa del Carmen.  

Things to Do at Xcaret

There are so many things to do at Xcaret.

The Xcaret activities include: 

  • Underwater Tunnels
  • Cenotes
  • Archeological Ruins
  • Cultural Presentations
  • Beach
  • Boat Rides
  • Dolphin Show
  • Snorkeling
  • Horse Show
  • Kids Area

You can easily spend an entire day exploring this park.  You will want to stay for the night show to watch an amazing cultural presentation representing the Mayan culture. 

Xcaret offers everything you would want within an easy day trip from Cancun. 

Day Trip from Cancun to Coba

Day trip from Cancun to Coba

Coba is, in my view, one of the most spectacular ruins in Mexico. Why do you ask? Because you can even climb this huge pyramid!

But be careful and don’t wear only flip flops on this day if you can 😉 The climb is quite steep and there is only 1 safety rope. But at the top you will be more than rewarded for your effort – the view over the Mexican jungle is unique! Be sure to be prepared and create a good Mexico packing list.

The entire area is huge. You can of course explore it on foot – but I would not recommend that! Hire a bici taxi or your own bicycle instead.

5 Facts:

1. One of the few places in the world where you can actually climb a real Mayan pyramid

2. There is a court fort the famous Mayan ballgame: ōllamaliztli

3. There are amazin Cenotes nearby, where you can relax after climbing the pyramid. (e.g. Cenote Choo-Ha)

4. Coba can be translated as „waters stirred by the wind”

5. You have to climb up 120 steps to get to the top of this ruin

How to Get To Coba from Cancun:

I definitely recommend renting a car. The shortest connection from Cancun to Coba is about 2 hours.  However, the route via Puerto Morelos, past Playa del Carmen (here are the most beautiful beaches on Yucatan) via Tulum (another great ruin) to Coba is much more beautiful.

Here you are on the road for about 2.5 hours. For a day trip it makes sense to choose this route on the way to Coba and to take the shorter one on the way back.

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Isla Mujeres Day Trip from Cancun

Day Trip From Cancun to Isla Mujeres

Located just off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a tiny tropical island known for its picturesque Caribbean beaches.

Meaning “Island of Women” in Spanish, the island offers many fun activities and makes for an unforgettable day trip from Cancun or the Riviera Maya.

How to Get to Isla Mujeres

The island can be reached by taking a quick 15 minute ferry ride from the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal in Cancun.  Once you arrive, you’ll have the option to take a taxi, rent a golf cart, or simply walk to your destination.  

Things to Do in Isla Mujeres

One of the most popular things to do in Isla Mujeres is spending the day relaxing at Playa Norte, which is the best beach on the island and where you’ll find numerous beach clubs and restaurants.  

Aside from relaxing at the beach, other popular activities include going on a catamaran tour, snorkeling at an underwater sculpture museum, or souvenir shopping in downtown Isla Mujeres.

No matter what you do, you’ll be amazed by the unbelievably turquoise water and tropical island views. 

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Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Garrafon Natural Reef Park near Cancun

Garrafon Natural Reef Park, located on Isla Mujeres is a perfect day trip from Cancun.

From relaxing on one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico to kayaking and snorkeling the Punta Sur Cove; from ziplining high above the turquois Caribbean waters to swimming with dolphins, this reef park has it all.

How to Get to Garrafon Natural Reef Park

Starting off your adventure at the Cancun pier, it is a short 25-minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres. There is a docking fee of about $13.00USD per person, which is not included with most tours.  From there your guide will escort you to the Parks entrance while explaining all the ins and outs to you.

Before you head off to experience Garrafon, make sure you verify the meeting time and place with your guide.

Things to Do at Garrafon Natural Reef Park

If you don’t have the little ones and prefer a splash free zone, Garrafon Reef Park has an adult only section with an upgrade from regular admission to the Garrafon Royal VIP admission.

This kiddie free zone offers its own infinity pool with panoramic views of the brilliant Caribbean Ocean, comfortable cabanas, private locker rooms and the VIP restaurant with your included lunch buffet.

Bring your waterproof camera for this memory maker.

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Day Trip From Cancun to Las Colaradas

Day trip From Cancun to Las Coloradas
Set a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Cancun, Las Coloradas is a set of colorful lakes and one of the most interesting places to visit in the Yucatan Peninsula.

Humongous Pink Lake

The biggest attraction at Las Coloradas is a humongous pink lake that’s worth the drive on its own, but lingering a while longer and booking a tour to explore the area further is recommended, as you’ll also be able to see orange, green, and even yellow-hued lakes!

How To Get to Las Coloradas

The best way to get to Las Coloradas is by driving, but you can also take an ADO bus to Valladolid early in the morning and then get to Las Coloradas by public bus from there.

After exploring Las Coloradas, you can also set out to explore the nearby Ría Lagartos, which is a biosphere reserve where you can spot flamingoes, alligators, and all sorts of birds!

Pro tip

While you can visit Las Coloradas any time of the year, it’s recommended to check that there hasn’t been any rain in the area the previous days. This is because rain can dilute the organisms that make the water look a bright color pink! 

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Are you Ready to Plan a Cancun Day Trip?

Xcaret Park in Cancun Mexcio

There are so many great options for Cancun day trips.  Hopefully, this helps you decide which direction you want to go.  The Yucatan is a beautiful area that needs to be explored! 

Have so much fun! 

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  1. Cancun really looks lovely. I’d love to go one day. All of the water looks gorgeous, but that pink lake looks so cool. I’d love to see it for myself!

  2. My sister goes down to CanCun area almost yearly. I’ll have to share some of these day trip ideas with her.

  3. So many great places to visit that are closer to Cancun. They all look like they have great things to offer, so lots of great choices!

  4. Great list of day trips from Cancun. Our family stayed on the Peninsula way back, and we visited Chichen Itza then – when you could climb to the top.

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