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.
There are so many great day trips from Cancun! The Yucatan Peninsula is such a beautiful area with cenotes, Mayan ruins, incredible beaches, and historic towns.
There are lots of options for Cancun day trips and I am excited to share with you the best day tours Cancun has to offer!
Let's explore all the best day trips from Cancun!
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Cancun Day Trip Questions (Rent a Car or Book a Tour)
Before we dive into all the amazing Cancun day trips, I know you are going to have a few questions. I will try to answer as many as I can.
Should I Rent a Car or Take a Tour?
As you look at your options, you will need to decide if renting a car in Cancun or booking a Cancun day tour is the right option for you. Personally, I rented a car on my last trip and I would rather book a tour.
Should I Book a Day Trip from Cancun Tour Ahead of Time?
Is a Cancun Day Trip Safe?
Yes, Most of the Rivera Maya and top tourist attractions are safe. Like in any place if you venture into the wrong neighborhood you may run into trouble. As a general rule, stay in the tourist areas and you will be safe.
1. Day Trip to Tulum from Cancun
How to Get to Tulum
2. Day Trip to See The Whale Sharks
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 of Year for a Cancun Day Trip to See 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 Cancun 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. This is one of the best in Cancun!
Contributed By: AquariusTraveler.com
3. Cancun Day Trip to Chichen Itza
If exploring ancient ruins is on your list, Chichen Itza is the perfect day trip from Cancun. It is one of the new 7 wonders of the world.
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.
4. Day Trip to Cozumel from Cancun
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 and a great idea for a Cancun day 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 to Cozumel 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.
Cozumel is one of the best Cancun day trips!
Contributed By: Theorangebackpack.com
5. 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. It is a perfect day trip from Cancun.
How to Get to Merida
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).
Photographers will especially love Merida, considered one of the most beautiful cities in Mexico.
6. Day Trip From Cancun 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. You will not regret this day trip from Cancun.
Contributed By: Atinytrip.com
7. Day Trip From Cancun - 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.
Contributed By: Layerculture.com
8. Day Trip From Cancun 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 Cancun 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.
Contributed By: Guideyourtravel.com
9. Visit Xcaret Near Playa del Carmen
Xcaret is one of the best Cancun day trips. There are so many Xcaret activities to keep you entertained and sites to explore. You can book a tour from Cancun or if you are driving you can book your tickets ahead of time.
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
- Archeological Ruins
- Cultural Presentations
- Boat Rides
- Dolphin Show
- 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.
10. 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 About Coba
- One of the few places in the world where you can actually climb a real Mayan pyramid
- There is a court for the famous Mayan ballgame: ōllamaliztli
- There are amazing Cenotes nearby, where you can relax after climbing the pyramid. (e.g. Cenote Choo-Ha)
- Coba can be translated as „waters stirred by the wind”
- 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 or booking a tour. 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 Cancun day trip it makes sense to choose this route on the way to Coba and to take the shorter one on the way back.
Contributed By: Traxpolorio.com
11. Isla Mujeres Day Trip from Cancun
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.
No matter what you do, you’ll be amazed by the unbelievably turquoise water and tropical island views.
Contributed By: Vivalatravelista.com
12. Garrafon Natural Reef Park
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 $13.00 USD 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. This is a fantastic Cancun day trip!
Contributed By: Dreamcaribbeantravel.com
13. Day Trip From Cancun to Las Colaradas
Humongous Pink Lake
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!
14. Isla Blanca
How to Get to Isla Blanca
Things to Do at Isla Blanca
There are no facilities in the area, so make sure you bring your own water and snacks and use lots of sunscreens because there’s no shade at all and you will be completely exposed to the tropical sun.
Things to Do at Xpu-ha
How To Get to Xpu-ha
16. Casa Cenote
How to Get to Casa Cenote
Things to Do at Casa Cenote
17. Cenote Suytun
How to Get to Cenote Suytun
It is located about 2.5 hours from Cancun, near the small pueblo of Tikuch. The best way to get there is by car, since public transportation is limited and could double the trip time.
18. Izamal Pueblo Magico
Things to Do in Izamal
How to Get to Izamal
19. Tulum Ruins
How to Get to the Tulum Ruins
Things to Do at the Tulum Ruins
20. Swimming with Sea Turtles in Akumal
Take a day trip from Cancun to Akumal, a small Caribbean community known for its abundance of sea turtles!
How to Get to Akumal
If you have a car, it is a two-hour drive from Cancun, or you can take a tour there.
Things to Do at Akumal
Arriving at Akumal beach early is the key to having the best chance of spotting the turtles. Once more people arrive, the water begins to get cloudy as sand is kicked up.
You can explore on your own and rent a snorkel/goggles or you can join a tour once you get there.
Swimming with sea turtles at Akumal is one of the best day trips from Cancun!
Contributed By: Herlifeadventures.com
21. Cancun Day Trip to Valladolid
Things to Do in Valladolid
How to Get to Valladolid
22. Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
Sian Ka'an is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the largest protected areas in Mexico at about one million acres.
Things to Do at Sian Ka'an
23. Cancun DayTrip to Bacalar
Things to Do in Bacalar
24. EK Balam
Located about 25 minutes north of Valladolid, Ek Balam is Mayan archeological site in the municipality of Temozón.
El Balam means “Black Jaguar” in the Mayan language and dates back to the Middle Pre-Classic (700-300 B.C). The area has over 40 well-preserved structures including stelae’s, pyramids, and arches. You can get a panoramic view of the Yucatan jungle once you climb on the top of the main pyramid.
Things to Do at Ek Balam
To get to Ek Balam from Valladolid, drive north for 12 miles/19 km on Highway 295, then east on a secondary road. The entrance to Ek Balam is about 500 Mexican Pesos (25 USD) and has to be paid in cash.
If you are visiting Ek Balam, don’t miss out on Cenote X’canche, one of the best-hidden cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. To get to X’Canche, you can take a walk or rent a bike for about 100 Pesos. The entrance to cenote X’Canche is located near Ek Balam.
The entrance to Cenote Xcanche is 70 Pesos, and you could also enjoy fun activities like zip-lining over this cenote for an additional cost.
Contributed By: Thediscoverynut.com
Are you Ready to Plan a Cancun Day Trip?
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 picking the best day trip from Cancun!!
Do you have any more questions about Cancun or need more Cancun Travel Tips?
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