13 Best Day Trips from Cancun, Mexico
Known for being one of the hottest destinations to party in the sun, the sunny resort city of Cancun draws in thousands of tourists every single year! However, Cancun is so much more than resorts, hotels, and partying, with it being situated in one of the most beautiful destinations in the world: the Yucatan Peninsula!
Not far from the coastal city, you will find a range of incredible gems to explore. From paradise islands, ancient ruins, and crystal-clear cenotes, there is an abundance of amazing places to adventure to. In this article, we have scouted out some of the best things to do near Cancun and broken down 12 of the best Cancun day trips.
So, if you want to make your trip to Cancun one to remember, carry on scrolling below.
1 – Chiquila
Known for being the gateway to the famous Isla Holbox, but an incredible destination in its own right, Chiquila is an awesome option for a day trip from Cancun. Chiquila is jam-packed full of exciting things to do, making it great for those who like to keep busy.
Some of the things you can expect to do include wandering around the boutiques and museums in the downtown area and indulging in world class-cuisine at one of Chiquila’s famous 5-course restaurants. On a day trip from Cancun to Chiquila, you also can’t miss a trip to Yalahau Lagoon, a heavenly natural swimming spot with spearmint blue waters.
2 – Las Coloradas & Rio Lagartos
Ever seen those mystical pictures of the pink waters in Mexico and wondered where they were? Well, they’re situated on the beautiful beach of Las Coloradas and are one of the most unique landscapes in the entire country.
You can do a full-day trip from Cancun to explore the beaches whilst also stopping off in the beautiful Yucatán nature reserve of Rio Lagartos. On the trip, you can marvel at the pinky-colored waters, see a range of diverse wildlife species, including flamingos and crocodiles, and take in breathtaking jungle backdrops.
However, make sure to bring your swimsuit as you will definitely want to cool off from the sun in the water on this trip as it can get very hot.
3 – Xcaret Park
Xcaret Park is a destination full of adventure, making it perfect for our adrenaline junkie readers. The park is home to over 40 attractions, making it a great place for a full-day tour from Cancun!
Expect to spend your day at the park wandering through jungle trails, spotting dazzling wildlife, swimming in rocky caves, and learning about Mayan Culture. Xcaret Park also puts on several events so be sure to check out what’s on, during the dates you’re visiting.
If you’re heading to Cancun over Halloween, be sure to book a ticket to the park’s incredible Life and Death Festival.
4 – Xoximilico Park
This is your chance to embark on a true Mexican fiesta! Xoximilico Park is home to one of the most unique experiences on the east coast of Mexico and is a vibrant and fun adventure for travelers heading on a day trip from Cancun.
Nicknamed the ‘Venice of Mexico’ Xoximilico Park is home to gondola-like boats called trajineras which are super bright and colorful. On these, you will enjoy a tasty cocktail or delicious meal while being surrounded by incredible scenery.
As the sun begins to set, classic live music groups perform, creating a vibrant and social atmosphere. For those who want to party, you can even enjoy an open beer and tequila bar, which will definitely get you moving to the dance floor later on in the evening.
5 – Tulum
Tulum is an iconic destination in the Yucatan Peninsula and is known for its sparkling blue waters, cream-colored sands, incredible beachfront bars, and, of course, its magnificent archaeological site. Tulum is just a two-hour drive south of Cancun and there are multiple tour operators offering day tours from Cancun to explore the area.
There are several activities you can explore in Tulum including swimming in refreshing cenotes, learning about Mayan Civilisation, and quite simply just relaxing on one of Mexico’s most beautiful beaches. At the ruins, you will get to see the impressive pyramid temple of El Castillo and the Temple of the Frescoes.
6 – Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is one of the new seven wonders of the world and is a bucket list activity for most travelers heading to Mexico. This means it certainly shouldn’t be left off your list of things to do near Cancun.
Arguably the main attraction of the park is the magnificent angular pyramid of Kulkulkan, which has a deep rooted history and culture and is one of the most important symbols of Mexico. Chichen Itza is a full-day trip from Cancun and, along with seeing incredible archaeological sites, you can also swim in crystalline waters and wander through jungles!
7 – Holbox Island
Another paradise island on our list of things to do near Cancun, Holbox Island, is an epic day trip from Cancun for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Holbox Island is everything you can expect from a remote island in the Caribbean Sea with pristine white sandy beaches, waters so clear you can see your reflection and rustic streets full of tasty local restaurants. Whilst on the island we’d also highly recommend that you visit both Punta Mosquito and Isla Pasion!
Both these destinations are the perfect place to spot some unique wildlife species.
8 – Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
If you’re a wildlife and nature lover, then this is the ultimate day trip from Cancun for you! Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula.
The reserve is packed full of beautiful tropical forests, exotic mangroves, and marshes along with crystalline waters. Sian Ka’an is also known for its incredible efforts for sustainable tourism which is always great to know when heading on tours to biodiverse landscapes.
9 – Various Cenotes Tour
Cenotes are arguably one of Mexico’s most stunning natural spots and there are over 6,000 of them in the Yucatan Peninsula. Cancun’s central location in the region makes it one of the best places to base yourself to visit some of the best in the region.
So, why not take yourself on a tour of four cenotes in one day? Multiple tour operators offer packages that take you to four cenotes, all of which offer something unique. In the cenotes, you can get yourself involved in several different activities, including caving, kayaking, snorkeling, and zip lining.
If you don’t have too much time on your hands, there are also half-day trips from Cancun. The trip with Get Your Guide is definitely one of our favourite Cancun tours!
10 – Rio Secreto
Rio Secreto is one the best half-day trips from Cancun and is perfect for those water lovers. Get ready to explore what seems like another world, with Rio Secreto being an underground river with thousands of dramatic stalactites.
In Rio Secreto’s underground network, you will find labyrinths, rigid caves, and breathtaking reflections. It’s known for being a once-in-a-lifetime experience that nearly made it to being one of the new wonders of the world.
11 – Cozumel
Nicknamed a small island packed with a punch, Cozumel is an idyllic destination for a day trip from Cancun! The island is known for its epic snorkeling spots with the island being surrounded by multi-colored reefs, exotic marine wildlife, and beautiful blue waters.
One of the best aspects of the island is it still has a laid-back island approach with little tourism infrastructure making it a back-to-basics island escape for the day. There are frequent ferries from Cancun to Cozumel from early in the morning to late at night.
This means if you fancy partying at one of the island’s beach bars, you can still make it back to your accommodation in Cancun!
12 – Akumal
Akumal is a quiet and laid-back beach town just south of Cancun slotted in between the city and tourist-favorite hotspot Tulum. It’s known for having some of the bluest waters in the region along with beaches that haven’t been spoiled by tourism. Akumal is also famous for being one of the best places in Mexico to swim with wild turtles.
However, make sure you pick an ethical and environmental company to go with as the turtles are extremely important to the biodiversity in the region. In Akumal, you also have the incredible Yal Ku Lagoon which leads straight into the ocean. This is the perfect sheltered area to take a dip in and escape from the burning Mexican sun!
13 – Isla Mujeres
The last destination on our list is arguably one of the most famous places to visit in the entirety of Mexico!
Isla Mujeres is a paradise island known for its turquoise waters, picturesque backdrops, and silky white sands. On the island, expect to spend your days exploring marine wildlife on a snorkeling trip, soaking up the beaming Yucatan sun on one of its fine beaches, and watching the most breathtaking sunsets.
To get to Isla Mujeres, you can either take a return ferry over to the island which will take you around 20-30 minutes. Alternatively, you can take the more luxurious route on a full-day tour in a catamaran to the island!
We hope you enjoyed reading this article on the best day trips from Cancun! If you do end up visiting any of our recommendations, do let us know below.