12 Best Day Trips From Cancún, Mexico - Updated 2024

| 4 min read

The charming Mexican city of Cancún is located on the Yucatán Peninsula along the Caribbean Sea, which makes this paradise an exciting place for everyone, especially beach bums. Pristine beaches, luxurious resorts, and nightlife - you’ll find it all here. If you want more, there are plenty of destinations from Cancún that give you both water and land adventures. Tulum is a great place to have a glimpse of life during the Mayan post-classic period. Head from Playa del Carmen to Isla Mujeres and everywhere in between. Each area has its beach vibes full of coral reefs and sandy shores. For budget-friendly stays, you can book a room in one of the cheap hotels. There are plenty of beach house rentals if you would like to stay by the water. To experience the beach vibe of Cancún and nearby areas, scroll down for the best day trips from Cancún, Mexico.

1. Ek’Balam (from USD 76.5)

day trips from cancun | ek’balam

One of the best destinations in Mexico, Ek’Balam is located in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is an ancient Maya city that offers a rich historical and archaeological experience for visitors. One of the highlights of Ek'Balam is its well-preserved structures, including the Acropolis, the Ball Court, and the imposing main pyramid known as El Torre.

Compared to some of the more well-known Maya sites like Chichen Itza or Tulum, Ek'Balam receives fewer visitors, making it a great option for those seeking a more intimate and less crowded experience. The site’s relatively smaller size also makes it easier to explore in a day, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the history and atmosphere of the place. There are also cenotes (natural sinkholes) nearby, such as Cenote X'Canche, where you can take a refreshing dip in crystal-clear waters after exploring the ruins.

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Ek Balam, Chichen Itza, Cenote & Buffet Lunch

Duration: 12.0 hour

15 reviews

2. Puerto Morelos (from USD 45.0)

day trips from cancun | puerto morelos

Puerto Morelos makes for one of the best vacation spots in Mexico and is a fantastic day trip destination from Cancún. With its pristine beaches, clear turquoise waters, and vibrant coral reef, it is a paradise for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts.

The town itself exudes a laid-back vibe, with colorful fishing boats, a picturesque central square, and a selection of charming restaurants and cafes serving delicious local cuisine. Whether you want to relax on the beach, explore the underwater wonders of the reef, or simply immerse yourself in the local culture, Puerto Morelos provides a perfect escape from the busier tourist areas while still being easily accessible from Cancun.

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From Cancún: Puerto Morelos Guided Taco Tasting Tour

Duration: 4.5 hour

3. Isla Mujeres (from USD 48.6)

day trips from cancun | isla mujeres

One of the best day tours from Cancún, Isla Mujeres promises a fun time. If you truly want to experience real water adventures, Isla Mujeres must be included in your list. This little piece of paradise is just 13 km (8.08 mi) off the coast of Cancún and is one of the best tourist destinations in Mexico. Situated in the Caribbean Sea, Isla Mujeres (Island of Women) promises lots of water activities, from scuba diving to snorkeling. Playa Norte, luxurious resorts and hotels, and swaying palm trees also contribute to making your dream holiday a blast. Luckily, this wonderful Isla Mujeres tour is here to help you throughout. The tour includes snorkeling and beverages, and for a premium option, a lunch buffet and transportation are included.

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Isla Mujeres: Catamaran with Open Bar, Snorkeling and Lunch

Duration: 8.0 to 10.0 hour

1124 reviews

4. Coba

Source: Pixabay

Another interesting place in Mexico that you should not miss is Coba. Situated in Quintana Roo, on the Yucatán Peninsula, this ancient Mayan city allows you to have a glimpse of life is in the Mesoamerican civilization during the Late Classic Period. It’s now time to discover the mysterious ancient Mayan world. Coba Ruins is one of the most sought-after tourist spots here. It boasts unspoiled structures that make for excellent photo opportunities.

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5. Cozumel Island

East Coast (Beach in Cozumel)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Ricraider used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Experience Cozumel Island’s best activities - snorkeling and diving adventures. Cozumel Island is known for its outstanding and amazing coral reefs, which makes this place a superb spot for wonderful snorkeling and diving experiences in the Caribbean Sea. Cozumel Island features virgin shorelines and untouched wilderness. If you want to take a break from the world, this is one of the best places for that. Meanwhile, the relaxing ambiance of the city of San Miguel, which is blessed with natural beauty, will inspire you. Cozumel Island is almost three hours’ trip from Cancún.

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6. Valladolid

Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user User: ByeByeBaby... used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Situated in the beautiful state of Yucatan, Valladolid is another destination to consider, which is approximately less than two hours’ trip away from Cancun. A historical basilica, amazing pastel architecture, old-town charm - in other words, Valladolid is just like a big museum. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this town has colorful streets, has a vibrant aura, and is full of life. If you want to explore the local culinary scene, you are in the right place. Valladolid offers plenty of amazing restaurants and eateries.

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7. Tulum (from USD 119.0)

Located 131 km (81 mi) from Cancún, Tulum is a charming town on Mexico’s Caribbean coastline on the Yucatán Peninsula. Tulum is famous for its crystal-clear beaches and astonishing ancient Mayan ruins. Discover the rich coastal Parque Nacional Tulum, which has cenotes and mangroves. El Castillo (castle), nestled atop a rocky cliff, is a good scene for some photos. To avoid hassles, join this magnificent three-in-one tour. The package has got you covered throughout, from Caribbean Sea snorkeling to exploring the Mayan ruins and more.

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Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote, and Caves from Cancun

Duration: 8 hours

3527 reviews

8. Playa del Carmen (from USD 80.0)

If you want to stay away from the hustle and bustle, Playa del Carmen is here for you. Famous for its crystal-clear waters and abundant marine life, Playa del Carmen is a great spot for water adventures. Discover Rio Secreto Nature Reserves’ amazing caves, swim in underground rivers, and explore the wilderness. This piece of paradise is also well-known for its nightlife. Numerous bars and clubs are just around the corner to give you a night to remember. If you want to save more time, joining this splendid Playa del Carmen adventure tour is a great idea.

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Playa del Carmen ATV Ride, Cenote Swim and Rio Secreto Reserve

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

99 reviews

9. Riviera Maya (from USD 142.99)

riviera maya

Riviera Maya is consistently known for its multitude of amazing all-inclusive resorts. If you want long beaches and enjoying cocktails by the sunset, you know now where to head to. Fortunately, this family-friendly tour is here for you. Venture out by riding an ATV. Explore the mountain routes and the wilderness. Discover the beauty of subterranean caves and swim in underground rivers. All of which is possible when you join this tour.

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Playa del Carmen: Xplor Park All-Inclusive Entry Ticket

269 reviews

10. Chichen Itza (from USD 129.0)

Chichen Itza is another exciting day trip destination from Cancún. Located on Yucatan Peninsula, Chichén Itzá is a complex of Mayan ruins, which is included among UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Luckily, this splendid tour allows you to enjoy your Chichen Itza adventure to the fullest. Explore the El Castillo (a massive step pyramid), discover mysterious temples, and try to unravel the hidden messages of the ball court, which has graphic stones carvings.

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Cancun to Chichen Itza Day Trip with Admission and Lunch

Duration: 12 hours

1502 reviews

11. Xel-Ha (from USD 174.0)

Indeed, your escapade is incomplete without visiting Xel-Ha. Situated on Yucatán Peninsula’s eastern coastline, about one and a half hours’ drive away from Cancún, this archaeological treasure will amaze you in every way. Learn more about the mystery of ancient archeology of Tulum during the Mayan civilization, come face to face with your favorite tropical aquatic animals in Xel-Ha Park, enjoy unlimited photo ops of the Caribbean coastline - all of these will make your holiday a blast.

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Tulum and Xel-Ha All-Inclusive Day Trip from Cancun

Duration: 8 hours

136 reviews

12. Isla Contoy (from USD 139.0)

isla contoy

There’s no underestimating Isla Contoy. Though a small island located in Quintana Roo, this paradise is one of the most beautiful islands in the peninsula of Yucatan, together with Isla Mujeres. Declared as a national park in the year 1998, Isla Contoy gives you possibilities for Caribbean Sea adventures. Meanwhile, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef allows you to have a glimpse marine life. Isla Contoy is just 35.5 km (23.30 mi) away from Cancún.

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Cancun: Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres Combo Tour

Duration: 9 hour

74 reviews

Amazing adventures await

A vacation in Cancún, Mexico, offers a wide array of adventures. Whether you are aiming to have a blast to the past, looking for a memorable water escapade, or aiming for a break from the stress of life, Cancún and its nearby destinations have got you covered throughout.

Frequently asked questions about day trips from Cancún

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Nina aspires to live life to its fullest and yearns to journey abroad with her loved ones. She believes in her inherent artistic nature and embraces the motto that "God is good all the time" as her...Read more

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