The Best Day Trips from Cancun

Thinking of a trip to Cancun? You've come to the right place!

There's so much more to do than just go to beautiful beaches and soak up the sun. But let's be honest, that is a pretty great part of going to Cancun.

If you're an adventurer, this would be the perfect destination for you.

Here are the best day trips from Cancun:

Chichén Itzá

As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá is a can't miss place in Mexico. From Cancun, you can easily go as a day trip if you book a tour.

With the tour, your first stop is to a beautiful cenote where you can take pictures and swim. My friend and I didn't swim because we didn't want to be cold afterwards, since the water in cenotes is on the chillier side, and we wanted to still look nice when we made it to Chichén Itzá.

Next we went to a buffet lunch and enjoyed some delicious tacos and drinks.

Then it was finally time to head to Chichén Itzá. When we arrived, we stayed with the tour group to hear all about the history of the site. To me, this is the kind of place where I want to know more, so I would recommend a guided tour even if you go on your own. We got to find out what happens when you clap your hands or yell within the bounds of the site. You'll have to go to find out what I mean!

My biggest takeaway from seeing this wonder would be to plan your own trip so that you can spend more time at the temple.

Make sure you pay attention to the pickup location, because many tours pick you up from Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Tulum, and other places.

Planning to go to Chichen Itza? Check out these tours!

Tulum

More temples? More temples!

Tulum was a very important part of Mayan history since it was a coastal community. It handled all the imports for the surrounding areas, even Chichen Itza.

We started the day by going to the Cobá Archeological Zone to explore the temples of this less popular site.

Next we went to the Tulum archeological site, where we got to see and learn all about how life was at this piece of history. We also heard how this community went away, then was rediscovered and turn into the archeological site for visitors.

After that, we went to a cenote for a swim. The water was chilly, but the cenote was so cool. Totally worth the swim!

Want to go to the Tulum archeological site? Check out these tours!

Las Coloradas

The Las Coloradas tour was such a fun day! The main attraction is the "pink lakes" which is where they produce salt. Here you get to learn about how they create salt and move it through different zones, which is how it gets it's coloring. It starts out a brownish colors, begins to turn orange, and when it's near ready, that's when it gets its pink color.

Many people like to get some iconic Instagram pics here.

Next, the tour takes you to airboat rides on the Rio Lagartos, where you can potentially see crocodiles in the wild. We were fortunate to see one about 5 minutes into the ride chilling on the riverbank, and then another one swam up to our airboat later on. We also got to see a flamboyance of flamingos!

Fun fact: flamingos are born a gray color, and as they age and eat a certain type of insect, they turn pink!

Our last stop before heading back to Cancun was the crocodile farm at Granja De Cocodrilos Itzamkanac. This was so fun! When we first got there, I got to hold a baby crocodile that was about 6 weeks old. My anxiety went through the roof. I was so scared!

But then as we moved to other areas, the crocodiles got larger and my fear of holding them and feeding them went away. At one point, I was holding two crocodiles that were about 12 weeks old on my shoulders and arms.

Towards the end of the visit, we got to feed the largest crocodile at the farm and also lay down next to it. The people working there convinced me to use him as a pillow!

I would absolutely book this tour again!

Ready to go on this tour yourself? Check out these options!

Isla Mujeres

This is by far the closest day trip to Cancun than all the others mentioned in this blog post.

Isla Mujeres is an island just off the coast of Cancun. With just a short ferry ride or boat ride, you'll get to a small island paradise.

I planned my own day trip there instead of booking a tour because I wanted to be able to take my time seeing the island. Plus renting a golf cart to drive around the island sounding like something I couldn't miss out on.

For this day trip, I actually had my friend with me. After we rented the golf cart, we drove to the furthest point away, Punta Sur. This site has paid entry to be able to walk around and see the cliffs.

After that, we made our way back on the northern edge, because we heard there were many great viewpoints we couldn't miss.

We finally made our way back to the ferry and back over to Cancun.

Time for an island getaway? Check out these tours!

Isla Holbox

Some transparency to start this one... I actually had a bit of a sucky time on this day trip but it was due to the weather.

Here's what the trip was supposed to be...

We were supposed to get to port, ride small boats to a remote part of the island you can only get to by boat, where you get to enjoy sand bars at the secret beach, then ride boats to the main part of the island to explore. We were going to have time to walk the pristine beaches of Isla Pasión, and then on the way back we were supposed to go swimming in a cenote surrounded by nature at Yalahau. 

Instead, this is what we did...

The weather was too bad to use small boats, so our only way over to the island was by ferry. The tour company covered the cost for the ferry ride. Because we couldn't do small boats, we couldn't go to the secret beach. Instead, the tour company paid for us to get UTVs to explore the island and head over to Isla Pasion, where we were given nearly 2 hours to explore on our own. On a sunny day, that would have been great, but it was raining off and on, so walking around wasn't all that great. It didn't look like the beautiful white sand beaches you would expect. When it was time to meet back at the UTVs, it was pouring down raining, and I got soaked. We then went to have lunch and then were given about another hour of free time until we needed to meet at the ferry. Once we ferried back over, we went back to Cancun instead of going to the cenote.

If you made it through that, you're probably wondering why I recommend it. And in all fairness, I would have actually preferred to stay home that day instead of be let down.

But I like to see the positive in things. I know on a sunny day, it would have been an incredible day trip. I would give it another shot in hopes that the weather is better, because I've seen pictures and it looks incredible.

Ready to give it a shot yourself? Here are some great options!

 

Ziplining, Cenotes, & ATVs

If you love adventure, and you want to do a little something different while you're in Cancun, you can book a day trip to go ziplining, jump into cenotes from very high up (way higher than I jumped from), and go on an ATV tour through the jungle.

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