Cancun makes an ideal base for exploring the Riviera Maya, Yucatan Peninsula and more. From the white sandy beaches of Cozumel to the mysterious ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza, here are our top picks for day trips and excursions from Cancun.
Isla Mujeres—13 miles (21 km) away
Isla Mujeres, a small island just off the coast of Cancun’s hotel zone, measures just five miles (8 kilometers) long, but it packs plenty of punch. Known for having some of the area’s best snorkeling and scuba diving, the island also offers fantastic beaches, cobbled walkways lined with boutique shops and local restaurants, and even a sea turtle sanctuary.
Xcaret Park—47 miles (76 km) away
Located less than an hour outside of Cancun, Xcaret Park combines the best of two interests: history and adventure. Visitors to this ecological and archaeological park can snorkel a colorful Caribbean reef, explore an underground river, float in a lagoon, or tour ancient Mayan ruins, all in the same place.
Cozumel—71 miles (114 km) away
This sleepy spot off the coast is known for its excellent fishing and underwater diving. Visitors looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Cancun will find respite in Cozumel while sailing aboard a Catamaran, snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea, riding an ATV through the jungle, or basking on a private beach.
Tulum—81 miles (131 km) away
The Mayan walled city of Tulum once served as a port for Coba. Today, it’s one of the best-preserved coastal Mayan ruins in the Yucatan. One of the most popular structures is a ruined tower on a rocky hill overlooking a spectacular white sand beach.
Chichen Itza—122 miles (197 km) away
Cancun, situated right on the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, makes a great jumping-off point to explore some ancient Mayan ruins. One of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ancient Mayan city of Chichen Itza is Mexico’s most-visited archaeological site and an excellent example of the ingenuity of the Mayan civilization in the Yucatan.