The 6 best day trips from Cancun


Cancun is surrounded by some of the most fascinating places to visit in the world, from the breath-taking seaside ruins of Tulum to the temples of Coba still unclaimed from the jungle, and the underwater museum near Isla de Mujeres – there’s something for everyone in the fascinating and beautiful Riviera Maya.


1. Explore the Mayan Ruins of Tulum

Sat on the clifftops above the turquoise waters of the Caribbean, Tulum is one of Mexico’s most impressive sites. The ruins here are beautifully preserved and the views second to none. Explore the ancient walls, take a guided tour, check out the craft market or relax on the stunning beach – there’s enough here to spend a day absorbing this fascinating piece of history.



2. Visit the Underwater Museum at Isla de Mujeres

Located just off the coast of Isla Mujeres, the Museo Subacuático de Arte is one of the largest underwater art displays in the world. Consisting of over 500 life-size sculptures and brimming with marine life, the museum aims to sustain the natural life in Mexico’s waters and give tourists a fascinating activity which also helps the environment.


Isla Mujeres, Cancun

3. Climb the Coba Temples

These ancient Mayan ruins are so deep in the jungle they were only made accessible in the 1970s – they remain one of Mexico’s hidden gems. The site is around a 2.5 hour drive from Cancun but well worth the journey for its magnificent architecture and dense jungle life. If you’re feeling fit, attempt a climb to the top of Coba’s giant pyramid for spectacular views across the lush tropics of the Yucatan Peninsula.



4. Turtle Watch in Akumal

The tiny town of Akumal is home to some pretty large locals – the giant sea turtle. If you’re holidaying in May or October this is when the baby sea turtles make the journey from their eggs to the sea.

Giant Turtles in Akumal 2

5. Tour Chichen Itza

Already a World Heritage Site, Chichen Itza was recently named one of the Seven Wonders of the World. These magnificent Mayan ruins consist of several vast pyramids covered in symbols and ornate art. The most famous of these is Temple of Kukulcan which is built so that at sunset on the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow of a great snake climbs down the side of the pyramid in a remarkable ancient display.


Chichen Itza, Cancún

6. Swim in Cancun’s Cenotes

Cenotes are Mexico’s famous underwater caves and the best ones can be found at Kantun-Chi, an ecological park set in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Take a boat tour of these stunning natural formations or jump straight in with some snorkelling to see the caves from beneath the water.

Cancun's Cenotes

Cancun’s Cenotes




  • I enjoyed your article about 6 things to do while visiting Cancun until I reached the part about Akumal and the Turtles.
    NO ONE should touch the baby turtles to help them get to the sea…Your comments are promoting a behavior that is dangerous to the hatchlings… Only trained conservationists or those working with the local Turtle Conservation efforts should be handling these hatchlings if they need help. The babies are “programmed by nature” to make their way to sea, they have been doing this for millions of years…
    Also the bay in Akumal is being overrun with “Tour Operators” trying to make a quick “peso” running swim with the turtle tours… a limited number of tour operators have permits, to take a limited amount of people per day on these excursions, but the local officials are having a hard time enforcing their own rules or are ignoring them.
    Swimmers are Not Using Eco Friendly Sunscreen, one that does not contain oxybenzone, which is poisoning the reef, and animals that live there.
    Also,Akumal does not have public restrooms ( loos) to handle all these people coming to see the turtles… Umm so where do they relieve themselves…? in the sea… Tests from CEA Central Ecological Akumal have shown increased amounts of ammonia every year in the Bay… the amount increases significantly during the “High Tourist Season”.
    The turtles are not “playthings” , they need to come up for air, and people hovering over them are stressing them out.
    Also turtles coming onto the beach, nesting or re-entering the water from nesting should not be touched or disturbed in any way… You must avoid loud noises also which will deter a turtle from nesting.
    Also it should be noted that when walking the beaches at night during turtle nesting season…NO ONE should use a white flashlight (torch) as this confuses the turtles… Only a RED Turtle Safe flashlight should be used on night time walks, as the turtles cannot see the red spectrum of light…( can be bought on line).
    If you encounter a turtle in danger whether hatchling or adult, please notify the nearest life guard or resort security guard…they can get help… If you are in a desolate area and no life guards or security guards are around, it is best to note the location and report it to your resort of hotel staff…only intervene if it is the last option and do so quickly…

    I guess as a tour operator this is hard information to hear… But you can either be Part of the Problem or Part of the Solution…

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