The 10 Most Popular Excursions from Cancun

The 10 Most Popular Excursions from Cancun

From Xcaret Park to Isla Contoy, discover 10 excursions from Cancun that are the perfect addition to any travel itinerary.

There are so many things to do in Cancun. Thanks to its beautiful view of the Caribbean Sea, sublime beaches and delicious cuisine, a trip to Mexico’s favorite resort town is an unforgettable experience. It also happens to be just a short drive from some incredibly Mayan archaeological sites, pristine biosphere reserves, and adventure parks that the whole family will enjoy.

If you’re unsure where to start your exploration, here are our top 10 recommendations for the most popular excursions from Cancun:

1. Xcaret Eco Archaeological Park

Just over an hour’s drive south of Cancun, this water park is a popular choice, especially for those traveling with family. Nestled in the jungle, Xcaret Eco Archaeological Park is home to cenotes, underground rivers, and a wonderful bay on the Caribbean Sea. Here, there are plenty of activities to indulge in, from swimming in natural pools to snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea. With 50 different attractions, shows and areas dedicated to Mexican culture, a day at Xcaret Park is packed with fun and excitement for both young and old.

Recommended experience: Xcaret Park Tour


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Un post condiviso da Xcaret Park (@xcaretpark)

2. Isla Mujeres

If only for its proximity, picturesque Isla Mujeres is another essential day trip destination. Just a 15-minute boat ride from Cancun, it’s a paradise for snorkeling and beach lovers looking to relax, sunbath, and take a dip in the turquoise waters. Each beach seems more beautiful than the last, and usually offers bar service, dining, and rental of beach chairs and umbrellas. The island is also ideal if you’re looking for a somewhat more exclusive experience, like an indulgent lunch at an elegant beach club.

Recommended experience: Isla Mujeres Cruise with lunch at a beach club


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Un post condiviso da Isla Mujeres, México (

3. Chichén Itzá

No trip to Cancun is complete without visiting the archaeological complex of Chichén Itzá. The world’s most famous Mayan site is not only part of the UNESCO World Heritage, it’s also considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. It’s just one of those destinations that’s on almost everyone’s bucket list. Here, the attractions not to be missed are many, starting with the most famous and photographed pyramid, Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo.

Recommended experience: Guided tour of Chichen Itza and a Maya village with traditional lunch


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Un post condiviso da Femaletravelmagazine (@femaletravelmagazine)

4. Tulum

Another excellent destination close to Cancun, Tulum is a treat for history buffs. While it has its fair share of beautiful beaches, it’s the Mayan ruins that give the landscape its unusual charm. Perched on a hill overlooking the sea, these ancient ruins are wonderfully preserved. By joining a guided tour of the site, you’ll be able to learn all about its history and get extra insight. And don’t forget to bring your swimsuit; a dip in the nearby Playa del Paraiso is a must!

Recommended experience: Guided tour of Tulum and visit to a modern Maya community


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Un post condiviso da Tulum Mexico (@tulum)

5. Cobá Maya

Travel inland from Cancun for about two hours and you’ll discover another significant Mayan archaeological site, albeit less well known than Tulum and Chichén Itzá. This is Cobá, an ancient city immersed in the Mexican jungle and home to several large pyramids. Most of the buildings date back to the period between 500 and 900, a time when the ancient town extended for about 30 square miles. Even today the site is quite extensive, which is why we recommend visiting it with a guided tour, so as not to miss out on the highlights.

Recommended experience: Guided tour of the ruins of Coba Maya with lunch and a swim in a cenote


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Un post condiviso da Felix Garcia Vila (@vila33)

6. Holbox Island

North of the Mexican Caribbean this small island, just 26 miles long and 0.9 miles wide, is a true paradise. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular excursions for travelers choosing Cancun as their vacation destination. Holbox is within the Yum Balam Nature Reserve and is famous for its beautiful beaches, such as Punta Mosquito or Isla de la Pasión, and its calm and relaxed atmosphere. There’s no hustle, no big buildings, no paved roads, and the main means of transport are bicycles and golf carts. To reach Holbox from Cancun, you need to go first to Chiquilá and then take a ferry. With a bit of luck, a group of colorful flamingos will be there to welcome you upon arrival.

Recommended experience: Boat and buggy tour of Holbox Island from Chiquila


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Un post condiviso da Holbox, México (@visitholbox_mx)

7. Xplor Fuego

Xplor Fuego is a thrilling night adventure park in the middle of the jungle. At sunset the area is lit by torches, creating a truly magical atmosphere. The park is a must for those seeking some night-time adrenaline, such as sliding down the highest zip line in the Riviera Maya under the moonlight. You can also navigate an underground river, admire caves full of stalactites and stalagmites, venture into the jungle aboard an amphibious vehicle, along with many other activities.

Recommended experience: Xplor Fuego Park Admission (with optional transportation)


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Un post condiviso da Xplor Park (@xplorpark)

8. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve

On the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, about 87 miles from Cancun, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a vast protected area that includes tropical forests, coral reefs, mangroves, savannas, swamps, and white sandy beaches. Thanks to the diversity of its ecosystems, Sian Ka’an is home to more than 300 species of birds and an incredible variety of plants. To explore this UNESCO World Heritage site, it’s recommended you join a guided tour. Many include an exciting boat ride through the mangroves and a stop at the Maya fishing village of Punta Allen.

Recommended experience: Excursion to Sian Ka’an Reserve with boat tour and visit to a Maya village


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Un post condiviso da Tulum, México (@mytulum)

9. Xel-Há

Another not-to-be-missed excursion from Cancun is Xel-Há. It’s a unique natural park where various underground rivers meet the Caribbean Sea, creating a habitat populated by hundreds of different species. No wonder it’s the favorite destination of many snorkeling enthusiasts. It’s also the place for thrill-seekers, with an endless array of attractions to choose from. Don’t miss the Faro Mirador, which, in addition to being the tallest slide in the area at 40m high, offers a spectacular view of the jungle and the Caribbean Sea.

Recommended experience: Fast-track access to Xel-Há Park with transfer and lunch


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Un post condiviso da XelHa Park (@xelhapark)

10. Isla Contoy

Just over 5 miles long, this small island was declared a national park in 1998, and to preserve it as it deserves only 200 visitors are allowed to enter per day. It’s an island of pristine nature, with paradisical beaches, where there’s no room for hotels or paved roads. The natural park is also one of the most important refuges for Caribbean Mexican seabirds. As if that weren’t enough, south of Isla Contoy the Ixlaché Reef, which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, is the second-largest coral reef in the world and a place for incredible snorkeling.

Recommended experience: Boat cruise to Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy

This 83-mile coastline is rich in pristine beaches, ancient Mayan ruins and also boasts the world’s second largest coral reef.

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