Mexico is becoming increasingly popular as a vacation destination, with this country's vibrant festivals, delicious cuisine, fascinating past, and beautiful beaches making up just some of the reasons why so many people are heading there each and every year. Of all the many destinations worthy of exploration around Mexico, Cancun stands out as one of the best. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.


1.Overview

Overview
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Situated out on the Yucatan Peninsula and looking out over the Caribbean Sea, Cancun is one of the most-visited locations in all of Mexico, well-known for its sandy beaches, warm waters, luxury hotels, and exciting nightlife scene.

Cancun is a great place for couples, families, groups of friends, and all kinds of other travelers, but there's much more to Mexico than Cancun, and you can do all sorts of day trips from this location in order to see a little more of the country and enjoy different kinds of experiences. Here are some of the best Cancun day trips you can try.

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2.Cancun Day Trip to Tulum

Cancun Day Trip to Tulum
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Follow the coast south from Cancun and you'll eventually reach Tulum. An old Mayan walled city which was once a major trade port, Tulum is filled with fascinating ruins and archaeological discoveries, while also offering gorgeous beaches and some of the warmest waters you can hope to find anywhere in Mexico. A popular site with tourists, Tulum is nevertheless a lot less crowded than Cancun, so it's a good place to go if you're looking to escape from the crowds for a little while. It's only about 80 miles away from Cancun too, so you can get there in less than two hours and the drive is highly scenic, so you might want to stop along the way to take some photos.

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3.Cancun Day Trip to Chichen Itza

Cancun Day Trip to Chichen Itza
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An ancient Mayan city built many centuries ago, Chichen Itza is one of the most impressive archaeological sites in all of Mexico. It played a key role in Mayan civilization and is believed to have been home to the most diverse population in the whole of the Mayan world. It draws in close to three million tourists each year, and it's a great place for a day trip from Cancun. It's only about 125 miles, so you can get there in a little over two hours by simply following the 180D. If ever you get bored of the beaches in Cancun and want to see a little of Mexico’s amazing history, this is the place to be.

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4.Cancun Day Trip to Xcaret

Cancun Day Trip to Xcaret
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Xcaret, also known as Xcaret Park is actually a privately-owned ecotourism theme park. It's quite unlike anywhere else in the world, giving guests a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience all kinds of exciting activities both in the air, on land, and out in the water. Perfect for families but well-suited for couples and friends as well, Xcaret is the sort of place where you can live out fairy tale fantasies, engaging with nature and feeling a million miles away from civilization. You can do a lot of snorkeling, scuba diving, and wildlife watching here, as well as visiting the church, replica Mayan village, and museum, or admiring the various shows and festivals. Xcaret is about an hour from Cancun by car.

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5.Cancun Day Trip to Playa del Carmen

Cancun Day Trip to Playa del Carmen
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One of the closest destinations for a Cancun day trip, Playa del Carmen is barely an hour away from the popular coastal resort, so you can get there and back with ease for an enjoyable and relaxing day trip. Playa del Carmen used to be quite a small and sleepy town but has evolved into a bustling hub of activity, replete with live entertainment locations, great bars and nightlife spots, and some super shopping areas as well. It’s a great place to grab some souvenirs from your Mexican vacation.

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6.Cancun Day Trip to Merida

Cancun Day Trip to Merida
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Merida is probably the furthest destination you could choose for a Cancun day trip. It's about 180 miles away, so the drive will take upwards of three hours, but it's really worth the ride. Merida is the capital city of Yucatan and is filled with amazing examples of historic architecture, both from the Mayan times and the colonial period. there are some facscinating museums in Merida, as well as unique monuments and landmarks like the Paseo de Montejo and the Cathedral of Merida. Anyone making the journey to this stunning city should be sure to stop off at the Dzibilchaltún Maya archaeological site and take a walk around the Plaza Grande too.

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5 Best Cancun, Mexico Day Trips (Small Towns, Beaches)



More Ideas: Uxmal

Uxmal, a Mayan town in Yucatan, as established around the year 700 AD, and was home to around twenty-five thousand inhabitants. The buildings of the town date back to between the year 700 AD and the year 1000 AD, and their layout suggests quite a bit of astronomy knowledge. The town’s Pyramid of the Soothsayer, the name given to it by the Spaniards, is the dominating building of the ceremonial center. There are well-designed buildings in the ceremonial center that are decorated with sculptures depicting the god of rain, Chaac, and symbolic motifs. The ceremonial sites of Sayil, Labna, Kabah, and Uxmal are considered to be the high points of architecture and art of the Mayans.

The ceremonial structures of the Mayan ruins at Uxmal are representative of the pinnacle of late Mayan architecture and art in their ornamentation, layout, and design. The Uxmal complex, as well as the three towns related to it of Sayil, Labna, and Kabah, demonstrates the economic and social structure of the society of the late Maya civilization. The Uxmal archaeological site can be found around sixty kilometers to the south from Merida in Mexico. This site forms the center of the Puuc region that spans across approximately 7,500 square kilometers in the southwestern area of the Yucatan state. The region around the town of Tulum acted as a center for the exchange of ideas and trade, and possibly people as well, with the other areas of Mexico.

According to The Book of Chilam Balam, which is the Maya history from the sixteenth century, the foundation of the Uxmal site dates back to later in history to the tenth century. Radiocarbon dating and archaeological investigations reveal that the Uxmal complex’s main structures were most likely constructed between the eighth century and the tenth century, including hydraulic works like reservoirs used to store rainwater.

During that time period, the town of Uxmal grew from a mere peasant town into a center for administration and politics with nearly twenty thousand inhabitants. The fact that a town wall existed suggests a conflict situation, which was possibly a result of the strengthening of urban centers in the region that eventually challenged the control Uxmal had over the region. The people of Uxmal abandoned the town after the tenth century. Afterwards, the town became simply a pilgrimage destination until the Spanish conquered the area.

Unlike how many other prehispanic towns are laid out, the layout of Uxmal is not geometric. The town is laid out in relation to astronomy, such as the astronomical phenomena of the rising and setting of the planet Venus. It also adapted to the site’s topography, which is made up of a number of hills. The main significant feature of the Puuc architecture is the separation of the building facades into two separate horizontal elements. The lower horizontal element is simple and made up of carefully dressed blocks that are broken up only by doorways. The upper element, however, is rich decorated and features symbolic motifs, with individual blocks making up a type of mosaic.

More Things to Do in Mexico

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More Ideas: Xochimilco

Xochimilco can be thought of as an oasis in the middle of the desert, making it popular destination in Mexico. It is one of the country’s most ancient towns, and much of the native heritage and old cultural traditions here are still preserved by the town’s indigenous people. This is all located right in the middle of bustling Mexico City.

The eclectic area of Xochimilco is situated in the center of an urban city, and offers place where visitors can explore and discover color like they have never seen all around them. The ancient town was designated as a World Heritage Site in the year 1987, and invites all who visit to rediscover the color that abounds throughout as visitors and local alike walk through the aisles full of iris flowers at the market.

Visitors take a relaxing ride down the walled canals of Xochimilco that are lined with curtains of trees and colorful, beautiful gardens and curtains. Aboard decorated and vibrantly painted traditional flat-bottomed boats, or also known as trajineras, passengers are transported back to a time when the watery surroundings once dominated the old landscape of the Anahuac. Visitors can see the town’s chinampas, or small artificial islands, which are used as land to grow ornamental plants, vegetables, and flowers.

During a remarkable tour of Xochimilco, travelers can eat and drink their fill of many different delicacies of Mexico, all accompanied by the sound of Mariachi music or perhaps Marimba from Veracruz. However, not everything is so splendous and pleasant. Visitors may also find places in the ancient town that are more startling or even make their skin crawl at least just a bit, such as the island of dolls.

No visit to Xochimilco is complete without a stroll down the ancient town’s narrow and charming streets. Travelers will find colorful, warm, and friendly people as they walk through the old streets lined with numerous colorful flower gardens and beautiful buildings. There are two main markets that sell all kinds of items, and are particularly great places to grab a bite to eat or pick up a souvenir or two.

One of the markets is known for a wide variety of fresh vegetables and fruits, in addition to handmade goods. Inside of the food market are many stalls offering different local delicacies. Among the many dishes visitors may find are a broad array of tamales, quesadillas, traditional champurrado, chicharron, mushrooms, pambazos, huitlacoche, tlacoyos, sopes, pozole, and of course tacos.

The traditional trajinera are great way to relax for a bit, as well as view the ancient town of Xochimilco from a different perspective as passengers sail along the old canals. Visitors will likely see several other flat, colorful boats as the waters are often filled with them. Guests can enjoy traditional local dishes as they sail float along the water, and listen to local music, including salterio, marimba, and mariachi. After a relaxing trip down the canals, visitors may also want to take a ride on a horse through the nearby Nativitas Woods and explore the Madre Selva market.

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Currency in Mexico

Mexico is a highly popular vacation destination for travelers from all over the world, especially citizens of the United States. Due to the close ties between Mexico and the US, as well as the relatively close distance between the two countries, it’s very convenient and highly affordable for Americans to take trips to Mexico, but the country can appeal to people from anywhere on Earth with its beautiful beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, lively cities, delicious cuisine, and much more. It’s a great place to visit for families, couples, backpackers, and groups of friends, so Mexico definitely deserves consideration as your next vacation destination.

When you start going ahead and planning out your Mexican vacation, there are many different factors to think about and it’s important to leave no stone unturned. The main things to worry about are how you’re going to get to Mexico and which hotel, resort, or form of accommodation you plan on staying in, as well as the various activities and trips you plan on taking when you’re there. However, one more thing you mustn’t forget to consider is the currency. No vacation can be complete without some spending money, so let’s take a look at the official currency used in Mexico to learn about the best ways to make payments on vacation.

Official Currency in Mexico

The official currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso. Known as 'Peso Mexicano' in Spanish, the Mexican peso has been used for centuries and is denoted by the "$" sign, which is the same sign used to denote the United States dollar and various other currencies around the world.

The Mexican peso is one of the most traded currencies on the planet and is the most traded currency in all of Latin America. Its value can vary over time, but a single Mexican peso is typically worth only a small fraction of a United States dollar. One Mexican peso is divided into 100 centavos.

Coins and Notes in Mexico

Like most currency systems all over the globe, the Mexican peso is divided up into various coins and notes. Peso coins have been used in Mexico since the 1860s, but you'll only find the 'nuevo peso' (new peso) coins being used nowadays in the following denominations:

-5 centavos

-10 centavos

-20 centavos

-50 centavos

-$1

-$2

-$5

-$10

Despite the fact that 5, 10, and 20 centavos coins do exist, they don't tend to be seen too much these days due to their very small value and the fact that most items and services have prices that can be covered with the larger coins.

Interestingly, many stores in Mexico will also encourage customers to simply round up their total bills to the closest 50 centavos or peso and donate the extra centavos to a charitable cause. Some commemorative coins have also been released over the years in larger denominations like $20, $50, and $100, but these are quite rare to see.

As well as coins, you can find Mexican peso notes in the following denominations:

-$10

-$20

-$50

-$100

-$200

-$500

-$1,000

Banknotes have been used for the Mexican peso since the 1820s. Various series of notes have been released over the years, with the latest set coming out in 2018 and feature special anti-counterfeiting measures in order to try and cut down on the amount of forged notes out there.

The notes of Mexico display various images from Mexico's history on one side, like the Mexican Revolution on the $1,000 bill, with images of flora, fauna, and beautiful natural locations from around the country on the other side, like the Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve on the $100 note.

Using Credit Cards in Mexico

Not so long ago, many people would tell you to not even take your credit or debit card to Mexico as they simply weren't used or accepted. However, times have started to change quite a lot. Cash is still the dominant mode of payment in many situations, but you'll find that lots of shops, restaurants, and hotels will take debit and credit card payments in Mexico.

It is important to note, however, that some banks and card providers will charge you conversion fees on each transaction, so you need to call up your bank and be aware of the rules before buying things with a card in Mexico. You'll also find many ATMs around the country so can use your card to withdraw some Mexican cash.

Using US Dollars or Other Currencies in Mexico

Using US dollars in Mexico is absolutely possible, but only in certain areas. Due to the close ties between the two countries and the fact that Mexico sees a significant number of US tourists each and every year, a lot of the big touristic locations have started accepting US dollars. This means that if you're spending your time in a big touristic hotspot, like Cancun for example, you can get away with just paying in US dollars and not needing to get any pesos at all.

However, there are some big caveats to this. Firstly, items in Mexico are all priced in pesos by law, so you won't know quite how much you're paying in USD until you actually hand over the cash. Stores, restaurants, and more can all basically choose their own conversion rates, which means you might be paying quite a big more for things if you choose to pay in USD than you would be if you were paying in Mexican pesos.

Tips for Currency in Mexico

If you want to have the best time in Mexico and not have to worry about any issues with your pesos or dollars, check out the following tips.

-Even though some places take US dollars, it’s much smarter to get some peso and pay with them instead. The conversion rates can be quite steep at certain locations and you might actually be paying up to 20% more than the regular price on certain goods and services if you pay in dollars.

-In addition, many locations will only accept Mexican pesos, including Mayan ruin sites and many restaurants, so it’s definitely a good idea to have some pesos if you really want to explore the country and see some sites each day.

-Check out multiple locations to get the best exchange rates on your Mexican pesos. Rates can vary quite a lot from one location to the next, and a single decimal point of difference might not seem like much at first, but can add up to a lot of cash in the end.

-Be careful when using ATMs. Not only will some of them charge fees for accepting foreign cards, they're also a popular site for criminals like muggers or pickpockets to hang around. If you do use an ATM, be sure to find one in a bank where you'll be totally safe and secure, rather than simply in a store or out on the street.

-In regard to tipping, it’s not quite so common to tip in Mexico as it would be in a place like the United States, but service workers will always appreciate a tip, so it’s up to you whether or not you’d like to leave tips at places like restaurants.

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