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.
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.
Cancun Day Trip to Tulum
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.
Cancun Day Trip to Chichen Itza
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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Cancun Day Trip to Xcaret
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.
Cancun Day Trip to Playa del Carmen
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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Cancun Day Trip to Merida
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.