What are the best tours and excursions to take from Cancun?

Tulum ruins and Xel-Ha tour
Xel Ha is perfect for swimming, snorkeling and much more all in this inlet. This eco park is just north of Tulum.

Top Cancun excursions you can go on

For most visitors to Cancun, Mexico you will be staying in the Hotel Zone. Here there are large resorts and for the most part you will be spending time there. But usually everyone wants to get out for a day or two and take in some sights. So what Cancun excursions are good to go on? What daytrips are easy to go take what is worthwhile? In this guide we will tell you about some of the popular daytrips and activities that you can go on.

Map of Cancun Excursions in the Riviera Maya and beyond

We hope this map helps you see where some of these places are that you can enjoy visiting from Cancun.


Eco Park excursions from Cancun

These are some of the most popular Cancun excursions to go on. Most of these parks are large and well laid out. What most tour sellers do not tell you is how far they are or what options you have for transportation. Here are some great tips on saving money and how to best arrange your excursion.

Tip: Booking any of these in advance can save you 10-15% off the ticket price. The links to reserve will take you to the official website and you can book tickets. All of these allow you to move the date in advance if the weather looks bad on the day you booked.

Tip: All of the below options can have transportation included in your tickets when you go to reserve. This makes it easy to visit them.


Xoximilco (So-she-mil-co) is a nighttime excursion that is just south of Cancun. This is a dinner show on special boats that are steered through canals. This will give you at very Mexican experience and nothing you can find anywhere else except in Mexico City, where the original area is.

This excursion is great if you want a fun night out with dinner, dancing and music. It is also just outside of Cancun, so it makes for an easy excursion.

Cancun excursions

For more about what Xoximilco is like including our video, see our article here.

excursions from Cancun

Xenotes Park

If you want to see a more natural side of the Riviera Maya and visit some cenotes, this Cancun excursion will be for you. This park is more laid back and not that crowded. See our video ad article here about visiting Xenotes Park

Cancun excursions

Xavage Park near Cancun

This is the newest and more extreme adventure park you can visit. At Xavage you can go white water rafting, fly through the air on a special zip line, cross obstacle courses, drive monster vehicles and more! See our video review for what it is like. If you like what you see, you can pre book tickets below. 


Xplor Park

For adventure junkies this park is for you! This is the best park for zip lines and adventure in Mexico! There are two routes of zip lines, jungle driving, swimming in underground rivers, and paddling boats through caves. This park is open Monday-Saturday and access is during the day. To read more about Xplor, you can see our article here.

Cancun excursions

Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park is the largest of all the parks. This park is about animals, Mexican culture, shows, and lots of things to see! This park is good for all ages. At the end of the day there is a two-hour grand show that has hundreds of participants. This is one of the most popular Cancun excursions. Xcaret Park is very well designed and people love visiting it. To read more about Xcaret, see our article here.

Cancun excursions

Cancun excursions

Xenses Park

Xenses Park is all about fooling your senses. This is a smaller park and also more of a half day excursion. It does appeal to younger children and adults as well. There are a lot of fun activities and things that will have you looking at things a little different. Xenses Park is open Monday-Saturday. To read more about Xenses and see our video, see our article here.

Cancun excursions

Xel Ha Park

Xel Ha is all about snorkeling and swimming in an inlet that is next to the ocean. The location is spectacular and there is so much to do and see here that you could come here several times just to see everything. This park is open from 8:30am-6:00pm daily. All meals at buffets are included and drinks including alcoholic drinks. To read more about Xel Ha and see our video, see our article here.

Cancun excursions

Cancun excursions
Swimming and snorkeling at Xel Ha Park.

Visit Chichen Itza from Cancun

Since usually visitors to Cancun like to visit Chichen Itza Mayan ruins, here are two good bus options for taking you there. There are a few differences and we have videos of both tours so you can see what they are like. Tip: Booking both of these tours 7-21 days in advance will save between 10%-15%.

Xichen Clasico excursion to Chichen Itza

This tour will pick you up and take you the Mayan heart of the peninsula. On this tour you will get to visit the world famous Chichen Itza ruins and then jump into Cenote Il Kil if you like. To see more about this tour, see our article here with video.

Cancun excursions

Xichen Deluxe excursion to Chichen Itza

Of these two tours to Chichen Itza this one offers a few more luxuries. One of the main differences is the lunch stop in Valladolid where you have a large buffet of regional foods while you enjoy the atmosphere of an old colonial home. To see more of what the Xichen Deluxe tour is like see our article and video here.

Cancun excursions

Cancun tours
This is what everyone wants to see at Chichen Itza and one of the most popular Cancun excursions to Mayan ruins.

Excursions that are in the Hotel Zone in Cancun

Let’s start with excursions that are in the Hotel Zone itself. These are things that are close by or leave from the Hotel Zone.


Scenic Tower in Cancun

If you go to any of the Xcaret Parks (Xcaret, Xenotes, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xplor, Xichen Tour, and Xel Ha) and keep your wristband, you can visit the Scenic Tower for free! This is a nice way to see Cancun and the Hotel Zone from about 80 meters height. The tower is at km 4.5. The normal cost is $15 for adults. Open 9:00am-9:00pm daily.

Visit Isla Mujeres and go snorkeling from Cancun

Isla Mujeres is a small island off the coast from Cancun. There are ferries from both the Hotel Zone and Puerto Juarez in downtown Cancun. The ferry ride is easy, and it lets you off in the small town on the north end of the Island. Here there are local guides that will take you to the national park for snorkeling just off the coast. For more about snorkeling in Isla Mujeres, see our article here.

Isla Mujeres Snorkeling
Isla Mujeres snorkeling tours start from the piers on the west side of the island.

Pirate Cruise excursion

If you have younger children, you might want to treat them to an adventure on the high seas. These cruise excursions go out at 6:30pm where you can enjoy the setting sun and some time looking out over the ocean, Cancun and Isla Mujeres.

Jolly Roger Pirate cruise and dinner excursion

This pirate style cruise includes dinner, entertainment and drinks. The excursion is about 3 hours. For adults this excursion is $95-110 USD. Pier tax and transport from your hotel is extra.

Cancun excursionsCaptain Hook Pirate cruise and dinner

This is another option for a pirate style dinner cruise. This excursion includes dinner cruise, show, and open bar. This tour is also about 3 hours. Prices range according to your menu options and are from $65-95 USD. There is port tax and transportation from your hotel available at extra cost.

Cancun excursions

Mundo Mayan Museum

If you have an interest in the Mayan culture, this museum is done well and is a nice collection. The museum houses one of the most significant archaeological collections of the Maya culture of the country.  There are important pieces of the State of Quintana Roo, but also a selection of emblematic pieces from the sites of Palenque, Chichén Itzá, and Comalcalco, among other Mayan ruin sites.

The museum is open from 9:00am-6:00pm Tuesday-Sunday. Closed Mondays. The museum is at KM 16.5 on the southern end of the Hotel Zone. For more about visiting this museum see our article here.

Coco Bongo Show and Disco

Hotels in Cancun don’t always have active clubs or nightlife, so people like to go out. Coco Bongo is the largest show and nightclub to go out to. The show starts late evening and goes for about 4 hours of nonstop music, shows and action.

This excursion if great if you want a late night out with drinking, dancing and entertainment. This is an adult only club. You can book tickets below to the club. For more of what this club is like you can see our article about the Coco Bongo in Playa Del Carmen with video. The two clubs are almost identical.

The entrance comes with open bar for $75 USD.

Cancun excursions

Catamaran Excursions to Isla Mujeres

If you like getting out on the turquoise water and relaxing with some drinks, these two options for catamarans are good for that.

Cancun excursions
The stunning waters off of Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is one of the more popular Cancun excursions.

Dancer Cruise excursion to Isla Mujeres

This is one option fom taking a catamaran tour over to Isla Mujeres. Most popular is probably the open bar while you sail. You also have an option to snorkel and have 1.5 hours to walk around the small town on the north end of Isla Mujeres. All options include lunch and open bar. The basic excursion cost $62 USD. If you want the cruise and snorkeling is $75 USD. If you want the all-inclusive with tour on Isla Mujeres and golf cart rental it is $87 USD. These prices do not include port tax and transportation from your hotel.

Cancun excursions

Catamaran excursion to Isla Mujeres #2

This catamaran tour takes you to Isla Mujeres as well but there are a few differences. On this tour you get open bar, snorkeling, and you will stop on Isla Mujeres. Your lunch will be on Isla Mujeres at a beach club. This Cancun excursion is about 7 hours long. The base cost is $82 USD. If you want to add transportation it is $94 USD. You can also add on transportation from resorts south of Cancun as well. Pier tax is not included.

Cancun excursions

Transportation from the Cancun Airport

If you are coming to Cancun, you might need transportation to your hotel. The Cancun Airport is about 20-50 minutes from most hotels in the Cancun area. Private transfers are better than taxis plus you get a discount when you book roundtrip. See our recommended and easy transportation option for you here

private car service Cancun

We hope you have a great vacation in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. We also hope that this list of Cancun excursions helps you find somethings that you will enjoy doing. If you have any questions or comments, let us know below.

Cancun excursions
This is looking north up the coast toward the Cancun Hotel Zone

About The Author


  1. The Mayan museum in Cancun is a must see if you want to know the history of the area. I was very impressed with the collection and what they had to offer.

  2. It’s a good place to start with activities. Thanks for this. It will be my second time going to Cancun this year and we want to get out to explore more around the area.

  3. I wanted to ask you what you think of catamaran tours to snorkel and see Isla Mujeres. I dont like to be in big tours or loud crazyness. I know Cancun is not the classiest place but I am here with my family.

    • Hello Val

      We have been on several catamaran tours from Cancun. Most are priced about the same and cater to young people that like to drink and enjoy a day out. Most of the tours are 30 plus people on a boat. It does make the tour more comfortable since the boats are larger. The channel between Cancun and Isla Mujeres is deep and can get strong currents. If you want a smaller tour maybe you should go to Isla Mujeres and take a small boat around the island.

  4. Hey there,
    I haven’t been to cancun since I was around 14 with my parents, I’m 26 now and going with a couple of my girlfriends (who have never been) we wanna go dancing and see the nightlife, see Chicen Itza and possibly do horseback riding and atving, what packages would you best recommend? I did Xcaret when I was younger but don’t remember much other than the shows and the underwater cave snorkeling.
    Thanks so much in advance for any suggestions 🙂

    • Hello Kay

      We assume you are going to stay in the Hotel Zone in Cancun. There is the big clubs like Mandala and Coco Bongo for dancing and parting. Some hotels have decent nightlife as well. It will depend on where you are staying. Here is one idea for you. You can book a tour to Chichen Itza with Xichen tours which is also owned by Xcaret group. You can go to Xplor park and do the jeep/atv driving plus all the other adventurous stuff. When you buy both tickets together you get a discount. Not only are the two options for Chichen Itza cool, Xplor is really fun as well. You would probably like the classico tour to Chichen Itza because it has the cenote swim. https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/xichen-clasico-tour/ All the links in our article take you to the official site so you can get the best prices. We just get referral credit for sending you there. We do really recommend these tours and combining them is a good deal since it takes care both things you want to do. You can see our Xplor video here. https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/xplor-park-playa-del-carmen/
      There are only a few places that do horseback riding in the Riviera Maya and compared to the other activities, it is not the most fun thing to do in our opinion.

  5. We loved go to the Xoximilco park and Xcaret while in Cancun. The dinner show at Xoximilco was fun and close to Cancun. We booked in advance just like you said to do so we got the discount. Good tip. Xcaret was a big day and really impressive show at the end. You have to go there if you go!

    • Hello Cristina

      We are glad you got to try two of these things that are on the list! We hope you had a good vacation.

  6. Hey we are working our way through this list! We go to Cancun each year. So far our favorite excursion has been Xcaret park. We will be sure to try some of these others as well. Love your videos.

  7. We went to dinner at Xoximilco. It is a little more Mexico of a thing then I think people relaize. It is fun but you might have to understand Mexican culure to get the most out of it. This is a reproduction of a floating pak in Mexico City.

  8. Thanks for the good rundown of trip ideas! My wife and two older teens are coming to Cancun for the first time and want to spend some time off the resort and see more of the area. What are your thoughts of Xenotes park? Is this good for teens?

    • Hello Scott

      If you want to get out of the Cancun Hotel Zone this is a good area to go to because it is in the jungle. You will be immersed in nature and see some cool cenotes. It should also be fun for teens because you have zip lines and swimming. We hope you have a good trip and enjoy some fun excursions.

  9. If you are going to Cancun you have to go to Xel Ha! It is a little farther away than the other parks but well worth the trip. It is all day in a beautiful location with magical trails and hidden caves. My family loved every minute and we did not want to leave. I am glad we took a water camera because the photo packages are expensive. Other than that it is a great experience.

    • Hello Mark

      We are glad you enjoyed your excursion from Cancun. It is good to get out of the city and see more of the area. Xel Ha is a beautiful place to spend the day.

  10. I like the valuable info you provide in your articles. I have been to Cancun three times and have a list of things to try. What are your thoughts about the water park at the end of the Hotel Zone in Cancun? Is it worth a go?

    • Hello Kim

      Thank you for reading our website. The water park in Cancun is nice. It depends if you are with kids or not. It is a little younger attraction. Just for adults this can seem a little cheesy. For a more adult water park, Xel Ha is a good place to go or even Xplor.

  11. I impressed with Xcaret parks, I mean all of them! If you go to Xcaret you will have a very full day and too much to see and do in one day. Xel Has is our second best park to visit.

  12. Since you guys know everything, I figured I would ask which is a better park to go to, Xcaret or Xel Ha. I know they both have swimming but I wondered what are some of the differences? We only have one day to use for an excursion so I want to pick the best one for us.

  13. We are debating on Xcaret or going to Coba. Can you tell me what is farther and the time it takes please?

    • Well, these two excursions are very different options. Coba should be done with a tour so all the transportation is included. Coba is farther and will be about a hour longer to get to and an hour more coming back. So that is one thing to consider. Xcaret is more of a park with animals, swimming and a big show. If this is your first time to the area, Xcaret might be the better choice.

  14. Hi I am coming with some friends to Cancun and we want a group excursion. What is not too far away and a lot fo fun for a group of guys in their 20’s. Thank you

    • Hello John

      Xplor Park is a lot of fun, it is just past Playa Del Carmen so it is about an hour south of Cancun. It will depend on when you are going but the new park that is called Xavage is going to open in April and it is closer to Cancun.

  15. I am so glad to see so much open in Cancun. I was afraid there might not be that many tours and excursions available. So much of the world is closed.

  16. I’m going next week to Cancun hoping to just have some relaxing vacations! I’ve heard to weather is awesome in this time of the year. I’ve already book a nice cruise for the evening hoping to have a romantic dinner with my fiancé.

  17. Hello Megan

    We have year round warm weather and you can enjoy swimming in the underground rivers at Xcaret as well as all the things the park offers. We hope you have a great trip.

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