Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula surrounding Cancun is one of the best vacation spots, drawing millions of tourists each year! But, many don’t venture beyond their all-inclusive resort. Nothing wrong with a little rest and beach relaxation, but if you’re wanting to get out and explore, I’ve got a few day trip ideas for you to see the charm the Yucatan peninsula has to offer!
Here’s my rundown of the greatest day trips from Cancun in the Yucatan Peninsula, with activities and attractions that have been the highlights of visitors’ trips to the area:
A gorgeous spot where seawater transforms into a bright pink color on an enormous scale, found in a Ra Lagartos Biosphere reserve section, around 3 hours from Cancun.
The pink lakes of Las Coloradas are be used for industrial-scale sea salt processing. Salinity increases red algae, plankton, and brine shrimp as the water evaporates, tinting the water a stunningly gorgeous pink hue, If you’re looking for that Instagrammable spot, this is it!
I recommend doing your research on Trip Advisor first, as some have mentioned gatekeepers charging a fee, preventing photographers from using tripods or spending more than ½ hour taking photos in certain entrance areas.
Adventure Theme Parks
If you live for an adrenaline rush, outdoor activity theme parks are for you! See the natural scenery of the Yucatan Peninsula from below or above with a ziplining tour or ATV riding. particularly along the Riviera Maya.
Among the most well-known are Xcaret, Xplor, as well as Rio Secreto. They’ve created tours that take you ziplining through the forests, diving in caves, riding ATVs, or scuba diving with sea life.
Sunbathing & Yoga in Tulum
The beaches in Tulum are the highest on the Yucatan Peninsula. Initially, a big port for the neighboring Mayan jungle city of Cobá, the town is now a popular spot with hipsters, travelers, and stars seeking to relax.
There are three “Tulum” in strict terms. There’s the pueblo (small town) in which you can find inexpensive dining options and sleep. The Tulum Archaeological Site contains Mayan remains situated on a sea cliff.
Finally, Tulum’s playa is a coastline strip with luxurious beaches, organic bars, fitness spas, and yoga studios. Traffic and parking here is a bit hectic, so I recommend renting a beach cruiser bicycle to explore all of Tulum’s beautiful beaches and infamous sites like the Follow your Dream sign and the Laughing Squid Sculpture
Izamal the Yellow Town
Every big expanse of wall and building exterior was colored a deep golden yellow for Pope John Paul II’s unique visit in 1993, but they never switched it.
Izamal is situated on a series of hills where the Mayan pyramids once stood. There is also a huge pyramid overlooking the town that you can ascend. Izamal is a walkable town, and you can also get along by renting horse-drawn carriages. Bring your camera and some outfits that will complement the yellow architecture!
Soak Up the Culture in Merida
There are so many interesting things to do in Merida, a massive city with so much beauty. You could spend days enjoying its charming parks and squares!
If you’re there on a Sunday, you’re in for a treat – downtown streets are closed for bicycle parades, and the streets surrounding the Plaza Grande come alive. Check out the craft markets, food carts and, and of locals having a good time.
To cap off the evening, the vast avenue of Paseo de Montejo hosts a FREE night of artistic events and music from across the country.
A Day Trip to Valladolid
Valladolid is about 2 hours Cancun and a lovely little town to explore. Note that there is a tole of about $16 USD to travel there. Be sure you visit Cenote Zaci, set in the center of town. If you park and have lunch at the restaurant, your admission will be free, and so is parking. Giving you an opportunity to explore more of what the town has to offer!
Another 20 minutes from Valladolid are the famous Chichen Itza Mayan ruins – a must-see at least once in your lifetime. Be sure you have a reservation ahead of time as in 2021 they are limiting admission. Look ahead for their current closing time so you have at least 2-3 hours to explore
A Ferry To Isla Mujeres
If you’re looking for an easy relaxing day trip from Cancun, take a 20-minute ferry ride to Isla Mujeres. This charming island is easy to navigate with a golf cart you can rent for the day. If you choose to do a scuba diving or snorkeling tour be wary of the ferry operators’ tours. Check Trip advisor ahead of time for tours with good reviews so you know what to expect. If you book with a tour operator, you may be subject to their schedule and not be able to see everything you wanted to on the island.
Which would you like to do most! Tell me in the comments below.