Cancun is one of the most popular winter getaways for North Americans. In the heart of winter, there is nothing better than hopping on a flight to escape the cold and in just a few short hours finding yourself in tropical weather. Mexico is one of our favourite winter escape and Cancun or Playa del Carmen are the spots that keep drawing us back again and again. We've had some amazing adventures in Mexico and here are some ideas for you to get off the resort and explore some of the awesome day trips from Cancun.
1. Swim with Whale Sharks
They may be the biggest fish in the sea, but they are gentle giants. Growing to lengths of over 12 metres (40 feet) whale sharks are impressive to see. Just two hours off the coast of Cancun, you can see them if you go at the right time of year. That time of the year would be from May to September and it is spectacular!
See more of our experience with Whale Sharks here.
2. Adventures in Cenotes Adventure
Several day trips can be booked from Cancun to the cenotes of the Yucatan. Cenotes are underground caves filled with water. Some have large openings while others are small and narrow. A Cenote adventure is an amazing way to explore them doing zip lines, rappelling and snorkelling inside these incredible natural wonders.
3. Rio Secreto
Rio Secreto is another way to explore Cenotes and it is quite different from the day of adventure. This it is the longest semi sunken cave system in the Yucatan. There are 12 km of underground rivers to explore and you don’t need a dive certification. Visitors are taken in small groups on a three hour tour and you feel like you have the caves all to yourself. This Cenote adventure takes you deep into the system swimming under low hanging ceilings, wading through spectacular caverns, and swimming in complete darkness. It is truly a special experience.
4. Chichen Itza
The photos says it all. We visited Chichen Itza a while ago when you could still climb to the top of the main temple. But to this day we are still amazed by it. It's the one of the largest of the Mayan Ruins and it is probably the best and most excavated of them all. Chichen Itza is also the most visited ruins in all of Mexico and it is a must if you are into archeological sites.
5. Xcaret – Evening show
So, I didn't quite know what to expect when we went to see the performance at Xcaret. It's a giant in the round dinner theatre where you are served traditional Mexican food while watching the history of the country unfold before your eyes. At first it is a bit daunting as men play a Mayan ball game dating back to 1400 BC. I didnt' quite understand what was going on until the show progressed through the ages. My favourite moments happened in part two when the wonderful and talented singers and musicians came on stage to perform many classic tunes that we have all seen and heard.
6. Playa del Carmen
We actually prefer to stay in Playa del Carmen more than Cancun, but if you are staying in Cancun, you really must at least head over to Playa to check it out. the Beaches are beautiful, there are plenty of walking streets, nightlife, shopping, and cafés. Every day trip that is offered in Cancun can be booked from Playa del Carmen too!
If you like scuba diving, you must do some scuba diving off the course of Cozumel. Cozumel is an island off the coast and you can catch a ferry from Cancun. It's an excellent vacation destination on it's own and you can either hop over to check out the markets and scene. But it really is all about the scuba diving scene here. The water is crystal clear with visibility to 40 meters (120 feet). In 1961 Jacques Cousteau declared the area as one of the most beautiful dive sites in the world. The waters of Cozumel were declared a national marine park in 1996 and because of that you will see plenty of marinelife.
Tulum is not our favourite ruins of the world, however, it's the spectacular setting that is worth visiting. Sitting high on a cliff overlooking the miraculous turquoise waters will take your breath away. A popular backpackers haunt ,Tulum also has wonderful beaches. If you want to escape Tulum there is accommodation there.
So there are our picks for the best day trips from Cancun. Do you have a favourite recommendation? We go back to the Yucatan regularly and we're always looking for things to do. Let us know what we should do next!