White sandy beaches, turquoise blue waters and party beats welcome you to Cancun, a popular tourist destination amongst vacationers. Equally enthralling are its surrounding areas promising lessons in history, amusement parks and of course, generous doses of sun and sand. Here’s our pick of the 9 best day trips from Cancun…
1. Chichen Itza
You can’t rightly visit Cancun, or Mexico for that matter without checking out one of the wonders of the world, Chichen Itza. Located a 2-3 hour drive away from Cancun, this incredible Mayan city was the Prehispanic political, military and religious centre of the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s best to incorporate this tour as part of your deal when you hire a Chichen Itza tour guide so as to get a full education on the entire site and the history behind it. Getting there early to catch the sunrise is highly recommended.
Located 72 miles south of Cancun, Tulum is set in stunning locales on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Iguanas cohabit peacefully in these Mayan ruins that are actually fairly compact, with just 60 structures thatcan be toured quickly. The real gem of this day trip comes from the Tulum Beach, it’s blue Caribbean watersand white sand beaches one of the most beautiful in Mexico.
Situated not far from Tulum, Xel-Ha is a water theme park that incorporates the freshwater lagoons and natural streams producing a completely unique experience. This is a fantastic experience for kids and any snorkelling beginners as the site also has lots of tropical fish to view. Swim with dolphins and apart from the usual water park activities, there is also a jungle surrounding the park that can be explored.
Located 62 miles south of Cancun is this wonderful village, the perfect spot for windsurfing and snorkelling. Boats are available for hire on the stunning beach for reef exploration and one can hire a guide at the ecological centre to give a jungle tour. The beachfront restaurants offer excellent fresh seafood.
This ecological theme park can easily while away an entire day. Located just 40 miles from Cancun the site includes water activities, jungle trails, a re-created Mayan village and an archaeological site. Each day is topped off with a cultural show and one can even catch a Prehispanic ball game.
6. Sian Ka'an Ecological Reserve
Set in around 1.3million acres of preserved natural beauty Sian Ka’an is one of the largest protected areas in Mexico located just south of Tulum. Visitors are invited to explore the unexcavated Mayan ruins, lagoons and freshwater canals while learningabout its wildlife and even participate in conservation projects. Tours are offered to visitors and if you feel up to it , indulge in some kayaking or fly-fishing.
A drive 95 miles from Cancun will bring you to one of the largest Mayan archaeological sites. However only a tiny proportion of the estimated 6,500 structures have actually been excavated. The NohuchMul Pyramid, although fairly steep and not for the faint hearted is well worth a climb for spectacular views of the jungle from the top.
8. Playa del Carmen
Situated about 35 miles south of Cancun this once small fishing village is now a beacon for revellers. The cosmopolitan town of Playa del Carmen has it’s fair share of quality restaurants, good shops and a wonderful beach too.
Take the ferry from Playa del Carmen to visit the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Cozumel is home to the world’s second largest coral reef with crystal clear waters having a visibility of up to 200 feet, in other words, scuba diving heaven. Explore the jungles at the centre of the island including Chankanaab Lagoon, another chance to snorkel and see the 60 species of tropical fish in its waters.
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