Cancun’s strategic location makes it the ideal jumping-off point for exploring nearby areas. Here are some day trips from Cancun to Tulum to consider.
What are the best stops between Cancun and Tulum?
Some of the best day trips from Cancun to Tulum include visits to Tulum Maya ruins, Laguna Kaan Luum, Maya Ruins of Coba, Tulum cenotes, Sian Ka’an Biosphere, and Tulum beaches. May to September is the best time to go for these road trips if you want to avoid crowds.
Tulum is one of the best places for outdoor lovers to explore from Cancun. It’s packed with amazing things to see and do. This tropical island has some of the most pristine sandy beaches in the world.
Also, it’s surrounded by ancient Maya ruins, numerous cenotes, lush forests, great food and hundreds of other attractions. Simply put, there are loads of places to explore in Tulum. To help you get started, we’ve put together a list of the top day trips from Cancun to Tulum. With that said, let’s get to it.
If you are a history lover, then a visit to the iconic Tulum ruins should make your list of day trips from Cancun to Tulum.
Built in the 13th century, these ruins are a must-see for every person visiting Tulum for the first time.
They are set on a cliff, overlooking the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean coast.
Some of the key structures in these ruins include the Temple of the God of the Wind or Templo Dios del Viento, Pyramid El Castillo, Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of the Descending God.
Gates open every day at around 8 am and there’s a parking lot on-site, which is around $10 at most. Tickets for the visit to the ruins will cost you around $5.
And if you want to use a camera, then you will pay an additional $3.
However, we should point out that these ruins attract hundreds of visitors every day. So, it will be advisable to hit the road early to avoid crowds and enjoy the most exquisite views.
Laguna Kaan Luum
Laguna Kaan Luum is located approximately six miles south of Tulum town. As much as it’s called a lagoon, it’s more of a shallow lake surrounding a sinkhole.
It’s famous for the water of its color, featuring turquoise green around the edges and deep blue at the core. It’s estimated to be approximately 260 feet deep.
Some of the things to do here include free diving, scuba diving and swimming. There’s also a swing hovering just above the lake, which offers an amazing way to relax and enjoy the sun after a swim. Also, there’s a central pier, from where you can jump into the water if you want a little bit of a thrill.
The Laguna de Kaan Luum sits in the middle of the Mayan jungle and it will offer you a thrilling travel experience.
So, you can spend an hour or so hiking in the forest and exploring nearby attractions. From there, you can then head over to the lake to cool off and unwind.
Due to its stunning beauty, this lagoon is quite popular with visitors, both local and international – especially during summer and over the weekends. Therefore, it will be highly advisable to visit during the less popular times.
Make sure you bring your own food since you won’t find any place near the lagoon selling food. Also, pets aren’t allowed here.
But overall, it’s one of the best day trips from Cancun to Tulum, restrictions on pets notwithstanding.
Mayan Ruins of Coba
Coba ruins are located approximately 45 minutes from Tulum town. There are several ruins spread across this area including Sacbe, Nohoch Mul Pyramid, Conjunto de Pinturas, Macanxoc Group, and Coba Stelae.
However, Nohoch Mul Pyramid is the most notable one. It’s also the most popular one with tourists, which can be attributed to its size.
This pyramid rises approximately 42 meters high.
And unlike some of the other Maya ruins and pyramids in the area, climbing to the top of Nohoch Mul is allowed.
From the top, you will enjoy sweeping views of the area, including a glimpse of the Laguna Macanxoc and Laguna Coba. You will also get to experience life through the Mayans during your tour.
The entry fee for the ruins is around $4. So, it’s one of the most affordable day trips from Cancun to Tulum.
However, make sure you visit during the week or early in the morning to avoid crowds. Also, it will be highly advisable to avoid visiting these ruins on Sundays, since it gets extremely crowded, considering entry is free for Mexican locals.
One of the top things to do in Tulum is to explore the various cenotes in the area. Cenotes are mainly limestone sinkholes, which provide access to the underground river system in the country.
These cenotes provide the ideal spot for various water-related activities like scuba diving, swimming and snorkeling.
Also, their surreal beauty and uniqueness are something that you will struggle to find or see anywhere else on this earth.
There are several cenotes around Tulum, meaning it’s almost impossible to see them all. However, if you only have time to explore two cenotes, then you should check out Gran Cenote and Cenote Caracol.
Gran Cenote is located on the way to Coba, a few miles from Tulum. So, you can combine your day trip to Coba with a stopover at this sinkhole. It features several cenotes, connected by a series of wooden walkways.
Here, you will get an opportunity to see marine life from up close as you swim or Snorkel. Make sure you get in early before the crowds.
As much as Cenote Caracol may not be as popular as Gran Cenote, its beauty is simply breathtaking.
You will feel as if you have traveled to a completely different world. It features majestic jagged stalactites, suspended from the cave’s ceilings.
This cenote provides the ideal spot for anyone looking to soak in the beauty of these natural wonders without the crowds. It provides a great location for taking photos, swimming, and scuba diving.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere
The Sian Ka’an Biosphere is a protected area situated south of Tulum. Unlike other destinations in the area, this UNESCO-designated nature park doesn’t attract crowds.
Therefore, you will have an opportunity to experience some of the area’s amazing flora and fauna without any disruption.
UNESCO declared this area a World Heritage Site in 1987, mainly to protect its ecosystem. Since then, fishing, mining, logging and other intrusive human activities remain prohibited in this biosphere. Consequently, its flora and fauna have thrived significantly.
You will need at least an entire day to explore the entire area. It’s home to mangrove marshes and tropical forests, as well as over 300 different types of birds and 400 fish species.
During your visit, there’s a high chance you will come across different animal species like dolphins, turtles, spider monkeys, crocodiles, pumas, ocelots, and jaguars among others.
And if it’s your lucky day, then you may also spot a manatee or manta ray.
The ancient Maya ruins of Muyil are also nearby. So, if you still have some time to spare, then you should also head there.
As much as they are not as striking as the Coba ruins, they are still worth checking out. And, there’s a high chance you will have them all to yourself, considering they don’t attract many visitors.
As much as the town of Tulum doesn’t sit directly on the beach, there are plenty of lush and pristine beaches nearby, which you can explore on a day trip. One of the most popular in the area is Paradise Beach, considered one of the most scenic in the country.
You can get to this beach in your car from Tulum town.
Alternatively, you can leave your car in town and walk here or hire a bike. It will take you approximately 20 minutes on a bike or an hour or so to walk here.
You can then spend your time here swimming and sunbathing. Also, there are lots of great restaurants nearby, where you can grab some food or drinks, as you enjoy the gorgeous views all around.
Some of the other beaches that you can explore during your day trip from Cancun to Tulum include Playa Paraiso, Playa Las Palmas, Playa Ruinas, Santa Fe and Mirador Tulum.
- Tulum has lots of amazing places that you can explore on a day trip from Cancun
- You can visit ancient Maya ruins, cenotes, nature reserves and beaches
- The best time to go for day trips from Cancun to Tulum is during the off-season
- All these day trips are affordable