Cancún Day Trips

If you find yourself in Cancún and want to get out of town for the day, there are lots of places to visit that are within range. Isla Mujeres is a small island that is a short ferry ride away. It really doesn’t live up to it’s old reputation as a sleepy fishing village any more but still offers a more relaxed pace than Cancún. But make no mistake, today, the main business in Isla is purely tourist. It has nice beaches and a nice small town with narrow streets and lots of quaint shops and restaurants. Some of the other attractions there are a turtle hatchery and the Garrafon Natural Park.You’ll find a large percentage of the visitors there are European. We’ve stayed at the modest Posada del Mar hotel and found it nothing fancy but certainly adequate.

On the north end of the island you’ll find a clothing optional beach if you look for it. The highest hills in Quintana Roo are on Isla and if you make the drive around the southern end, you’ll see some very interesting homes on hillsides with very nice views of the ocean. One of the more unique is the “Conch House”, which is built in the shape of a shell.

Because many of the streets are so narrow on Isla, most tourist prefer to rent a golf cart rather than a more traditional auto to tour the town and even around the south end of the island.

It’s easy enough to get over to Isla from Cancún and it can easily be done as a day trip. Either drive (and park), take a cab or a bus to the ferry pier in Puerto Juarez. Express boats to Isla depart twice an hour from 6:00am to 8:30pm with a final boat departing at 11:30pm at a cost of $35 pesos. The journey takes 15-minutes. The older People Ferry runs on a less regular schedule but offers a more charming if slower trip over.

Click here to reach an active message board with info on Isla Mujeres.

Other Cancún excursions to consider:

  • Playa del Carmen is located about 45-minutes south and offers some very nice beaches. You can hire a cab for about $25-$35 one way. There is also regular bus service run by several companies that leaves very frequently to and from the central bus station in Cancún. The Riveria Bus line is a good one for a ride to Playa or most of the other daytrip locations listed below.
  • Tulum and Coba are Mayan ruins that are a bit further south of Playa del Carmen. You can buy a ticket at any hotel travel desk for a tour to either but you can also rent a car and drive to either or both and hire a guide once you arrive. Highway 307, the main north/south route runs right by the entrance to the ruins in Tulum. There is also regular bus service from the central station in Cancún to Tulum.
  • Chichen Itza is a very impressive Mayan ruin that is more inland and a bit further away than Tulum or Coba. There are regular tours that you can buy from any hotel travel desk. This one would be harder to do as a self drive day trip unless you were a little more familiar with the area.
  • Xcaret promotes itself as an eco-friendly natural park. It features a wide range of water sports including a Dolphin experience and nature trails. It’s a little like Disneyworld with a Mayan theme.
  • You’ll want to get an early start if you plan to make a day trip to Cozumel. You can buy a ticket for a tour there if you want but it’s pretty easy to do on your own. You can hire a cab or take a bus from Cancún to Playa del Carmen, Then catch the ferry over to the island. The ferry will cost you about $8 each way and they run virtually every hour. Once you make it over to Cozumel you’ll probably want to do something to take advantage of the water there – either enjoy the beaches, go snorkeling or scuba diving. Click here for more information on Cozumel and for how to get there from Cancun.