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Cancún Culture & history

Our most recommended Cancún Culture & history

Cancún/Riviera Maya: Chichén Itzá, Cenote, Valladolid & Meal

1. Cancún/Riviera Maya: Chichén Itzá, Cenote, Valladolid & Meal

Dive into Mayan culture on a guided day trip with optional hotel transfers from Cancún or Riviera Maya to Chichén Itzá, named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World for being one of the world's best-preserved ancient cities. Enjoy a Mexican buffet and tequila tasting, and stop at Valladolid and a cenote. Stop by the charming town of Valladolid, famed for the ornate, 16th-century Convent of San Bernardino of Siena and the baroque San Gervasio Cathedral. Wander the cobblestone streets, take photos, and find souvenirs. Once at Chichén Itzá, follow the guide while learning all about the most important buildings. From the awe-inspiring Pyramid of Kukulcan to the ruins that once housed tens of thousands of Mayans, the Pyramid of El Castillo or El Caracol, this visit is filled with rarely heard stories, incredible details, and stunning photo opportunities. Discover why the huge city played such an important role from the Late Classic period (600 AD) into the early part of the Post Classic period (1200 AD), and why it remained a huge center of pilgrimage. After your Chichén Itzá adventure, enjoy a tequila tasting and an authentic Mexican buffet lunch At this point, the fun is just getting started as no visit to the area would be complete without a stop by a cenote, a refreshing, enchanting underground sinkhole, sacred to the Mayan people before returning to your starting point.

Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour

2. Chichen Itza, Cenote, and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour

Travel back in time as you explore the Mayan  archeological ruins of Chichén Itzá on a guided tour. Connect with nature as you swim in the azure waters of the cenote of Saamal. Eat a mouth-watering buffet lunch and take a guided walking tour of Valladolid. Benefit from pick-up at your hotel, or a nearby meeting point, and then journey to one of the most important monuments on the Yucatán Peninsula.   Upon arrival at Chichén Itzá, look at the step pyramid of Kukulcan (El Castillo), known for the play of light from the equinox that casts shadows on each step to create an image of a serpent descending.   Go to the ancient cenote of Saamal and experience one of the sinkholes that form part of a network of underground rivers sacred to the Maya people. Enjoy a delicious buffet meal and take a stroll around the colonial city of Valladolid to complete your experience.

Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itzá, Cenote and Valladolid Tour

3. Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itzá, Cenote and Valladolid Tour

Discover the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itzá on a guided tour from Playa del Carmen. Immerse yourself in the jungle at an eco-park, with some time for swimming in a cenote and a hearty buffet lunch. Start with pickup from Playa del Carmen and first travel to the jungle eco-park. Marvel at the sacred cenote as you refresh yourself with a purifying swim in crystalline waters. Dig into a delicious buffet lunch at the restaurant at the eco-park, and be ready for a flavor sensation. Try some of the famed Mexican cuisine with regional dishes from Yucatán. After your buffet, head to the world-famous Mayan ruins of Chichen Itzá. Take a guided tour of the ceremonial site and listen to fascinating tales of the ancient Maya civilization. Learn more with your expert guides and hear entertaining stories of life at Chichen Itzá. Discover a culture that was way ahead of its time. Then, enjoy some free time to explore by yourself and walk in the footsteps of the Mayan people. Your final stop is in the colonial center of Valladolid for a quick visit to this charming “Magic Town” of Mexico. The imposing church and architecture of the town surrounding the “zocalo'' or town square are perfect photo ops and a chance to relax and enjoy the laid-back vibes of Yucatán, before heading back to Playa del Carmen.

Cancun: Scuba Diving for Beginners, 2 Dives

4. Cancun: Scuba Diving for Beginners, 2 Dives

Take a scuba dive lesson for one day and have the opportunity to dive in popular spots in the crystal waters of Cancun without need for a scuba certification. Learn the basic of scuba diving in a pool, then explore the underwater world with two tank dives in the ocean. After filling out a short medical form, you will take theory lessons and pool practice to learn the basics of scuba diving, then you will do two tank ocean dives. The first dive tales place at MUSA Underwater Museum and the second dive at Manchones reef.

Cancun: Jungle Tour Adventure with Speedboat and Snorkeling

5. Cancun: Jungle Tour Adventure with Speedboat and Snorkeling

Explore the colorful marine life and clear blue waters of the Cancun jungle on this guided water adventure. Get your adrenaline pumping on a speedboat ride around Nichupte Lagoon, and slow the pace down with peaceful snorkeling over the underwater statues at the Punta Nizuc coral reef. Get fitted with a lifejacket and snorkeling equipment at the marina before learning how to operate the speedboat safely. Board your two-seater speedboat to explore the Nichupté Lagoon, which is rich in mangrove vegetation. Navigate through the mangrove jungle as your guide points out the most interesting fauna and flora to ensure that you discover all this unique area has to offer. After around 35 minutes, arrive at the Mayan Coral Reef at Punta Nizuc. See some of the Musa statues that form an underwater museum, where you will have the opportunity to swim and snorkel. After 30 minutes, return your speedboat to the marina.

Cancun/Riviera Maya: Chichen Itza and Ik Kil Cenote Tour

6. Cancun/Riviera Maya: Chichen Itza and Ik Kil Cenote Tour

Explore the ruins at Chichen Itza on a guided tour from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Choose between a private or small-group tour and beat the crowds and the heat with early morning access. Learn about the history of Mexico with insightful commentary on one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. Start your adventure with an early pick-up from Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Beat the crowds and the heat as you arrive at the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza. Follow your guide around the once-bustling complex, learning about the rich history, religion, culture, and daily life of the Maya. Wander around the Mexican pyramids, gaze at the spectacular stone carvings, and take photos by the glorious steps of the ruins. Board an air-conditioned vehicle and leave right before the morning gets too warm and the crowds increase. Head to the charming town of Piste for a quick look around before making your way to Cenote Ik Kil. Marvel at its stunning views, take photos of the turquoise waters and lush vegetation, and maybe squeeze in a quick dip before going for lunch. After filling your belly with some local food, board the vehicle once more and make your way back to Cancun and Riviera Maya with nothing but knowledge and memories to remember your adventure by.

Tulum and Coba: Full-Day Archeological Tour with Lunch

7. Tulum and Coba: Full-Day Archeological Tour with Lunch

Spend the day discovering ancient Mayan archaeological sites on this guided tour of Tulum and Coba. Swim in a sinkhole and enjoy free time for taking photos. After being picked up in the lobby of your hotel by a certified guide, start your tour and receive an introduction to Mayan culture on the way. Make your first stop at Coba, the tallest pyramid in México, where you can take in an incredible view of the area.  Swim in natural cenotes (sinkholes) and relax in the refreshing water. Finish the day at the Tulum Archaeological Zone, an impressive Mayan city built on the coastline. Enjoy a guided tour through the area and free time to explore and take pictures.

Cancun/Riviera Maya: Tulum Ruins, Sea Turtle Swim & Cenotes

8. Cancun/Riviera Maya: Tulum Ruins, Sea Turtle Swim & Cenotes

After pickup from your hotel in Cancun or Riviera Maya, visit the Ruins of Tulum. Embark on a 45-minute tour with a professional archeologist guide and learn about Mayan history. Explore the site at your own pace.  Next, board your coach and travel to the Xtun Cenote. The drive includes off-roading since the cenote is located in the jungle. Once arriving, enjoy a Mexican buffet-style lunch including Cochinita Pibil ´the pulled pork of Mexico,´ chicken, rice, beans, tortillas, and tortilla chips. Vegetarian options are available upon advance notice. Visit two types of cenotes, stage 1 and stage 2. First, wander through the dry stage 2 cenote and admire the beautiful stalactite and stalagmite formations. Following a swim in the wet stage 1 cenote, snorkel, and explore the colorful sea life. After your cenote adventure, enjoy a Mexican-style coffee called Café Olla. Next, head to Akumal Bay, a perfect place for swimming with sea turtles that feed on the seagrass in the bay near you. Put on your provided snorkeling gear — or your own, if you prefer — and enjoy a snorkeling tour of these amazing creatures. Your instructor will guide you through each step of the process to ensure a unique and fun-filled swim experience. A professional photographer will accompany you throughout the day and capture your beautiful moments. Look over the photos at the end and purchase your USB with the guide. Finally, return to the van for transportation back to your hotel.

Cancún: Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tour & Swim with Dolphins

9. Cancún: Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tour & Swim with Dolphins

Take a catamaran cruise to Isla Mujeres, with a stop to snorkel at Cancún Underwater Museum en route. Explore the island, enjoy a delicious buffet lunch, and relax at the beach club. Get up close to dolphins. Play with them, hug them, and shake hands. Learn all about these intelligent creatures. Board the catamaran at Playa Langosta and head straight to Cancún Underwater Museum. Put on a snorkel and mask and take a dip to discover the creative sculptures on the seabed. Marvel at how nature has taken over, adding its own twist to these artworks. Spot fish and other marine life. Climb back aboard the catamaran to head to Isla Mujeres, one of three Magical Towns in Quintana Roo. Embark on a guided tour of the center of the island for an hour. Discover its natural wealth, Mayan vestiges, and Caribbean culture. Immerse yourself in the island's relaxed, romantic atmosphere. Next, have a short briefing before your swim with dolphins. Choose between 3 options, ranging from 40 to 60 minutes. Take part in different activities such as handshaking, hugging, and belly-riding. Feel the excitement of being foot pushed by dolphins. Learn about the species from the specialists. Finally, enjoy an all-you-can-eat buffet lunch and take advantage of the open bar at the Discovery Island beach club. Sunbathe on a lounge chair, take a dip in the swimming pools, and generally unwind after your fun-filled morning. Return to Cancún aboard the catamaran in a party atmosphere.

From Cancún: Cobá, Cenote, Tulum and Playa del Carmen Tour

10. From Cancún: Cobá, Cenote, Tulum and Playa del Carmen Tour

Discover the Mayan Riviera first-hand on a guided day trip from Cancún, with hotel pick-up and drop-off included. Swim in the clear waters of a sacred cenote, marvel at the old Mayan cities of Tulum and Cobá, and visit the coastal resort town of Playa del Carmen. Begin your tour from Cancún with a visit to Tulum, an old Mayan city built on the seashore. Marvel at its incredible structures, including El Castillo, El Templo de Los Frescos, and the beautiful white sand beach. This is one of the most photographed sites in the Riviera Maya. Next, discover Cobá, a Mayan city boasting the tallest pyramid in the entire Yucatán Peninsula. Tek through the sprawling jungle surrounding you and marvel at its sounds, aromas, and natural beauty. Your guide will enlighten you with magical tales of an ancient culture as you explore. Stop for a buffet lunch and taste local delicacies. Enjoy a regional lunch buffet of Yucatán specialties. Spice up your day with a taste of the special habanero salsa if you are feeling brave. Dive into a truly magical experience with a swim in a cenote in the Riviera Maya, an otherworldly natural underground limestone sinkhole filled with crystalline water. Conclude your Riviera Maya tour with a visit to Playa del Carmen, a vibrant city in the Mexican Caribbean - a perfect spot for some shopping, people watching, and enjoying the chic 5th Avenue vibes.

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Frequently asked questions about Cancún

What are the best day trips and excursions from Cancún?

The best day trips and excursions from Cancún are:

Tulum

Other Sightseeing Options in Cancún

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What people are saying about Cancún

Overall rating

4.2 / 5

based on 1,572 reviews

What an excellent tour! This trip was one of the highlights of my time in Mexico. Our guide Jacqui was knowledgeable and passionate about Mayan history and the Chichen Itza. Even though the pick up was very early, it was definitely worth it as we made it to the site before all the other big tourist buses. The guide gave an invaluable information about the site and helped us to see hidden details that we would have otherwise missed. The only downside was that it would of been nice to have more free time around Chichen Itza site, as half an hour seemed very rushed, especially if you want to see the cenote which is a 5 min walk (one way) from the main area. The Ikl Kil cenote was astonishing, We spent nearly an hour swimming around it and just admiring the surroundings. It is definitely worth going into the cenote first and then going for the buffet lunch. Just a minor thing-the van didn't have much leg room and some seats were broken. Would of been nice to have a better transportation.

This was the absolute best tour if you are interested in birds at all. My husband’s hobby is bird photography and this was probably his favorite part of our honeymoon. The driver, Axel, and the guide, Lope, were professional and very friendly! We ended up seeing 52 different bird species in the morning and were provided a delicious homemade breakfast. If we were back in the Cancún area I am sure we would do the tour again!

The day of the activity we could not go to Chichén Itza because it was closed due to local issues, however they took us to other equally beautiful ruins. The tour starts after lunch because the morning is basically the transfer to Yucatan and pick up other passengers. It is a full day tour, we leave at 7am and arrive at the hotel after 9pm

Beautiful experience and the guide Alex was amazing, funny and super prepared. We were not able to head to chichen itsa site due to some blocks but we went to Ek Balam that was also great and there was the possibility to climb the pyramid. Highly recommend!

Highly recommended for a family activity. Very professional guides. The boat ride is just amazing especially as it goes into the narrow water path. The snorkeling part was good but I had higher expectations as to the different types of fishes.