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Playa del Carmen Culture & history

Our most recommended Playa del Carmen Culture & history

Playa del Carmen: Chichen Itzá, Cenote and Valladolid Tour

1. 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.

From Tulum: Mayan ruins & Sian Kaan Nature Reserve Tour

2. From Tulum: Mayan ruins & Sian Kaan Nature Reserve Tour

Explore the ancient Mayan ruins of Muyil and the Sian Kaan Nature Reserve on a half-day tour from Tulum. You will encounter a variety of birds, plants, and animals before wandering through the ruins to discover the incredible history of this ancient civilization. After being picked up from Tulum you will be transferred to the Sian Kaan Nature Reserve. Walk through this inspiring eco-preserve to the highest point in the reserve and gaze out at an unblemished jungle filled with hundreds of species of birds, plants, and animal life. Enjoy a small hike before a boat ride through the trading canals of the ancient Maya civilization and visit the Maya temple of Xlapak. You will see the detailed facades of these old ruins, located at the bottom of the river valley. Next, float back down through the canals between mangroves and gently make your way back out into the crystal-clear waters around the peninsula. Onboard, enjoy an assortment of Mexican snacks and lunch as the sun sets over this beautiful landscape. Experience the very best of this region. The food, the culture, the nature, and a bit of relaxation make this a perfect day trip from your home base in Playa del Carmen.

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

3. 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.

From Cancún: Chichén Itzá & Yaxunah Early Access Tour

4. From Cancún: Chichén Itzá & Yaxunah Early Access Tour

Visit the protected archaeological site of Chichen Itza and Yaxunah on a guided tour. Support a local Mayan community that is in charge of protecting this piece of Mexico's Mayan heritage. At the end of your tour, enjoy a typical Mexican buffet lunch. Enjoy the tranquility of your early-morning visit to Chichen Itza before the crowds arrive. Learn how this large pre-Colombian city played an important role in Mayan civilization from around A.D. 600 to 1200, and remained a center of worship and pilgrimage until the arrival of the Spanish. Like many of ancient Mexico’s cities, the site was abandoned, and its ruins were hidden by jungle. Learn about how archaeologists discovered and unearthed the site, gaining UNESCO protection and considered today one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. After Chichen Itza, head to Yaxunah, an unexplored exclusive archeological site just for the group. Meet a local guide from the Mayan community and see the secrets of Yaxunah. Recharge your energies with a typical Mexican buffet lunch before heading to the Cenote. Enjoy the experience of swimming in a Mayan Cenote and have the opportunity to do a Tequila Tasting in this magical environment.

From Riviera Maya: Ek Balam and Cenote Maya Full-Day Tour

5. From Riviera Maya: Ek Balam and Cenote Maya Full-Day Tour

Explore the archaeological site of Ek Balam, a top regional attraction that has been recently restored. You’ll also visit the mysterious Cenote Maya, a natural pool that features beautiful rock formations. Your full-day tour begins at the Cenote Maya Park, where you’ll descend into the region’s most impressive cenote by a large wooden staircase built using ancient Maya techniques. Experience a range of optional adventures at the park, such as swimming in the cenote, diving, rappelling, swinging on a Tarzan vine, and more. Visit a small, colorful handicraft market, where your purchases of locally made items benefit Maya artisans. See a Mayan ritual, and be part of an authentic blessing ceremony performed by a shaman. Enjoy a Mayan buffet of traditional dishes such as lime soup, chaya tamales, beans, vegetables, rice, chicken, handmade tortillas, fruits, and flavored water. Next on the itinerary is visit to the Ek Balam site. Dating from the 11th century, this is one of the most impressive ceremonial centers of the Yucatan peninsula. Admire the temples and plazas and unique high-relief sculptures.

From Cancun: Day Trip to Tulum, Cenote & Playa del Carmen

6. From Cancun: Day Trip to Tulum, Cenote & Playa del Carmen

Explore the archaeological ruins of Tulum with an experienced guide, plunge into a refreshing cenote hidden by the jungle canopy, and check out the hip shops and stylish boutiques in Playa del Carmen on this full-day excursion. Be picked up at your hotel and relax on the way to site of Tulum's weather-worn ruins that are perched above the sandy shores of the Caribbean. Let your guide take care of the admission fees and head inside to uncover the secrets of the ancient Maya. Stroll between temples, palaces, and fortresses that have stood for hundreds of years. Slip down to the beach for some leisure time on the sand. Continue on to the Mariposa cenote, where dappled sunlight illuminates a freshwater pool in the middle of the jungle. Take a dip to cool off, enjoy a tasty buffet lunch on site, and then take a ride to wrap up your day among the bustling activity of Playa del Carmen.

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

7. 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.

From Cozumel: Express Tour to Tulum Mayan Ruins

8. From Cozumel: Express Tour to Tulum Mayan Ruins

Start your adventure by meeting your tour guide right in front of the swallows’ statue so that you can take the ferry ride to playa del carmen and enjoy a scenic 45 minute ride in the blue waters of the Caribbean. After that, you will take an air conditioned van/bus to the walled city of Tulum, in which you’ll explore the magnificent and restored temples rising above the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is an archeological site that offers one of the most beautiful sceneries of the world. You will be guided by a local expert through the secrets, facts, myths and wonderful legends of the ancient Mayan civilization, getting the opportunity to admire the detailed carved figures and frescoes on the walls of prominent buildings such as “El Castillo” (The Castle), The Temple of the Descending God and The House of the Columns, in which you will be able to shoot amazing photos during approximately 2 hours. After this unforgettable experience, you will return to your transportation in which you will enjoy a delicious light snack while getting back to Playa del Carmen, where you will catch the ferry just in time to be back to Cozumel.

Quintana Roo: Tulum, Cobá, Cenote, Playa del Carmen & Buffet

9. Quintana Roo: Tulum, Cobá, Cenote, Playa del Carmen & Buffet

Discover the natural and archeological treasures of Riviera Maya on this guided day trip. Choose your ideal starting point and set off to see the historical hotspots of Cobá and Tulum. See the evolution of society as you walk the modern streets of Playa del Carmen, along the Caribbean coast. Picture Tulum’s origins as a major port as you take in the majestic ruins and vast views of the Caribbean sea. Relax with the sound of gentle waves and the feeling of the sun on your skin. Fill up at the buffet lunch, full of traditional and tasty foods, before heading to a sacred cenote where you will take a dop, leaving the heat and your worries behind. At Cobá, find Nohoch Mul, the highest pyramid of the Yucatán peninsula. Learn about ancient ways of living in the region from your guide, and top it off with a dip in the tranquil waters of the Choo-Ha cenote. Finish off the day at Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean shore. You’ll have free time to walk the pedestrianized streets, visit its craft and designer shops, and soak up the unique atmosphere. Have some time to rest and reminisce on your journey back.

Riviera Maya and Cancun: Jungle Maya Adventure with Cenotes

10. Riviera Maya and Cancun: Jungle Maya Adventure with Cenotes

Discover the pristine Yaxmuul cenote, where you strap on rappelling gear and take the plunge into its glass-like underground pool on this guided tour from Riviera Maya and Cancun. Complete a thrilling zip line course that sends you hurtling above the verdant forests.  Be picked from the meeting point in Tulum, Cancun or Riviera May and relax on the transfer to the Yaxmuul cenote. Put on your gear and experience the excitement of rappelling and swimming in its waters. Next, fly over the trees on a series of zip lines with one of the lines ending with a splash.  Enter the Nohoch Nah Chich cave, which marks the entrance to the sprawling underground river system (spanning nearly 217 miles) known as Sac Actún. Be surrounded by incredible stalactites and stalagmites, pull on your snorkel mask and fins and dive into the cave's crystal-clear waters. After exploring this incredible aquatic world, your guides lead you to a mysterious dry cave. Here, you meet a local shaman, who introduces you to Mayan traditions by inviting you to witness a time-honored purification ceremony with copal incense and performed by a Mayan shaman from the community.  End the tour with a tasty lunch. Savor the flavors of a delicious traditional meal from the region, including “chayitas” and fresh flavored water drinks in different flavors.

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The best day trips and excursions from Playa del Carmen are:

Tulum

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What people are saying about Playa del Carmen

Overall rating

4.3 / 5

based on 312 reviews

Early admission is definitely worth it!! Cooler, no lines and photos without the crowds. The guide is nice, has a lot of exciting information about the Mayan culture and obviously enjoys sharing his enthusiasm.

Wonderful excursion, thanks to a small group. Tour guide Jacqueline and the driver did a great job. We received a lot of information regarding the country and its people. Always my pleasure !

Amazing day ! Everything was great, the visits, the meal, the lagoon. Special mention for Ursula who was great as a guide!

The bus at 9pm broke up, but still whole trip worth it :)

Great but very long with short time in Chichén Itzá!