Top 10 Excursions in Cancun and the Riviera Maya

Beach view, Catalonia Tulum, Riviera Maya, Mexico
Please Add Photos
to your Gallery

Cancun and the Riviera Maya are not just places where you can look beautiful lounging on the sand or chill out floating in the ocean. No, these sweet destinations boast lots of excursions that will plunk you right down in the middle of the luscious natural beauty and rich history of the Yucatan Peninsula. Take a look at all the aahh-some excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya that we’ve found.

Cenote in Cancun, Mexico
(Cenote in Cancun, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/worldtrekkers.)

1. Chill in Cenotes. Cenotes (say-NOH-tays) or “sacred wells” were once revered by the Mayans because they were a water source in dry times. They also believed they were portals to speak with the gods. For modern people who want to worship with a little R&R (and who doesn’t), floating in a luscious, secluded space of calm, then this is one of coolest excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya you can experience. These mysterious, sublime hidden havens are natural swimming pools formed by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which have created a secret subterranean world of groundwater pools. Some of these cenotes are surrounded by giant tropical trees and vines that form large, looming walls and make you feel like you’ve stepped into the land before time, except you probably won’t see any dinosaurs. Some of the best include Chaak Tun Cenote in Playa del Carmen, Grand Cenote in Tulum and Dos Ojos, also in Tulum. Have fun in these hidden Edens when you’re planning your excursions in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Sea turtle, Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal, Mexico
(Sea turtle, Luxury Bahia Principe Akumal, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/aubolio.)

2. Swim with Turtles in Akumal Bay. Okay, if you want to commune with nature, then this is one of the best excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya to dive into. Check it out: Akumal is just 22 miles south of Playa del Carmen or 66 miles from Cancun, which is just a short hop away, but well worth it. Here, you can swim with the endangered green sea turtles and watch these gentle shelled creatures in calm waters as they munch on the sea grass that covers the ocean floor. You can rent snorkeling equipment at the Akumal Dive Center and an affordable way to get here is to go by collective, or shared van/bus. If you want to visit a turtle farm (or tortugranja) and see the adorable hatchlings, just go to Sac Bajo, north of Playa Paraiso. But don’t feed them or the mama turtles. They’ve got plenty of nourishment from Mother Nature. Seeing these babies is one of the most fun excursions Cancun and Riviera Maya that we can recommend.

3. Float on the Rio Secreto. Talk about a fascinating, blow-you-away excursion in Cancun and Riviera, this is one of them. This mysterious, evocative locale near Playa del Carmen is an underground river where you can swim amid thousands of stalactites and stalagmites. You can walk (or swim) through mineral-rich waters, learn about the nature reserve’s geology and the history that dates back millions of years. Enjoy the silence of the surreal formations and relax. When you’re on vacay in Cancun, it’s a great way to take a break from the sun (you’re near the Equator) and immerse yourself in what may be one of the great wonders of the world. When it comes to going on a super awesome excursion in Cancun and Riviera Maya, this is one of the most compelling.

Tulum ruins, Mexico,
(Tulum ruins, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/aolnoue_y.)

4. Explore the Mayan Ruins. This is the excursions of all Riviera Maya and Cancun excursions. While there are several ruins that inhabit this area, there are two that are particularly alluring – the Chicen Itza Pyramids and Tulum. When you decide on this activity, be sure to bring your hiking/walking shoes because you’ll be on the move. And you’ll want to be wandering and poking around because these massive sites are architectural feats to behold. Chichen Itza, considered one of the ‘New 7 Wonders of the World,’ is dazzling. However, Tulum is set upon a dramatic cliff overlooking the turquoise Caribbean and there’s even a beach below that you can check out. But the view alone is worth the trip. Time to get your antiquity and add this to your list when you’re charting out your excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya.

5. Frolic with Dolphins in Playa del Carmen. Truly, this is one of the most exciting, most fun Cancun and Riviera Maya excursions out there. Some of the interaction with these smiley darlings includes a kiss and hug (aaahhh), shaking their hand, er, fin, and a ride with a dorsal tow – hang on! This is Bucket List-worthy activity and there are several excellent places in and around Playa del Carmen, as well as Cozumel and and Akumal to find this. When you’re thinking about what kind of Riviera Maya and Cancun excursions you want to take, you can’t beat this magical experience. Be sure to get into the swim with all this awesome.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico
(Isla Mujeres, Mexico, photo by: instagram.com/chubbs.photography.)

6. Snorkel at Isla Mujeres. This tropical island, the ‘Island of the Women,” is a gem of the Caribbean and one of the most accessible excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya you can take. It’s eight miles off the Yucatan coast, and on a clear day, you can see the skyline of Cancun. The best part is that it’s part of the northern border of the Great Mayan reef, the largest barrier reef in the northern hemisphere. If you’re a beginner and want to snorkel in shallow water, El Farito on Isla Mujeres is a place to see some beautiful fish. If you’re more experienced, hit Los Manchones, where the depths span 35-40 feet and you’ll see some stunning coral. When you’re planning your Cancun and Riviera Maya excursions, this is something you’ll definitely want to dive into.

7. Zip Line in the Mayan Jungle. In addition to sailing on a wire through the verdant canopy in the exotic, wild jungles of this part of the world, you can also rent ATVs to explore these labyrinths of tropical greenery, traverse hanging bridges and end up by jumping into a cenote. When it comes to these kinds of active excursions, there are leagues of tour companies to choose from all over Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. So when if you’re looking for excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya that dish up the adrenaline, don’t miss ATVs or zip lining. Here’s to living the high life down ‘n dirty in the sand or way above the treetops.

8. Take a Dip with the Whale Sharks. When you’re considering excursions in of Cancun and Riviera Maya that involve these aquatic creatures, here’s a quick primer. First of all, they are sharks (gills), not whales (lungs). However, unlike their relatives, the scary, people-eating menaces with their jagged row of teeth, these gentle giants – actually the world’s largest fish –  feed on plankton and algae. But be forewarned: they are 30-40 feet long with a gaping mouth the size of a Smart car. That said, they are no threat to humans. For this activity, you are taken to the spot (in a boat with a guide) where the whale sharks congregate off the coast of Cancun. When the guide tells you to jump in, JUMP! They swim away quickly. You’ll want to take your cameras, but rentals are also available. Again, don’t feed these big babies. They’re got a steady diet of watery organism goodness. This is one of the best excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya – and it always gets rave reviews.

Sunset, Grand Oasis Sens, Cancun, Mexico
(Sunset, Grand Oasis Sens, Cancun, Mexico, photo by: one of our True Beach Lovers.)

9. Set Sail on Sunset Cruises. If you’re up for some romance or just meeting new friends, this is one of the most relaxing excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya to put on your itinerary. The first questions is: where do you want to start? What kind of boat? There are scads of ports to sail from up and down Yucatan Peninsula: Cancun and the calm waters of the Nichupte Lagoon, Riviera Maya, Tulum and Puerto Morelos. And the vessels: catamarans, luxury yachts, pirate ships. All sizes and shapes. And finally, the types of cruises: dinner, cocktail, private lobster BBQ. In all of the aforementioned categories, the list goes one. When you’re looking for a super fun, relaxing  excursion in Cancun and Riviera Maya, don’t miss this. It’s oceans of fun.

Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, Riviera Maya, Mexico
(Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club, Riviera Maya, Mexico, photo by: istagram.com/john080700.)

10. Golf on world-class greens. The number of lush golf courses in Cancun and Riviera Maya is nearly dizzying. Here are just a few places to consider. At the Hard Rock Riviera Maya, you have a choice of two: Golf Club Playacar and the Hard Rock Golf Club. The Grand Bahia Principe Tulum offers access to the Riviera Maya Golf Club designed by Robert Trent Jones II, the number one name in golf course architecture around the world. Iberostar Playa Paraiso has a gorgeous green. And Secrets Silversands Riviera Cancun provides a complimentary round at Grand Riviera Maya. Schwing. No matter what excursion in Cancun or Riviera Maya you’re thinking about, know that the golf courses are epic.

So whadda ya say about all these amazing excursions in Cancun and Riviera Maya? You in? Truth is, these are just a few of the scores of excursions you can experience in this sunny paradise. Just dial 800-915-3162 and our Beachologists will plan everything for you. Soup to (macadamia) nuts. Or you can browse our vacation packages in Cancun and the Riviera Maya. Book your sandsational getaway today. Peace out and beach on.

Special note: when you are planning your Cancun and Riviera Maya excursions, trust Amstar for all your transfers. These friendly, super knowledgeable guides are who you want schlepping you around during your Riviera Maya and Cancun excursions aka your tour of paradise. They know their stuff.

Lisa Mitchell

I am a blogger for CheapCaribbean.com who is a travel junkie and addicted to the beach.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.