Located in the southeastern portion of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, Cancún is one of the country’s most popular destinations for tourists from all over the world looking for postcard-like beaches, amazing archaeological sites, and a vibrant cuisine.
The town is on the easternmost corner of the Yucatan Peninsula and lies between the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.
There are plenty of accommodation options for every budget, and booking guided tours to see the region’s sites is easy as well, and there are family-friendly and adult-only options from which to choose.
Below are 15 of the best Cancún tours.
1. Isla Mujeres Full-Day All-Inclusive Catamaran Tour
For those hearty travelers with strong sea legs and an open day on their itinerary, this all-inclusive Catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres would be a great way to experience what many consider to be one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.
The tour includes stops at a coral reef where guests will have the option of swimming and snorkeling in the amazingly clear water.
Sea life abounds on the reef, and you’ll see many of its residents up close and personally.
The tour also includes a buffet lunch and an afternoon relaxing on a picture-perfect island with plenty of cool drinks and ocean views.
2. Full-Day Tour to Tulum, Coba, and Cenote
The Cancún region is dotted with archaeological sites and ruins left over from the Mayan Empire.
This 12-hour tour includes visits to Tulum, Coba, and Cenote, and in addition to learning about the culture’s fascinating history you’ll have a chance to swim in a sinkhole filled with clear water and take in the area’s natural beauty.
The tour includes round-trip transportation from your hotel or guesthouse and the services of a professional guide who’ll be with you from beginning to end.
It’ll be a long day, but considering all the things it includes it’s a great value and an efficient and fun way to spend a vacation day.
3. Adults-Only Party Cruise from Cancún to Isla Mujeres
If the phrases ‘open bar’ and ‘adults-only’ pique your interest and get your blood flowing then consider this 7-hour Isla Mujeres cruise from Cancún.
Crying babies and grumpy toddlers won’t be an issue, and with plenty of amazing sea views, cool drinks, and fun activities it’ll be the perfect way to spend a day.
Snorkeling near a few area reefs will get you close to some unique and colorful sea life, and there’s a great lunch buffet included that features both Mexican and international foods.
This is not a good fit for quiet introverts looking for some peaceful time of quiet contemplation.
4. Underground River and Crystal Caves Excursion
This tour gets underway from Playa Del Carmen and includes transportation from Cancún, and from there guests will be transported to one of the most preserved seaside cave complexes in the world.
In order to minimize damage to the delicate ecosystem guests will have to undergo a simple body chemical removal process, but don’t worry, it’s painless.
The cave includes walking, swimming, and climbing portions, so it’s best left to the young, fit, and relatively fearless.
It’ll probably one of the most memorable things you’ll ever do, and it includes lunch and an afternoon rest period – or siesta – as well.
5. Early Access with Private Archaeologist-Guide to Chichén Itzá
For early birds with plenty of morning energy and an insistence of hitting the road before most travelers have had their first cup of coffee, this 10-hour tour from Cancún to Chichén Itzá would be a great fit.
You’ll be accompanied by an official archeologist-guide who’ll impress you with his or her knowledge of the area’s archaeological sites.
The Mayan Civilization reigned for about 600 years between AD 600 and 1200, and Chichén Itzá was one of their sacred areas, and remained so with the natives even after they were gone.
It’s considered one of the New World’s 7 Wonders, so make it a point to see it if you can.
6. Catamaran Cruise with Snorkeling from Cancún
If you’ve never been on one, catamarans are majestic multi-hulled boats that seem to slide through the water magically, defying the laws of physics.
This sightseeing and snorkeling day-trip from Cancún will take guests to some of the region’s most beautiful reefs that are full of exotic fish and mysterious marine creatures that are easy to see in the shining blue waters.
An open bar, music, dancing and fajita lunch are included, so come hungry and prepared to have a good time.
Dance lessons are included as well, so if you’re salsa is a bit rusty you’ll get some professional assistance.
7. Adventure Jungle Tour with Speedboat and Snorkeling
If cruising over the clear sea in a speedboat, snorkeling on a pristine reef filled with colorful fish and hacking your way through archaeological ruins filled with jungle sounds more like an adventure novel than a vacation day, then this exhilarating tour is for you.
You’ll get a crash course in how to handle the powerful boat before heading out, and you’ll be accompanied by an experienced guide every step of the way.
The reef at Punta Nizuc is one of the tour’s highlights, and you’ll have an opportunity to swim and snorkel in what’s often referred to as the submerged museum for its artsy underwater structures.
8. Cirque du Soleil JOYÀ Show Tickets
Cirque du Soleil is a world-famous production that can be enjoyed everywhere from Las Vegas to Moscow, and taking in the JOYÀ Show in Playa del Carmen would be a great way to end a day spent in the sun and surf.
The show lasts a little more than an hour and if you’ve never experienced it, it’ll wow you with its colorful performers, amazing choreography, and dramatic music.
The production tells a story that follows a local legend and is presented in a 600-seat venue with great acoustics and lighting.
Previous guests have stated that there’s not a bad seat in the house.
9. Tulum Discovery Tour
Though it’s possible to spend days taking in all the archaeological sites in the area, after a while they can begin to blend together, and if you’re not a pre-Colombian history aficionado you may get bored.
Luckily there’s a half-day option that’ll get you close to some Mayan ruins without hogging all your valuable vacation time.
This 4-hour excursion includes pickup from your Cancún, Playa del Carmen, or Riviera Maya hotels and includes transportation and a guided tour of the ruins at Tulum, which just happen to be near one of the country’s most scenic beaches.
The historic portion lasts just an hour which is just right for many travelers.
10. Day-Trip to Las Coloradas and Ek Balam
Few places are blessed with both stunning natural beauty and fascinating ancient cultures and history like the Yucatán Peninsula region of Mexico, and this day-trip to Las Coloradas and Ek Balam is a great way to get your fill of both.
Las Coloradas pink lakes and flamingos are the tour’s gem, and you’ll also visit a protected mangrove forest in the coastal area of Rio Lagartos that’s full of wildlife including a number of wading bird species.
You may catch a glimpse of a crocodile or two as well, and the tour includes a freshly prepared lunch and a climb to the top of the Acropolis at Ek Balam.
11. Tulum Snorkeling and Zip-Lining Jungle Tour
The jungles in and around the Yucatán Peninsula are dark and mysterious places full of exotic animals, thick vines hanging from ancient trees, and Mayan ruins that look like they’re out of an Indiana Jones movie.
This full-day tour from Cancún includes a portion via all-wheel-drive vehicle and in addition to the aforementioned attractions includes a stop at a vast underground river and cave complex full of stalactites and stalagmites.
Zip-lining hundreds of feet above the forest canopy is included as well, as is a traditional Mayan lunch prepared with fresh local ingredients. This tour requires a fair amount of physical exertion, so plan accordingly.
12. Swim with the Turtles and Tulum Ruins Combo Tour
This unique tour includes hotel pickup and drop-off, and once underway guests will be whisked to Tulum along with their guide to experience the best of ancient Mayan culture and the ruins at the famous site of Tulum.
The once thriving city was a regional center of the Mayan Civilization, and is a must-see when in the area.
The fortified city overlooks the ocean, and after the tour’s historical portion guests will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with sea turtles near the Caribbean town of Akumal Bay.
Two world-class activities packed into one convenient day makes for great value.
13. Xcaret Day-Trip with Optional Light and Music Show
Located near the Mayan Riviera, the archaeology and ecology park at Xcaret is best experienced on a full-day tour.
The park includes stunning natural beauty and a variety of animal species that are unique to the area like monkeys, birds, reptiles, and butterflies.
Much of the area is covered with an underground labyrinth of caves and rivers that have been carved from the rock over eons, and there are a few ruin sites inside the park as well.
This day tour includes hotel pickup and drop off is capped off with a traditional Mayan entertainment that includes music, dance and storytelling.
14. Riviera Maya ATV and Waverunner or Speedboat Combo Tour
Much of the rugged jungle around Cancún is best explored by motorized vehicle, and this ATV and Wave-Runner combo tour includes sea and land portions that are fast-paced and full of natural beauty.
The tour lasts 3 hours and guests will get a safety orientation before setting off. Since it’s a half-day tour lunch isn’t included, though light snacks and non-alcoholic beverages are.
Hotel pickup and drop-off are included if you’re staying in Cancún, Playa del Carmen, or Riviera Maya.
This tour is full of sun, sand and surf so dress accordingly, bring sunblock, and eat a healthy breakfast beforehand.
15. Parasailing in Cancún, Isla Mujeres and Nichupté Lagoon
Parasailing is one of the most exhilarating things most people ever get to experience and offers the most panoramic and unobstructed views of the surrounding land and sea that’s literally a bird’s eye view.
Parasailing is safe, inexpensive and doesn’t eat up a big portion of your day, leaving plenty of time for other activities.
If you’re game, you’ll ascend hundreds of feet up into the air tethered to a speedboat and hanging from a parachute over the clear waters below.
Flights last between 10 and 12 minutes and aren’t a good fit for those who aren’t particularly fond of heights.