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Top 10 Day Trips From Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Known as the capital of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen has extraordinary landscapes in the Quintana Roo Caribbean, guarded by beautiful intricate rainforests and Mayan archaeological sites. All complemented by an international tourist infrastructure. Here is a list of the top ten tours from Playa del Carmen.

Chichen Itza

Among the tours in Playa del Carmen, you cannot miss Chichen Itza, an imposing Mayan archaeological city located in Yucatan in the town of Tinum, 112 miles west of Playa del Carmen. You can depart from Cancun and Playa del Carmen for day trips that allow you to visit the majestic archaeological site and other places of interest, such as the beautiful cenote, Ik Kil. The regal pre-Hispanic site is presided over by the Pyramid or Temple of Kukulkán, built in the twelfth century, to which the Spaniards gave the name of The Castle.

Ek Balam

Ek Balam is another Mayan site that began to be excavated in the 1990s and that, in a short time, became a favorite of archaeology enthusiasts. The site is 97 miles from Playa del Carmen. Its construction started in the sixth century BC, although its main buildings are from the Classic Period, between the third and thirteenth centuries AD. Its most relevant building is the Acropolis, which was the royal palace. You will also find the Twin Pyramids, the Oval Palace, the Platform of the Stelae, the court for the Mayan ball game, and part of the walls that have been preserved.


The great tourist island of the Mexican Caribbean is 12 miles from the Mexican mainland coast, and it's another must-see excursion for visitors to Playa del Carmen. It's one of the world's diving and snorkeling sanctuaries for its incredible sites in the Cozumel National Park Reef, which brings together the most colorful fauna of the Caribbean Sea. Palancar is a quiet beach in the southwest of the island with a diving school, and here you can book a boat trip to explore the reefs.

Isla Mujeres

This charming Caribbean island of beaches, water parks, archaeological sites, and restaurants is 8 miles from Cancun. The island owes its name to the Spaniards, who in the sixteenth century found many female statuettes that turned out to be from the Mayan goddess Ixchel, who had one of her principal sanctuaries on the island. Playa Norte and Playa Lancheros are among the best in Isla Mujeres. The first is a pond with calm, crystal clear waters full of fish. Lancheros is also of clear waters and gentle waves.


Playa del Carmen is surrounded by cenotes that you can explore when visiting the city of Quintana Roo. One of them is Chaak Tun. Two caverns form this cenote, one larger with natural light and another small artificially illuminated. The smallest cave is covered with stalactites, and in the large one, a beautiful effect is formed on the cenote when the sunlight enters. The cenote, Dos Ojos, is one of the most popular in the Riviera Maya. El Cristalino is another cenote in the middle of a mangrove swamp known for its transparent waters.

Sian Ka'an

It is a Protected Natural Area and World Heritage Site of more than 528 thousand hectares, shared by the towns of Felipe Carrillo Puerto and Tulum in the state of Quintana Roo. It begins on the Mexican Caribbean coast and goes into the jungle, offering spectacular landscapes, which the ancient Mayans called Sian Ka'an, which means “Gate to Heaven.” Its limestone soil has allowed the formation of countless cenotes. On the coast, its white-sand beaches, turquoise waters, and its part of the great Mayan reef constitute splendid tourist scenarios, especially for swimming, diving, and snorkeling.


Although the municipality of Tulum, 40 miles south of Playa del Carmen, is famous for its archaeological site, it also has other attractions that will always be worth visiting. The beautiful Playa Paraiso and several beautiful cenotes. The Tulum National Park, of which the Mayan site is part. The archaeological site in front of the sea is the most relevant of the Riviera Maya. Its most important structure is El Castillo, used by the Mayans as a lighthouse and astronomical observatory. At the foot of the pre-Hispanic complex, there is a sunny beach of white sand and turquoise-blue waters.

Tulum Ruins

Kaan Luum

The visit to this magical lagoon of the Riviera Maya is one of the recommended excursions in Playa del Carmen that you must do. Although the lagoon is shallow and allows swimming and splashing with the water to the chest, the cenote is an abyss of more than 260 feet to which only divers have access. Aerial photos show the impressive contrast between the crystal clear lagoon surrounding the most intense blue cenote, with no natural barriers separating the two bodies of water. The Lagoon's mud has healing benefits on the skin. Kaan Luum has no restaurants or snack shops.


Xcaret is one of the most impressive eco-archaeological parks in the world and is less than 4 miles from Playa del Carmen. The tourist complex also has a fantastic beach, rivers, wonderful natural pools, and attractions for the entire family, such as the aquarium, aviary, butterfly garden, and a museum of orchids and bromeliads. Xcaret highlights the most beautiful and symbolic Mexican artistic and cultural manifestations. Below the surface of the park circulate several underground rivers that you can explore on excursions.


Xel-Ha is a unique cove formed by the union of a river with the Caribbean Sea, which creates a beautiful and unique ecosystem both above and below the water. It's 30 miles from Playa del Carmen in a southerly direction along the Riviera Maya road. Diving and snorkeling are two of the most popular activities. Navigation along the Xel-Ha River leads to attractions like the Monkey Falls, the Stone of Courage, Trepachanga, and Salpichanga. Trepachanga is two ropes suspended over the river where you can walk over it, and Salpichanga is a system of 6 zip lines over the river current.

Playa del Carmen and its surroundings have beautiful beaches of fine white sands. This destination offers hotels and the best accommodations and restaurants to enjoy the best of the Caribbean and international cuisine. Book your next trip to Mexico and relax under the sun or explore any of these extraordinary tours.

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Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

Laurie Allard

Wednesday 19th of January 2022

Love Cozumel