30 Unforgettable Day Trips from Tulum Mexico (2023)
Tulum is a world-famous bohemian beach town in Mexico that has everything: stunning turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and a vibrant nightlife.
But there’s so much more to explore than just the swanky beach clubs in Tulum! As a travel blogger who lives in nearby Playa del Carmen, I’ve been able to experience all the amazing excursions near Tulum.
If you’re looking for something fun and adventurous to do outside of Tulum, consider taking one of these 30 unforgettable day trips from Tulum.
Best Day Trips from Tulum Mexico
These are so many amazing activities near Tulum that it can definitely be overwhelming to navigate! So I’ve done my best to divide them up into these popular Tulum day trip categories:
- Mayan Ruins Day Trips from Tulum
- Beach Day Trips from Tulum
- Beach Towns near Tulum
- Island Day Trips from Tulum
- Snorkeling Day Trips from Tulum
- Cenote Day Trips from Tulum
- Adventure Parks near Tulum
Mayan Ruins Day Trips from Tulum
If you want to experience a bit of culture during your Tulum vacation, consider visiting some of these nearby Mayan Ruins:
1. Tulum Ruins
A trip to Tulum wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the nearby Tulum Ruins!
Located just minutes from Tulum’s town center, the ancient ruins of Tulum are the only oceanfront Mayan ruins in the state of Quintana Roo, offering spectacular seaside views.
The ruins are fairly easy to visit on your own and can be reached by taxi, ADO bus, or rental car. The site is open daily from 8AM to 5PM and admission is $85 pesos (~$4 USD).
Or for a more hassle-free option, you can book a guided group tour with transportation included and a local tour guide to learn more about the history of the site.
There are many different pyramids and structures to explore, and visitors can even swim in the Tulum Ruins beach surrounded by massive cliffs. Be sure to bring water and biodegradable sunscreen, as there is very little shade at the ruins.
There are also some great oceanfront photo opportunities at the ancient city of Tulum, so be sure to have your camera ready!
👉 Book the best Tulum Ruins tour by clicking here!
2. Muyil Ruins
The Muyil Ruins archaeological site is located just 20 minutes south of Tulum and can be easily visited on a day trip.
The Muyil Ruins are thought to date back to as early as 300 AD and are home to a number of impressive structures, including a tall and narrow pyramid. Visitors can explore the ruins and learn about the Mayan culture and history.
To visit the Muyil Ruins, you can go on your own or book a guided tour. There are a number of tour companies that offer tours from Tulum–most are paired with a visit to Sian Ka’an, and include transportation, admission, and lunch in their prices.
👉 Book the best Muyil Ruins tour by clicking here!
3. Chichen Itza Ruins
The ancient Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are located a little over two hours away from Tulum, and are definitely worth the visit!
The site is home to some of the largest and most impressive pyramids in the entire Yucatan peninsula–and it’s even considered one of the 7 Wonders of the Modern World and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
To get to the ruins, you can drive on your own, take the ADO bus, or book a guided tour which also will take you to some of the impressive nearby cenotes and a stop in the colonial town of Valladolid.
Keep in mind that Chichén Itzá is a very popular tourist destination, so it can be quite busy during peak season. Make sure to arrive early in order to avoid the crowds and bring plenty of water and biodegradable sunscreen.
Once you’re at the ruins, be sure to explore everything they have to offer. The main Pyramid of Kukulcan is definitely one of the highlights at almost 80 ft high. You’ll also want to check out the Observatory, Temple of Warriors, and the Ball Court.
Chichen Itza is a fascinating day trip from Tulum that will give you a glimpse into Mayan culture and history. If you’re looking for something more cultural to do during your time in Tulum, be sure to add this to your list!
👉 Book the best Chichen Itza day trip from Tulum by clicking here!
4. Coba Ruins
If you’re looking for a cultural day trip, consider heading to the Coba Ruins from Tulum. These ruins are less well known than the Tulum and Chichen Itza ruins, but offer just as much insight into Mayan culture.
Located just 45 minutes outside of Tulum’s city center, the Coba Mayan Ruins can be visited on your own by renting a car or you can easily book a tour online.
Set in the middle of the jungle, the Coba Ruins feature impressive stone pyramids with the largest at 138 feet tall!
Unfortunately the Coba Ruins can no longer be climbed but the site is definitely still worth a visit if you’re interested in ancient history.
👉 Book the best Coba Ruins tour by clicking here!
5. Chacchoben Ruins
Just a couple hours south of Tulum are the ancient Chacchoben Mayan Ruins, which are some of the least well-known ruins in the area–perfect for avoiding the crowds.
Situated in the midst of tropical rainforest, the site offers visitors a unique glimpse into the ancient culture and history of the Mayan people.
Visitors can explore several well-preserved pyramids, temples, and other architectural features. Plus, there’s a good chance you’ll see howler and spider monkeys swinging from the trees!
To get to Chacchoben, you’ll need to drive about 2 hours south of Tulum. There are also a few tour companies that offer day trips to Chacchoben, and most include transportation, lunch, and a local guide.
👉 Book a Chacchoben Ruins tour by clicking here!
Beach Day Trips from Tulum
While Tulum is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, these nearby Riviera Maya beaches are worth a visit if you want to escape the overpriced beach clubs in Tulum.
6. Xcacel Beach
A hidden beach and natural sanctuary, Xcacel Beach is one of the most beautiful and least well-known beaches in Riviera Maya.
The beach is located just 20 minutes north of Tulum and can be reached by car or colectivo (shared van).
As a protected natural reserve, there are virtually no amenities at Xcacel Beach like beach clubs or restaurants. You’ll want to bring everything you need with you for a quiet beach day where you can relax and enjoy the stunning scenery.
7. Xpu-Ha Beach
For a stunning beach with more amenities, head to the beautiful Xpu-Ha Beach just north of Tulum. With clear turquoise waters, little seaweed, and trendy beach clubs, it’s my favorite beach in Riviera Maya!
This secluded Riviera Maya beach is perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and simply relaxing in the sun. There are also several beach clubs and restaurants, so you can enjoy a bite to eat or a cold drink while taking in the stunning views.
To get to Xpu-Ha Beach, you’ll need to drive about 30 minutes north of Tulum, take a taxi, or a colectivo. Taxis can be difficult to arrange for the return trip so you’ll want to try and arrange a pickup with the taxi driver that dropped you off.
Travelista Tip: Head to the newest beach club called Xpu-Ha Beach Club for Tulum beach club vibes at a much more affordable price!
8. Punta Maroma
Tulum is known for its stunning beaches, but if you’re looking for something a little more secluded, consider taking a day trip to Maroma Beach.
This beautiful beach is located about 1.5 hours north of Tulum, making it the perfect option for a day trip.
The easiest way to get there is by driving or taking a taxi, or you can book an excursion with Maroma Adventures–the only tour company and beach club located directly on the beach.
Maroma Beach is known for its white sand and crystal-clear waters, so it’s no surprise that it’s often voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The beach is also relatively secluded, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
If you’re looking for some activities to keep you busy, there are plenty of options available, including swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and catamaran sails which can be arranged with Maroma Adventures.
👉 Book a day trip with Maroma Adventures by clicking here!
Beach Towns near Tulum
There are several beach towns near Tulum that are worth a visit and can be visited easily on a day trip:
9. Playa del Carmen
Of course, I have to recommend my beloved Playa del Carmen as one of the best places to visit near Tulum! Playa del Carmen is located about 1 hour north of Tulum, making it an easy and convenient day trip option.
While in Playa del Carmen, visitors can enjoy the town’s white sand beaches and numerous beach clubs, take a stroll down the vibrant 5th Avenue, or go souvenir shopping. Plus, prices in Playa del Carmen will be much more affordable!
To get to Playa del Carmen from Tulum, visitors can drive, take the ADO bus, take a taxi, or take a colectivo.
I would recommend starting at the beginning of 5th Avenue near the Cozumel ferry, where you can see the Parque Fundadores and native Papantla performers, and then work your way down 5th Avenue from there.
If you’re looking for a day trip that’s a little more exciting than simply lounging on the beach, consider venturing to Cancun. The city is about 2 hours north of Tulum, making it the perfect option for a day trip.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Cancun–it feels like a big city compared to Tulum! The city is home to some of the best shopping in Mexico, a number of world-class restaurants, and bright turquoise beaches in the world famous Hotel Zone.
The easiest way to get to there is to drive, take a taxi, or take the ADO bus from Tulum to Cancun.
11. Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos is a quiet beach town and fishing village on the Riviera Maya, located about 1.5 hours north of Tulum. The small town is known for its white sand beaches, incredible coral reefs, and its beachfront leaning lighthouse (El Faro Inclinado).
Taking a day trip to Puerto Morelos is a great way to enjoy a smaller coastal town and escape some of the hustle and bustle of Riviera Maya.
Some of the activities available in Puerto Morelos include swimming, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, and fishing. There are also several restaurants, bars, and beach clubs in town, as well as a few small shops.
For a beach town that’s even smaller than Puerto Morelos, consider visiting Mahahual, which is primarily a cruise ship port and up-and-coming beach destination.
This super tiny beach town is located on the Caribbean coast, about 2.5 hours south of Tulum. The easiest way to get there is by driving or renting a car.
Along the town’s colorful beachfront malecón (boardwalk) you can enjoy the town’s numerous beach clubs, souvenir shopping, and plenty of activities like swimming, snorkeling, and kayaking.
And with impressive coral reefs right off the shore, Puerto Morelos is also a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkeling.
Located just 2 hours south of Tulum, Bacalar is an incredible natural lagoon known as the “Laguna de los Siete Colores” (Lagoon of the Seven Colors).
With its striking blue waters and numerous overwater structures, it’s often referred to as the Maldives of Mexico.
Bacalar Lagoon is much less commercialized than Tulum and perfect for a low-key lake retreat–it’s such a special place and one of my favorite destinations in Mexico!
Visitors to Bacalar can take a boat tour or enjoy swimming, kayaking, and paddleboarding in the lagoon–or simply relax on one of the many wooden docks.
To get to Bacalar from Tulum, you can drive, take the ADO bus, or book a guided tour with transportation and a boat ride included.
👉 Book the best Bacalar day trip from Tulum by clicking here!
Island Day Trips from Tulum
Head to one of these nearby islands for spectacular seaweed-free beaches:
Known for its beautiful beaches and incredible coral reefs, Cozumel is a Caribbean island just off the coast of Mexico and is one of the most popular day trips from Tulum.
The most common way to get to Cozumel from Tulum is by driving to Playa del Carmen and then taking the ferry over to the island–the entire trip takes about 2 hours each way.
Some of the best things to do on Cozumel include snorkeling, diving, walking around the quaint town square, and visiting beach clubs. There are also small Maya ruins on the island to explore.
One of the best ways to experience Cozumel is to rent a car or jeep and explore on your own. Or you can book a guided tour with transportation included.
If you’re looking for a Tulum day trip that includes some relaxation and plenty of activities, then Cozumel is a great option.
👉 Book the best Cozumel island tour by clicking here!
15. Isla Mujeres
Located off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres, or “Island of Women”, is a small tropical island that is perfect for those looking to enjoy some sun and sand.
It’s a bit of a trek to get there from Tulum but definitely worth it for a visit to the famed Playa Norte, which is considered to be one of the best beaches in the world.
To get to Isla Mujeres from Tulum, you’ll first need to drive to Cancun, then take a 20-minute ferry ride over to the island. The entire trip takes about 2.5 hours each way.
While on the island, there are plenty of fun Isla Mujeres activities to keep you busy.
If you’re looking to relax, head to Playa Norte on the north side of the island for white-sand beaches and lively beach clubs.
If you’re looking for something a little more active, rent a golf cart and head to Punta Sur, a beautiful park on the southernmost part of the island with stunning views and unique statues of Mayan goddesses.
16. Isla Contoy
Isla Contoy is a beautiful, uninhabited island off the coast of Cancun. It’s a bit of a trek to get there but well worth it for the most jaw-dropping tropical beach you’ll find in Quintana Roo!
The island is restricted to only 200 of visitors per day and can only be reached by boat, so you’ll need to book a tour to get there.
Isla Contoy tours typically include roundtrip transportation, reef snorkeling, meals, and a visit to Isla Mujeres in addition to Isla Contoy.
Once you arrive on the island, you’ll have plenty of time to relax on the beach, go swimming, or explore the island trails in search of bird species. There’s also a small museum on the island with some interesting information about its history.
With its tropical palm trees and untouched white sand beach, I still can’t get over how beautiful Isla Contoy really is!
👉 Book the best Isla Contoy tour by clicking here!
Snorkeling Day Trips from Tulum
If you want to go snorkeling during your trip to Tulum, consider some of these best excursions near Tulum:
The beautiful beach town of Akumal is known for its abundance of sea turtles, and you can often find them swimming right off the beach.
To get to Akumal, you’ll need to drive about 25 minutes north of Tulum. It’s possible to snorkel right off the beach in Akumal but I would recommend booking a guided snorkeling tour, where the tour operators are committed to conservation.
On the Akumal snorkeling tour, you’ll get to snorkel in restricted areas that are only open to certified guides. Plus, all snorkeling equipment, transportation, and meals are included.
There are so many sea turtles in Akumal you are almost guaranteed to see one if not many!
👉 I recommend booking the Akumal snorkeling tour with this tour company!
18. Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
If you’re looking for a day trip that offers plenty of opportunities for wildlife viewing and nature exploration, Sian Ka’an is a great option.
Located just south of Tulum, Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest protected areas in the Mexican Caribbean.
As one of the most biodiverse areas in the world, this nature reserve is home to a variety of wildlife and plant species.
Visitors can explore the mangroves, lagoons, and wetlands on a boat trip and get to see birds, dolphins, sea turtles, and crocodiles in their natural habitat for a unique wildlife expedition.
Since Sian Ka’an is so remote, the best way to visit is by booking a guided eco-tour–most include transportation, lunch, a local guide, and snorkeling.
And because Sian Ka’an Reserve is so untouched, it offers some of the best snorkeling in Riviera Maya where you’ll get to see a variety of tropical fish and other marine life.
👉 Book the best Sian Ka’an tour by clicking here!
19. El Cielo Cozumel
Located on the island of Cozumel, El Cielo (“Heaven” in Spanish) is a popular spot for snorkeling with giant starfish in crystal clear waters.
It’s one of my favorite snorkeling excursions in Riviera Maya–you’ll be blown away by how clear the water is!
El Cielo can only be visited by boat so it’s best to book a guided tour, which also includes snorkeling at the nearby Colombia and Palancar coral reefs, as well as a visit to a stunning beach called “El Cielito” (Little Heaven).
To get there from Tulum, it’s most common to take the ferry to Cozumel on your own and then meet your tour operator in Cozumel.
👉 Book the best El Cielo snorkeling tour by clicking here!
Cenote Day Trips from Tulum
For a truly unique experience you won’t find anywhere else in the world, consider visiting some of the incredible cenotes (natural sinkholes) near Tulum:
20. Kaan Luum Lagoon
Kaan Luum Lagoon (“Laguna Kaan Luum” in Spanish) is a secret swimming hole and natural attraction that makes for a fun excursion from Tulum.
The lagoon’s most notable feature is a deep cenote in the center, where the depth changes drastically and leaves a very sharp contrast in the color of the water from bright turquoise to dark blue.
While at the lagoon, visitors can sunbathe on a wooden pier, swim in the shallow waters, or participate in more adventurous activities like kayaking or paddleboarding.
Kaan Luum Lagoon is located just 15 minutes south of Tulum and can be visited by driving on your own, taking a taxi, or booking a guided tour.
For the most unique way to visit Kaan Luum Lagoon, I recommend booking this awesome standup paddleboarding tour with one of my favorite tour operators in Riviera Maya.
And don’t forget to bring a GoPro or waterproof phone pouch–the lagoon’s bright turquoise waters and wooden swings are perfect for Instagram photos!
👉 Book a Kaan Luum Lagoon standup paddleboarding tour by clicking here!
21. Cenote Dos Ojos
Meaning “Two Eyes,” Dos Ojos Cenote is probably one of the most popular cenotes near Tulum featuring two twin cenotes next to each other with stunning blue water and natural cave formations.
Located about 25 minutes north of Tulum’s city center, Dos Ojos is situated in a more commercialized cenote park, which includes a restaurant and amenities.
From Tulum, the cenote can be reached by public transportation but it’s about a 30 minute walk from the highway so it’s easiest to go by rental car or taxi.
As a cavern cenote, it is possible to swim and snorkel at Dos Ojos but the cenote is probably more popular for scuba diving.
👉 Click here to book a Cenote Dos Ojos snorkeling tour
👉 Click here to book a Cenote Dos Ojos scuba dive
22. Ruta de los Cenotes
If you’re looking for a day trip that’s a little bit different from the usual beach bumming, then consider heading to the “Ruta de los Cenotes” (Route of the Cenotes) near Puerto Morelos.
Located less than 2 hours north of Tulum, this area is home to numerous freshwater cenotes in the middle of the Mayan jungle, which you can explore on your own or book a guided tour.
I recommend booking the Xenotes tour by Xcaret, which is a full day all inclusive adventure experience.
This unique cenote tour takes you to 4 different private cenotes where you can participate in a variety of water activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, zip lining, and rappelling. Plus, round-trip transportation and meals are included.
👉 Book the Xenotes tour by clicking here!
23. Gran Cenote
If you’re looking for a great day trip that will take you out of the city and into nature, Gran Cenote is a great option.
Gran Cenote is a popular cenote located less than 10 minutes outside of downtown Tulum, which can be reached by car or taxi.
Gran Cenote has an open swimming area with bright turquoise waters, as well as a cave you can float or snorkel through.
Snorkel gear and life jackets can be rented for an additional cost, and there are some amenities like bathrooms, changing rooms, lockers, and snacks for purchase.
24. Casa Cenote
Known for its crystal clear emerald water and lush mangroves, Casa Cenote is a long freshwater cenote located just north of Tulum.
Casa Cenote is different from traditional cenotes for the fact that it’s more like a long lazy river that feeds directly into the sea.
At Casa Cenote, you can swim, float, snorkel, or even paddle board in a beautiful natural setting. With its shallow depths and clear water, it’s also a great spot for beginner scuba divers.
I recommend booking a Casa Cenote standup paddleboarding tour with this tour company–one of my favorite tour operators in Riviera Maya.
👉 Click here to book a Casa Cenote paddleboarding tour
👉 Click here to book a Casa Cenote scuba dive
25. Rio Secreto
Rio Secreto is a long underground river system located about 45 minutes north of Tulum. The Rio Secreto attraction is truly unique where visitors can explore this natural wonder on a guided trek that lasts around two hours.
You’ll wander through a labyrinth of caves, stalactites, and crystal-clear pools, all while learning about the Mayan culture and history of the ancient rock formations.
Additional adventure activities can also be added to your admission ticket which include rappelling, biking, and snorkeling. Plus, the small tour groups make it a much more personalized experience.
👉 Book Rio Secreto tickets by clicking here!
Adventure Parks near Tulum
For a one-stop-shop of adventurous activities, consider visiting one of the Xcaret adventure parks:
26. Xel-Ha Adventure Park
For the best water activities, head to Xel-Ha adventure park just north of Tulum. This eco-water park is the region’s largest natural aquarium with plenty of opportunities for swimming and snorkeling.
Spiral water slides, high jumps, and water ziplines add dimension to the park’s natural beauty and there’s even a mile-long lazy river.
Plus, the park is all inclusive so guests can also enjoy a delicious buffet breakfast, lunch, and open bar while taking in the beautiful views.
Of all the Xcaret adventure parks, Xel-Ha is probably my favorite!
👉 Book Xel-Ha tickets on the official website by clicking here!
27. Xplor Adventure Park
If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, then you’ll want to check out Xplor adventure park!
About 45 minutes north of Tulum, Xplor is home to the highest zip lines in Riviera Maya, amphibious vehicles, and underground cave exploration.
Visitors can enjoy a full day of adrenaline-pumping activities as well as a buffet lunch and unlimited snacks.
👉 Book Xplor tickets on the official website by clicking here!
28. Xcaret Adventure Park
The original of Grupo Xcaret’s adventure parks, Xcaret park is located about 45 minutes north of Tulum and offers visitors a full day of unique activities centered around the culture and history of Mexico.
It’s an eco-park that offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. From swimming in underground rivers to its Coral Reef Aquarium and watching live performances, there’s something for everyone at Xcaret.
Plus, Xcaret Park’s main highlight is the nightly Xcaret Mexico Espectacular production, which is a 300-person crew show that is a history lesson but fun–featuring pre-Hispanic dances and more!
👉 Book Xcaret tickets on the official website by clicking here!
29. Xenses Adventure Park
Xenses is probably the most unusual Xcaret park, which is all about challenging the 5 senses.
Filled with non-stop sensory deceptions and optical illusions, Xenses is kind of like a high end fun park filled with interactive exhibits, sense-themed activities, and endless photo opportunities.
This park is located about 45 minutes from Tulum, and it features different hands-on activities that are perfect for kids but still fun for adults too!
Besides the optical illusions, there are also some adventurous activities like the Bird Flight Zipline, Slip high speed water slide, and the mud and salt river floats.
👉 Book Xenses tickets on the official website by clicking here!
30. Xavage Adventure Park
If you’re looking for an action-packed adventure, consider visiting Xavage park–which is kind of like an Xcaret park on steroids!
This park is located about 1.5 hours north of Tulum, and offers a variety of adrenaline-pumping activities for the most extreme thrill seekers.
Some of the activities offered include white water rafting, monster trucks, a ropes course, Superman-style ziplining, and a high-speed jet boat experience.
👉 Book Xavage tickets on the official website by clicking here!
FAQs about Best Tulum Day Trips
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the best day trips in Tulum:
There are so many things to do around Tulum that you could easily stay for up to a week–relaxing at the beach at one of the eco-chic Tulum hotels or checking out some of these unique excursions.
If you’re limited on time, then I would recommend at least three days in Tulum to enjoy all the area has to offer.
If you feel comfortable driving in Mexico, the easiest way to take day trips from Tulum is by renting a car. This allows you the freedom to go at your own pace and explore many of the more off-the-beaten-path destinations near Tulum.
I recommend booking your rental car with Discover Cars, which is a handy car rental marketplace where you can compare policies with lots of insightful ratings and reviews.
If you don’t want to rent a car, the best option is to book guided Tulum tours with transportation included. Other Tulum transportation options such as taxis, the ADO bus, and colectivos are also available.
The high season in Tulum runs from December to February, when the weather is dry and less humid, making it a more enjoyable experience. But with warm temperatures all year round, there never really is a bad time to visit Tulum.
Consider visiting Tulum on the shoulder months of high season (October/November and March/April) for great weather but fewer crowds.
Conclusion: Best Tulum Excursions
Are you ready to check out some of these amazing day trips near Tulum?! I hope this Tulum day trip guide was helpful in planning your Tulum itinerary.
Whether you’re looking for an adventure, some culture, or just a day away from the beach, there are plenty of things to do in Tulum to keep you busy during your stay in this Mexican paradise.
If you’re the type of traveler that likes to get out and explore on your own, then definitely consider renting a car to be able to experience these Tulum day tours more quickly and easily.
But no matter how you get there, you’re sure to have an unforgettable time!