There is plenty to do when visiting Cancun without going too far from the city, but for those that want to explore more of the cultural side of the area, there are three day trips to take when visiting Cancun that will provide exactly that. Each of the three places will take about 2-2.5 hours to get to from Cancun, and there are a number of options for getting there. How and when you choose to go will depend on how much time you want to spend at each of these places.
Tulum, like Cancun, has no shortage of breathtakingly beautiful white sand Caribbean beaches, but only steps away from the shores of the turquoise sea, there is culture and history. Tulum National Park quite literally overlooks the sea, and it is home to ruins dating back to the 13th century, including a cliff-top watchtower and an ancient temple. There are also ruins further away from the coast that offers some stunning views of the surrounding jungle.
Tulum is about 80 miles south of Cancun, so it takes a little less than two hours to get there by car. For those that won’t be renting a car during their stay in Cancun, a taxi or shuttle to Tulum from Cancun will cost around $65-$75 each way if booked in advance. The least expensive option for getting to Tulum, though, is an ADO bus, which will cost roughly $15 each way, but you’ll also be at the mercy of the bus company’s scheduling.
Valladolid doesn’t have the beaches like those that can be found in Cancun or Tulum, but it is full of history, and it is a fantastic place for an architectural tour. Numerous 16th-century buildings can be found here, including San Gervasio Cathedral, Casa de los Venados, and the Convent of San Bernardino of Siena. Valladolid is also a great place to experience authentic Mexican culture, as it is a small, charming city of fewer than 50,000 people that has yet to be significantly changed by the world around it.
Valladolid is just under 100 miles from Cancun and sits to the southwest of the much larger tourist destination. Those taking a rental car to drive from Cancun to Valladolid will have to pay a toll on the road of about $15-$25. In lieu of a car, tourists can take an ADO bus for approximately $10 each way or a taxi or private transfer that could cost as much as $200 one way if booked last minute.
Chichén Itzá may be the furthest away for a day trip, sitting to the west of Valladolid, but it offers some of the most unbelievable scenery and definitely the best learning experience. The Mayan ruins that are part of Chichén Itzá are considered some of the most important in the area’s history and are even considered one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World.” Visitors can tour the outside of the site and get an up-close glimpse of the famous El Castillo pyramid, which is the main architecture of the archeological site that covers an area of about two square miles.
Chichén Itzá is about 120 miles from Cancun and will take around 2.5 hours to get to by car. Visitors without a rental car can also take a bus or a taxi to get to the historic site. An ADO bus will run about $25-$35 and take about a half-hour longer than driving in a car, and a taxi will cost anywhere from $150 up and take about 2.5 hours to get there.
For those that don’t want to navigate through the process of getting to any of these places on their own, there are also tours that can be booked that will handle everything for you. And while you surely want to spend time enjoying Cancun during your Mexican Caribbean vacation, each of these places offers a unique experience to remember from your trip to Cancun.
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