The Best Day Trips from Playa del Carmen

Summer | © Adamkontor / Pixabay
Mónica Ramírez López

When planning your vacation to Playa del Carmen, keep in mind the other travel destinations that surround it. Carve out some time in your agenda to dedicate a couple days – at least – to exploring beyond Playa’s beaches. From scuba diving to theme parks and idyllic cenotes, there’s a day trip for all tastes. Take a gander at the following list of the best day trips you can take from Playa del Carmen.


This is a day trip you just can’t miss, is a landmark of the Riviera Maya and a must-visit when visiting Playa del Carmen. Take a bus from the station at 5th Avenue (Quinta Avenida) and you’ll be there in 40 minutes. In Cancun, make your way to Playa Delfines, a beach with a “Cancun Spot,” so shoot a selfie and drink a refreshing piña colada on the beach or terrace; it’s an excellent way to start your day trip. There’s so much to do: take a boat tour through the mangroves of the Nichupté lagoon, enjoy the city, visit downtown, and have lunch in a market to immerse yourself in the local folklore. In the afternoon and into sunset time, enjoy a breathtaking view of Cancun from the sky in the Scenic Tower located in El Embarcadero. You might want to visit the Island Mall for a dinner at the shore of the Nichupté lagoon. At night, hit the nightclubs along Kukulcan Avenue.


Theme Parks

Make some time in the agenda for a complete day at one of the theme parks around Playa del Carmen. There’s a wide range of choices: from natural aquariums, to zoos and jungle adventures, Xel Ha and Xcaret are good options for swimming and chilling out in rivers, sinkholes, and beach, while Xplor and Selvática offer thrilling adventures in the Mayan jungle. If you want to immerse yourself in a natural landscape to snorkel and fly in a tirolesa, Xenotes Park is a good spot. As a versatile destination, even zoos have places where you can swim, so if that sounds like something you might like, try Bel Air Animal Park, it has exotic animals and more. For rainy days, Xenses is the place to go.

Xcaret, Federal Highway Chetúmal-Puerto Juárez Km 282, Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen, Q.R., México

Xel-Há, Federal Highway Chetumal Puerto Juárez Km 240, Q. R., México

Selvatica, Ruta de los cenotes Km 18, Federal Highway Puerto Morelos – Leona Vicario, Puerto Morelos, Q.R., México

Selvática, Theme Park

1. Tulum


1. Tulum
© Christian Córdova / Flickr
This is another must-visit place during your holidays in Playa del Carmen. Tulum, an important merchant harbor, lighthouse, and worship center, is located on the shores of a beautiful beach. You’ll love the encounter with the Mayan culture while feeling the fresh breeze of the sea. Admire the rock paintings, check out the temples, and pause for a moment to enjoy the breathtaking view. When you plan to visit Tulum, take a picnic basket, grab a couple of towels, suntan lotion, and get ready for a beach day beneath the archaeological zone. Paradise, as it’s called, describes exactly what you’ll find in the clear crystal waters of this beach.

Cenotes and Underground Rivers

There are more than 2,500 cenotes (sinkholes) in Mexico’s Yucatan. Close to Playa del Carmen, you’ll find the Cenotes Route, which is a path in the jungle with both underground and open-air sinkholes (called cenotes by the locals) where you can swim, snorkel, and dive. Though they’re in the jungle, they’re safe places that sometimes include ziplines and even rappelling. Some of them also include bathrooms, restaurants, and services for your comfort. The cenotes closer to Playa del Carmen are Cenote Azul and Dos Ojos. The underground river, Río Secreto, is an incomparable experience where you’ll have to descend 25 km in caves to get to the secret amazing river.

Río Secreto, Federal Highway Chetumal–Puerto Juárez Km. 283.5, Ejido Sur, Playa del Carmen, Q.R. México

La Ruta De Los Cenotes, Leona Vicario, Puerto Morelos, Q.R., México

Cenote Majestuoso

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