Attractions Nearby Cancun, Day Trips and Excursions

(Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico)

Photo of the famous Puerto Morelos coastlineCancun has grown into an enormous and extremely popular tourist resort and has enough attractions to keep visitors fully occupied for their entire holiday. However, should you wish to consider day trips and excursions, many quality attractions are extremely close to Cancun and often just a short boat ride away.

Popular neighbouring islands include both Cozumel and the Isla Mujeres, both of which are near to Cancun and bursting with coastal attractions, such as beaches and endless scuba diving possibilities. The attractions and more are explained fully below.

View of boats along the Puerto Morelos beachfront

Puerto Morelos

Located just over 30 km / 19 miles to the south of Cancun, Puerto Morelos is a small and attractive fishing village, perhaps best known for being the spot where car ferries to the island of Cozumel regularly depart. Puerto Morelos is far from developed and although there are a number of hotels here, the village is rarely filled with tourists. A number of the main attractions are to be found radiating outwards from the main plaza in central Puerto Morelos. Close to the coastline is a breathtaking stretch of reef, which is around 600 metres / 1,970 feet in length and extremely popular with keen scuba divers from Cancun and beyond. The beautiful Jardin Botanico Dr Alfredo Barrera (botanical gardens) are nearby and boast 3 km / 2 miles of walking trails, where you will pass bromeliads, orchids and many other exotic, indigenous plants.

Coastal image of Cozumel


The island of Cozumel is located at around 71 km / 44 miles to the south of Cancun. Cozumel is actually the country's only Caribbean island and has been a favoured destination for scuba divers for more than 50 years, with in excess of 100 superb dive sites. San Miguel de Cozumel is the only town on the island and where the main inland attractions are to be found, such as the Museo de la Isla de Cozumel, an interesting museum full of history about the island's Mayan past.

Isla Mujeres picture (Island of Women)

Isla Mujeres (Island of Women)

The Isla Mujeres is a popular destination for backpackers and extremely close to Cancun, being just 11 km / 7 miles from the coastline. Each day boatloads of visitors arrive at the Isla Mujeres for a spot of sightseeing and to soak up the sun on the soft sandy beaches, such as the Playa Norte, the Playa Lancheros and the Playa Garrafón. Apart from sunbathing, other popular island attractions include scuba diving, snorkelling, a sea turtle farm (Tortugranja), Mayan temple ruins, bars, seafood restaurants and a selection of local handicraft stores. It is even possible to swim with dolphins. The island itself is approximately 8 km / 5 miles in length and surrounded by clear blue waters which are always extremely warm and inviting, being connected to nearby Cancun by regular ferries.

Photo of the Xel-Ha National Ecological Park

Xel-Ha National Ecological Park

The Xel-Ha National Ecological Park was founded in the early 1980s and is centred around a vast lagoon, which is full of colourful fish and one of the main attractions for keen snorkellers. Many tourists choose to come here from Cancun and this setting has become a popular day trip, being just over 113 km / 70 miles from the city itself. Other attractions include an array of eateries, shopping opportunities and superb views.
Open hours: daily - 08:30 to 18:00
Admission: charge, discount for children under 12 years old, children five years old and under are free