Note: Some tour providers on this list may have limited or ceased operations due to COVID-19. Check with your tour operator about availability before you book.
From Mayan ruins to the turquoise Caribbean Sea to abundant coral reefs, there is so much to see in and around Cancún. To make the most of your time on the Yucatán Peninsula, consider signing up for a guided tour. U.S. News selected 10 of the top tours in Cancún relying on expert opinion and traveler sentiment. Whether you pick an easygoing bus tour or a thrilling speedboat excursion, you’re sure to have the adventure of a lifetime.
Amigo Tours – Chichen Itza All Inclusive
To beat the crowds at the ancient Mayan site of Chichén Itzá, this excursion starts at 6 a.m. After picking you up at your hotel, a bilingual guide leads the 12-hour tour of the UNESCO World Heritage Site while giving a history of Mayan culture and the ruins. The tour also includes a lunch buffet, the opportunity to swim in a cenote (a natural well) and a visit to the city of Valladolid. Reviewers enjoy the swim and praise their guides, while others advise bringing bug spray and cash for additional fees. Tours, which are offered daily and include pickup at a location of your choosing, start at $52 for participants 12 and older and $47 for children ages 3 to 11; children younger than 3 can join for free. The company also offers tours of the site at sunrise, as well as tours of Tulum and Isla Mujeres, among others.
Jungle Tour Adventure Cancún – Speedboat & Snorkeling Tour
Travelers on this two-hour excursion will drive their own speedboat while exploring mangrove canals and the Punta Nizuc bay alongside a guide. Afterward, tourgoers will snorkel through the clear waters of the Punta Nizuc coral reef, which is part of the world’s second-largest coral reef. Reviewers say the tour is super fun and appreciate the guides’ attention to safety. Tickets start at $45 per person for a shared boat. Solo travelers will pay about $80 for their own boat. Additional dock fees (about $15) are not included in the ticket price. Children must be at least 4 years old to participate and some health restrictions apply. Tours operate at 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. daily. No boating experience is required. The company also runs a mangrove tour using the speedboats.
Cancun Sailing – Premium Experience Tour to Isla Mujeres
Public ferries from Cancún to Isla Mujeres are readily available, but if you’re looking for a tour option that allows for swimming and snorkeling, reviewers say this excursion from Cancun Sailing fits the bill. The seven-hour tour also includes transportation, a buffet lunch and an open bar, at no extra cost. Plus, you’ll have time to explore Isla Mujeres on your own. Reviewers describe the tour as fun but wish they had more time for snorkeling. Others say the crew added to the experience thanks to their expertise. Tickets start at $109 for adults and $69 for children ages 5 to 10. Children 5 and younger can join for free, though Cancun Sailing recommends alerting them if you’re traveling with kids so they can place you on a more family-oriented tour. Cancun Sailing also offers a less expensive option of this tour that does not include some premium features (like snacks on the boat).
Contoy Adventures – Contoy Eco Adventure
Only 200 people per day are allowed to visit Isla Contoy, a protected natural reserve and bird sanctuary north of Cancún. Contoy Adventures takes you by boat to this preserved area, where you will have ample opportunities to swim and snorkel after you take a guided tour of the island. You’ll also stop at Isla Mujeres on the way back to Cancún. Reviewers say they enjoy the excursion, but note that the stop at Isla Mujeres is short without much time to explore. Tickets start at $99 per adult and $85 per child ages 5 to 11. Breakfast, lunch and pickup from select hotels is included in the ticket cost; however, a $15 preservation tax that must be paid in cash the day of your tour is not. The tour runs from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Contoy Adventures also offers whale shark tours, among others.
Cancun Adventure – Cobá and Tulum Private Tour
This private tour, limited to 12 people, takes travelers in an air-conditioned van from their hotel to the archaeological sites of Cobá and Tulum accompanied by a guide. You’ll spend two hours at each site with free time to explore on your own. The trip includes a buffet lunch of traditional Mayan food. Tourgoers say they enjoy the trip and learn about Mayan history. The price of the tour varies depending on the number of participants; two people can expect to pay around $640. Tours depart daily and hotel pickup starts as early as 7 a.m. The company also offers tours to Chichen Itza, Isla Mujeres and Tulum, among others.
Though large, whale sharks are gentle and safe to swim with. Meet these creatures on a tour with EcoColors.(Courtesy of EcoColors Tours)
EcoColors Tours – Whale Sharks Cancun Tour
This adventure gives travelers the opportunity to swim alongside magnificent whale sharks. Guides lead the small-group tours to the whale shark feeding ground, where travelers can snorkel alongside the gentle giants. After snorkeling, you’ll stop on Isla Mujeres to relax. Tourgoers describe the excursion as an amazing experience and report seeing many whale sharks. Others advise taking motion sickness medicine before boarding the boat and wearing rash guards, as you cannot wear sunscreen for environmental reasons. Tours, which last approximately five to eight hours, are offered May to mid-September. Tickets start at $195 for participants 8 and older and $145 for children ages 5 to 7. Tickets include snacks and lunch, but not the $5 dock tax per person, which must be paid in cash. Patrons must be at least 5 years old to participate. Tours pick up at hotels in Cancún and arrive at the marina around 7 a.m. EcoColors Tours offers other nature tours, such as a sea turtle snorkeling tour.
In addition to seeing four different kinds of cenotes (semi-open, cavern, open and ancient), tourists will get to rappel into a cavern cenote, zip line, jump from cliffs, kayak and swim on this daylong tour. The trip also includes round-trip transportation and a “jungle picnic” with wine and beer. Other refreshments like water and Mexican hot chocolate are included as well. Tourgoers describe the adventure as fun and exciting, but also exhausting. Tickets cost approximately $130 per adult and approximately $65 for children ages 6 to 11. Children younger than 6 may not take the tour. Tours are offered Monday through Saturday. Hotel pickups are available between 8 and 10 a.m. Xcaret also operates a variety of adventure parks and other tours.
Flavio’s Tours – Chichen Itza
Explore Chichén Itzá, an archaeological site that was an integral part of Mayan civilization, with a guide followed by a swim in a cenote. You’ll also have lunch and visit the Mexican city of Valladolid. Reviewers say they enjoy this tour and rave about the guides and employees. They also appreciate the small group size. Tours leave early, and prices start at $165 per adult and $85 for children 12 and younger. The company also has snorkeling tours and tours to other Mayan sites, including Cobá and Ek Balam.
Ocean Tours – Tulum Ruins, Cenotes and Snorkeling Tour
If you want to enjoy a daytrip to Tulum, but don’t want to deal with the logistics of planning your own transportation and activities, consider this popular tour. Tourgoers take a morning guided tour of the Tulum archaeological site, snorkel at Tulum’s beach alongside colorful fish and stingrays, and swim in two cenotes. Reviewers praise their guides and recommend the tour, saying it is fun and worth the cost. Tickets start at $120 for adults and $100 for children ages 4 to 11, and include lunch, snacks and refreshments, but do not include the $13 natural reserve fee. Pickup from area accommodations begins at 7:30 a.m., and the tour concludes around 4 p.m. Ocean Tours also offers whale shark tours and tours of Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres.
KayTours Mexico – Puerto Morelos
This adventurous private tour includes snorkeling in the national marine park of Puerto Morelos followed by a visit to several cenotes for activities like rope swings and zip lines. Reviewers highly recommend the company and describe the tours as fun and amazing. The full-day tour runs daily and you can select your own pickup time between 7:30 and 9:30 a.m. Tours include lunch and snacks, as well as round-trip transportation. Ticket prices vary depending on the number of people in your group; a couple can expect to pay about $210 per person; children ages 4 to 17 receive a $15 discount. Kids 3 and younger tour for free. KayTours Mexico also offers excursions to Mayan archaeological sites, Isla Mujeres, whale shark tours and more.