Day Trips From Playa del Carmen Mexico

Escape touristy Cancun and head to Playa del Carmen! Fun & sun pretty much sum up Playa del Carmen, one of the best beach towns on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Get off the all-inclusive resort and explore Mexico on a day trip from Playa del Carmen!

Related Article: Playa del Carmen Guide

day trips from playa del carmen mexico-1

Playa del Carmen is a great place for a 7-day vacation in Mexico, we have stayed at Illusion Boutique Hotel which is located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, with amazing sea views and only one-minute walk to the beach. Another great option is Elements Playa del Carmen which is a vacation rental condo right on the beach and the perfect home away from home. We spent a few days relaxing on the beach in Playa del Carmen and a few days exploring, as there are tons of nearby day trips from Playa del Carmen.

Related Article: The Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen

GS Suitcase Divider

Day Trips from Playa del Carmen Mexico

playa del carmen day trips tulum beach palm tree pin

We rented a car in Playa del Carmen and drove ourselves, but tours can be arranged for each of these day trips from Playa del Carmen. Driving in the Yucatan has been easy there are signs pointing to all of the below day trips from Playa del Carmen. Another option for budget day trips from Playa del Carmen is to take the colectivos (basically a shared taxi van). It’s easy to arrange a Colectivo to all the below day trips from Playa del Carmen for a fraction of the price. Personally, we prefer to just rent a car and drive ourselves, then we are on our schedule. Here are our favorite day trips from Playa del Carmen.

Swim With Sea Turtles In Akumal

Woman swimming with sea turtles in Akumal

Swim with sea turtles for FREE! No need to pay for an overpriced snorkeling tour, just bring your own snorkel gear or rent some on the beach. Head 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen to Akumal, follow the signs on the highway to Akumal Beach. There is no fee, as this is a public beach, however, we did have to pay 50 pesos ($3) for parking – or – take a Colectivo from Playa del Carmen to Akumal for 35 pesos ($2) each way. Once on the beach strap on your mask & fins and head to the ocean!

Related Article: Grand Palladium Riviera Maya 

Explore The Cenotes In Mexico

DCIM140GOPRO

A cenote is basically a sinkhole that results from the collapse of a limestone cave that exposes the groundwater underneath. In the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico, where Playa del Carmen is located, there are over 2,400 registered cenotes. Here are some the best cenotes to check out for day trips from Playa del Carmen:

  • Chaak Tun Cenote 15 minutes from Playa del Carmen
  • Jardin El Eden 25 minutes from Playa del Carmen
  • Dos Ojos Cenote 40 minutes from Playa del Carmen
  • Cenote Calavera  55 minutes from Playa del Carmen

One of the best cenotes in Mexico for diving is El Pit Cenote just outside of Tulum. If you don’t want to rent a car but want to take a full day trip from Playa del Carmen and visit several cenotes hop on Xenotes Oasis Maya tour. We loved this tour we got to kayak, zip line, snorkel, and even rappel down into a cave cenote. Buy your tickets online for up to 15% off here.

Xcaret Mexico

xcaret playa del carmen mexico-1

Just 6 kilometers outside of Playa del Carmen right on the Caribbean sea, Xcaret is waiting for you. Learn about the Mexican traditions and explore the nature at the Xcaret Eco-Archaeological Park. Take a stroll through the butterfly pavilion, Jaguar Island, swim in the underground rivers, learn the history of the Mayan ball game and much more at Xcaret.

At the end of the day head on over to the theater where over 300 artists will entertain you presenting “Xcaret Mexico Espectacular” which will take you through Mexico’s history.

Discount tickets for Xcaret:

Buy your tickets online for up to 15% off here. Parking is free and makes for an easy day trip from Playa del Carmen.

Visit Tulum Ruins

Tulum Ruins-1

Tulum Ruins are our personal favorite Mayan ruins in Mexico. The ruins are located right on the sea and make for some epic photos. Tulum ruins are a 45-minute drive from Playa del Carmen and are easy to add on if you heading to Akumal to swim with the sea turtles. If you are looking for epic day trips from Playa del Carmen I’d suggest visiting Tulum Ruins early in the morning. This way you’ll get there before the sun is in full effect and the crowds are lighter.

Tulum Ruins are the 3rd most visited site in all of Mexico and with good reason it’s AMAZING! Make sure to pack your swimsuit, as you can head down and take a swim in the ocean to cool off. For some reason every time we visit Tulum Ruins it’s crazy hot!

If you would like to learn the history of the ruins make sure to hire one of the guides to take you through the ruins. There are several options on the length of the tour and prices. If you had a great time remember that tipping in Mexico is customary.

Las Coloradas Yucatan aka The Pink Lake In Mexico

No, don’t adjust your screen what you are seeing is correct. Just 3 hours away lies the most colorful day trips from Playa del Carmen. Las Coloradas in the Yucatan is home to Mexico’s pink lake. Wonder why Las Coloradas is pink? It’s natural and the pink lake gets its color from dye emitted by a crustacean called artemia salina, which is similar to a very tiny shrimp.

If you happen to be traveling to Mexico in April especially head to Las Coloradas and go to Río Lagartos which is right by the pink lake. The best time to see flamingoes in Rio Lagartos is the month of April. Thousands of flamingos nest in the Río Lagartos waters.  FUN FACT flamingos eat the artemia salina also giving them a dose of pink dye!

Las Coloradas Yucatan Pink Lake in Mexico, girl standing at the lake

Have Lunch In Valladolid Mexico

Day trips from Playa del Carmen head to Valladolid Red building with a woman standing

To continue with colorful day trips from Playa del Carmen head to Valladolid after visiting Las Colorados. You’ll most likely pass through Valladolid on the drive to/from Playa del Carmen. Valladolid is a great place to have lunch and just walk around Plaza Francisco Canton. Valladolid is considered to be one of Mexico’s most influential towns full of natural beauty, culture. We suggest having lunch at El Meson del Marques, located right in the Plaza Francisco Canton. Make sure to order the fresh guacamole that is made tableside.  Read Trip Advisor review here.

Related Article: Don’t skip Merida Mexico

Xpu Ha Beach Club from above - White sand beach with lounge chairs

Xpu Ha Beach

If the beach in Playa del Carmen is to busy head south 20 minutes to quieter Xpu Ha Beach. We fell in love with the white sandy beaches and the beach bars & restaurants. The prices are much more reasonable than Mamamita’s in Playa del Carmen We spent the entire day lounging in our beach chairs sipping on margaritas.  There are a few hotels you can stay at too, we highly recommend Serenity Luxury Tented Camp. Glamping in Mexico should be on everyone’s bucket list.

GS Suitcase Divider

Pin This Article For Later!

playa del carmen day trips tulum beach palm tree pin

There are so many day trips from Playa del Carmen you could take, what are your favorite day trips from Playa del Carmen. Always looking to explore something new. No matter what you do in Playa del Carmen your sure to have a great time. If it rains just go find a happy hour!

We loved Playa del Carmen we decided to move here and are now living in Playa del Carmen!

This post may contain affiliate links, see our disclosure

11 thoughts on “Day Trips From Playa del Carmen Mexico

  1. I’m visiting playa del Carmen soon and don’t know whether to rent a car for my stay or use tours, tours seem pretty pricey, can you go into tour locations individually without a guide? such as ruins or cenotes? what would you suggest as the most cost effective and get the full experience? are directions to these locations on google?

    • Get a rental car in Mexico! Yes, you can get into all the ruins in Mexico and cenotes in Mexico by yourself with a rental car. There are only a few cenotes that you can’t because the rental companies own that cenote and it’s private, but we’ve been to those cenotes and they aren’t that great anyways. Directions to everything is available on Google Maps, we just pop in the address before leaving our hotel in Playa del Carmen. Where are you staying in the Yucatan?

  2. Hi, Hannah and Adam!

    We were in Playa at the end of April 2017 and we followed all your advice posted here and in the Ultimate Guide to Playa… and the ones in Bangkok … but don’t want to sound like stalking at all :). Amazing!!!

    We were decided to go to Dutch Antilles, but as soon as I’ve seen the guide back in October 2016, we immediately booked the tickets and it was the best vacation we ever had. Thank you for making it easy for us in terms of Restaurants, daily trips and .. tips and tricks.

    Keep inspiring people!

    P.S.: we got to Rio Lagartos on a rainy day, unfortunately, so the pink was more than an orange-brown colour, but at least we saw the FREE flamingoes….

    Adrian

  3. Hi!
    Do you know if you can go to las coloradas with public transport or on a tour instead of renting a car? I really want to go when I’m in tulum in may.

    Thanks,

    Sophie

  4. PDC WAS a great destination until they put a mall on 5th Ave. With commercial shopping…I won’t go back that killed the charm for me sadly. C ya PDC!

  5. We took a 20-hour layover in Cancun and made an overnight trip to Playa del Carmen, complete with 30 minutes touring Tulum. Wish we could’ve spent more time, but we’ll just have to come back to see the cenotes, beaches, and other ruins.

    Playa del Carmen is touristy, but low-key and inviting, since it’s low-rise and a smaller town than Cancun. While you have all the stereotypical beach getaway options, you can also find Mexican food at Mexican prices and inexpensive accommodations.

    You might enjoy my last few blog posts, by the way:

Leave a Comment