10 Fun and Easy Day Trips from Puerto Aventuras

Our Top Picks for Great Day Trips from Puerto Aventuras for all Kinds of Travelers

Table of Contents

If you are reading this article, you have probably already discovered our little slice of paradise, Puerto Aventuras. If you are planning your first trip here, you must be wondering what there is to see and do outside the gates of PA.

If you are staying in one of our local resorts or hotels or even renting a vacation villa or condo, you might want to know what other destinations are easy to reach from your home base in Puerto Aventuras. 

easy and fun day trips from puerto aventuras

The Riviera Maya offers visitors more than just picturesque beaches. It’s a gateway to a world brimming with adventure, culture, and natural beauty. Whether you’re a history buff, nature enthusiast, or simply seeking a change of scenery, our list of day trips from Puerto Aventuras includes experiences that cater to all kinds of travelers.

But first….let’s talk about transportation. 

If you are reading this article from the comfort of your beach chair in PA then you have already mastered getting from the Cancun Airport to Puerto Aventuras. Congrats!

Now that you are here, you may want to venture out and explore the region. There are lots of fun day trips you can plan using Puerto Aventuras as your home base. The good news is finding transportation and getting around the Riviera Maya is not difficult. There are options for transportation to suit every style of traveler and budget. Click on the button below to find out how to travel around the Riviera Maya and beyond.

Getting Around the Riviera Maya: Everything You Need to Know

10 Great Day Trips from Puerto Aventuras

From the ancient wonders of Chichen Itza to the underwater marvels of Akumal, to the colonial charm of Valladolid, each of these destinations offers visitors a unique blend of history, culture, and natural splendor.

So, pack your sunscreen and your sense of adventure and get ready to explore the wonders that lie just a short journey from Puerto Aventuras. 

Playa del Carmen

What is Playa del Carmen known for?

Playa del Carmen, once a relatively unheard-of seaside village hiding in the shadow of Cancun, has transformed into one of the most vibrant and cosmopolitan beach destinations in the world. When we moved to Playa in 2004, there were fewer than 100,000 residents here. Since then, the city has exploded to almost 400,000 people living here full-time with countless more passing through as tourists or staying as snowbirds in the winter months. 

playa del carmen beach in playacar
Playacar Beach

Now a popular vacation destination, known for fun beach clubs, a diverse international community, vibrant nightlife and the famous Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), Playa del Carmen has evolved from its “sleepy fishing village” past. But the city manages to blend tropical beauty with urban flair. The city is a melting pot of cultures, evident in its diverse culinary options, music scene, and eclectic shopping options.

Who will enjoy this day trip?

A day trip to Playa del Carmen can offer a great experience for a wide range of travelers. Beach club lovers will certainly have their pick of places to chill for the day. Shoppers can explore the myriad of boutiques on and off 5th Avenue as well as international brands like Zingara, Tag Heuer, Zara, Psycho Bunny, Forever 21, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger and many many more.

Capilla de Nuestra Señora del Carmen

Food enthusiasts can indulge in everything from authentic Mexican cuisine to international gourmet dishes. Thrill seekers are not left out either, with nearby adventure parks, Xcaret and Xplor, and water activities like sport fishing and scuba diving. Playa del Carmen’s all-encompassing appeal makes it a great day trip destination for families, couples, and solo travelers alike.

What to do in Playa del Carmen for one day?

A day in Playa del Carmen can be as laid-back or as action-packed as you wish. You can spend the day relaxing on Playa’s white sand beaches. Fly through the jungle on a zip line and paddle through underground rivers. Book a deep-sea fishing trip to hunt for local fish such as mahi mahi, wahoo and grouper or even go skydiving!

fishing boats in playa del carmen
Fishing boats in Playa del Carmen

I lived in Playa for 13 years before moving to PA. For me, a day trip to Playa del Carmen from Puerto Aventuras is like coming home. There are so many options it would be impossible to cover them all (and exhausting to read) so I’ll just tell you what I do with visiting friends and family. 

My first stop is always for breakfast at one of Playa del Carmen’s iconic restaurants, La Cueva del Chango. The kids will love the turtles that live in the fresh water streams. Keep your eyes open for the resident spider monkeys who occasionally sneak in for a visit. If La Cueva is full (there is often a wait) head across the street to their sister restaurant, Amate 38, specializing in elevated Yucatecan cuisine.

restaurant amate 38 in playa del carmen
Amate 38 on Calle 38 in Playa del Carmen

Either place will offer you a wonderful breakfast in an incredible jungle atmosphere. Both restaurants feature traditional recipes made with local ingredients, delicious salsas, fresh-pressed juices and tortillas handmade to order. 

Before the day heats up, take a stroll down Quinta Avenida. This pedestrian-only street is lined with a variety of art galleries, restaurants, bars and shops selling everything from local handicrafts and textiles to brand-name clothing and accessories, perfect for “retail therapy” or just window shopping. It’s touristy and the vendors can be annoying but still worth a wander and a great place to do some serious people-watching.

shopping in playa del carmen

No day trip to Playa del Carmen would be complete without some beach time. For a quiet beach day, walk to the very end of Juarez to the public beach area. You can also continue walking south, past the ferry terminal, in front of Señor Frogs and onto the beach of Playacar Phase 1. If you want to mix with the local expats, you will find them at ZenziLido and Fusion.

aerial view of martina beach club
Martina Beach Club

If a hip, cool beach club is more your style, my kids have their favorites….Coralina Day Club at the Hyatt and Martina Beach Club are on the list. To see a good list of beach clubs in Playa del Carmen, check out Viva La Travelista. She has a great article that will help you find the best place to spend the afternoon. 

If it turns out to be a rainy afternoon, consider visiting the Frida Kahlo Museum or the 3D Museum of Wonders for a touch of culture and art.

parque fundadores playa del carmen
Parque Fundadores in Playa del Carmen

At the end of the day, make sure to make your way to the Parque Fundadores to watch the Voladores de Pamplano as they spin in the air from a dizzying height, with the vibrant colors of the Caribbean sky as their backdrop.

As the evening approaches, the city’s heartbeat really starts to pound. Rooftop bars, nightclubs, and live music venues offer a lively atmosphere to enjoy a cocktail and dance the night away. While the world-class restaurants and fun nightlife in Playa del Carmen are not to be missed, they are also tough to incorporate into a day trip. 

el faro in playa del carmen at sunset
The sun setting behind El Faro in Playa del Carmen

If you are spending the day on the beach, heading into a fancy dinner out and clubbing after means bringing a change of clothes and finding a place to “freshen up”. You can’t waltz into Harry’s or Sonora Prime in shorts and sandy flip-flops.

My recommendation is to plan a separate evening out in Playa del Carmen with transportation. That way, you can be dressed to the nines, eat, drink and be merry and get home safely.

Getting to Playa del Carmen from Puerto Aventuras

Getting to Playa del Carmen from Puerto Aventuras is straightforward and convenient. The distance is about 20 kilometers (12 miles), making it a short journey by road. You have several options:

  • Taxi: Taxis are readily available and offer a direct and comfortable way to reach your destination in Playa del Carmen. The trip typically takes around 15-20 minutes and costs between 350-400 pesos. Check the rate chart before you go and confirm the price with the driver.
  • Colectivo: For a more economical option, consider taking a colectivo. A colectivo from Puerto Aventuras to Playa del Carmen is 30 pesos. From the colectivo station in Playa, you can easily walk or take a cheap taxi ride to 5th Avenue or anywhere in the tourist zone.
  • Rental Car: Renting a car gives you the flexibility to travel at your own pace and explore more of the surrounding areas. Car rentals are available in Puerto Aventuras or via DiscoverCars.com. The drive is easy and takes about 20 minutes. Once you are in Playa, you can park in a secure lot or park on the street. Be sure to bring plenty of change for the meters and do not park anywhere the curb is painted yellow.

Chichén Itzá

What is Chichen Itza known for?

Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, is an ancient Mayan city that dates back to around 600 AD. It is renowned for its architectural and astronomical significance. The most iconic structure at this famous archeological site is the Pyramid of Kukulkan, or El Castillo, which demonstrates the Mayans’ advanced understanding of astronomy and mathematics.

tour group at chichen itza
Tour groups at El Castillo. We were lucky to climb this many years ago.

During the spring and autumn equinoxes, a shadow falls on the pyramid in the shape of a serpent, drawing thousands of visitors. Other notable structures include the Great Ball Court, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Observatory known as El Caracol. Nature lovers should keep their eyes peeled for exotic birds such as mot-mots, toucans and tropical jays.

El Caracol at Chichen Itza
El Caracol, the Observatory at the Chichen Itza ruin site

What to do on a Day Trip to Chichen Itza?

A day trip to Chichen Itza typically involves a guided tour of the archaeological site. Knowledgeable guides provide insights into the history, architecture, and significance of the various structures. After exploring the main pyramid and surrounding temples, visitors can head to the nearby Cenote Ik Kil, a beautiful natural sinkhole ideal for a refreshing swim.

Ik Kil Cenote near Chichen Itza
Cenote Ik Kil near Chichen Itza

Visitors should also make time to explore the smaller, less crowded ruins scattered around the site, such as the Temple of the Bearded Man and the Nunnery. The on-site museum offers additional context with its collection of artifacts and exhibits detailing the site’s history.

For lunch, there are several options available, from small roadside eateries serving local fast-food favorites like panuchos and salbutes to restaurants in Valladolid specializing in elevated Yucatecan cuisine.

cochinita pibil tacos
Cochinita Pibil

Shopping for souvenirs like handicrafts, textiles, and traditional Mayan chocolate is also a popular activity. There are plenty of vendors around the archeological site but for a better selection, head into Valladolid and peruse some of the better handicraft boutiques in Centro.

Getting to Chichen Itza from Puerto Aventuras

Chichen Itza is approximately 180 kilometers (about 112 miles) from Puerto Aventuras, making it an accessible day trip.

  • Group Tour: Most visitors opt for a guided tour, which typically includes round-trip transportation, entrance fees, and a professional tour guide. This is a hassle-free option that often includes additional stops, such as lunch and a visit to a cenote.
  • Rental Car: Renting a car offers flexibility and the opportunity to explore at your own pace. The drive takes about 2 to 2.5 hours each way, with well-marked and maintained roads. Once at the site, there is plenty of parking and knowledgeable local guides who you can hire to tour you through the ruins.
  • Public Bus: Buses to Chichen Itza run regularly from Playa del Carmen. You will need to take a taxi or a colectivo to the bus station in Playa. While this is a more economical option, it does take longer and requires additional planning for transfers and timing.
  • Private Transfer: For a more comfortable and personalized experience, private transfers can be arranged. This Private Tour option allows for a customized itinerary and the convenience of direct travel. If you are traveling with a large family or group and you do NOT want to be limited by a package tour, this is the way to go.

Isla Mujeres

What is Isla Mujeres known for?

Isla Mujeres, a beautiful and tranquil island located off the coast of Cancun in the Mexican Caribbean Sea, is renowned for its stunning white sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, and a laid-back, serene atmosphere that contrasts sharply with the bustling vibes of nearby Cancun.

catamaran moored off of Playa Norte on Isla Mujeres
Playa Norte, Isla’s most famous beach

The island, whose name translates to “Island of Women,” is steeped in Mayan history and pirate lore. It’s particularly famous for Playa Norte, ranked among the best beaches in the world for its sugar white sand, crystal-clear waters and vibrant marine life, making it a paradise for snorkelers and beach lovers.

What to do on a Day Trip to Isla Mujeres

A day in Isla Mujeres can be as adventurous or as relaxing as you choose. There are innumerable ways to spend a day on Isla Mujeres. Many people spend the whole day relaxing on Playa Norte and exploring El Centro. If this is your first time on the island, we recommend a more adventurous day trip itinerary.

picture of us on isla mujeres
All of us enjoying a day trip to Isla Mujeres

Here is what a typical Isla Mujeres day trip looks like for our family.

Arrive on the island on the first ferry and secure a golf cart rental. We like to reserve in advance but there are plenty of rental places close to the ferry terminal. Start your day with breakfast. There are some great cafes in the downtown area such as Rooster, Cafe Monogua and North Garden. Because we have the cart, our first stop is always Mango Cafe

Punta Sur on Isla Mujeres
Make sure to see the dramatic cliffs of Punta Sur

From there we like to cruise around the island to see what’s new before making our way to Punta Sur. Here you can see the remains of the temple of the Maya goddess Ixchel and the picturesque cliffs of Punta Sur. You can also check out the sculpture garden and the old lighthouse all with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. 

Zama Beach Club on Isla Mujeres
Make time to chill at one of Isla Mujeres’ great beach clubs. We like Zama!

In the afternoon, we generally head back downtown to Zama Beach Club. This is a great spot to grab lunch, bask in the sun and swim in the clear, shallow water. If you want a more exciting day, you can book a 4-hour excursion to dive or snorkel at the Underwater Museum of Art (MUSA), or perhaps reserve an afternoon of fishing.

MUSA underwater museum isla mujeres
MUSA, the underwater museum in the waters off of Isla Mujeres

In the late afternoon, stroll through the colorful streets of El Centro, the island’s downtown area which is filled with shops selling local handicrafts, jewelry, clothing, and souvenirs of all kinds. Don’t miss the opportunity to taste some local street food at the Zocalo or enjoy a refreshing gelato while strolling along Avenida Hidalgo.

catamaran at sunset isla mujeres
Take a sunset catamaran cruise on your Isla Mujeres day trip

As the day winds down, head back to the beach and find a spot along Playa el Cocal or Playa Norte to watch the stunning sunset. For those interested in a lively evening, downtown Isla has a variety of bars and restaurants offering live music, dancing or karaoke to keep the party going. Just be sure you know when the last ferry goes back to the mainland or you may find yourself stranded on the island. Worse things can happen to you. Trust me.

shopping on isla mujeres
Lots of great shopping in Isla Mujeres

This is a fun day trip from Puerto Aventuras but, if you can manage it, we recommend spending at least two days on Isla Mujeres. You will have a great time, be more relaxed and get to see and do it all!

Getting to Isla Mujeres from Puerto Aventuras

Getting to Isla Mujeres from Puerto Aventuras involves a few steps but is relatively straightforward. First, you’ll need to get to the Puerto Juarez ferry terminal in Cancun, which is about an hour and a half drive from Puerto Aventuras.

  • Rental Car or Taxi: You can either rent a car, take a taxi, or hire a private transport shuttle to get there. If you have a rental car, there is plenty of secure parking for your vehicle at fairly reasonable hourly rates.
  • Bus: Complicated and not recommended. Taxi or coletivo to Playa del Carmen. Take the ADO bus from Playa to the bus station in Cancun. Then taxi from the bus station to the ferry terminal. There are a lot of variables here which can make for a very tiring start and end to your day trip.
  • Ferry to Isla Mujeres: Ferries to Isla Mujeres leave from the Ultramar Ferry terminal at Puerto Juarez or the terminals in the Hotel Zone. Ferries run frequently throughout the day, and the boat ride takes about 15 to 20 minutes.


What is Akumal known for?

Akumal, a small beachfront town located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, is renowned for its quiet bays and beaches lined with palm trees, particularly Akumal Bay and Half Moon Bay. Its name means “Place of the Turtles” in Maya, and it lives up to this moniker. 

the canon protecting akumal bay
One of the canons that protects Akumal Bay

Akumal Beach is famous for its clear, calm waters that are home to a large population of sea turtles. Visitors flock here for the unique opportunity to snorkel with these graceful creatures in their natural habitat. The area also boasts beautiful coral reefs and a rich ecosystem that is home to a diverse array of tropical fish and other marine life, making it a haven for snorkelers and divers.

What to do in Akumal for one day?

A day in Akumal should undoubtedly include time at Akumal Bay. Start your morning early to avoid the crowds and increase your chances of seeing turtles. Rent snorkeling gear from Akumal Dive Shop or Akumal Dive Center and swim out to where the turtles feed on seagrass.

snorkeling with a sea turtle in akumal
Snorkeling with the turtles in Akumal is a Mexico Bucketlist item!

Remember to maintain a respectful distance to avoid disturbing these gentle creatures. Paying for a tour is not required, but if you are going for just one day, increase your chances of seeing turtles and other local marine life by joining a group. This can be arranged by either of the dive shops or you can reserve in advance online. 

After your snorkeling adventure, you can relax on the beach and have a delicious meal at Lol Ha’s famous beachfront restaurant or walk a bit into “town” for lunch at Turtle Bay Bakery. There are several wonderful boutiques in the plaza offering authentic Mexican art, handicrafts and textiles nearby that you won’t want to miss.

lol ha restaurant in akuaml
Lol ha’s beachfront restaurant in Akumal

In the afternoon, consider exploring Yal-ku Lagoon, a unique natural estuary that’s a mix of fresh and salt water, creating an environment rich in marine life. It’s a great spot for more snorkeling or simply enjoying the serene, natural setting. From town, it’s a long, hot walk so you may want to grab a quick taxi to get there and back.

yal ku lagoon in akumal
Yal Ku Lagoon in Akumal – You own private aquarium

If you don’t want to go that far, Half Moon Bay is another great snorkeling destination with expansive coral formations teaming with marine life. Stay for Happy Hour at La Beuna Vida and then think about dinner.

Life is pretty casual in Akumal so there is no need to dress up for dinner but you still don’t want to dine in swim trunks and flip-flops. Be sure to bring a change of clothes especially if you want to try some of Akumal’s nicer restaurants like La Lunita and La Taverna, both of which I can highly recommend. lf time allows, take a stroll around the small town of Akumal to browse local shops and art galleries before going home.

Getting to Akumal from Puerto Aventuras

Akumal is very close to Puerto Aventuras, making it an easy and convenient day trip.

  • Taxi: A taxi is the most straightforward way to get to Akumal from Puerto Aventuras. The journey takes about 15 minutes, and taxis are readily available.
  • Colectivo: You can easily take a colectivo from Puerto Aventuras to Akumal. The van will pick you up at the parador under the bridge on the south-going side of Caraterra 307 and drop you off on the highway across from the entrance to Akumal. To get to the beach community, carefully cross the road and walk into the village.
  • Rental Car: If you already have access to a rental car, this is the best way to get back and forth to and from Akumal. The trip from Puerto takes about 10 minutes by car. Once there, you will find plenty of paid parking lots. Plan to spend about 100 pesos for the day. If you are planning to spend the day at Lol Ha or the Akumal Caribe Beach Club, free parking is available while you are there.

Once in Akumal, everything is relatively close, and the town can easily be navigated on foot. Akumal is one of the most popular day trips from Puerto Aventuras especially for travelers looking to experience the beauty of the Riviera Maya’s marine life in a more intimate, relaxed setting.


What is Tulum famous for?

Tulum, located on the Yucatan Peninsula’s Caribbean coastline, is renowned for its well-preserved Mayan ruins, stunning beaches, and mystical cenotes. The Tulum archeological site, perched atop a cliff overlooking the turquoise blue water of the Caribbean Sea, is a testament to the Mayan civilization’s architectural prowess and offers a breathtaking backdrop that is both historical and picturesque. 

tulum ruins on the coast
A view of the Tulum ruins perched on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean

Tulum, once famous for its laid-back bohemian vibe has transformed over the past few decades into a mecca for celebrities (and wanna-be celebrities) and a hot venue for international electronic music events. Camping on the beach under the light of the moon has been replaced by not-so-eco-friendly hotels and resorts charging astronomical rates. 

me at Akulik in Tulum
Me having an Insta-moment at Azulik

If there is any good news it is that this growth supports a burgeoning culinary scene, one that blends traditional Mexican cuisine with international influences. You can now find some excellent food options in Tulum for all kinds of diners at all price points, everything from haute cuisine to authentic Mexican food. You can spend 1000 dollars or 100 pesos for your meal. There is still something here for everyone.

What to do in Tulum for one day?

A day in Tulum can be both culturally enriching as well as relaxing. Start your day early with a visit to the Tulum ruins to beat the crowds and the heat. Many people choose to visit Tulum on an organized tour but you can just as easily get there on your own and hire a knowledgeable guide at the entrance to the archeological site.

the ancient ruins at tulum
Steps up to El Castillo at the Tulum ruin site

Another option is to download a pre-recorded self-guided walking tour to listen to as you wander through these ancient structures, taking in spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. 

After exploring the ruins, beach-lovers will want to head to one of Tulum’s famous beaches, for some relaxation and sunbathing. There are dozens of boutique hotels with fabulous beach clubs to choose from. Most of them off some sort of day pass at varying price points. If you like, enjoy a lunch of fresh ceviche and fish tacos on the beach, washed down with some cold cervezas. Beach clubs in Tulum seem to come and go but we like Ziggy’sPlaya Paraiso and Cinco.

lunch at a beach club in tulum
Lunch on the beach in Tulum

Don’t forget to leave some time to wander the beach road and check out all the trendy boutiques and shops. For a cool experience, visit the SFER IK Museum, a contemporary art museum with an otherworldly design.

If your afternoon activities will take you away from the beach road, Tulum’s town center (Tulum Pueblo), offers a wide variety of dining options ranging from casual taco stands to upscale eateries. There are too many good options to list here although, one day I’ll try.

gran cenote in tulum
Gran Cenote in Tulum

After lunch, head west down the Coba Road for a refreshing cenote swim. Some of the popular cenotes near Tulum include Gran Cenote, Cenote Carwash, Cenote Zacil Ha and Cenote Calavera. You can visit more than one in an afternoon. 

Another unique experience is Pepe Soho’s Mystika. Located just off the Coba Road, Mystika is an immersive museum that celebrates the Mayan culture and the natural wonders of Mexico through spectacular large-format photographs and multisensory installations. 

Batey Mojito Bar
The iconic VW Bug sugarcane press at Batey in Tulum

As the day winds down, head back to the beach for dinner at one of Tulum’s top destination dining spots or wander through Tulum Pueblo, bar hopping (don´t miss our favorite spot, Batey) and grabbing street tacos, esquites and marquesitas from local vendors until you have had your fill. 

Getting to Tulum from Puerto Aventuras

Tulum is easily accessible from Puerto Aventuras, located about 30 kilometers (around 19 miles) south.

  • Taxi: A taxi ride is the quickest and most direct way to reach Tulum, taking about 35-45 minutes. It is also the most expensive option. Once in Tulum, you will need to rely on local Tulum taxis to get around from place to place and then get you back home to PA.
  • Colectivo: Colectivos will pick you up at the parador under the bridge and drop you anywhere in Tulum. Expect to pay 40-50 pesos depending on your destination. Once there, you will be limited to either walking to and from your destinations or using local taxis.
  • Rental Car: If you have a rental car, this is a good option for getting the most from a day trip to Tulum. Here are some things to keep in mind. Parking in Tulum is difficult to find and often expensive. The transit police are very serious about parking violations and any infraction will get your car towed. If you are headed to the beach, many beach clubs and restaurants offer parking (some free, most paid) for their guests, while there is room.
  • Private Transport: Hiring a private car or shuttle is a good option for exploring Tulum for a day. You will have the freedom to spend as much or as little time as you like in one place. You will not have to worry about parking and you can enjoy all the cold cervezas and margaritas you like!


What is Coba known for?

Coba, nestled in the lush, sub-tropical forest of the Yucatan Peninsula, is renowned for its ancient Mayan ruins. This archaeological site is notable for its extensive network of sacbe (white stone roads) and the impressive Nohoch Mul pyramid, one of the tallest in the Yucatan. Other significant structures at Coba include the Ball Court, the Observatory, and several well-preserved stelae that depict ancient Mayan glyphs.

What to do in Coba for one day?

You can make an excursion to Coba a fun-filled day with something for everyone. Your experience can be both enriching and adventurous. Start your visit by exploring the main archaeological site of Coba. Renting bikes is a popular way to navigate the large site, as the distances between structures can be significant. You can also hire a tricyclo at the entrance and a local guide will pedal you through the site.

nohoch mul pyramid at coba
The Nohoch Mul pyramid at Coba

The main attraction here is the Nohoch Mul pyramid. Unfortunately, climbing its steep 130 steps is no longer permitted due to concerns about safety as well as the preservation of this important monument. 

After exploring all of the archeological zone, you are going to be hungry! For lunch, there are small local eateries near the ruins where you can enjoy traditional Yucatecan dishes. In the afternoon, consider visiting the nearby Mayan village or exploring more of the surrounding jungle. The area around Coba is rich in flora and fauna, offering a peaceful retreat into nature.

A mot mot spotted in mayan jungle
A Mot Mot near the cenotes around Coba

After lunch, visit one (or more) of the nearby cenotes for a refreshing swim. Cenote Choo-Ha and Cenote Tankach-Ha are popular choices, each offering cool, crystal clear water in an otherworldly underground setting. Because of its location, way from the coast and further into the Yucatán peninsula, these ancient sinkholes tend to be deeper and more dramatic. Coba is one of our very favorite places for a cenote swim.

cenote near coba
One of the beautiful cenotes near Coba. Don’t forget your swimsuit.

On the way back to Puerto Aventuras, stop in the Tulum Pueblo for dinner at any one of the fantastic eateries that have sprung up in town over the past few years. There are too many to mention, but someday I’ll try to jot down my list of favorites.

Getting to Coba from Puerto Aventuras

Coba is approximately 100 kilometers (about 62 miles) from Puerto Aventuras, making it an accessible day trip.

  • Rental Car: Renting a car is a convenient option, offering the flexibility to explore the ruins and the surrounding area at your own pace. The drive takes about 1.5 to 2 hours through well-marked roads.
  • Private Transportation: For a hassle-free journey, a private transfer. While more expensive, this option provides direct transportation to and from the site as well as any cenotes and restaurants you want to visit.
  • Taxi: If you want to make a day trip from Puerto Aventuras to Coba, consider negotiating a daily rate with a taxi driver who will stay with you throughout the day, moving you from place to place. If you are a solo traveler or group of fewer than 4 people, this may be more economical than a private shuttle.
  • Guided Tour: Many visitors opt for a guided tour, which includes transportation, entrance fees, and an expert guide to provide insights into the history and significance of the ruins. There are excursions available that combine a visit to the Tulum ruins as well. These tours give you a lot of bang for your buck and take all the stress out of planning the day

A visit to Coba offers a unique opportunity to experience the grandeur of Mayan civilization and the natural beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its less crowded environment compared to more popular sites like Chichen Itza or Tulum provides a more tranquil and authentic experience.


What is Cozumel known for?

Cozumel, Mexico’s largest Caribbean island, is primarily celebrated for its world-class scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities. The island is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world, offering an underwater spectacle of vibrant coral formations and a diverse range of marine life. Cozumel is not just a diver’s paradise; it’s also known for its natural beaches, lush jungle landscapes, and rich cultural history that includes ancient Mayan ruins.

senor iguanas beach bar on cozumel
Beach Bar on the east coast of Cozumel…the wild side.

Although most people experience Cozumel on a shore excursion from one of the thousands of cruise ships that reach its docks every year, this small island is a very popular day trip from the mainland with ferries leaving from Playa del Carmen throughout the day.

Many people make the mistake of planning their day trip to Cozumel on Sunday, the one day there are no cruise ships in port, hoping to avoid the crowds. While the town will essentially be all yours, Sunday is the day when many businesses close for rest. Something to keep in mind when you plan your day.

What to do in Cozumel for one day?

A day in Cozumel can be filled with a variety of activities. Start your day with a snorkeling or diving excursion to experience the island’s famous coral reefs, such as Palancar or Colombia. These sites offer a chance to see an array of marine life, including colorful, tropical fish, sea turtles, and rays. You can also do some great snorkeling from the shore as we discovered at The Money Bar. 

catamaran tour to el cielo on cozumel
Take a catamaran snorkel tour to Palancar Reef and El Cielo

A Mexico Bucketlist item has to be a catamaran trip to El Cielo. This popular tour brings you to two snorkel sites. The first stop is a shallow area of Palacar Reef. Then the boat takes you to an area with a sandy bottom studded with large starfish, great for underwater photo ops.

snorkeling to see starfish on cozumel
Beautiful starfish near the reef off of Cozumel

The final stop is at El Cielo, famous for its crystal clear clear blue water and its friendly sting rays. Here, you can interact with the rays, dine on fresh ceviche and wash it all down with cold beers or rum punch.

interact with friendly sting rays at el cielo
One of the friendly (hungry) sting rays at El Cielo

If you are not up for an underwater adventure, you might choose to relax on one of Cozumel’s beautiful beaches. Just grab a cab as soon as you get off the ferry and ask him to take you to Mezcalito’s or Señor Iguanas.

If you are traveling with kids, Playa Mia Grand Beach Park and Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park are popular choices, offering not just sunbathing but also fun amenities like waterslides, obstacle courses, kayaking and other water sports as well as family-friendly dining options.

jim at the san gervasio ruins on cozumel
Jim at the San Gervasio ruin site on Cozumel

For a taste of local history and culture, wander through the San Gervasio Mayan ruins, a sacred site dedicated to the goddess Ixchel or visit the Cozumel Museum in San Miguel which offers insights into the island’s natural and cultural history. Another fun destination we like is the Mayan Bee Sanctuary.

There are some very nice places to have dinner in downtown San Miguel. We recommend La CocayIx KoolBajau Seafood & Steak and Faro Blanco for a special dinner on the island. Just be sure to make an early reservation so you don’t miss the last ferry back to Playa.

Getting to Cozumel from Puerto Aventuras

Reaching Cozumel from Puerto Aventuras involves a short journey to Playa del Carmen, followed by a ferry ride to the island. Ultramar and Winjet ferries run frequently throughout the day and the crossing takes about 45 minutes. The ferry docks in San Miguel.

  • Taxi: A taxi can easily take you from Puerto Aventuras to the ferry terminal in Playa del Carmen. The trip should take about 20 minutes. 
  • Rental Car: If you already have a rental car, you can easily drive it to Playa del Carmen and park in one of the secure parking lots on Avenue 10 near the Paseo del Carmen mall. It is possible to take a rental car on the car ferry to Cozumel, but this option is more expensive and doesn’t really make sense for a day trip.
  • Guided Tour: To get the most out of your day on Cozumel, you may want to consider booking a guided tour that includes free pickup from your hotel or another arranged pick-up spot. This can be a convenient way to enjoy the island’s highlights without worrying about logistics.

Once you have reached the island, you have several options for transportation. You can rent a car, rent a scooter or rely on taxis to get around. In the past, I have rented scooters on Cozumel and never had any trouble. Many people recommend against it for safety reasons.

Travel Tip: Wait until you get to the island to book your car or scooter rental. The “best price” offered by vendors around the ferry dock in Playa del Carmen will be twice the price offered on Cozumel. You will have your choice of options as soon as you get off the boat.

senor iguanas beach bar on cozumel
Senor Iguanas Beach Bar on Cozumel

Recently, we have been renting a car for the day which gives us the freedom we like to explore the island on our own schedule. Of course, on a day when we want to check out the beach clubs on the far side of the island and enjoy some cold adult beverages, we take a taxi. In the downtown area of San Miguel, most everything is walkable or an inexpensive cab ride away.

Puerto Morelos

What is Puerto Morelos known for?

Puerto Morelos, a serene coastal town situated between the bustling cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, is known for its relaxed atmosphere, beautiful coral reefs, and charming authenticity. This small fishing village has managed to maintain its tranquil and unspoiled charm despite the growth of tourism in the Riviera Maya.

a tricyclo at the fishing dock of puerto morelos
Tricyclo at the pier in Puerto Morelos

It’s particularly famous for its proximity to the National Marine Park. Part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef in the world, this underwater wonder offers excellent snorkeling and diving opportunities with abundant marine life and stunning coral formations. The town is also known for its iconic leaning lighthouse, a symbol of resilience after surviving a hurricane.

What to do in Puerto Morelos for one day?

A day in Puerto Morelos can be both relaxing and adventurous. Start your day with a snorkeling or diving trip to the National Marine Park, where you can witness the rich biodiversity of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. Guided tours are available from the main dock in town which will take you out to the reef in small boats. You can also book a snorkeling tour in advance online.

snorkeling with tropical fish on the reef at puerto morelos
Take a snorkel tour to see the Mesoamerican reef

After your underwater adventure, spend some time lounging on the town’s pristine beaches. The waters here are generally calm and clear, making it a great spot for swimming and relaxing by the sea. The beaches get very busy in the high season and particularly on Sundays so plan your visit accordingly.

There are some nice beach clubs as well. We like UNICO and My Paradise Beach Club but many times we will have lunch at El Merkadito (great food and valet parking) and then just hang out on the beach in front of the restaurant.

unico beach club in puerto morelos
UNICO Beach Club in Puerto Morelos

Speaking of lunch, for a tiny village, Puerto Morelos has countless restaurants, cafes and beachside eateries where you can enjoy everything from traditional Mexican cuisine to dishes with a multitude of international influences.

For lunch, we like to be on the beach. Muelle Once and the aforementioned El Merkadito are on the top of our list. Pelicanos, a Puerto Morelos institution, is great for traditional Mexican fare. For top-quality seafood in a super chic atmosphere, you have to try Mar-Bella

a pelican on the dock and the famous leaning lighthouse of puerto morelos
Brown Pelican on the dock in Puerto Morelos

In the afternoon, explore the town’s charming streets. Visit the leaning lighthouse and take a stroll down the pier for picturesque views. The local artisan market is a great place to shop for handmade crafts, jewelry, and souvenirs. If you time your day trip right, you may be in town for an exciting polo match at El Rey Polo Club! Look for me there.

If you are traveling with kids, check out the Crococun Zoo, just a few minutes north of town or the botanical garden. Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden is one the best-kept botanical gardens in all of Mexico. In this protected area you will be able to see a variety of native mangroves and plant species as well as tropical birds, butterflies, iguanas and spider monkeys.

juvenile crocodile at crococun zoo
Interactive experience at Crococun Zoo in Puerto Morelos

Nature enthusiasts of all ages might want to venture just outside of town to explore the surrounding cenotes. There are literally hundreds to discover along the aptly named “Ruta de Cenotes”.

Don’t miss dinner in Puerto Morelos. This tiny seaside village has a surprisingly diverse culinary scene with lots of options for a delightful dining experience. We like Punta CorchoPort Side (formerly Osteria Barocca), La SirenaBoquinete and of course, the iconic John Gray’s Kitchen.

Getting to Puerto Morelos from Puerto Aventuras

Puerto Morelos is easily accessible from Puerto Aventuras, located about 60 kilometers (37 miles) to the north.

  • Taxi: A taxi is a convenient option but expensive option, offering direct transportation to Puerto Morelos. The journey takes about 45 minutes.
  • Colectivo: For a more budget-friendly option, take a colectivo. You can pick up a colectivo at the parador on the northbound side of 307. You will then transfer to another colectivo in Playa del Carmen and carry on to Puerto Morelos.  
  • Rental Car: A rental car provides the flexibility to explore Puerto Morelos and the surrounding area at your own pace. The drive is straightforward, following the main highway along the coast. The streets are narrow in Puerto Morelos and parking is difficult to find but not impossible. Once there, the whole village is accessible by foot. 


What is Valladolid known for?

Valladolid, a charming colonial town in the Yucatan Peninsula, is known for its rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning architecture. Valladolid has been designated one of Mexico’s treasured “Pueblos Magicos” and with good reason. This enchanting town with its colorful pastel buildings, quaint cobblestone streets, and well-preserved architecture is truly magical.

Cathedral in Valladolid
Cathedral San Gervasio in Valladolid

Often referred to as the “Sultan of the East,” Valladolid is a beautiful place steeped in history, having played a significant role during the colonial era and the Caste War of Yucatan. It’s also renowned for its proximity to some of the Yucatan’s most famous cenotes in the region and the majestic ruins of Chichen Itza and Ek Balam.

What to do in Valladolid for one day?

A day in Valladolid can be filled with a variety of activities. Start by exploring the town center, where you can visit the San Gervasio Cathedral and stroll through the Francisco Canton Rosado Park. Calzada de los Frailes, lined with colorful colonial houses, boutique shops, and cafes, is a must-visit for its picturesque scenery and Instagram-worthy photos.

casa de los venados in valladolid
Mexican Folk Art Museum Casa de los Venados

Casa de los Venados is a must for art lovers and history buffs. This private home houses an extensive collection of Mexican folk art and the homeowners offer guided tours. Cenote Zaci, located within the town, is easy to find and a great spot to cool off and experience the beauty of these natural sinkholes. If you have kids in your group, this is a must!

cenote zaci in valladolid
Cenote Zaci, a cenote right in the middle of Valladolid!

Families traveling with children will also want to visit the VallaZoo Zoological Park just outside town and the ChocoStory chocolate museum!

Lunch in Valladolid is an opportunity to savor traditional Yucatecan cuisine. Restaurants around the main square and throughout the town offer regional specialties like cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork) and lomitos de Valladolid. Our longtime favorite is the gorgeous restaurant at Hotel Meson del Marquez

meson de marquez in valladolid
Meson de Marquez is our favorite place for lunch in Valladolid

In the afternoon, consider a trip to the nearby ruins of Ek Balam. Ek Balam, less crowded than Chichen Itza, offers a more intimate glimpse into the Mayan civilization. On the outskirts of Valladolid, you will find some of the best cenotes, such as Cenote Xkeken and Cenote Samula, both renowned for their stunning underground formations.

cenote near valladolid yucatan
There are countless cenotes to explore near Valladolid

At the end of the day, because the roads back are quite dark, we usually head home and stop for dinner in Tulum. If you are an early diner, you may want to check out Casa ConatoLe’ KaatMezcaleria Don Trejo and Ix Cat Ik.

Getting to Valladolid from Puerto Aventuras

Valladolid is about 100 kilometers (62 miles) from PA, making it an easy day trip from Puerto Aventuras and a very pretty drive, especially if you take the southern route through Tulum.

  • Rental Car: If you have a rental car, getting to Valladolid is an easy drive. The journey takes about 1.5 to 2 hours via the Coba Road in Tulum or the new toll road out of Playa del Carmen. Once there, parking is not difficult to find in small paid lots or on the street.
  • Bus: ADO buses offer comfortable and affordable transportation from Playa del Carmen to Valladolid. You would need to get to Playa del Carmen from Puerto Aventuras, which is a short taxi or colectivo ride away. Once in Valladolid, you can use local taxis to navigate from place to place.
  • Private Transfer: For a more direct route, consider arranging a private transfer. While more expensive, this option provides the convenience of door-to-door service and offers the flexibility to tailor your day trip itinerary exactly as you please.
  • Guided Tour: Many visitors wanting to explore Valladolid opt for a guided tour. Joining a guided tour can be a hassle-free way to explore Valladolid, including stops at nearby cenotes, ruins and other points of interest. There are some very good, reasonably priced excursions available led by a local guide who will be able to show you the best places and the best things to do. Be sure to inquire if your tour offers complimentary hotel pickup.

Sian Ka’an Biosphere

What is the Sian Ka’an Biosphere?

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987, is an ecological marvel located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Spanning over 1.3 million acres, it encompasses a diverse range of ecosystems, including tropical forests, mangroves, marshes, and a large national marine park intersected by the Mesoamerican barrier reef.

raw natural beach of the sian kaan
The raw beauty of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere is undeniable

This natural paradise is home to an incredible variety of flora and fauna, including hundreds of bird species, marine animals like turtles and manatees, and rare mammals such as jaguars and pumas. The reserve is also rich in archaeological sites, with remnants of ancient Mayan civilization.

How to Experience the Sian Ka’an Biosphere in One Day

Visiting the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and experience the pristine beauty of one of Mexico’s most significant natural areas. Whether you’re floating through mangrove channels, snorkeling in the vibrant reef, or simply soaking in the tranquility on a small panga, a day trip to Sian Ka’an is a memorable experience for any nature lover or adventurer.

beautiful sian kaan beach
A pristine, untouched beach in the Sian Ka’an

A day trip to Sian Ka’an is an immersive, nature experience. Guided tours are highly recommended, as they are knowledgeable about the local area, provide insightful information about the reserve’s ecosystems and help navigate the expansive area. These tours often include a combination of activities with something to suit all kinds of visitors.

Start your day with a guided boat tour through the mangroves. This journey offers a chance to spot various bird species, crocodiles, and occasionally, manatees and dolphins.

Following the mangroves, many tours head to the barrier reef for snorkeling, where you can explore the vibrant underwater life. My favorite is the Sian Ka’an birdwatching excursion that includes the Muyil float!

the muyil float through the mangroves
The Muyil Float. Put it on your Mexico Bucketlist!

Kayaking is another popular activity, allowing a closer and more personal interaction with the reserve’s natural beauty. Paddle through the calm waters and enjoy the tranquility and scenic views.

For those interested in the archaeological history of the region, some guided tours include visits to ancient Mayan ruins within the reserve, such as Muyil, an ancient trading post. After the activities, enjoy a lunch featuring local cuisine or bring your own for a picnic amidst nature.

the ruins at muyil
The Muyil archeological zone

Getting to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere from Puerto Aventuras

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve is accessible from Puerto Aventuras, but the journey can be an adventure in itself due to the reserve’s remote location.

  • Rental Car: Renting a car provides the most flexibility. The drive to the reserve’s entrance near Tulum takes about an hour. From there, the road can be rough and unpaved, so a vehicle with good clearance is recommended.
  • Guided Tour: The best way to experience the Sian Kaan Biosphere is on a guided tour. This is a convenient option as it takes care of navigation and provides expert insights into the ecosystems of the reserve. Tours often offer various packages, including boat tours, snorkeling, birdwatching and visits to Mayan ruins. 
the old boca paila bridge into the sian kaan biosphere
The old Boca Paila bridge into the biosphere

Once at the reserve, the road to Punta Allen runs along the coast and offers access to various points of interest along the way. However, road conditions can be challenging, especially after rainfall. You will want to confirm the current status of the road before attempting the drive or embarking on any tour.

Plan A Day Trip from Puerto Aventuras Today!

Whether your idea of the perfect day trip involves retail therapy and world-class people-watching in Playa del Carmen, exploring the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, Coba or Chichen Itza, zipping around Isla Mujeres on a golf cart, exploring the underwater marvels of the Mesoamerican reef off of Cozumel or stepping back in time in the colonial town of Valladolid. 

isla mujeres one of the best road trips from Puerto Aventuras
Isla Mujeres is one of our favorite day trips from Puerto Aventuras

Planning a  day trip from Puerto Aventuras can bring you not only a glimpse into the rich cultural tapestry of the Mayan Riviera but also provide an opportunity to create memories that last a lifetime. If you get the chance to take a day trip from Puerto Aventuras, let in know in the comments where you went. We are always up for new adventures!

Did you enjoy this article? Pin it!

day trips from puerto aventuras pin

Related Articles

Getting Around the Riviera Maya: Everything you need to know
Visit the 6 Best Mayan Ruins Near Puerto Aventuras
Discover the Best Cenotes Near Puerto Aventuras
The 7 Best Golf Courses Near Puerto Aventuras

Join the Puerto Aventuras Living Facebook Community!

Join the Puerto Aventuras Living Facebook Group to find up-to-date information about Puerto Aventuras and the Riviera Maya. Here you can ask local experts for advice on trip planning or relocating to the area, keep informed about new events and businesses and get to know the people in the community.

Join the Puerto Aventuras Living Facebook group

9 thoughts on “10 Fun and Easy Day Trips from Puerto Aventuras”

  1. Puerto Aventuras sounds like a great base to explore the Riviera Maya. I would love to do all the day trips, but Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba are on top. I’ve read a lot about the Mayan civilization.


Leave a Comment