5 Best Excursions in Cancun on a Budget

When traveling to Cancun, it can be pretty overwhelming to choose which excursions to go on and what is the best value for the price. One tip for purchasing excursions is to wait until you arrive and purchase them from the street stands. I found this is the best way to get a good deal because you can haggle the prices. The locals working these stands work off commission only and are willing to make deals. To get an idea of the right price point, I will include in this post what I paid for each excursion. Of course, these were the best and most cost-effective in my opinion but feel free to choose what works best for you and the group you are traveling with.

5. Shopping in Downtown Cancun

This is definitely the most cost-effective “excursion” you can take since you can do this one on your own. Downtown Cancun has many different shops and plenty of Mexican culture. The local buses in Cancun run on the main route 24/7 and are only about $0.70 USD per trip! Taking the R-1 or R-2 bus from the Hotel Zone to any of the downtown stops only takes about 15-20 minutes depending on traffic. Most of the buses are air-conditioned and accept Pesos or US Dollars. While exploring downtown, you can get a feel for the local culture of Cancun. Be sure to adventure off the beaten path and see how the locals live and where they like to eat.

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4. Kayaking Lagoon Tour

Okay I lied, this one was the most cost-effective because it was free! We had kayak tours included in our all-inclusive resort package. Our resort was on the lagoon and they had daily tours with a guide through the beautiful lagoon. If kayak tours are not included in your resort package, they are only about $15-$20 USD. This tour was definitely a highlight of our trip because we got to see the beautiful lagoon and get some exercise while doing so!

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3. Speed Boat & Snorkeling Tour

This excursion was my mom’s favorite because she had never driven a boat before! This is a group tour with two people in each speed boat. We bought this tour in advance from Viatour and paid around $40 USD. The boats are small but powerful, so you can definitely drive pretty fast. The tour guide leads the fleet of boats through the ocean, lagoon and docks at the Great Mayan Reef. The reef is where everyone puts on their snorkel gear (included) and gets to explore the coral and underwater world of Cancun. We saw so many beautiful tropical fish which swam right next to you. The water was calm and clear so it was easy to see the Mayan Reef.

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2. ATV, Ziplines and Cenote Combo

I am an adventure-lover so this excursion was my favorite! The package included an ATV drive through the jungle, 7 ziplines and two Cenote tours. Cenotes are underwater caves and caverns that were formed from sinking limestone. We also bought this tour from a street stand and paid around $70 USD. This was the most expensive excursion but in my opinion was the best. The tour company picked us up from our resort and we traveled to “Boca Del Puma” which was only about an hour away. There are several tours that do the ATV-zipline-cenote combo but we purchased this tour from a street stand and felt it was the most cost-effective for the value. We started the day with the ATV tour which was challenging and full of adrenaline. We then did the zipline tour which was my favorite part of our entire trip since ziplining is one of my absolute favorite things to do. I even got to zipline upside down! We ended the day with visiting the two cenotes. The first one we visited was my favorite since it was down in a cave and the water was cool and crystal clear. We took our snorkel gear with us and got to swim through the dark canals of the cave. If you are an adventure-seeker like me, then this excursion is a must!

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1. Chichen Itza Day Trip

Chichen Itza is one of the New Wonders of the World. It is no wonder it is world-famous with thousands of visitors everyday. It is a complex of Mayan ruins on Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. We paid about $65 each for this tour. The excursion picked us up at our resort in a luxury air-conditioned mini bus. The drive to Chichen Itza from Cancun is a little over 2 hours so bringing a book or something to do makes the drive go by quickly. Our resort made boxed lunches for us but you can also eat at the restaurant at the resort there called “Mayaland.” The excursion we purchased also included access to the hospitality suite at Mayaland and access to the grounds and swimming pool. We spend most of our day exploring the ruins with our self-guided tour and returned to the van in the early evening to make our way back to Cancun. I can’t explain how interesting it was to explore the ancient ruins and feel like you are going back in history with the stories and culture of Chichen Itza.

Overall, there are so many excursion options in Cancun and someday I hope to do them all. I felt that the combination of all of these gave us a great feel for the Mayan culture, lots of adventure and sight-seeing while not breaking the bank. Let me know what your favorite part of Cancun is or any great excursions you’ve been on here!

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