Would you like to get to know Cancun and the Riviera Maya
but you lack time to make the itinerary of your dreams?
Don't know how to do it so as not to miss something important?
Here we'll show you an 8-day-tour that contains the essentials of the Riviera Maya:
Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum,
the three most popular towns in the Mexican Caribbean,
the main archaeological sites, the most beautiful cenotes, the coral reef and the secrets of the jungle.
You will be able to see all of this.
The itinerary can also be adapted from 7 to 10 if you have less or more time.
1. The essentials of Yucatan
Day 1: Cancun - City Tour - Hotel Zone + Taco Tour - Free Afternoon
In the morning, you will arrive at the airport in Cancun, Quintana Roo.
Upon leaving the airport, your private driver will be waiting for you to transfer you to the hotel. The bilingual private chauffeur service will be at your disposal throughout your stay.
It is time to settle in the hotel and have something to eat. Depending on the modality chosen, the food will be at your own expense or will be included in your All Inclusive package.
In the afternoon, we offer you a guided tour of the city. To get to know Cancun and its main attractions better, your guide will take you to the most fashionable neighborhoods. We will walk through the hotel zone with its incredible white sand beaches, tourist activity, and contemporary architecture. Then we will continue to downtown Cancun. This activity can also be done by bicycle.
At the end of the afternoon, you will have free time to enjoy the city at your leisure.
At night, a light and typical dinner awaits you —a taco tour through different taquerias in Cancun. In the company of local cuisine professionals, we will take you from one place to another to make you discover all the flavors that make up the wide range of Mexican street cuisine.
Planning a trip to Cancun?
Our travel consultants are ready to help you. Schedule a call
Day 2: Cancun - Catamaran Ride to Discover Isla Mujeres.
Isla Mujeres day trip with a catamaran ride.
The islands near Cancun are some of the most appreciated jewels of the Caribbean Sea. Discover one of them during a relaxing day aboard a catamaran. Isla Mujeres is a small island of just a few square kilometers located in front of Cancun. There, you will find the typical charm of small Caribbean towns.
The program of this catamaran excursion includes: swimming, snorkeling, and a walking tour of the island.
A catering service and a self-service bar will be at your disposal throughout the tour. Loan of snorkel equipment and life jacket is also included.
At night, dinner is at your own expense or is included in your All Inclusive package (depending on the option previously chosen).
Day 3: Cancun - Excursion To Chichen Itza - Mayan Day - Playa Del Carmen
In the morning, you will have to get up early to leave at 5:30 am. Your private driver will be waiting for you in the hotel lobby. First, you will have to go to the archaeological site of Chichen Itza, Yucatan.
Chichen Itza is more than a single pyramid. It is one of the main archaeological sites in the region. The Pyramid itself is listed as a World Heritage Site and ranked among the Wonders of the Modern World. It is a must-see for those who want to know about the Mayan civilization.
Arrival will be around 8 am. You will visit the city-state of Chichen Itza in the company of a tour guide. The visit includes the Great Pyramid of Kukulkan, the Observatory, the Sacred Cenote, the Temple of a Thousand Columns, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Great Ball Court (the largest in all of Mesoamerica).
For lunch, we suggest you participate in a culinary experience organized by a Mayan community.
Discover all the flavors of the Yucatan Peninsula and take advantage of the ancient knowledge of your hosts to learn how to prepare typical dishes of the region during a cooking masterclass.
In the afternoon, you will discover a nearby cenote—the famous Ik Kil cenote. It is an open cenote, one of the most impressive in the Yucatan Peninsula. Between noon and 2 pm, daylight enters right through its opening, creating a magical spectacle when it illuminates a stone platform located in the center of the water hole.
It is time to rest, relax and swim in the cenote if you feel like it. Your guide will tell you about the ritual role of the cenotes for the Mayan peoples.
On the way back, we will stop in Valladolid. You can stroll through the colorful streets of this magical town also known as the Pearl of the Orient.
Then, it's just the final stop in Playa del Carmen, the second stage of your tour of the Riviera Maya. We will take you to your new hotel with dinner on your own or included in your stay offer.
Day 4: Playa Del Carmen - Akumal And Cenote - Walk Along Fifth Avenue
In the morning, you will visit a picturesque charming town, located along a fine sand beach.
This earthly paradise is called Akumal, which in Mayan means "the place of the turtles". Here, you will be able to swim alongside these fascinating animals, supervised by experienced guides.
Your tour continues with a visit to a cenote where you will be offered a fruit and nuts snack. During this time of rest, you will be able to enjoy the refreshing atmosphere of this sacred place. Dive into the energetic and crystal clear waters of the cenote and admire the magnificent rock formations.
In the early afternoon, you will return to the hotel. Lunch is at your own expense or is included in the chosen plan. Free Time.
Are you looking for something to do in Playa del Carmen during your free afternoon? Here is an article that may give you some ideas… click here!
At night, you can simply stroll through the center of Playa del Carmen to enjoy the famous pedestrian street: Fifth Avenue.
Day 5: Playa Del Carmen - Cozumel Sea Safari - Cirque Du Soleil
Playa del Carmen is the ideal starting point for a day trip to the island of Cozumel which lies just opposite.
In the morning, we will meet at the Playa del Carmen pier to travel by ferry to the island of Cozumel. Once there, we will transfer you by motorboat to the coral reef of Cancun.
This coral reef, also known as the Mesoamerican Reef, is one of the most impressive marine ecosystems in the world. It is the second largest barrier reef in the world after the one in Australia.
The coral reef of the Riviera Maya is home to hundreds of species of fish, sponges, mollusks, and corals, not to mention the marine mammals that also abound in these food-rich waters.
During this day trip to Cozumel, 2 or 3 snorkeling excursions along the reef will be offered. The number of final dives will depend on weather conditions.
Lunch is included in your excursion.
In the afternoon, we will take you to one of the most extraordinary beaches in the Riviera Maya, Playa El Cielo.
This beach takes its name from the hundreds of starfish seen through the shallow water on the white sand.
In this place, you can walk for a while and admire the seabed.
We’ll return to Playa del Carmen by ferry. Dinner on your own or at the hotel if included in your package.
At night, you will see one of the star shows of the Riviera Maya , from the world famous Cirque du Soleil and its new performance inspired by the Mexican flora, “La Joya”.
Day 6: Playa Del Carmen / Tulum - Sian Ka'an - Tulum Ruins - Free Afternoon
In the morning, we will leave for the Sian Ka'an reserve, considered one of the largest biodiversity reserves in the Riviera Maya.
This unique ecosystem in the world is a set of successive lagoons bathed by the waters of the Caribbean Sea.
The mixture of freshwater and saltwater that is produced gives rise to a proliferation of plant and animal species that coexist in a protected area that extends over several hundred square kilometers.
Crocodiles, manatees, dolphins, and dozens of species of birds and fish inhabit this place, rightly baptized by the Mayans as "The place where the sky meets the earth."
We will arrive at Punta Allen for a boat ride on the Sian Ka'an lagoons to observe the fauna in the company of a specialized guide.
Transfer to Tulum and lunch in the city center.
In the afternoon, you will visit one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the Riviera Maya . the impressive ruins of Tulum which sit on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea.
Tulum was a fortified city and ancient trading port of great importance in Mayan times, and today it is in excellent condition. You will have the opportunity to enjoy an exceptional environment in front of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
Do not forget to bring a swimsuit and a towel, since it is allowed to bathe on the small beach located at the foot of the enclosure (bathroom subject to reservation).
At night, you will have free time to enjoy Tulum and its hotel zone animated by beach clubs.
Day 7: Tulum - Cobá, Cenote, Jungle Tour - Temazcal Ceremony Or The Traveler's Table
In the morning, we will leave to explore the Mexican jungle together with your guide. They will go in search of spider monkeys in their natural habitat.
Your guide, an expert in the fauna and flora of the region, will answer all your questions and search, with his expert eye, for the animals hidden in the thick tropical forest.
Afterwards, we will go to the mysterious city of Cobán, a place of great importance for the Mayan civilization. It used to be a trading center of the Yucatan Peninsula, built between 50 and 100 AD and quickly became one of the most powerful city-states in the Yucatan Peninsula.
If you feel like it, you can climb the pyramid of Nohoch Mul. With its 42 meters high and 120 steps, it is also the tallest pyramid in the Yucatan Peninsula. At the top, enjoy a magnificent panoramic view of the jungle.
At the end of the morning, a light snack will be offered.
Then, your tour will continue with a stop at a cenote where you can immerse yourself in the calm, crystal clear waters and observe the impressive rock formations sculpted by Mother Nature over the centuries. You'll have plenty of time to soak up the sacred atmosphere of this mystic-laden place.
Finally, a delicious lunch with local flavors will be offered in a Mexican restaurant so you can discover the delicacies of the region.
You will return to your hotel in the mid-afternoon.
Day 8: Tulum / Cancun - Shopping Tour
In the morning, you will have free time to enjoy the best beaches of the Riviera Maya which are precisely in Tulum.
After lunch, we will go to Cancun. For your last day, we suggest a shopping tour in the most beautiful malls in Cancun.
Our guide, a shopping specialist, will take you from La Isla shopping center to Plaza Las Américas to discover the most important international brands and Mexican designer boutiques.
The day will end with a visit to the famous Mercado 23, the largest craft market in the city.
There you will find all the textiles, ceramics, diverse and varied objects and clothing typical of Mexican crafts to make your loved ones happy when you return home.
Dinner on your own to enjoy your last night in Cancun.
Day 9: Cancun - Airport.
Your private driver will take you to the airport and help you unload your luggage.
Flight to your country of origin.
Want to learn more?
Check out our other posts on related topics!
- Beaches in Cancun and Riviera Maya: The Ultimate Guide!
- The least known beaches in the Riviera Maya: our secret spots!
- The best water activities in the Riviera Maya
- Nightlife in Cancun and the Riviera Maya: where to go?