The Best 11 Mayan Ruins Tours From Cancun in 2023

If you’re looking for the best Mayan ruins tours from Cancun, you’ve come to the right place! I have selected the top-rated tours that you can join from Cancun and immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of the ancient Mayan civilization while listening to a certified guide sharing their knowledge.

You can visit the famed site of Chichén Itzá, explore the Mayan archeological site of Tulum, or visit Coba and Ek Balam–two unique sites nestled into the jungle.

Or maybe you’ll decide to theme your trip and hit multiple destinations during your vacation.

Read on to discover the best Mayan ruins tours available according to your preferences, budget, and travel style.

Chichen Itza Castillo Mayan Ruins tours from Cancun

The Mayan Ruins at a glance

Did you know that sixteen different Mayan provinces populated the Yucatán Peninsula in the early 16th century? Knowing that it’s easy to see how this area came to be known as the gateway to the Mayan world. 

Many fascinating archaeological sites are spread across the Yucatán including Chichen Itza, the Tulum Ruins, Uxmal, the lesser-known Ruta Puuc, Mayapan (my favorite), and many more.

Several of these Mayan ruins have been declared world heritage sites, which is all the more reason to visit!

Cancun itself is home to two Mayan archeological sites (El Rey and San Miguelito) and was an important center of trade during the Mayan era. Although these sites are worth checking out, this post is about more impressive ancient sites that are a bit further away.

It’s easier to visit the ruins on this list with a tour company. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I prefer to travel by car and be more independent.

However, I reckon that looking at this majestic Mayan City with a guide is much more interesting because you also get to learn about the building you are looking at.

Also, tours will help you save time if you are in a rush and want to see as much as you can.

However, if you have time and want to drive your car around the Yucatan Peninsula, you can do that too and hire a guide at the site entrance. They are available at almost every

Now let’s get to the good stuff. Here are the best Mayan ruins excursions from Cancun.

The best Mayan ruins tours from Cancun: Chichen Itza

1. Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins tour

If you are looking for my favorite tour operator, look no further than Chichen Itza Tours. This company has a 5-star rating and 104,038 reviews! Talk about social proof!

Pick your favorite tour by this operator:

👉 Chichen Itza Tour Classic

The classic tour is the crowd favorite, offering visitors the opportunity to explore Chichén Itzá, swim in a cenote, eat a delicious buffet lunch, and visit the colonial city of Valladolid all in one go! 

This tour includes roundtrip transportation, a buffet lunch, a visit to a cenote, an express stop in Valladolid, the entrance fee to Chichen Itza, a guided tour inside Chichén Itzá, and free time to explore the Mayan ruins on your own.

This tour does not include any drinks or snacks, so be sure to bring water!

Chichen Itza observatorio

👉 Chichen Itza Tour Express

Let’s face it, the classic tour can be a bit much. Those are all fun stops, but stack them one atop the other and you may come out exhausted!

If you aren’t as keen on visiting Valladolid and a cenote but want to focus your time on the archaeological site itself, the “express” is the tour for you! 

Head straight to Chichen Itza for a guided tour and free time, then straight back to your hotel.

This tour includes roundtrip transportation, a box lunch, the entrance fee to Chichen Itza, a tour guide who will lead you through the ruins, and time on your own to enjoy them.

👉 Chichen Itza Tour Plus

If you like the sounds of the classic tour plus VIP treatment, the Chichen Itza Tour Plus is a perfect choice. Enjoy all the perks of the classic tour with unlimited drinks and a waiter to serve you on the bus.

This tour includes roundtrip transportation with unlimited sodas, beer, and water served by a waiter on board, a buffet lunch (no drinks included), a visit to a cenote, an express stop in Valladolid, the entrance fee to Chichen Itza, a guided tour inside Chichén Itzá, and free time to explore the mayan ruins on your own.

Chichen Itza Vendors

👉 Chichen Itza Tour Deluxe

Take the amenities one step above the Plus tour with the Deluxe. This tour includes everything you get on the Plus tour, but with a light to-go breakfast and a drink with your buffet lunch.

You’ll also have a towel available for swimming, and an umbrella available if it rains while you’re at the Mayan ruins.

You’ll also have the option of drinking tequila on the bus. Bottoms up!

👉 Chichen Itza Tour Diamante

The Diamante tour takes the amenities one level further. This luxury tour offers even more drink options while on board the bus, including whisky, tequila, or Xtabentun (a Mayan liquor). You’ll also have access to a life jacket as well as a towel during your swim in the cenote.

Ik Kil Cenote

👉 Private Chichen Itza Tour

Skip the mandatory itinerary of a group tour and go where you want when you want with this private tour. You can even start off with a 6 am departure, beating the crowds and enjoying Chichen Itza in the cooler morning hours.

You’ll have ten hours to do as you wish, whether that means spending a ton of time enjoying Chichen Itza, visiting Cenotes of your choice, and/or hitting up a famed restaurant.

Note: This tour includes an English-speaking driver, but not a guide. It also includes a cooler with water, ice, and beers, toll road and parking fees, and roundtrip transportation. Entrance fees are not included.

👉 Luxury Chichen Itza Tour

The luxury Chichen Itza tour is just like the private tour above, except you get transported in the style and comfort of a suburban!

Top-rated tours to Chichen Itza Mayan ruins on Viator

If you don’t like any of those top-rated options I listed, consider these excellent tours to Chichen Itza, with awesome Cancun cenotes and colonial cities added to the mix.

2. Chichen Itza, Cenote and Valladolid All-Inclusive Tour

This tour will take you on a great adventure complete with Mayan ruins, a cenote, and the colonial city of Valladolid on this fabulous tour! With a 5-star rating and upwards of 8,732 reviews, there’s no question this is one of the best excursions out there!

The tour starts off with pickup from your hotel in the Riviera Maya and transportation to Chichen Itza. Although the drive takes a few hours, you won’t be bored. During the travel time, your expert guide will dive right in by giving you wonderful information about the ruins.

The fascinating information will keep pouring in once you reach the Chichen Itza itself. You’ll learn about the history of the site and the significance of the structures to the Mayans.

Next, you’ll visit Saamal, a beautiful open cenote complete with a waterfall and viewing platforms.

After a yummy buffet lunch, you’ll get a quick tour of the majestic city of Valladolid, with its ancient temples and rich history.

This excursion includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel, a bilingual guide, the cenote admission fee, and a buffet lunch.

It does not include beverages, the Chichén Itzá entrance fee, lockers, life jacks, and gratuities. 

colorful colonial town of Valladolid
Valladolid Church

3. Chichen Itza English Tour, Buffet Lunch, Cenote,Tequila tasting & Valladolid

Another wonderful option for visiting Chichen Itza is this 4.5-star badge of excellence tour! With over 6,073 reviews to offer social proof, there’s no question you’ll be in good hands. It even includes tequila tasting. Talk about an upgrade!

Choose the VIP option to include hotel pickup, then travel to Valladolid for a quick stop. Stretch your legs and enjoy the beautiful central park and a Catholic church.

Around noon, you’ll get to Chichen Itza! Start off with a 90-minute guided tour, and then 90 minutes of free time. You’ll learn a lot about the ancient Maya, the equinox, the moon, and the stars.

You’ll end the day with a refreshing swim in Selva Maya, a beautiful cenote.

Lunch, tequila tasting, a bilingual guide, and entrance fees to the cenote are included. The tour doesn’t include drinks, the Chichen Itza entrance tax, and life vests for swimming.

Travelers’ loved the service, tour guide, and food on this tour.

The best Mayan ruins tours from Cancun: Tulum

The Tulum ruins are truly one-of-a-kind. These are the only Mayan structures built on a seaside cliff, and the vistas are stunning. You won’t want to miss these!

Let’s dive into the best tours of Tulum Ruins.

tulum archeological site classic

5. Viator Exclusive Combo Tour: Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves

This is the Top Rated Tour from Cancun to Tulum on Viator with 2524 5-star reviews and counting. You can’t go wrong!

Start the day off by getting picked up at your hotel and being driven to the Tulum archaeological site. After a guided explanation of the ruins, you’ll have free time to take pictures and enjoy the spectacular sights!

Next, you’ll get outfitted with snorkel gear and swim over a gorgeous coral reef populated by colorful fish. In the afternoon, you’ll visit an underground cave full of intricate stalagmites and stalagmites, walk through the jungle, and swim in Cenote Xtun.

Travelers loved how well-organized this tour was, the wonderful guides, and the variety of activities.

This tour includes a bilingual guide, roundtrip transportation with AC, lunch, bottled water, and the use of snorkeling equipment.

It does not include the Natural Marine Reserve Fee, tips, and souvenir pictures (available for purchase).

one thousand columns in Chichen Itza

6. Tulum and Cenotes Tour

Another wonderful tour will take you to three of Tulum’s most-prized sites: the Mayan ruins of Tulum, and the Chen Há and Mariposa Cenotes.

Enjoy an incredible guided tour of the ruins plus free time to explore them and snap photos on your own. Next, you’ll visit Chen Há, a beautiful open Cenote where you can swim to take the edge off the heat. You’ll also visit Mariposa, a cave cenote with tranquil turquoise waters. You can swim here too!

This is sure to be a day full of amazing scenery and information.

This 5-hour badge-of-excellence tour includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel, a multilingual tour guide at Tulum Archaeological Site, and visits to two cenotes. It does not include the entrance fee at the cenote, gratuities, and personal expenses (such as food and drinks).

7. Tulum Adventure (archeological zone-Atv-ziplines-cenote-lunch-drinks-rappel)

Another fun Mayan ruins tour from Cancun is this Tulum Adventure experience. If you’re into adrenaline, this is the choice for you!

Start the day off with a guided visit to the Tulum ruins. Next, swim in beautiful cenote caves, and then zoom through the treetops on a zipline! You’ll also get a boost of endorphins while you whoop and holler your way through the jungle on the back of an ATV. Hang on tight, it’ll be a fun ride!

The best part of this tour is that the groups are small, you don’t have to wait in line, and your guide is guaranteed to be awesome.

The Tulum adventure tour includes roundtrip transportation, a guide, a life jacket, equipment for everything, bottled water, and a delicious lunch. It does not include alcoholic beverages or the camcorder tax.

This 7-hour tour has a 4.5-star rating. Travelers said this action-packed day was tiring but so worth it.

Tulum views from the boat
Tulum from the boat

8. Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling, and Beachside Lunch

If the prior tours sound jam-packed to you, consider this lovely alternative instead! Rather than hopping from one destination to another, enjoy the day more fully at only three separate locations.

The day starts off with a guided tour through the ruins of Tulum. The stories and information your guide shares are sure to spark your imagination.

Picture the city as it was at its prime and wonder at its mysteries. After the guided section, you can spend an hour exploring on your own. (Hint: Search for the secret beach.)

By then, the heat will be getting to you, so it’s time to go snorkeling! Visit Yal Ku Lagoon and don a mask and snorkel. This spot is an incredible location for seeing marine life in an edge system, where seawater and salt water mingle.

Finish off the tour with a delicious beachside lunch at Punta Venado, a pristine location featuring turquoise water and white sand. Delightful.

Tulum beach Mexico
Tulum beach

The best Mayan ruins tours from Cancun: Coba

Another super cool archaeological site you won’t want to miss while you’re in the Yucatan is Coba.

These ruins are located between Valladolid and Tulum and are super unique. 

Coba features one main pyramid and several settlements interconnected by roads. Although there are about 6,000 structures at this site, only a few of them have been excavated.

It makes it easy to picture what it must have been like for archaeologists to discover these in the middle of the lush jungle!

9. Coba Ruins Day Trip from Cancun or Riviera Maya

This tour will take you from your hotel in Cancun or the Riviera Maya to the ancient ruins of Coba! During the ride, your guide will give you wonderful information about Coba’s history and its significance to the Mayan civilization.

Once you reach Coba, you’ll have two hours to explore the ruins, climb to the summit of the city’s tallest pyramid, follow the guide for an informative tour, or rent a bicycle to zoom around and see it all yourself.

Next, you’ll visit a Mayan village to see what Mayan communities look like in present-day Mexico. At the end, you’ll take a refreshing swim in a cenote, then head back to your home base.

Coba Ruins Day Trip includes a tasty lunch, light refreshments, a local guide, and transportation in an air-conditioned vehicle. Hotel pickup and drop-off are included.

The tour lasts approximately ten hours and has earned a 4.5-star rating and Viator’s badge of excellence.

Ek Balam archeological site
Ek Balam Archaeological site

The best Mayan ruins tours from Cancun: Ek Balam

Ek Balam is one of the least visited sites in the Yucatan and yet one of the most magical. Visit these Mayan ruins if you prefer less-crowded destinations.

No elbowing people out of the way to see the sites on this one.

Plus, the architecture at Ek Balam is incredibly unique!

10. Visit the ancient Ek Balam, the colonial town of Valladolid & Cenote Hubiku

Set yourself up for an amazing time by joining this awesome tour to Ek Balam, Valladolid, and Cenote Hubiku. 

After getting picked up at your hotel, you’ll head straight to Ek Balam. An expert tour guide will lead you through the mystical ruins, explaining them to you and helping to bring them to life in your imagination.  

Next, you’ll visit Cenote Hubiku, also known as “the nest of iguanas.” But don’t worry, there aren’t iguanas there now. Instead, you’ll climb down 115 stone steps to this underground cenote which has a circular hole in the cavern roof. Sunlight falls through onto the turquoise water. It’s spectacular and the perfect spot for a refreshing swim and tasty lunch.

Last, but not least, you’ll visit the magical town of Valladolid, one of Mexico’s most picturesque cities. Wander the streets and learn about its culture and history.

This tour includes a certified guide, entrance tickets to Ek Balam and Cenote Hubiku, lunch (no beverage), tequila tasting, and a box lunch breakfast.

Rio Lagartos flamingos
Flamingos in Rio Lagartos

11. Ek Balam Tour from Cancun Including Cenote Maya Park

This awesome tour combines a guided visit to the Ek Balam ruins and a more adventurous stop at the Cenote Maya Park where you can either swim and relax in the cooling waters of the magical cenote or enjoy a variety of outdoor activities like rappelling and ziplining.

The tour also includes round transportation from most Cancun hotels and a delicious buffet based on Yucatecan cuisine.

What to wear on an excursion of the Mayan Ruins from Cancun

Like for every tour, wearing the right clothes and taking the right equipment will make your trip better and much more enjoyable.

So here are my pro tips on what to wear during a Mayan Ruin excursion.

✔️ Dress lightly and comfortably – linen or hiking pants would be ideal, and a top tank or a linen shirt will help with the heat.

✔️ Hiking or tennis shoes will be ideal – although you are not actually hiking, closed shoes will prevent you from being bitten by bugs, like ants or mosquitos as you walk around the archeological sites. For me, these are a lifesaver. You can bring some flip-flops in the backpack for when you will move to the cenote.

✔️ Swimsuit – for the cenote – check out these beautiful and cheap ones from CupShe (my absolute favorite)

✔️ Sunscreen and a hat (but make sure you wash it away before entering the cenote)

✔️ Mosquito Repellent – mosquitos are omnipresent in the jungle, so make sure you protect yourself

Keep mosquitos away!

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✔️ Water bottle – always stay hydrated in Mexico, especially when you go on a tour and stay in the heat for a while. Remember tap water is not drinkable in Cancun, so you can get a cute water bottle and refill it in restaurants or your hotel.

Click on one of the below water bottles to purchase your favorite one ⤵️

✔️ Beach Towel – usually hotels provide a beach towel that you can carry on excursions but they are fluffy and big and occupy a lot of space. So you can buy either a cute linen Turkish towel or a more practical quick dry towel.

✔️ Foldable backpack – you can get a nice and cheap foldable backpack on Amazon and use it on these tours to carry your stuff.

Mayan Ruins From Cancun: Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many incredible Mayan ruins to visit while you’re on vacation in the Mexican Caribbean. I wouldn’t miss out on the big-ticket ruins of Chichen Itza, the gorgeous seaside site of Tulum, and the mystical jungle ruins of Coba and Ek Balam.

No matter which tour you choose, you are bound to have the experience of a lifetime! In between visiting ruins, you can swim in cenotes, explore the colonial streets of Valladolid, eat delicious Yucatec food, and snorkel over coral reefs! It’s going to be awesome!

About the Author

Hey there! This is Isabella, the owner, and writer of this site. I have been living in Cancun for the past 12 years and although I have been roaming around Mexico, Cancun’s spectacular turquoise waters and pristine beach draw me back to this popular Mexican beach destination. That is why I decided to start this blog, to show you all the beauty you can find in Cancun and share helpful travel tips to help you plan a fabulous vacation in Cancun!

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