cancun water activities


Cancun Mexico is a natural paradise with warm weather, tropical waters, white sand beaches. snorkeling, and scuba diving… the list can go on forever. It’s no wonder it’s such a well traveled tourist destination. It doesn’t matter if you’re an adrenaline junkie or just want to sit by the beach and be pampered – Cancun has what you’re looking for.

There are so many fun things to do in Cancun it can get overwhelming trying to plan which activity is best. Filling your day with top Cancun excursions is sure to make for an unforgettable beach vacation. If you’re like us, you come to this hot beach destination to flock to the water. One of the top travel questions about Cancun we get is what are the best day tours to take from your all inclusive hotel. To help, we’ve sorted through all the ocean day tours in Cancun to narrow down the best ones for your next trip to Mexico.

Best Ocean Day Tours in Cancun

Cancun has built a reputation for having the most amazing white sand beaches and near perfect weather. There is so much to do and see in Cancun but undoubtedly the best way to spend your day is being on, near, or in, the water!

Cancun is home to the second largest barrier reef in the world (Mesoamerican Barrier Reef), only behind The Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Cancun is a coastal town that sits on the beautiful Caribbean Sea. The turquoise water is crystal clear and warm making for the best place to play in the water.

1. Scuba diving in Cancun

Ever since we got PADI scuba dive certified in Thailand it’s been one of our favourite things to do when traveling. We love looking up the best places to dive in every place we visit – even some lakes have great diving.

If you’re interested in scuba diving and want to get a taste of what it’s like in Cancun we suggest going with a dive company that’s PADI certified (Professional Association of Diving Instructors). This is the world recognized dive organization that ensures the instructors and company are properly trained and following industry standards. It’ll ease your mind that you’re in trusted hands above and below the water.

You can choose to stay in one of the Cancun scuba diving resorts or simply take scuba day excursions. There are tons of epic dive sites in this area including the famous Cancun scuba museum (MUSA underwater museum). Located on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, you can expect to see colorful coral reefs and tropical fish, sting rays, turtles, sharks, and dolphins on your dive.

Cancun is one of the best places in the world to scuba dive. The water visibility in Cancun is amongst the best in the world at between 80-110 ft (24-35 m) which makes for epic dive conditions. The coral reefs are thriving in this area with lots of colorful fish, rays, turtles, and sharks.

Beginner divers

PADI scuba diving on the Mesoamerican Reef in Cozumel

If you’re looking for epic Cancun scuba excursions, this beginner scuba diving day tour in Cancun includes time in a pool to get used to the gear and being underwater along with some theory so you understand how to interact with people underwater. Once you’re comfortable you’ll head out into the Mexican Caribbean Sea for two dives. You will visit the best Cancun scuba diving sites like the MUSA Underwater Museum and the other is Manchones Reef.

This tour costs $120 CAD ($86 USD) for each person. There is an optional $8 wet suit rental (although the water is warm), the theory and pool classes cost $20 USD and there is a $15 port and national marine park fee. Getting our PADI dive certification was one of the best things we ever did and we recommend it to everyone!

PADI certified divers

The same scuba dive company in Cancun has a similar scuba diving day tour for certified divers. You’ll get to dive at the Under Water Museum and the Manchones Reef near Isla Mujeres. The tour costs $118 CAD ($86 USD) and includes 2 open water dives in Cancun, a PADI scuba instructor, scuba gear, and water on the boat. You’ll want to bring some cash as there is a $15 USD port and national marine park fee (pretty standard in the area).

If you’re certified and want a more adventurous dive you’ll want to check out this scuba dive day trip in Cancun. It includes two tanks and takes you to a choice of the Underwater Sculpture Museum, the wreck of a C-58 Minesweeper, a night dive, or the Great Mayan Reef. For both dives, it’ll cost $131 CAD ($95 US) plus the $15 marine park and dock fee (so be sure to bring cash).

2. Snorkeling tours in Cancun

If scuba diving seems too intense for you (trust us, it’s amazing!) snorkeling in Cancun in is a great way to get used to having your face in the water. We love being able to look into the underwater world while feeling the sun beating down on our backs. Cancun is a great place to snorkel whether you’re an expert or a beginner. In fact, snorkeling is one of the best excursions in Cancun for families.

There are so many great areas to snorkel in Cancun – from the MUSA (an underwater museum that has over 500 statues) to the Mesoamerican reef you are bound to have an amazing time. We recommend having your own snorkel so you don’t have to rely on renting snorkel gear. This will give you the freedom to snorkel where you want when you want.

snorkeling in the Caribbean Sea

If you’re looking for a guided experience, this snorkeling tour will start you off on a speedboat riding through the mangroves in Nichupte Lagoon in the Hotel Zone before heading south towards Puerto Morelos. You will then spend a beautiful 40 minutes snorkeling through Angel Reef Park which is part of the Mesoamerican Reef. We were in such awe the whole time snorkeling this reef with the colorful fish and corals that live here.

If you’ve always wanted to see whale sharks in a safe and sustainable way you’ll be happy to know you can do so in Cancun. Whale shark season in Cancun falls between mid May to mid September. This 7 hour whale shark snorkeling tour is an all inclusive day tour (except for a $15 USD environmental tax and dock fee) that includes an expert guide, air conditioned hotel transportation, lunch, and snorkeling equipment. We honestly thought this bucket list experience would be more expensive than the $212 CAD ($154 USD) that it costs.

If you’re nervous about snorkeling or want to pack as much in your day as you can, this 5 in 1 Cancun snorkeling tour is for you. You’re sure to get your money’s worth as you swim in a beautiful coral reef, see underwater statues, snorkel with turtles, swim along a shipwreck, and snorkel in a freshwater cenote. This busy tour is a great way to see it all while friendly guides navigate you through the experience all for $90 CAD ($65 USD) per person.

If you know you want to snorkel in Cancun but have no idea where to go, this 2 hour snorkel tour includes a guide who knows exactly where the best places are. They’ll take you to Punta Nizuc – an area just south of the famous Hotel Zone in Cancun. This all inclusive Cancun day tour costs $70 CAD ($50 USD) and the only extra fee is a $20 USD reef preservation fee, which we think is amazing. We are all for keeping Earth’s reefs pristine.

3. Kayaking in Cancun

Kayaking is like hiking but on water. It’s one of our favourite water activities as you have the freedom to explore an area and fit into tight caves, navigate through mangroves, and find hidden beaches. The tropical waters in Cancun are the perfect place to kayak as there is so much biodiversity. With the Caribbean waters so full of life you will have the chance to see many marine animals like fish, stingrays, and maybe even dolphins along your way.

This sunset kayak tour through the mangroves of Laguna Nichupte is perfect for those looking to explore the unique landscape. A kayak tour is one of the best half-day excursions Cancun. Kayaking during sunset is our favourite not only because of the beautiful views you will see but also because this is when animals are at their most active so you have a higher chance of spotting them. You can choose between single or double kayaks.

4. Catamaran tours to Isla Mujeres

A Cancun day trip to Isla Mujeres is one of the most epic ways to spend your day. Isla Mujeres is one of the best islands to visit in Mexico. You may be wondering “is Isla Mujeres a day trip?” While you can stay here longer, we thought visiting for a day was enough time to see the top sites and get a taste of the lazy island life.

While you can get to the island a few different ways, by far the best is to take a catamaran cruise to Isla Mujeres. With these day tours, you will set sail on a beautiful catamaran boat sailing through the turquoise Caribbean Sea. Once on the island, you will get free time to explore and experience the many fun things to do on Isla Mujeres.

As you make your way to the island, located 13 km (8 miles) off the coast of Cancun, you will stop along the way to snorkel a coral reef (snorkel gear included). In true Mexican style, these cruises are all inclusive offering free drinks along the way allowing you to let loose as you soak up that Mexican sunshine.

luxurious catamaran cruise in the Caribbean Sea in Mexico

This half day catamaran tour to Isla Mujeres is a great way to spend the day. Grab a margarita and expect a party as you make your way to the island aboard this stunning catamaran. You will have some time to explore Isla Mujeres after you’re done snorkeling. Snacks, drinks, and round trip transportation from Cancun are all included in the $110 CAD ($80 USD) price tag. Do note that there is a $27 CAD ($20 USD) docking fee that will need to be paid at check in.

If all that sounds great but you’re looking for a bit more of an upscale experience that includes lunch, this luxury catamaran tour is a great option. With a price tag of $191 CAD ($139 USD) you will be picked up from your hotel in Cancun and have time to stop and snorkel at a beautiful reef, enjoy Isla Mujeres, and have a gourmet lunch and bottomless drinks. The docking fee is included in this price.

If you’re not sold on Isla Mujeres but want to take a cruise through the Caribbean waters, this sunset sailing tour is sure to become a core memory for you. Costing $136 CAD ($99 USD) this is the perfect romantic activity in Cancun. You will be served snacks and have an open bar as you sail through the Riviera Maya region. Don’t forget your camera – the sunsets in Mexico are INSANE!

5. Jet ski in Cancun

There’s no better way to cool down from the hot Mexican sunshine than by ripping through the waves on a jet ski. Whether you’re driving or relaxing on the back, whipping around on a seadoo, especially in the beautiful Caribbean Sea, will get your heart pumping and cool you right down.

This 30 minute jet ski rental in Cancun costs $110 CAD ($80 USD) for up to 2 people to ride a single jet ski. You will rip through the beautiful Nichupte Lagoon in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Riders must be 18 years and older while passengers can be 10 and older.

6. Parasailing in Cancun

Samara’s first time ever parasailing was in Cancun and ever since she gets nostalgic whenever she sees a parasail on the water. If you’re not in the water, the next best thing is to get a bird’s eye view of it. You may have a few seconds of butterflies as you begin your ascent in the air but that will quickly disappear as soon as you’ve reached your height and look around at the stunning aerial views you get.

Parasailing in Cancun is one of the best ways to get stunning ocean views. The Caribbean Sea is so colourful with its crystal clear waters displaying so many different shades of blue and green. This Skyrider parasailing tour is $80 CAD ($58 USD) per person and allows you and a friend to glide over the beautiful Nichupte Lagoon in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. This is great for adrenaline junkie kids 5 years or older.

We love that you get a comfortable 2 person seat with this tour instead of the typical tight harness you get with parasailing. I highly recommend you bring a waterproof camera or GoPro along. You will go as high as 330 ft (100 m) while soaring up to 50km/hr (30 mph). When you ride, be sure to ask to go down with a splash. As you descend, they will dip your feet into the warm water to get a bit of a thrill before bringing you back into the boat.

7. Fly in the water in Cancun

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to fly, you’re in luck as there are many different flight experiences in the water in Cancun. We always see people doing this and it looks like so much fun, we had to add it to our list!

A Jetpack experience is worn in a backpack style and is water propelled to shoot you up into the air. You will be given a quick training session before taking control with the throttle and soaring up to 30 ft (9 m) into the air.

If you’ve got the core strength, a Flyboard experience is very similar but straps the jets to your feet instead of your back. There is also a Jetovator experience which is a unique looking device that looks similar to a bike without wheels. You will have a platform to stand on and handlebars to hold as you shoot up from the water. All these experiences are offered in the Hotel Zone of Cancun and cost $164 CAD ($119 USD).

8. Paddleboard yoga in Cancun

Samara’s two favourite activities combined: yoga and being on the water. If you’re looking for the perfect way to get a good workout, taking a yoga paddle boarding class on the Caribbean Sea is it! You don’t have to have any yoga experience for this class to get a full body, mind, and soul workout while enjoying beautiful views.

You can choose between morning, afternoon, or evening classes. In our opinion, the morning classes make for the perfect way to start your day with a good workout before the heat sets in. Costing $110 CAD ($81 USD) you will enjoy a Hatha and Yin style yoga class for a gentle practice on the ocean.

Thanks for stopping by!

One of the main reasons so many people flock to the beautiful Mexican coast is to experience fun in the water. The city’s stunning tropical location nestled on the coast of the Caribbean Sea makes it the perfect place to enjoy some great ocean day tours in Cancun.

A city that is built to entertain, you will have so many fun trips to choose from to build your ultimate Mexico vacation. From scuba diving in the water to parasailing way above it, Cancun is the perfect city to enjoy water sports.

Now all that’s left is to book your flights!

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