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10 Things to KNOW Before Booking an ATV Tour in Playa del Carmen

10 Things to KNOW Before Booking an ATV Tour in Playa del Carmen

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Many people head to Playa del Carmen for a relaxing vacation. With lots of amazing restaurants, incredible resorts, and fun things to do in the city, I can see why. But there are also some epic adrenaline-pumping day trips out of Playa del Carmen that you won’t want to miss out on!

There are so many incredible tours in Playa del Carmen – and one of the most fun ones I’ve taken here is an ATV tour. This is the perfect location to hop on an all-terrain vehicle (ATV) and rip around the jungle, get a little muddy, and have a smile plastered on your face the entire time. At least that’s what I looked like!

These tours kick it up a notch by adding in other activities like ziplining and cenote swimming to really maximize your time!

It’s important to book a tour through a reputable provider, as ATVing can be risky at times. So I’ve put together this guide of everything you need to know before booking an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen. Plus, you can check out the best tours out there to give you some peace of mind and focus on having a fun day of adventure!

Our Top Choice for an ATV Tour in Playa del Carmen

If you’re craving adventure and want to jump on an ATV right now and don’t have time to read this whole post, we picked out the best ATV tour for you! This ATV tour is the best bang for your buck. Over your 4-hour tour, you will get to ride an ATV through the jungle, zipline over the canopy, swim in a cenote, and have a traditional Mexican lunch, all for $75 USD (which is a steal!). This experience is highly-rated and super popular, so you’ll want to book a spot on this ATV tour before it fills up!

1. When is the best time to go ATVing in Playa del Carmen?

Daniel rides an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
When it’s wet, it gets muddy!

ATVing is an excellent activity in Playa del Carmen because you can really go year-round. The dry season brings beautiful sunny weather and the rainy season gives you giant mud puddles to splash through. It is one of the best things you can do while visiting Mexico, no matter the time of year or day you go!

I recommend taking a morning tour if you are visiting during the hottest months, from December to April. The afternoons tend to get pretty toasty, and you’ll be outside the entire time, so it’s best to avoid the heat of the day if possible. 

The rainy season is from June to October, and I honestly think this is the most fun time to go! It typically doesn’t rain all day, just in bursts, so you likely won’t get drenched on your tour. You will get muddy though. The trails tend to turn into muddy tracks with big puddles that are a blast to hit quickly. You won’t leave a tour clean if you go during the rainy season! 

2. What to expect on an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen?

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while driving an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Yay!

The vast majority of ATV tours will also include ziplining and swimming in cenotes, and some will take you to a Mayan village or horseback riding! They will take place at an eco-adventure park so all of your activities are conveniently located right next to each other and you don’t have to waste time driving from one to the next.

The tours last anywhere from 3 to 6 hours, and will either start with ziplining or ATVing, then let you cool off in the cenote after, which was quite welcomed in the Playa del Carmen heat.

Most of these tours include lunch or snacks, so you can expect some yummy tacos or fresh fruit. Each tour varies a bit, with some offering departure times in both the morning and afternoon. The tours also range in price depending on what they include. We’ll go through the best options so you can select the number of thrilling activities and the cost that fits best for you!

While we love that these ATV tours include so many other activities, you end up not getting as much time ATVing as you might expect (only about 30 minutes). This was fine for us because we were so hot on the ATVs, but I could see other travelers wanting more time ATVing. But overall, all of the activities together make this tour fly by and we really enjoyed having a variety of experiences. 

3. Do you need to book an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen in advance?

Two people on an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Ready to go!

Yes, ATV tours are a very popular excursion, especially during peak tourist season (December to April) so you’ll want to book in advance. While there are a lot of tour options, the best ones will fill up quickly, so you will want to secure those before they are gone. All of the tours listed in this blog are the top-rated ATV tours in Playa del Carmen, so they will book up first. 

The other tours are less popular for a reason, they usually aren’t as highly rated or don’t include certain perks that these ones do. So while you can still find an ATV tour, it probably won’t be the best one you can get!

ATVing tours are usually totally safe, but this is because they are reputable tour providers that keep safety as a priority! This is why we prefer Viator tours, as they are highly reviewed and vetted through the company, so you know you’re getting a safe and fun tour. 

So long story short – yes, book in advance!

Related Read: Another tour you’ll want to book in advance is a scuba diving tour in Playa del Carmen! These are excellent for the adventure traveler and have options for new divers or old pros.

4. Why book on Viator?

Viator ATV tour cancelation 1
Viator’s policy is fantastic!

We love booking tours on Viator. They have a great cancellation policy that gives you free changes or cancellations of any of the tours on this list as long as it’s 24 hours beforehand.

This is great for the traveler who doesn’t want to miss out on an experience, but still wants to have flexibility in case travel plans change – which they often do!

We have also found that booking tours directly through the company is usually unnecessarily complicated in Mexico. The operators often don’t give refunds, even if policies on their website say they do, and it’s more of a hassle to try and change your tour date.

Don’t get stuck paying extra money in case you need to change or cancel your tour, and just go with Viator. This is how we book almost all of our tours and the peace of mind makes our travels so much less stressful!

5. Do you need a license to drive an ATV in Playa del Carmen?

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while riding an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Bailey loves going on the back instead of driving!

Nope! You do not need a driver’s license to take an ATV tour. However, you have to be over 16 to drive the ATV, and can only ride by yourself if you’re over 18 years old. You can still drive the ATV if you’re 16 or 17, you just need an adult to be on the ATV with you. Driving an ATV is very different from driving a car, so having a license or not doesn’t really matter. 

Kids as young as four years old can join the tour, and children often love ATVing! They are usually more daring than the adults are, so it’s a great family activity if your kids are little adventurers.  

Related Read: If you are renting a car in Playa del Carmen, you will need a driver’s license!

6. What are the best ATV tours in Playa del Carmen?

1. Playa del Carmen Buggy Tour with Cenote Swim and Mayan Village Visit

Daniel and Bailey ride an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Drifting!
Bailey swims in a Cenote on a tour in Mexico
Cenotes are the perfect place to cool off after ATVing!

This ATV buggy tour is great for groups or partners, as you’re in a side-by-side buggy! Rather than riding a quad, where one person is in front and the other is hanging on the back, this is a comfortable and durable buggy where you’re sitting right next to each other. 

You will take off from the eco-park and head into the jungle, which has incredible views and fewer tourists than other tours (which we love). These jungle tracks are bumpy, winding, and so much fun!

You’ll eventually make your way to a cenote and get to jump in to cool off after riding in the sun. This is also a great way to get all the dirt off!

This tour is unique because you will also get to visit a traditional Mayan village, which is an interesting insight into Mexico’s rich and old heritage. The guides perform a ritual ceremony here, which makes you feel like you get to participate in the culture for a little bit – which is a truly unique thing to do!

This tour will last for 3.5 hours and you can select morning or afternoon departure times. It includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, as well as goggles and bandanas, which are so helpful when riding the ATV.

The tour is limited to 14 people, so I highly recommend booking this in advance! It is $122 USD per adult, $105 USD for children 10-16, and $87 USD for children 3-9.

2. Horseback Riding from Playa del Carmen, ATV, Cenote, Ziplines, Lunch and Transfer

ATV buggy drives through the forrest in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Riding through the jungle!

This tour has it all: horseback riding, ATVing, swimming in a cenote, ziplining, and lunch! That is a lot to do in a 6-hour day, so you can expect to move quickly from one activity to another, but it’s sure to be a blast the entire time. 

You’ll start with the high-flying thrill of ziplining through the jungle, going down multiple ziplines that range in length and speed. Then you’ll jump on your ATV (this one is a quad) and spend about 30 minutes climbing through the jungle, bumping over the rocky terrain, and getting incredible scenic views throughout. 

The tour then changes pace a bit, which will probably be nice after these adrenaline-pumping activities. You will take a horseback ride to a cenote, and jump in for a refreshing swim. After being out in the heat and sun for the previous three activities, a cool cenote swim will be welcomed. The tour will wrap up with lunch at the cenote!

I like that this tour is slightly longer than the others, 6 hours in total, so you don’t feel rushed and can really enjoy each activity, as there are a lot on this one! The tour will pick you up from your hotel in Playa del Carmen and take you to the eco-park where all of the activities take place.

You can reserve this tour for $105 USD for adults and teens and $85 USD for children 4-11. It includes all necessary equipment for a safe day of adventure, entrance fees, lunch, and water. This tour can have up to 20 people, which is a little larger but still not too huge to be annoying.

Book this action-packed tour in advance here!

3. Xplor Fuego Nighttime Adventure with Transportation

Xplor Fuego Ziplines
The zipline at Xplor Fuego Ziplines. Photo credit: Xplor Cancun

This Night Adventure tour is not your typical ATV tour, in fact, this is the only night tour of this kind I’ve ever heard of!

Xplor Fuego is one of the biggest adventure parks on the Riviera Maya and offers all of the excursions as other tours, except after dark. This makes it a bit more exciting and just a totally unique way to experience ATVing.

There is more to this tour than ATVing, however. You will start off by rafting through a 530-meter (1,738-foot) cave, where you’ll be able to see stalagmites and intricate rock formations that are lit up by lights inside the cave. The water isn’t very deep (only about 1 meter/3 feet) so it is totally safe and more chill than “rafting through a cave at night” sounds.

After, you’ll jump on the ATV and take a drive over two river crossings, past a crocodile pit, and led by a torch-lit path. This is beginning to sound more like an Indiana Jones adventure than a guided tour!

You’ll continue the tour by ziplining under the night sky, which is starry and gorgeous in Playa del Carmen. You’ll zip down seven different lines, all lit by torches along the way too! The last adventure of this tour is swimming through the caves. 

This tour will have breaks between each activity, so you’ll have time to stop by the buffet or relax in a hammock. Plus a huge advantage for us was avoiding the heat of the day! I love spending the day on the beach and then gearing up for supper and an adventure like this at night.

It’s $154 USD per adult and about $40 USD cheaper for kids who are under 4.6 feet (1.4 meters) in height. The cost includes transportation from hotels in Playa del Carmen, an all-you-can-eat buffet, any equipment needed (lifejackets, harnesses, ATV, helmets, etc), and a locker to secure your belongings. The tour starts at 5 pm and will last for six hours, so it will be a bit of a late night but totally worth it!

This is definitely one of those tours you will want to reserve in advance online, as there are only limited dates available and it can fill up quickly!

4. Jungle Buggy Tour from Playa del Carmen Including Cenote Swim

Bailey and Baiel sit on an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Ready to go!
Bailey swims in a cenote near Cancun, Mexico
The water is crystal clear!

We love how each of these tours is a little bit different, so you really can choose the one that suits you best! This Jungle Buggy Tour includes ATVing, of course, but also snorkeling in a cenote.

If snorkeling in Playa del Carmen is on your bucket list, this tour is ideal because it hits two awesome activities in one day!

The highlight of this tour is ATVing in the buggy, another side-by-side option. If it’s just two people in your group, you can select a two-seater, but this is also great for families as there is also a 6-seater option. You’ll actually go 29 kilometers (18 miles) into the lush jungle, which is the most ATVing you’ll find of any of the tours on this list. 

Eventually, you’ll make your way to the ancient Mayan cenote. Visiting a cenote is a must-do activity on the Yucatan Peninsula, as there are so many incredible cenotes in the area! While most tours just allow time for a quick swim, this one provides snorkel gear and lets you explore this unique underground cave system. 

This tour has morning or afternoon departure times and is only three hours which leaves the other half of your day free to explore. For $104 USD, it includes roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, goggles while riding the ATV, snorkel gear, and snacks. Children 4 years and older are welcome to join this tour, although they must be 18 to drive.

For a fun way to experience some of the best activities in this part of Mexico, make sure to reserve this experience online here. It tends to sell out, so grab your dates while you can!

Related Read: Getting from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen can be a little tricky. Check out all the things to know about getting from Cancun to Playa del Carmen so you can avoid the hassle!

5. Best ATV Tour, Ziplines, and Cenote Swim with Lunch and Transport Included

Two people ATVing on a tour from Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Our friends came with us!

Our final ATV tour in Playa del Carmen is probably the best deal out there! This 4-hour ATV experience includes ATVing, swimming in a cenote, ziplining, and lunch, all for $75 USD. 

The tour includes transportation from Playa del Carmen to the adventure park, where all of the activities take place. You’ll start by hopping on an ATV, either as a passenger or driver, and cruise through the jungle.

The path is full of mud and rocks, so it’s a pretty wild ride! You’ll reach the cenote, where you’ll have time to relax and swim in its refreshing waters. This cenote has a Tarzan swing as well which I think is always a fun bonus!

After this you’ll hit the zipline course and fly through the treetops, getting incredible views above the canopy. You’ll finish up by having a taco lunch (yum!) before returning to your hotel in Playa del Carmen. 

This tour comes highly rated and does a great job of including a few adventure activities without overloading your schedule. For $75 USD per adult and $55 USD for kids ages 4-11, you get transportation, all safety equipment, admission fees, and lunch. The tour has two different departure times, so check your schedule and book this tour to add it to your itinerary!

You can reserve this tour here for a budget-friendly way to explore some of the best Playa del Carmen has to offer!

7. What is the best ATV tour for beginners in Playa del Carmen?

People ride an ATV through a puddle on a tour in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
You can go as fast or slow as you wish!

This ATV tour is the best option for beginners because you’ll be cruising around in an ATV buggy instead of a quad. The buggy has a roll cage, which provides an extra level of safety, and driving this style of ATV feels more like driving a car, so it’s a little familiar! Buggies have seats side-by-side, so it’s fun to have your friend right next to you joining in on the adventure. 

The guides on this jungle buggy tour do an excellent job of making you feel at ease, so if this is your first time on an ATV they will be sure to take care of you! You will go over extensive safety instructions before you take off and you can ride at whatever pace is most comfortable for you. This tour is also only three hours long, so it gives you a taste of ATVing without having to commit to a longer tour. 

This is also a great tour option for kids, as it’s beginner-friendly and they have buggies with six seats available!

Related Read: Tulum is another one of my favorite destinations on the Yucatan. You can easily jump on a tour from Playa del Carmen to Tulum to check out the Tulum Ruins and see the best cenotes!

Riding an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
They are as safe as you make them!

Yes, ATV tours in Playa del Carmen are a super safe and thrilling day tour. Before you even jump on your ATV, the guides will go over a safety briefing and ensure everyone in the group understands how to operate the vehicle.

You are in control of your ATV, so you get to decide how fast or crazy you go and can keep it at your own pace. 

All of the tour companies provide helmets and follow a strict policy of safety in Mexico. Tourism is a huge industry in Playa del Carmen, so they really don’t want anything bad to happen to their customers. All of these tours mentioned in this blog are highly rated and have thousands of reviews, so you know they want people to have a spectacular time and return again! 

The roads you’ll be driving around are in eco-parks, so you won’t get lost in the jungle or come right up to a cliffside. The track is safe and tons of tourists go through it every day – so you’re totally safe!

9. What should you wear on a Playa del Carmen ATV tour?

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie on an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
They provide helmets!

Comfortable enclosed shoes

You’ll definitely want to wear comfy closed-toe shoes on an ATV tour. A decent pair of sneakers will be a good choice, but forgo the flip-flops or sandals! You will need something to protect your feet from debris and dirt and be prepared to put your foot down while maneuvering the ATV, if necessary. Most of these tours will require closed-toe shoes for ATVing and for other activities like ziplining or horseback riding. 

Be prepared for your shoes to get pretty dirty, especially if you’re taking this tour during the rainy season. I wore hiking shoes that were waterproof and found this to be the best choice, as the trail is very muddy and wet this time of year.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a life-saver on an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen. Of course, they help keep the bright sun out of your eyes, but they also protect your eyes from dust, dirt, bugs, and anything else that can get kicked up during your ATV ride. While goggles are usually available from the tour provider, they are sometimes beaten up and scratched, making it hard to see while driving. I’ve found sunglasses to be just fine to protect your eyes on these tours!

Buff or mask

These ATV tours can be very dusty and kick up rocks or debris while driving on the trails. Having a buff or face mask keeps you from breathing in all of this dust and dirt. It’s surprising how dirty you get from ATV tours, and the last thing you want is to breathe all of that dust in, leaving you in a coughing fit instead of enjoying your tour!

Clothes you don’t mind getting dirty

No matter what time of year you take an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen, you will end up dirty! It just comes with the nature of the activity, so I don’t recommend wearing your nicest outfit on these tours. You will finish off your tour sweaty and dusty, and possibly covered in mud, which are signs of a super fun day of adventure right? Wear clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty and are comfortable to move around in, and you’ll be just fine!

10. Is ATVing in Playa del Carmen worth it?

Daniel and Bailey on an ATV in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
People swim in Saamal Cenote, Mexico
People swim in Saamal Cenote, Mexico

Yes, I’ve participated in ATV tours all over Mexico and have a blast every time. Not only is ATVing an exciting adventure, but I love how these tours have other fun activities that I might not be able to fit into my schedule unless they are included. So it ends up being a great use of my time and money – ATVing, cenote swimming, ziplining, and more all in one day? Sign me up!

Other Activities to do While You’re in Playa del Carmen

Bailey swims past some corals while scuba Diving in Playa del carmen
Scuba diving here is unreal!
bailey on the beach in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
The beaches in Playa!

Going on an ATV tour in Playa del Carmen is just the start of what this vibrant town has to offer. In fact, there are so many fun activities in Playa del Carmen, that it can be a little overwhelming! Here are a few more of my favorite things to do here which I think you’ll love:

  • Swim alongside whale sharks – Did you know that whale sharks aren’t actually sharks? In fact, they’re the largest fish in the world, and you can even swim with whale sharks in Playa del Carmen! You will need to head a little way offshore before you can though, which is why I recommend this full-day whale shark tour, which includes all transportation and lunch!
  • Go shopping – Fifth Avenue is a super popular pedestrian street full of shops, boutiques, and markets. If you’re looking for souvenirs or fancy treating yourself to a new holiday get-up, this is the place to be. The Playa del Carmen Flea Market is my top pick for budget gifts and handicrafts, and Quinta Alegría Shopping Mall is your one-stop shop for international brands.

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen

Bailey relaxes at an all-inclusive resort in Mexico near Playa del Carmen
Me relaxing at just one of the resorts I have stayed in Playa del Carmen!

There are a TON of great places to stay in Playa del Carmen, so it can be a bit difficult knowing where to even begin! The hotels here cater to all kinds of budgets, age ranges, and more, so to help give you a good overview, I’ve included some of my favorites below:

Che Playa Hostel and Bar – $

Visiting Playa del Carmen doesn’t have to be super expensive! In fact, for those traveling on a budget, I’d highly recommend Che Playa Hostel and Bar, which is an adult-only hostel and one of the best in town!

It’s really well-located right in the heart of Playa del Carmen and even has its own rooftop pool and bar. While it’s nothing crazy, this gives it a really chilled-out social atmosphere and the clean facilities and helpful staff make the whole stay a blast.

Rates here are some of the best you’ll find in town, with a bed in a dorm starting from as low as $37 USD per night. You can check out the rates for yourself over on Hostelworld or Booking.com.

Soho Playa Hotel – $$

Whenever I’m visiting on a moderate budget and don’t fancy staying in a resort, my personal pick is the Soho Playa Hotel, which I’ve visited a couple of times now and is a real gem! It’s just a stone’s throw away from the beach, has its own pool, and all rates include free breakfast. Perfect for filling up before a day out ATVing.

The rooms here are also super modern and are really clean – a one-night stay here starts at $94 USD per night and can be booked online here.

The Palm at Playa – $$

The Palm at Playa is a lot like the Soho Playa Hotel – it’s in a similar price range, but I’d say it’s a little bit more on the luxury end. It’s also located right near the beach and has its own on-site restaurant, which blends local flavors with a European twist – I recommend the amazing fish tacos!

The rooftop palm garden is the perfect retreat when it’s super hot out, take it from me that this feels like a luxury hotel without the price tag. Rooms here start at $85 USD per night and for the best price, it’s best to book online in advance.

El Taj Oceanfront and Beachside Condo Hotel – $$$

If budget isn’t an issue for you, then the luxury world of hotels at Playa del Carmen is at your fingertips! When it comes to enjoying out-of-this-world hospitality and comfort, El Taj Oceanfront and Beachside Condo Hotel really can’t be topped. With its very own infinity pool and elegant suites, every corner of this hotel is Instagram-worthy!

El Taj’s ASI restaurant serves delicious gourmet food that dazzles the taste buds, and if you’re feeling ultra-relaxed in your room, you can request the chef to come to your suite and prepare your meals there! While I haven’t personally been here, you can bet that this is on my bucket list.

A one-night stay at El Taj starts at $185 USD, which I think is actually pretty good value considering all the luxuries that come with it! To snag the best rooms, I’d suggest checking your dates and booking your stay online here.

Related Read: If you’re considering staying in the nearby city of Cancun, you can check out some epic day trips from the city like visiting Chichen Itza or taking a sunset cruise!

Renting a Car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel take a selfie while driving around Mexico
A rental car means freedom to go to the beach whenever you want!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car. 

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Cancun in 2023, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically. 

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend. Read my honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too. 

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit. 

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your rental will be much cheaper! 

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie while ATVing in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Thanks for reading!

Taking an ATV tour through the jungles of Mexico has been one of my favorite memories while visiting Playa del Carmen. Even though I’ve done these tours a few times already, I know I will return again. It’s a thrilling way to spend your day, and the tours make it so easy – all you have to do is show up and have a blast!

If you found this blog helpful in planning your Playa del Carmen activities, check out our other Mexico blogs! There is so much to explore in this wonderful country that I hope everyone gets a chance to experience. Here are some of my favorite activities in Mexico to inspire your travel planning:

21 BEST Mayan Ruins in Mexico and How to Visit Them

Guide To Bacalar, Mexico & 18 Best Things To Do

10 Things to Know BEFORE Booking a Taco Tour in Cancun, Mexico

5 BEST Playa del Carmen Food Tours +Tips BEFORE You Book!