Playa del Carmen – The Ultimate Travel Guide
Playa del Carmen is located at the Riviera Maya in Mexico, right between Cancun and Tulum. It is one of the most popular tourist destinations not only in Mexico but also worldwide. Playa del Carmen features white sand beaches, amazing turquoise water, warm weather, many delicious restaurants to choose from, and laid-back city life that makes it perfect.
Playa is extremely easy to get around on foot because everything is centralized along 5th Ave, where all the shopping malls are located and most of the restaurants and bars.
Playa del Carmen was founded in 1970 and had been growing ever since. It is the biggest city of Quintana Roo, with over 200,000 residents, but still it remains a laid-back beach town.
The first thing you’ll notice about Playa del Carmen is that there are no tall buildings and almost no traffic lights, making the driving experience easier than most cities in North America.
The Best Time To Visit Playa del Carmen
The best time to visit Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is during the dry season from November to April when the weather is warm and pleasant with less rainfall. However, it’s also the busiest time, so for fewer crowds and potentially lower prices, consider visiting during the rainy season from May to October, keeping in mind the increased risk of storms and hurricanes.
The Best Way to Get Around Playa del Carmen
The best way to get around in Playa del Carmen is in a taxi because the city is too big for walking, you can use also the colectivos (shared minibuses), and ADO buses that can take you to surrounding areas
. The average price for a taxi ride is about 25 to 50 pesos throughout the entire city, but make sure you agree on a price before getting inside or making an agreement with the driver.
Best Attractions In Playa del Carmen
1. 5th Ave
5th Ave is probably the most famous street in Playa del Carmen, and there’s a good reason for that: it’s loaded with shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs! Every shop on 5th Ave represents a different country, so you’ll find practically every kind of souvenirs here, including Mexican sombreros, huaraches, hammocks made out of palm leaves, tacos, t-shirts, and so much more. What makes shopping on 5th Ave even better is that everything here is very cheap, especially because this is where all tourists head towards before buying anything.
2. Water Activities & Marine Experiences
Playa offers various activities; it all depends on how much money you are willing to spend. You can choose between a boat ride, scuba diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and parasailing. Whatever you decide to do, there’s no way you won’t have the time of your life because playing in the turquoise blue waters is just too much fun!
3. Visit Yal-Ku Lagoon
This natural aqua park is located just north of Playa del Carmen. It features amazing turquoise water filled with multicolored fish that will make you feel like you’re inside an aquarium. The lagoon also features amazing rock formations that surround it, making it even more appealing than it already is.
4. Get Lost at Tulum Ruins
Tulum ruins are one of the most popular attractions in Playa del Carmen, and they are situated only 45 minutes away from the city. This place is one of the prettiest places to visit because you can see how great their architecture was even though this was many centuries ago! The complex features cobblestone roads, beautiful Mayan structures with walls painted in bright colors.
5. Cenote Dos Ojos
Another place worth visiting is Cenote dos Ojos, which is located about 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. There are two cenotes found here, so make sure you don’t miss them because they are both stunning!
Best Areas to Stay in Playa del Carmen
1. 5th Avenue
5th Ave might be the most famous street to stay at because it’s filled with shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs so if you want to have a good time this is where you should book your hotel! Many hotels are located on 5th Ave, which makes it even better since you won’t have to take cabs or buses to reach anything fun.
2. Punta Esmeralda
Punta Esmeralda is one of the most luxurious beach sides in Playa del Carmen, where you can find 4 & 5-star hotels that are perfect for honeymoons and romantic getaways! Everything about this place is very classy, from its elegant beaches to the multiple restaurants located here, making it a smart choice if you want to have a high-standard vacation without worrying about anything else.
3. Puerto Aventuras
It is located only 40 minutes away from Playa del Carmen. There’s a whole new world waiting for you at Puerto Aventura, where everything revolves around the water- scuba diving, snorkeling, speedboats, kayaking, and much more.
4. Xpu-Ha Beach
Xpu-ha is located far away from all of the crowds, making it perfect for those who enjoy going for a peaceful boat ride before laying their towels on the white sands and playing in the calm and relaxing turquoise waters. Since this place is less popular, not many hotels are built here, but some resorts offer rooms with great views and facilities like restaurants, bars, and pools.
Best Places to Stay in Playa del Carmen
1. Hotel El Taj
Hotel El Taj, located in downtown Playa del Carmen, offers two swimming pools, restaurants & bars plus you’ll be right next to 5th Ave so you won’t have to walk long distances to get everything done! It’s not as luxurious as some other hotels but definitely worth staying at if you want to have a good time.
2. Villa Caribe
Located far away from cenotes, beaches, and the town of Cozumel Villa Caribe will give you precisely what you’re looking for while traveling, which is peace and quiet! This place offers three pools, including one with its own bar next to it, a spa area, and some other great amenities that you might need to relax after a long day of exploring.
How Long To Stay In Playa del Carmen
A typical visit to Playa del Carmen would be for three days and two nights, but you can definitely spend more time here since there are many things to do in this city.
If you’re planning on coming here for a short holiday, make sure to spend your time at the beach & town area, or visit places like cenotes (Xcaret is one of the most popular) and Cozumel island.
How much money will you need?
The average daily budget for two people would be 100$/day which can go up if you spend more money on fancy restaurants and activities.
Nightlife in Playa del Carmen
The nightlife doesn’t get started until midnight, and it lasts until 7 am, so this is when all bars, clubs, and restaurants come to life after a busy day of exploring! 5th Ave is where you’ll find most bars and clubs, but others are also scattered around Playa del Carmen, which you can either find on Google Maps or ask your hotel concierge about.
Popular Attractions in Playa del Carmen
The Cenotes: These are multiple caves filled with water, and each of them might have a different story, so make sure to do some research before going there!
Xcaret: This place is trendy among tourists because it has a zoo, aquariums where you can swim with dolphins, and many other activities that keep you busy.
Xplor Park: This is perfect if you’re into wild adventures and adrenaline! The zip -lines are just amazing!
Cozumel Island: This place is also very popular among tourists because it has many activities that you might enjoy doing like diving, snorkeling, etc.
Tips for traveling to Playa del Carmen
1. Always go with the flow because you don’t want to end up in a bad mood while traveling!
2. Don’t be afraid of people who try to sell you anything at all because they’re not dangerous unless they’re trying to get money out of you by being annoying – if this happens, just say no and walk away. There are plenty of other sellers anyway!
3. If you meet some shady person on your holiday, make sure to stay calm and do whatever it takes for them not to hurt you since rage can cause people to do unexpected things
4. Make sure not to exchange your money with shady people because they’ll end up giving you fake bills, so always ask for the bill before paying!
5. Make sure that your cell phone has an international plan while visiting Mexico because otherwise, you’ll end up paying a lot, especially if you’re using the phone outside of all major cities.
6. Don’t be afraid to barter with local sellers because it’s part of their culture, and many will get offended if you don’t do it!
7. Make sure to drink lots of water because Mexico is located in a tropical climate, and the heat can get intense during the day, so just remember to stay hydrated at all times.