Playa del Carmen travel guide

Playa del Carmen Tourism | Playa del Carmen Guide

You're Going to Love Playa del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is a modern Mexican town by the Caribbean Sea. Formerly a small fishing village, Playa Del Carmen is now one of the most popular tourist spots for nightlife and electronic music aficionados. This town is located just across from the island of Cozumel.

Playa Del Carmen attracts thousands of tourists each year who come for the BPM Festival, the nearby ruins, and the warm climate. Traveling to this area of the Riviera Maya is a great way to discover Mexico while avoiding large and crowded urban areas.

This city is known for hosting PGA Golf tournaments and has been featured as the main shooting location in the telenovela Peregrina. Playa Del Carmen is a unique mixture of modernity and authenticity with its luxurious resorts and shopping malls contrasting against the nearby ruins and jungle.

Top 5 Reasons to Visit Playa del Carmen

1. The Vibrant Nightlife

Playa Del Carmen is one of the hottest clubbing spots on the Yucatán Peninsula with people flocking to spots such as the Playacrawl, L'Ambassade, or La Vaquita.

2. The Jungle

The Jungle Place sanctuary is the perfect place to see wild animals and feel like an adventurer. Besides discovering the unique fauna that grows in the region, you will get to see the many spider monkeys that have been rescued and now live at the sanctuary.

3. Cozumel Island

The Cozumel island is right across from Playa Del Carmen and is one of the most famous spots in the world for scuba diving.

4. The Festivals

Playa Del Carmen hosts a world-famous electronic dance music festival every January known as the BPM Festival. If electronic dance music is not your cup of tea, plan your trip in November so you can enjoy the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival.

5. The Coba Mayan Villages

Discover the ancient Mayan civilization and the ruins they left behind by touring the Coba Mayan Villages. You can climb the Coba pyramid, walk, or ride a bike through the jungle and see where the descendants of the Mayans live today.

What to do in Playa del Carmen

1. Playa principal de Playa del Carmen: Just Stay Here All Day?

Playa del Carmen brings tourists together from far and wide for one common attraction: the pure white beaches and the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea! It is no wonder that beaches here have been labeled some of the best in the world, and this particular one does not disappoint. With access to the resources of heavenly resorts, local digs open day and night, the company of like-minded vacationers, and lounging chairs with beach umbrellas for all to enjoy, all your wishes shall be granted.

2. Parque Xplor: Zipping through the Canopies

Mexico is a destination of unbridled pleasure, and Xplor Park manages to mix fun and ecology into a amazing recreation experience. Zip-lining through the forest and rafting lively rivers get your heart thumping as you dig your hands into what nature has to offer. Amphibious vehicles bear you into forest climates you could never reach otherwise, and you won't ever forget how special the Yucatan Peninsula is.

3. Chichen Itza: Spiritual Archeology

The Riviera Maya is named for the indigenous civilization that once capitalized on its unique landscape, and built their holy cities into its grounds. Chichen Itza is one of the most famous of these, and a day trip will amaze with ancient wonders. El Castillo rises stoically towards the sun, with symmetrical stairs leading to the pyramid's peak. Elaborate carvings reveal clues to the beliefs and practices of the Mayans, and at night, the complex is bathed in a modern light show.

4. Xcaret Park: Land and Sea Adventure

This eco-archaeological park is set directly between the azure waters of the Caribbean and the border of the jungle, offering enthralling activities to get you closer to nature. Snorkeling is a must, and exploring underground rivers in coastal caves is unforgettable. Swimming with the dolphins is something that everyone wants to experience on their trip to Riviera Maya, while back on land Mexican Culture is celebrated through and through - from the restaurants to the parades and performances.

5. Calle Quinta Avenida: Shop-Diving Discoland

A short trip from the beach, the Fifth Avenue of Playa del Carmen runs parallel to the water and invites all guests of the surrounding hotels and resorts for a walk through the city. By day this is the perfect place to pick up tropical souvenirs, oversized sunglasses, or gear for that impromptu trip to sea. By night, the area comes alive with bars and disco clubs, so the fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down.

6. Tulum Mayan Ruins: Majestic Ruins by the Sea

The ancient Mayan city of Tulum sits on the edge of a sparkling turquoise coastline. Once a walled seaport, these 13th-century ruins compose a vast and mysterious puzzle just waiting to be pieced together, with painted clues residing in the Castillo pyramid and the Temple of the Frescos, the most well preserved buildings. Don't forget to spot the Temple of the Wind Gods, guarding the entrance of the bay and making for an unforgettable sight.

1. Playa principal de Playa del Carmen: Just Stay Here All Day?

Playa del Carmen brings tourists together from far and wide for one common attraction: the pure white beaches and the turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea! It is no wonder that beaches here have been labeled some of the best in the world, and this particular one does not disappoint. With access to the resources of heavenly resorts, local digs open day and night, the company of like-minded vacationers, and lounging chairs with beach umbrellas for all to enjoy, all your wishes shall be granted.

2. Parque Xplor: Zipping through the Canopies

Mexico is a destination of unbridled pleasure, and Xplor Park manages to mix fun and ecology into a amazing recreation experience. Zip-lining through the forest and rafting lively rivers get your heart thumping as you dig your hands into what nature has to offer. Amphibious vehicles bear you into forest climates you could never reach otherwise, and you won't ever forget how special the Yucatan Peninsula is.

3. Chichen Itza: Spiritual Archeology

The Riviera Maya is named for the indigenous civilization that once capitalized on its unique landscape, and built their holy cities into its grounds. Chichen Itza is one of the most famous of these, and a day trip will amaze with ancient wonders. El Castillo rises stoically towards the sun, with symmetrical stairs leading to the pyramid's peak. Elaborate carvings reveal clues to the beliefs and practices of the Mayans, and at night, the complex is bathed in a modern light show.

4. Xcaret Park: Land and Sea Adventure

This eco-archaeological park is set directly between the azure waters of the Caribbean and the border of the jungle, offering enthralling activities to get you closer to nature. Snorkeling is a must, and exploring underground rivers in coastal caves is unforgettable. Swimming with the dolphins is something that everyone wants to experience on their trip to Riviera Maya, while back on land Mexican Culture is celebrated through and through - from the restaurants to the parades and performances.

5. Calle Quinta Avenida: Shop-Diving Discoland

A short trip from the beach, the Fifth Avenue of Playa del Carmen runs parallel to the water and invites all guests of the surrounding hotels and resorts for a walk through the city. By day this is the perfect place to pick up tropical souvenirs, oversized sunglasses, or gear for that impromptu trip to sea. By night, the area comes alive with bars and disco clubs, so the fun doesn't have to stop when the sun goes down.

6. Tulum Mayan Ruins: Majestic Ruins by the Sea

The ancient Mayan city of Tulum sits on the edge of a sparkling turquoise coastline. Once a walled seaport, these 13th-century ruins compose a vast and mysterious puzzle just waiting to be pieced together, with painted clues residing in the Castillo pyramid and the Temple of the Frescos, the most well preserved buildings. Don't forget to spot the Temple of the Wind Gods, guarding the entrance of the bay and making for an unforgettable sight.

Where to Eat in Playa del Carmen

Make sure you try the local seafood. A lot of places offer traditional Caribbean and Mexican fare, though you can also find Italian, French, and Thai cuisine as well as sushi. If you are looking for an upscale dining experience, try La Casa del Agua for traditional Mexican food, Di Vino for Italian fare, and Oh Lala or Pavo Real by the Sea for some seafood. Expect to pay at least Mex$200 for a meal in one of these eateries. There are also many local cafes and cheap eats that serve traditional Caribbean and Mexican street food. Try the Kaxapa Factory, El Tenedor, Mr Dog del Caribe, and BROchetas. Expect to pay Mex$30 for a fast-food meal.

When to visit Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen in June
Estimated hotel price
C$ 394
1 night at 3-star hotel
Playa del Carmen in June
Estimated hotel price
C$ 394
1 night at 3-star hotel

It is best to avoid traveling to the Yucatán Peninsula during June and July due to the risk of tropical storms and hurricanes. The rainy season lasts from May to October and traveling to Playa Del Carmen early in the rainy season can be a good way to avoid crowds. The high season typically lasts from December to April. Expect to run into large crowds during the BPM Festival in January.

Data provided by weatherbase
Temperatures
Temperatures
Average
Celcius (°C)
Data provided by weatherbase

How to Get to Playa del Carmen

Plane

Cancun International Airport (CUN) is 35 miles away from Playa Del Carmen. You can easily get from the airport to your hotel by booking a private transfer for around Mex$500 or by getting on an ADO bus. Taking the bus from the airport to Playa Del Carmen only costs Mex$146. A bus leaves every 30 minutes and the trip should not take more than an hour. The ADO bus will take you to the Playa bus station on 5th Avenue (Avenida 5) and Avenida Benito Juarez. If you would rather ride in a taxi, the fare from the airport to Playa Del Carmen should cost around Mex$650.

Car

Playa Del Carmen is a straight shot south from Cancun on Highway 307. There are several options available for renting a car at the airport and nearby. You will find international franchises such as Alamo, Avis, or Europcar.

Bus

ADO bus and Mayab run services to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun, Coba, Tulum, and a number of other places.

Airports near Playa del Carmen

Airlines serving Playa del Carmen

United Airlines
Good (2,851 reviews)
American Airlines
Good (4,389 reviews)
Lufthansa
Good (2,169 reviews)
KLM
Good (352 reviews)
Air France
Good (399 reviews)
Delta
Excellent (3,048 reviews)
Turkish Airlines
Good (1,334 reviews)
British Airways
Good (1,428 reviews)
SWISS
Good (458 reviews)
Qatar Airways
Good (1,214 reviews)
Emirates
Excellent (965 reviews)
Iberia
Good (923 reviews)
Air Canada
Good (1,441 reviews)
Austrian Airlines
Good (282 reviews)
Etihad Airways
Good (314 reviews)
TAP AIR PORTUGAL
Good (544 reviews)
Brussels Airlines
Good (100 reviews)
Alaska Airlines
Excellent (2,635 reviews)
JetBlue
Good (1,301 reviews)
Spirit Airlines
Good (2,496 reviews)
Show more

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen

Playacar - the Playacar area is where you will find most of the hotels and resorts. The area is home to Hard Rock Golf Club, the aviary, several stores, and many restaurants, bars, and cafes. As you get further from the beach, you will find several residential areas, including La Toscana, Bosque Real, Ejidal, Santa Fe, or Misión Del Carmen.

Popular Neighborhoods in Playa Del Carmen

Centro - the Centro can be found north of the Playacar area. Here, you will find more boutique hotels, a Walmart, and many other shopping and dining options.

Grand Coral Golf Riviera Maya - fancy putting your putting skills to the test? Head out to this large golf course, which lies north of Playa Del Carmen.

Where to stay in popular areas of Playa del Carmen

Most booked hotels in Playa del Carmen

Hotel Xcaret Mexico
Excellent (9.2, Excellent reviews)
C$ 655+
Presidente Intercontinental Cozumel Resort & Spa
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 331+
Unico 20°n 87°w - Riviera Maya - Adults Only
Excellent (8.9, Excellent reviews)
C$ 482+
Hilton Playa Del Carmen Adult Only Resort
Excellent (8.6, Excellent reviews)
C$ 474+
KAYAK Luna
Excellent (8.5, Excellent reviews)
C$ 170+
KAYAK Sol
Excellent (8.3, Excellent reviews)
C$ 139+
See all hotels

How to Get Around Playa del Carmen

Public Transportation

White vans known as colectivos go up and down Highway 307. A trip typically costs Mex$20 to Mex$30 and you can get dropped off anywhere along Highway 307. Catch one of these vans on Calle 2 Norte between 15th and 20th Avenues. You will also find a bus terminal on 5th Avenue and Avenida Benito Juarez. You can catch an ADO bus or a Mayab bus to travel to other nearby towns.

Taxi

Taxis have fixed rates in Playa Del Carmen so you will always know how much a trip should cost. It is very easy to find taxis waiting along 5th Avenue or near hotels. Playa Del Carmen is divided in different zones and taxi fares should be around Mex$20 if you stay within the same zone. Traveling to a nearby zone should cost Mex$25 and the price will go up if you want to travel to further areas. Private vans might be a better option if you want to leave Playa Del Carmen and travel to nearby attractions such as Chichen Itza or the Tulum Ruins.

Car

You can rent a car at the airport in Cancun or at one of the several Avis and Hertz locations in Playa Del Carmen. Expect to pay Mex$1,130 per day for a rental car, which includes the price of insurance. The town was designed with a grid system and the streets are numbered so you should easily find your way around.

The Cost of Living in Playa del Carmen

Shopping Streets

5th Avenue, or Quinta Avenida, is where you will find most of the bars, restaurants, and shopping options. Stores sell souvenirs, jewelry, clothes, and crafts. You will find smaller shops owned by locals as well as larger stores such as Zara, H&M, and a Sunglass Hut. The busiest section of 5th Avenue goes from Calle 1 Norte to Calle 40. The Centro is also worth your time if you want to find malls and souvenir shops.

Groceries and Other

You will find a Walmart in the Centro area. This is the largest grocery store and the most affordable one in Playa Del Carmen. There are several smaller grocery stores in the Centro area, including a Super Aki and a Mega. You should expect to pay around Mex$17 for a quart of milk, Mex$35 for 12 eggs, and Mex$16 for a loaf of bread.

Cheap meal
C$ 4.68
A pair of jeans
C$ 75.55
Single public transport ticket
C$ 0.50
Cappuccino
C$ 2.58
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