Playa Del Carmen Vacations

Welcome to the party! “Playa,” currently Latin America’s fastest-growing community, with a population of more than 150,000. Playa Del Carmen is full of lively bars, restaurants, beach clubs, shops, and hotels.  It is one of the few places on the Riviera Maya where you can have a car-free vacation.

Although building height restrictions have helped to keep Playa Del Carmen from turning into the next Cancún, you’ll have to leave town to get off the beaten path. Much of the area is developed, most recently by a slew of all-inclusive resorts opening up on the city’s outskirts.

Travel to Playa del Carmen for its reputation as one of the top diving destinations in the world. With a distinct and colorful sea life, not to mention its underwater caverns, a dive seems necessary for anyone regardless of experience.  For more information on the Yucatan Peninsula visit here, or visit all the wonderful beaches of the Yucatan Peninsula.  Read our Playa Del Carmen Travel Guide to start planning your vacation now.

When to Go (Weather)

The best time to visit is in April or May when the temperatures aren’t too high, and there’s less of a chance of overwhelming humidity. The beaches are less crowded, too, making the experience more serene. These prime two months are also the way to go if you want to avoid Mexico’s hurricane season, which lasts from June to September.

Entry & Exit Requirements

You’ll need a passport to visit Mexico, plus a tourism card (FMM) that can be issued at any Mexican consulate, border-crossing point, Mexican tourism office, or directly from your airline. FMMs are usually issued free of charge upon arrival. Be sure to hold onto this card for the duration of your trip, as you will need to present it upon departing the country. It’s also a good idea to leave your passport and FMM in a secure location and carry a photocopy of both documents with you at all times.

Getting Around Playa Del Carmen

By Foot

Playa del Carmen is easy to navigate on foot, especially since much of the activity is centered on pedestrian-only La Quinta Avenida.

By Car

The town’s grid layout is pretty easy to understand and drive through, but unless you’re planning on exploring beyond the main Playa area, a car isn’t really necessary. Rental agencies are plentiful on the north end of La Quinta as well as in the airport.

By Taxi

Fare should cost no more than $2 to get around the main Playa del Carmen area, but you’ll spend approximately $5 one-way to get from El Zócalo to Playacar. Remember to negotiate your rate with the driver before entering the cab.

By Ferry

Ferries make the trip to Cozumel, leaving on the hour from 6 a.m. to around 9 p.m. daily. You can ride for about $11 one-way. Tickets can be purchased on La Quinta or at booths on the docks on Calle 1 Sur.

Must See Places

Playa Del Carmen Beach, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenPlaya Del Carmen Beach

Most vacationers will have direct access to the beachfront, lounge chairs and sometimes even water sports equipment at the hotel they’re staying in; the majority of the area’s top resorts and hotels are stationed along this prime stretch of clean, soft sand. The beach is free to access, but lounge chair or equipment rentals will cost you extra.

 

La Quinta Avenida, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenLa Quinta Avenida

Playa del Carmen’s main street, La Quinta Avenida, runs parallel to the shore and serves as a pedestrian walkway for travelers and locals.The avenue is lined with an assortment of restaurants, hotels, hostels, condominiums and bars, making it one of the best nightlife spots in the city. High-class restaurants and local bars dominate the nightlife scene of La Quinta. There are plenty of souvenir shops as well selling trinkets and mementos.

 

Rio Secreto, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenRio Secreto

One of the best-kept secrets on the Yucatan Peninsula, Rio Secreto (or Secret River) is an underground river and collection of caves. The bright turquoise water contrasts with the caramel- and mocha-colored rock formations within the caves, which include stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can swim in the river, climb through the caves and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

 

Xcaret, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenXcaret

Xcaret is a large outdoor “eco-park” filled with an aviary, a dolphin aquarium, a turtle sanctuary and a beach perfect for swimming, diving or snorkeling. The park also offers various excursions like dolphin interactions, stingray encounters, shark swims, scuba tours and speedboat rides. Enjoy the evening events, which include performances exploring the area’s Mayan past.

Things to Do

Absolute Adventure Mexico, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenAbsolute Adventure Mexico

They organize Mayan ruins visits with private archeological guides in Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, but also ATV and zip line tours in the Mayan jungle. They can take you to snorkel in cenotes or in the ocean with the Turtles, and why not with Whales Sharks during summer time! They organize private boat tours to the beautiful Isla Mujeres but also to Rio Lagartos, Sian Kaan National Parks!  For more information call 52-984-806-7432, or visit them on the web at Absolute Adventure Mexico.

Explora Mexico Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenExplora Mexico Riviera Maya

Explora with Vikingo the Caribbean sea, swimming with whales, sharks, sea turtles, sailfish or bull sharks in their natural habitat; discover the cenotes or underground caves and much more. For more information call 52-984-119-4247, or visit them on the web at Explora Mexico Riviera Maya.

 

Aloha Paddle Club, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenAloha Paddle Club

Learn the fastest growing water sport in the world right in the center of Playa del Carmen. Paddleboard rentals, paddleboard delivery, private classes and unique stand up paddle board tours as well as SUP Yoga and surfing.  For more information call 52-984-213-6402, or visit them on the web at Aloha Paddle Club.

 

Kitesurf Mexico, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenKitesurf Mexico

They are a kiteboarding school located in Cancun and Playa del Carmen.  They offer courses for beginners, and advanced.  They have rentals, a kite shop, and provide kite trips.  For more information call 52-984-807-2567, or visit them on the web at Kitesurf Mexico.

The Rusty Hook, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenThe Rusty Hook

Private Fishing Charters and Snorkeling Tours in Playa del Carmen , and the Riviera Maya.  They also have deep sea fishing ,speed vertical jigging, trolling ,bottom fishing and snorkeling tours in Playa del Carmen Mexico.  For more information call 52-984-140-5606, or visit them on the web at The Rusty Hook.

Best Rated Restaurants

$-Inexpensive $$-Moderate $$$-Pricey $$$$-Ultra High End

$$$$  La Casa Del Agua

Start with crispy scallops marinated in lime and served over Champagne risotto, then follow up with favorite mains like sesame-seared blue-fin tuna with Portobello mushrooms or cocinita pibil ravioli (a lighter take on Yucatecan achiote-roasted pork). Remarkably flavorful short ribs are cooked for 8 hours in black beer, Dijon mustard, red wine, and honey.  For more information call 52-984-803-0232, or visit them on the web at La Casa Del Agua.

$$ – $$$  El Muelle

“The Pier” resembles a Caribbean fish market with its wooden plank floors, whitewashed tables, and pilings strung with rope. A chalkboard features the catch of the day; it’s delivered from local fishermen every morning and simply yet flavorfully prepared one of five ways or sold by the gram to go.  For more information call 52-984-803-0073, or visit them on TripAdvisor at El Muelle.

$$ – $$$  Aldea Corazón

Playa’s most dramatically-sited restaurant sits atop a small cenote in a vast jungly garden full of strangler vines and Mayan ruins—right in the middle of Avenida 5. Designed in accordance with Maya building practices, it’s a feast for the eyes, with living “green walls” covered with plants, a bar built on a stone wall, and a park in back that makes for a romantic setting at night.  For more information call 52-984-803-1942, or visit them on the web at Aldea Corazon.

$$ – $$$  Como Como

This small, intimate Mediterranean restaurant is where locals and travelers in-the-know go for perfectly al dente homemade pasta. Top orders range from squid ink tagliatelle with clams to seared tuna with tamarind sauce. Try the white tuna carpaccio topped with apple, ginger, beet, fresh mint, and lime salad. Prepare for the moment when a chocolate fondant reaches your table, resulting in the inevitable words, “I shouldn’t really, but I’m on vacation.”   For more information call 52-984-859-1646, or visit them on the web at Como Como.

$$ – $$$  Los Aguachiles

This upscale taquerìa is an anchor of Playa’s alternative culinary scene, reimagining tacos sautéed in olive oil and topped with cucumber or strawberry-habanero salsa. Local favorites include shrimp tacos with “black gold” (beans), fish ceviche with green salsa, and fish tacos wrapped in your choice of corn tortilla, flour tortilla, or a giant leaf of Bibb lettuce.  For  more information call 52-984-859-1442, or visit them on the web at Los Aguachiles.

Best Nightlife

Bar Ranita, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenBar Ranita

Attached to the Rana Cansada Hotel, Bar Ranita is a favorite among rowdy expats. The prices are unbeatable, and the margaritas pack a powerful punch. For more information call 52-984-873-0389, or visit them on the web at Bar Ranita.

Diablito Cha Cha Cha, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenDiablito Cha Cha Cha

Miami-chic with retro white patent leather chairs and a palapa roof, Diablito Cha Cha Cha serves up sushi and DJ tunes as late as 3 am.   For more information call 52-984-803-3695, or visit them on the web at Diablito Cha Cha Cha.

Kartabar, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenKartabar

Hookah-smokers here puff on fruit-flavored tobacco that wafts away into the open tropical night. On weekends, belly dancers weave their way between the tables.  For more information call 52-984-873-2228, or visit them on the web at Kartabar.

Coco Bongo, Playa Del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carment beaches, best beaches of Mexico, Playa Del Carmen Restaurants, Playa Del Carmen Nightlife, things to do in Playa del CarmenCoco Bongo

Following the success of its sister property in Cancún, CoCo Bongo has flying acrobats, bar-top conga lines, live bands, and DJs mixing everything from rock to hip-hop. The cover charge includes unlimited drinks. For more information call 52-984-803-5939, or visit them on the web at Coco Bongo.

Best Hotels

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen Resort features an outdoor pool and fitness center. The resort has a sun terrace and views of the sea, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant or a drink at the bar. Free WiFi is provided and private parking is available on site.  You will find a 24-hour front desk, hairdresser’s, and gift shop at the property.  The resort also provides bike rental and car rental. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Grand Hyatt Playa Del Carmen.

Mahekal Beach Resort

Showcasing a year-round outdoor pool and views of the sea, Mahekal Beach Resort is located in Playa del Carmen. The resort has a spa center and fitness center, and guests can enjoy a drink at the bar.  There is a gift shop at the property.You can play ping-pong and pool at this resort, and bike rental and car rental are available. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Mahekal Beach Resort.

Soho Playa Hotel

This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. There is a year-round outdoor pool and sun terrace. Free WiFi is featured throughout the property and free private parking is available on site.  Superior rooms feature a spa tub or a hot tub.  You will find a 24-hour front desk at the property.  For more information, pricing, to reserve your room visit Soho Playa Hotel.

Club Yebo Hotel

Only 300 feet from the beach in Playa del Carmen, this modern hotel features a pool, kitchenettes and is close to the city’s popular 5th Avenue tourist area.  Guests can enjoy a range of restaurants serving Mexican and international cuisine within 650 feet of the property. The area also features night clubs and bars.  For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Club Yebo Hotel.

Thompson Playa Del Carmen

This property is a 6-minute walk from the beach. The hotel has an outdoor pool and fitness center, and guests can enjoy a meal at the restaurant.  For your comfort, you will find bathrobes and free toiletries.  There are shops at the property.  This hotel has a private beach area and bike rental is available. Car rental is available at this hotel and the area is popular for snorkeling. For more information, pricing, or to reserve your room visit Thompson Playa Del Carmen.

28 Comments

  1. jackie

    Thank you for sharing with us. We have been considering Mexico for a vacation, and this post is great. I have fallen in love with Playa del Carmen. We are going to start planning a vacation here. I never really knew Mexico had such amazing beaches. We are interesting in the Mayan Ruins as well. That is at the top of our list!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You will not be disappointed. As you say the beaches are amazing and the Mayan Ruins are just something everyone should see, history or no history buff. Please let me know if you need any help in planning your vacation! Thanks for visiting Playa del Carmen Vacations.

      Reply
  2. Fred

    Playa del Carmen looks amazing! I love the list of must sees and things to do! I will have to keep this place in mind for our next trip. Thanks for the info.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Fred! Glad you found it as amazing as it really is. Hope you can make it to Playa del Carmen soon! Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  3. Andrew

    One of these days i am going to treat myself to a real holiday, and Mexico really looks inviting. The Playa Del Carman is absolutely packed with places to see and places to go. And the food, out of this world. Maybe when i am a rich man, i will definitely go.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hey, I am a single mom and I have been over 15 times. It is actually quite reasonable. Finding the right hotel for the right price is the key. Flying there is fairly cheap, depending on where you are flying from. Thanks for visiting Playa Del Carmen Vacations.

      Reply
  4. Michael

    Hi When I read everything about what you highlighted, It,s the one place I want to be there. I live in Ireland with the cold weather and I can only dream on what I see here but I will go there and make this a reality one day, The details on this are amazing and you describe it very well. this makes me want to come back and what other beaches you have in store? Playa del Carmen looks amazing and I hope one day I will come and visit this beautiful place in Mexico. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Michael, and yes, you need to get out of the cold and head somewhere warm for some time in the sun 🙂 Keep coming back as I will continue to add beach destinations. Thanks for visiting Playa del Carmen Vacations!

      Reply
  5. Kobe M

    Thanks for all the tips, i have had Mexico on my list for quite some time now, it just sounds like such a beautiful place to visit!
    I have heard that it is best to stay at resorts, is this true or do you feel like it seems safe there?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I have been over 15 times to Mexico without any incident.  I feel it is totally safe.   I do feel that resorts are great, especially when in a foreign country.  Thanks for reading about Playa del Carmen Vacations Kobe!

      Reply
  6. Jessica

    I would love to vacation! These are beautiful places. Especially with this never ending winter in New England, it would be great to get out! I need to start planning!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I think everyone wants and deserves a vacation such as visiting beautiful Playa Del Carmen! And yes, it has to be cold there right now! I live in beautiful Florida on the beach, but I still like my beach vacations out of the state 🙂 Thanks for reading Playa del Carmen vacations!

      Reply
  7. Jeny

    wow, I have been thinking about traveling to Mexico, just thinking about the food, the beaches, the weather… oh my!! Great article, thanks for the tips!!!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are so welcome Jeny! Ya, just thinking about it make me want to hop on a plane and go back! Thanks for visiting Playa Del Carmen Vacations!

      Reply
  8. Melissa

    Wow what a beautiful and relaxing place to be. It seems there is a lot of fun things to do here or with the beauty of it just be able to sit back and relax as well.
    I am glad that you let us know that it is very easily navigable upon foot. Yes we all expect to spend money when going on vacation but any tips on how to save money is always a plus.
    Thank you for giving us a glance into this wonderful destination.

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You are welcome Melissa and thank you for visiting Playa Del Carmen Vacations!

      Reply
  9. Michael

    Wow what an amazing sounding place. I’ve never been to Mexico before, but now I’ve read this I definitely want to go.
    I would absolutely love to go diving there as it’s a big passion of mine and I’m sure diving there would be a fantastic experience.
    Thanks for this very detailed post. I have to say that I’m getting excited just thinking about going there.
    Best wishes,
    Michael

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      I get excited about going to Playa del Carmen! Mexico is just a wonderful and beautiful place. But then anywhere there are amazing beaches, I’m all in 🙂 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  10. Stefan

    Hi, Playa del Carmen Vacations seem to be the perfect recommendation.

    I love the beaches but do not like if they are too popular. I also not want to have to use a car all the time.

    Thank’s for this great review. I’ll be back for more 🙂

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      You’re welcome Stefan and anytime I can help you with a beach destination, just shoot me a message. Thanks for reading about Playa del Carmen vacations.

      Reply
  11. Lauren

    This is extremely helpful, I want to book my trip now. The amount of detail you provide makes it so easy, I wouldn’t have to think of all the overwhelming details!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Great Lauren! Glad you enjoyed and you can most certainly book your trip to Playa del Carmen now 😀 Thanks for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com!

      Reply
  12. Charlie

    Wow what a beautiful place thanks for also letting me know when you can travel weather permitting its always good to know that info and the hotels and places to visit when there. I have been considering Mexico, specifically the Yucatan Peninsula. The information is great and very informative. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yes Charlie Playa del Carmen is a very beautiful place to vacation to. I am glad you found all the information you need to start planning your beach vacation. Thank you so much for visiting BeachTravelDestinations.com

      Reply
  13. AJ

    I love mexico alot. Only been a few times, but whats funny is I have never been to the beach there. So now after reading this, I’m going (2 months) and will have to get a sea shell for the experience lol. Excellent read. Are you a huge beach fan when traveling?

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Yeah, you could call me an avid beach bum, lol. I have my share of sea shells too. I live close to the beach, so now I try to find shells I don’t already have….not the easiest task! I love Mexico too, been many times 🙂 Thanks for visiting beachtraveldestinations.com!

      Reply
  14. Curtis

    I love Mexico beaches, Playa del Carmen looks awesome with so much stuff to do. I’ve been to Cancun but it seems very touristy to me. Playa del Carmen looks much better! One of my favorite places in Mexico is San Jose del Cabo but maybe this should be next on the list. Thanks, Curtis

    Reply
    1. Leahrae (Post author)

      Hi Curtis, I too love Cabo. I have been there so many times, I have lost count. But, you will like the slower pace of Playa del Carmen. It is less expensive, less crowded, yet still has amazing beaches. Thanks for visiting Playa del Carmen Vacations.

      Reply

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Visit Us On TwitterVisit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Google PlusVisit Us On PinterestCheck Our Feed