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.
Playa del Carmen Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is between April and May, when there are fewer people along the shore. Day temperatures hover between 70 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit, dropping slightly in the evenings. From October to March, the climate is generally dry and slightly warm. Summer days and nights tend to offer high temperatures and humidity. Hurricane season lasts from June to September, so check weather forecasts and hurricane warnings before booking your trip.
Playa del Carmen Attractions
Playa 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’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.
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 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.
Regarded as one of the world’s greatest Natural Wonders, Xel-Há provides one of the best experiences in the heart of the Riviera Maya. Practice snorkeling and see hundreds of colorful fish and a great diversity of marine species that inhabit its cove and cenotes. At this All Inclusive Park you can enjoy water activities, ecological attractions, restaurants and the best scenery to admire while you relax in a hammock or stroll the nooks and crannies of Xel-Há.
Playa del Carmen Tours & Attractions
Early Access to Chichen Itza with a Private Archaeologist
Discover the ruins at Chichen Itza with a private archaeologist guide on this all-day Viator exclusive tour. Skip the lines and the crowds with early morning access and view parts of the ruins that most traditional tours don’t visit. Learn about Mexico’s past through your guide’s insightful commentary about this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Read more about Chichen Itza VIP Early Access with Private Guide
Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling Plus Cenote and Caves
Explore coral reefs, ancient history, and nature in the Riviera Maya on an combination tour that features some of the best of Yucatan in a single day. Snorkel through the coral reef in the Caribbean Sea, visit the Tulum archeological site, and swim in a cenote, then explore a limestone cave and take a jungle walk. This tour includes entrance fees, a buffet lunch, and door-to-door transport from hotels in Cancun or Playa del Carmen. Read more about Tulum Ruins, Reef Snorkeling, Cenote, and Caves
Day Trip to Chichen Itza, Valladolid with Cenote Swim and Lunch
Journey to Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula to visit the Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza on this 12-hour tour, including easy hotel pickup and drop-off. Along with seeing El Castillo and learning how this Pre- Columbian city played an important role in the Mayan civilization, stop at a cenote for a quick swim and enjoy a buffet lunch. Read more about Chichen Itza Tour
Whale Sharks tour in Cancun & Riviera Maya: Small-Group Eco Friendly
Snorkel with Mexican whale sharks on a full-day group snorkeling tour off the Yucatan Coast from Playa del Carmen. Under the direction of an expert guide, swim with the world’s largest fish while looking out for dolphins, manta rays, and turtles. Immerse yourself in the marine magnificence of Mexico’s waters on this spectacular small-group adventure. Read more about Cancun Swim with Whale Sharks Small-Group Snorkeling Tour
Islas Mujeres All Inclusive Luxury Yacht & Snorkel
Sail along the beautiful crystal-clear waters of Cancun’s Caribbean coastline on this half-day sailing adventure to Islas Mujeres. Get geared up and go snorkeling, then take a break to enjoy a gourmet lunch on board your catamaran. Stop at the island of Isla Mujeres, and visit must-see spots either on a guided tour or on your own. Afterward, sip on complimentary beverages on the way back to port. Read more about Cancun to Islas Mujeres Luxury Sailing Adventure
Best Playa del Carmen Restaurants
El Fogon Under $10
If there is one place you eat during your stay in Playa, this is the one! The price is incredibly reasonable, the service is top notch and the food is straight out of Mexican heaven. It’s warm and crowded but completely worth it for the best food you’ll among other Playa del Carmen restaurants! Telephone: 52 984 803 0885 Web: El Fogon
La Cueva del Chango $11 – 30
The culinary concept is natural Mexican food. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the juices are made with fresh fruit and they also have a bar with an ample assortment of premium brands. The wines we serve are mexican, thus offering and ample selection. Telephone: 52 984 147 0271 Web: La Cueva del Chango
Gluay Maai Thai $11 – 30
Is it possible to find Thai this good in Mexico? The dishes are flavorful, fresh, and true to form, an absolute must for your list of Playa del Carmen restaurants. Try their sampler appetizer including chicken satay, pad thai, and yellow coconut curry. Telephone: 52 984 803 4625 Web: Gluay Maai Thai
Negroamaro Italian Bar & Restaurant $11 – 30
The best of Italian and Mediterranean cuisine in the Mexican Caribbean. In Negroamaro you will enjoy authentic flavors and be part of a cutting-edge culinary experience. Their chefs have created dishes that combine the classic and the contemporary. Telephone: 52 984 147 7050 Web: Negroamaro Italian Bar & Restaurant
Los Aguachiles $11 – 30
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. Telephone: 52-984-859-1442 Web: Los Aguachiles.
Best Playa del Carmen Nightlife
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. Telephone: 52-984-873-0389 Web: Bar Ranita.
Diablito 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. Telephone: 52-984-803-3695 Web: Diablito Cha Cha Cha.
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. Telephone: 52-984-873-2228 Web: Kartabar.
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. Telephone: 52-984-803-5939 Web: Coco Bongo.
Best Playa del Carmen 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.
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.
Banyan Tree Mayakoba
A breathtaking getaway for relaxation, rejuvenation, romance and world-class dining, it is also the region’s most sustainable five-star resort. With its revitalized culinary concepts, Thai-inspired therapies at the Banyan Tree Spa, 14 event-venues and the Greg Norman signature 18- hole El Camaleon golf course, home to the PGA Tour Mayakoba Classic, the resort raises the bar for premium leisure options and event planning. Perfect for private getaways, family trips and group events, the Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers 118 villas, ranging from romantic Bliss and Serenity Pool Villas to Family Residences and Ocean Front Villas. All include outdoor areas with private pools and terraces.
Viceroy Riviera Maya
Viceroy Riviera Maya is a serene hideaway set on the turquoise Caribbean amid a lush jungle ambiance. Recently named the #1 Mexican Resort hotel by Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Awards and has claimed the #20 spot on Top 100 hotels in the World list, Viceroy offers world-class amenities, personalized pampering, exquisitely appointed villa accommodations with private patio and plunge pool and refined Mexican cuisine accented with international touches.
Rosewood Mayakoba is situated on the Riviera Maya. This luxury resort in Mexico offers spacious suites and is located south of Cancun and north of the charming seaside village of Playa del Carmen. Surrounded by the emerald embrace of the jungle and caressed by warm Carribbean breezes, is a resort of rare luxury and indulgence. Rosewood Mayakoba is imbued with the unique spirit of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. A journey to this serene world, immersed in the dense green perfume of the jungle, captivates the soul with unimaginable tropical beauty, and pure, simple refinement.