Known for its gorgeous coral reefs, palm-lined beaches, and pulsing nightlife, Playa del Carmen, or “Playa” as it’s known by the locals, is considered one of the top resort towns of Mexico. While there is much to eat, see, and do in this colorful paradise by the Caribbean Sea, here is a short guide to Playa del Carmen with things you shouldn’t miss.
Swim in One of the Cenotes
A cenote is a natural sinkhole made from collapsed limestone bedrock. Underneath, you can see groundwater, which makes it perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Playa del Carmen is bursting with gorgeous cenotes. You simply have to take your pick or go on one of the many tours available. Some of the best cenotes around town include Azul, Gran Cenote, and Dos Ojos, also known as the Bat Cave and one of the largest and deepest underwater cave systems in the area.
Visit the Mayan Ruins
No trip to Mexico is complete without visiting one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. The complex of Chichen Itza and its main pyramid, El Castillo, is about a 2.5-hour drive away from Playa del Carmen. There, you can see graphic stone carvings, the Temple of the Warriors, and the Wall of the Skulls. There is also a sound and light production at night, which visitors can watch to appreciate the unique architecture even more.
Check out more excursions from Playa del Carmen.
Relax on the Beaches
Playa del Carmen is world-famous for its diving opportunities, where you can see rays, sea turtles, and a stunning array of coral. It’s also known for its beautiful beaches. Visitors are spoiled for choice when heading out for a day of sunbathing. Parque Fundadores, Playacar, and Mamitas are just some of the best beaches in the area, where you’ll find plenty of beach clubs, restaurants, and sports activities to keep you occupied for hours. Whether you are looking for something relaxed and tranquil or busy and loud, Playa del Carmen’s beaches have you covered.
You might also be interested in the Xpu Ha Beach which makes a great day trip from Playa del Carmen.
Enjoy the Entertainment
Located along the beach is the main pedestrian thorough fare of Quinta Avenida. Also known as Fifth Avenue, it’s a street bustling with shops, restaurants, and nightclubs. Trendy and high-class, it’s a great place to shop and one of the best places to be when the sun goes down. Playa del Carmen’s most legendary nightclubs are located on 10th Street or 12th Street. Mandala, Coco Bongo, and the Latin-style dance club Salsanera are a few of the favorites.
Take a Day Trip to Cozumel
Opposite Playa del Carmen, the island of Cozumel is popular for its amazing snorkeling and scuba diving. Its ecological park, Chankanaab, surrounds a lagoon and is home to animals like sea turtles, manatees, and dolphins. The island is also home to underwater caves, the eco-reserve Punta Sur Cozumel, and Mayan ruins San Gervasio. It’s also home to secluded beaches, including a beach nicknamed “Heaven,” El Cielo Cozumel. It’s an idyllic island getaway and makes for a perfect day trip from town.
Trendy, hip, and vibrant, Playa del Carmen is truly a resort lover’s paradise. Whether you want to immerse yourself in ancient history and culture, relax and sip cocktails on a beach, or party until the sun comes up, it seems the beautiful coastal city of Playa caters to all.
If you want to experience Playa del Carmen like a local, vacation rentals are a great option. There are many sprinkled throughout Playa del Carmen that will make you feel at home, and safe, while giving you an authentic experience of Mexico. If you and a few friends have any plans of visiting this beautiful gem in Mexico, peruse your rental options.”