Playa del Carmen Ultimate Guide: TOP 31 Things to Do in 2024

playa del carmen mexico
DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links to help support my blog, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Disclaimer

Sharing is caring!

Welcome to Playa del Carmen! A coastal gem nestled along the turquoise waters of the Riviera Maya.

Whether you’re a sunseeker, an adventure enthusiast, or a culture aficionado, this vibrant Mexican town has something to captivate every traveler.

In this comprehensive guide, I’ll unveil the 31 best places to visit in Playa del Carmen, from pristine beaches and ancient ruins to bustling markets and hidden cenotes.

So grab your sun hat, slip on your sandals, and embark on an unforgettable journey through this tropical paradise!

Table of Contents show

Where is Playa del Carmen, Mexico?

Playa del Carmen has a privileged spot on the Caribbean coast, in the Yucatan Peninsula, between Cancun and Tulum, in front of Cozumel Island.

It is strategically located at the intersection of the Tulum-Cancun/Mexico 307 Highway, which runs along the Riviera Maya, and the Kantunil-Cancun/Mexico 180D Highway, which leads to the interior of the peninsula: it is the ideal place to get around easily!

Getting there by plane

playa del carmen
View of Cancun from the plane window

Playa del Carmen has no airport, so Cancun would be your nearest option to land.

And of course, it is a large airport that receives many flights from Europe and North America, servicing major airlines.

To find a cheap flight to Cancun as well as the best domestic flights in Mexico, I recommend checking on, as they usually have the best deals on some flights.

Getting to Playa del Carmen by road

cancun playa del carmen highway
Cancun – Playa del Carmen Tollway
colectivos cancun
“Colectivos” (shared vans)

Playa del Carmen is about an hour away from Cancun, the same as Tulum, and almost 2 hours to Valladolid.

From downtown Cancun: approximately 1 hour – by car, by ADO bus from the Cancun bus station, or by colectivo Playa Express (across from the ADO station).

From Cancun’s hotel zone: about an hour and 20 minutes by car, but if you wanna catch the “colectivos,” you must first go to the downtown ADO bus station (by cab, or by local bus Route 1 or Route 2).

From Tulum: 1 hour – if you don’t have a car, you can take an ADO bus or colectivo from downtown Tulum or the entrance to the ruins.

From Valladolid: a little less than 2 hours by car via Kantunil-Cancun/Mexico 180D and Mexico 305D.

Getting around Playa del Carmen

playa del carmen
Main Bus Station

Whether by car, bus, or colectivo (shared vans), it is easy to get to Cancun, the Riviera Maya (Tulum, Puerto Morelos, Akumal, water parks), or even to cities in the interior of the peninsula (Valladolid, Merida, etc.)

You may want to read: Tulum Bound? Get Ready with Our Expert Travel Guide and Tricks

There are two ADO bus stations in Playa del Carmen: Playa del Carmen turistica (main station) and Playa del Carmen alterna. Remember this when you buy your tickets!

The colectivos: no matter the destination, they all leave from the station located in front of the Chedraui Supermarket near Avenida Benito Juarez, more exactly Calle 1 Sur x Avenida 45 Norte.

They are parked according to the destination: on the left for Tulum and on the right for Cancun. Either way, you can ask to be sure.

How to get from Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen?

cancun airport bus station

Again, the trip from Cancun to Playa del Carmen takes around an hour and a half, and there are different options to get there:

By car: if you rent a car, the trip is pretty straightforward to Playa del Carmen. Just follow Highway 307 Cancun – Chetumal.

ADO bus: there are several departures a day from terminals 2, 3, and 4. No need to make a reservation, you can buy the ticket on arrival (250 Pesos). It drops you off at Quinta Avenida.

Taxi from the airport to Playa del Carmen: Around 1000 Pesos (maybe a little more or less).

Private transportation: for more comfort, this is a good option if you are traveling with your family or friends, as it is an air-conditioned van for 8 people max.

Renting a car in Playa del Carmen

As I always say, renting a car is the best way to explore Mexico and make the most of your trip!

Whenever I rent a car, I always use Discover Cars, for a few reasons:

  • You can easily compare the rental car prices between all the agencies: This feature not only saves you a few bucks but also lots of time
  • Cancellation is often offered free of charge: no need to worry if you change your mind
  • Discover Cars offers full insurance coverage at a lower price than the rental companies, so it’s an instant saving with no effort

PRO TIP: Most, if not all car rental agencies will try to sell you an added insurance package upon check-in no matter what! So stick with NO! They will try to scare you by saying that it is mandatory by law but it isn’t.

In fact, Mexican regulations don’t allow owning, renting, and driving a vehicle without liability insurance, which all rental agencies MUST include by default.

If you want to purchase additional insurance then it is up to you, but not mandatory.

When is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen?

playa del carmen mexico

The best time of the year to visit Playa del Carmen is from late October to mid-December, since there aren’t many tourists and the temperature is pleasant.

However, the high tourist season runs from late December to March-April, with the highest peak in New Year’s and Spring Break.

The most important thing to consider is the rainy and hurricane season, which runs from June to October, especially in late August, September, and October.

I recommend avoiding this period, especially for a short trip of 1 or 2 weeks in the Riviera Maya as it is impossible to predict in advance if a storm will turn into a hurricane.

Note: In the past, I have traveled in October to the Riviera Maya, without a hurricane, and with little rain, so it’s also a hit or miss.

Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead between the end of October and the beginning of November, making it an excellent time to visit the region!

What is the temperature in Playa del Carmen?

mexico travel and leisure

The weather in Playa del Carmen is warm and humid, with an average of 77 F (25°C) all year round, and a good sea breeze that makes the atmosphere pleasant.

With water temperatures hovering around 76-83F (24°C-28°C), there is no doubt that it is a must-see destination in Mexico for beaches and swimming.

November to March is cooler: this is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen!

But as you know, tropical climates always include the rainy season. As I mentioned earlier, this season runs from June to October (or even until mid-November).

In September and October, the rains are more intense and the risk of hurricanes is higher.

TOP 31 Attractions in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

1. Strolling on Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue)

playa del carmen quinta avenida fifth avenue
Quinta Avenida is a must-see street in Playa del Carmen.

It is a lively and colorful long pedestrian street (almost 6 km), lined with stores, souvenirs, cafes, restaurants, exchange houses, agencies, an ADO bus station, and the famous Parque Fundadores.

It also allows access to the beach by taking the small streets that cross it.

Start by locating it upon your arrival to Playa del Carmen as it will be your best reference point!

TIP: If you are looking for Mexican handicrafts, go to Textiles Mayas Rosalia. There you can find quality textile crafts designed by a women’s cooperative from Chiapas.

2. Fundadores Park

mexico travel and leisure
Playa del Carmen’s landmark: “The Maya Portal” in Parque Fundadores

Again, Parque Fundadores is located on Quinta Avenida, facing the beach, a few steps from the colorful letters of the Playa del Carmen (great for taking pictures!) and the pier to catch the Ultramar ferry to Cozumel Island.

It is one of the oldest parks in the city, where all kinds of events are held, and where you can find the statue of the Mayan Portal that has become a symbol here.

By the way, I recommend you see the Papantla Flyers during the day (a ritual declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO), and the pre-Hispanic dances at night.

3. Explore the Cenotes

cenote Chaak Tun
Cenote Chaak Tun

Cenotes are natural water wells in and around the Yucatan Peninsula. It is believed that they were formed due to meteorite strikes millions of years ago.

Today, hundreds of cenotes have been conditioned so visitors can dive and swim safely in their crystal clear waters.

The ancient Maya considered them the gateway to Xibalba, the world of the dead.

If you want to learn more about cenotes, I invite you to read my guide about the Best Cenotes in Mexico.

For example, a must-see cenote in Playa del Carmen is the underground cenote Chaak Tun (just 10 minutes away from downtown), whose guided tour allows you to snorkel while exploring the beautiful caves.

Another interesting option is to go to Chikin Ha, where you can explore a cenote in a cave, swim in the clear waters of an open cenote, and zip-line through the jungle.

If you visit the Playa del Carmen with your family, you can go to Cenote Azul, Cenote Cristalino, and Gran Cenote, which are ideal spots for children.

4. Spend the day at an amusement park

playa del carmen xplor
Warning!! Xplor is only for adrenaline junkies
playa del carmen mexico
Xcaret Park is more suited for families with kids

There are 4 main amusement parks worth a visit in and around Playa del Carmen. I’ll start with my favorite one: Xplore.

Xplor is the perfect place for adventure seekers! Featuring 14 zip lines, 4×4 jungle and cave rides, rafting, hanging bridges, etc. – Get Your All-Inclusive Pass to Xplor now!

Then we have the famous Xcaret, a large park focused on nature and Mexican culture.

What I don’t like about Xcaret is that there are so many activities that it is impossible to do everything in one day! In case you’re curious to visit, get your tickets here.

Xel-Ha is an eco-responsible water park ideal for those visiting the Playa del Carmen with their family: with cenotes, caves, snorkeling, biking, and more, with a special section for kids.

Xsenses is an interactive park, somewhat surreal, with activities designed for families with children (ideally over 6 years old) where they stimulate all your senses through different scenarios and ecosystems. Perfect for a half-day visit, buy your ticket for Xsenses now!

5. Enjoy the beaches in Playa del Carmen

playa del carmen
Parque Fundadores Beach
mamitas beach
Mamitas Beach

There are many beautiful beaches in Playa del Carmen.

A special mention to Playa Mamitas and Parque Fundadores Beach, which are very easy to get to (and can get crowded) since they are in the middle of the tourist area.

But these are, in my opinion, the best 5 beaches to visit in Playa del Carmen:

Punta Esmeralda: a (still somewhat) hidden beach. There is a small cenote that joins the seawater forming a natural pool. Perfect for families and is accessible for people with reduced mobility.

Playacar: great beach with calm waters in a very exclusive area. If you don’t stay the night there, it is not accessible by car… but you can go on foot, bypassing the ferry dock to Cozumel.

Xpu Ha: one of the nicest beaches in Playa del Carmen, only 25 minutes from downtown. Quiet enough, with no rocks in the water, available lounge chairs and umbrellas, snorkeling, kayaking, and restaurants.

Xcacel: a dream place to visit if you like pristine beaches! It is an absolutely beautiful beach, clean, with white sand, perfect to go with friends or a partner but not necessarily with children as there is nothing else.

Playa Maroma: 20 km from Playa del Carmen is the beach of Punta Maroma, an exclusive beach where you can snorkel in its coral reef, take a catamaran ride, ride jet skis, etc. Perfect for the whole family!

6. Relax at a beach club

playa del carmen beach club
The iconic Lido Beach Club

There are several beach clubs in Playa del Carmen if you are looking to enjoy the beach in comfort.

Lido Beach Club is a classic! You are likely to come across it while walking along the beach because it is so central.

Excellent service, very good food (with vegetarian options), and a nice beachfront atmosphere. It’s best to arrive early because it gets crowded.

Of course, there are other beach clubs in Playa del Carmen such as Kool Beach Club, Mamita’s Beach Club, Martina’s Beach Club, Coralina Daylight Club, etc. There is something for every taste and budget!

You can walk around and take your pick, but be sure to ask for prices upfront (and if the entrance fee can be used as credit at the restaurant/bar), as it can go up very quickly!

7. Snorkeling

mexico travel and leisure
Cozumel is perhaps the best place for snorkeling

Because of its clear waters and proximity to the Mesoamerican Reef (the second largest coral reef in the world), there are several great places for snorkeling and scuba diving in the Riviera Maya.

For diving in the Playa del Carmen area, I recommend:

Akumal to see corals, rays, anemones, and especially sea turtles. – You can book a turtle swimming tour here!


Cozumel is considered one of the best places in the world for diving and snorkeling.

Of course, don’t forget the cenotes, like Cenote Jardin del Eden

For snorkeling: just 20 minutes from town you will find several reefs for all types of divers (Barracuda, Tortugas, Sabalos, Jardines, Pared Verde, Moc Che).

There is also the Mama Viña wreck, and the Cueva del Pargo, where crabs, lobsters, and fish like to hide.

8. Discover an underwater museum

playa del carmen

The MUSA is not just any museum, it is the largest underwater museum in the world!

500 sculptures have been placed between 4 to 8 meters underwater to provide a new habitat for aquatic fauna and flora suffering from the corals’ disappearance.

From Playa del Carmen, you must first go to Cancun.

There are three “showrooms” at Manchones, Nizuc, and Punta Sam, which can be explored by snorkeling, scuba diving (with a tank), or simply with a glass-bottom boat.

9. Enjoy the nightlife in Playa del Carmen

playa del carmen mexico
Yummy drinks and food at Trujillo’s

Cancun is known as the main party destination in Mexico, but Playa del Carmen is not far behind.

For example, you can go dancing at the famous Coco Bongo Club (with circus shows, theaters, music, etc.), Mandala, La Vaquita, or Club 69 (a gay dancing club).

For a drink, I recommend Trujillos Cantina de Selva, a beautiful restaurant, especially at night with its tropical garden atmosphere, good cocktails, and interesting menu, which includes some vegan options.

If you are looking for a beach bar, the Fusion Beach Bar & Cuisine offers a relaxing atmosphere with reggae music, or there is the Zenzi with live salsa music starting from 7.30 pm.

You can also walk around and choose a place: most bars are on Quinta Avenida, 10th Street, and 12th Street.

10. Take a free walking tour

playa del carmen

Free walking tours are available throughout several tourist destinations around the world. They operate on a tips-only basis and offer a good city overview.

I suggest you take the free guided tour of Playa del Carmen with Estación Mexico: departures are at 10 am and 5 pm daily, in front of the ADO station on Quinta Avenida (in English and Spanish).

11. Swim with whale sharks

mexico travel and leisure

Swimming with whale sharks is an activity you can’t miss in Playa del Carmen because it is a unique experience!

Don’t let the name scare you, whale sharks are the largest fish in the world and feed off of plankton and microorganisms.

This activity can be done from May to September

Fortunately, they have nothing to do with Jaws but are very impressive as they can reach up to 20 meters in size.

Book your whale shark tour, which includes pick up from your hotel in Playa del Carmen, a guide, equipment, some snacks, and lunch in Playa Norte (Isla Mujeres).

12. Admire Playa del Carmen’s Murals

playa del carmen mexico

Walking along the Quinta Avenida, you’ll notice that street art is very present on the facades of the Playa del Carmen, making the city center even more lively and colorful.

PDC has been welcoming Mexican and international artists for several years now, especially since the start of the Dreamers Art Festival in 2015.

13. Take a thrilling Helicopter Tour

playa del carmen air tour

See the beautiful green jungle, clear blue waters, and famous 5th Avenue from above on a helicopter tour in Playa del Carmen.

Fly high and enjoy big views of the Mexican Caribbean from the sky.

This tour uses the most modern and safest helicopter in all of Mexico, making it a must-do activity! Book your helicopter tour here.

14. Go on an ATV adventure

If you like adrenaline and going off the beaten path, this is an activity you can’t miss in the Riviera Maya!

A guide will give you safety goggles and after driving your ATV about 28 km in the jungle, you can cool off in a clear watered cenote.

You can book the buggy/ATV tour with pick-up at your hotel in Playa del Carmen here.

The tour lasts 3 hours

This is a perfect activity for the whole family but is not recommended for pregnant women and children under 4 years old.

15. Visit a museum

Museum of Wonders 3d
Museum of Wonders 3D

The Museum of Wonders 3d is an interactive museum to visit with friends, family, or even as a couple, where you can spend time taking fun pictures.

It is an initiative of the artist Kurt Wenner, who has filled the floors and walls of the museum with artworks that play with perspective and depict all kinds of scenarios and art classics.

His optical illusion tricks are explained through a projection at the beginning of the visit, it’s amazing!

Moreover, it is the ideal place to spend around 2 hours if it is raining or too hot outside.

The Frida Kahlo Museum is a colorful museum featuring Frida’s life, her art, her imagination, and her relationship with Diego Rivera.

There is also a restaurant in the museum with a playful, Frida-inspired side of Mexican cuisine.

16. Try a “Fish Spa”

mexico travel and leisure

Walking down Quinta Avenida, you will see several places that display a “Fish Spa” sign with chairs and pools filled with tiny fish.

You sit comfortably, wash your feet, and then place them in the water while the fish come and eat the dead skin.

I didn’t try it, but my friend says it feels like a foot bath filled with sparkling water!

This is a great activity to do in Playa del Carmen to relax after walking in the sun, and it’s pretty fun to do with friends.

However, you should check 2 things before choosing: the quantity of fish (I saw some almost empty!) and the price because it varies.

17. Rent a jet ski

It is very easy to rent a jet ski in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Prices are usually around 75-85 USD for 30 minutes, so take advantage of it!

If you like outdoor activities, you can also book this jet ski tour in Maroma Beach. It’s the best way to enjoy a good dose of adrenaline in the sea. Book your Jet Ski ride here.

18. Take a food tour

playa del carmen
Tacos are the star of the Tour

Embark on a 3-hour culinary journey through Playa del Carmen’s hidden corners.

Taste a mix of international and local flavors, from secret-spiced tacos to the best chocolate-spiced mole in town.

Dive into the essence of traditional Mexican cuisine while uncovering the Mayan Riviera’s cultural richness.

You can book the food tour in Playa del Carmen here.

Explore lesser-known markets for unique seasonal finds and freshly squeezed juices. Cap off your adventure with a visit to a top popsicle shop, where you’ll enjoy traditional Mexican frozen treats with exotic local fruits.

19. Parasailing over the Caribbean Sea

Imagine parasailing over Punta Maroma, one of the most beautiful beaches in the Riviera Maya.

This is one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen, as it is an opportunity to let yourself be carried away by the wind and see, from the sky, the beautiful sandy beach and turquoise water.

Never done parasailing before? Know that it is a slow ascent and that all safety measures are always followed. It’s super exciting!

All participants must also wear a life jacket and a harness.

20. Explore Isla Mujeres

isla mujeres

Isla Mujeres is one of the most beautiful islands in Mexico!

You can spend a day in Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen, snorkeling in the second-largest coral reef in the world and enjoying Playa Norte, considered one of the best beaches in the world!

You can spend the morning at Garrafon de Castilla Park, stroll through the Punta Sur Sculpture Park, discover its colorful streets, taste the Tikin Xic fish at Lancheros Beach, and much more.

To get there from Playa del Carmen, first go to Puerto Juarez (about an hour away) and then take the ferry to Isla Mujeres (less than 30 minutes).

21. Contoy Island

playa del carmen and contoy

Contoy is a small island paradise home to another beautiful beach in the Riviera Maya.

To protect this important nesting site for turtles and seabirds, only a few biologists and coast guards live on the island, and visits are limited to 200 people per day.

That is why it is mandatory to go on an organized tour.

I took a tour to Isla Contoy from Playa del Carmen (which I had never heard of) and it turned out to be an amazing experience, as I felt like I was in one of the last unspoiled paradises of the very touristic Riviera Maya.

It is a full-day tour including hotel pick-up, breakfast, boat transportation with drinks, snorkeling at the Ixlache reef, and free time at Isla Contoy with lunch.

If you want to know more about this beautiful island, here is my guide to Isla Contoy.

Again, access is limited to only 200 people per day, I recommend that you don’t wait until the last minute to book!

22. Explore the Rio Secreto Caverns

playa del carmen mexico

Besides being an unforgettable activity to do with your friends and family, this is also one of the most beautiful places to see near Playa del Carmen.

Voted the best natural reserve in Mexico and Central America in the World Travel Awards, Rio Secreto offers the opportunity to discover part of its great underground world.

It is a 1.5-hour guided tour in which you follow a guide with a helmet and headlamp, plus a thermal suit, to discover the magnificent caves and clear-watered cenotes of the Rio Secreto Caverns.

23. Discover Cozumel! Of course

Declared a Biosphere Reserve for its rich marine and terrestrial biodiversity, the island of Cozumel is considered one of the best places in the world to dive.

It is true that there is a lot to do because it is a big island, but you can visit Cozumel in one day from Playa del Carmen!

Here are a couple of options to make the most of your day:

1. Discover Cozumel’s best snorkeling spots, including El Cielo, known for its numerous starfish.

2. Take the jeep tour to Punta Sur reserve with snorkeling, free time on the beach, lunch at a beach club, and tequila tasting. – Book the Punta Sur tour as a small group or private excursion.

How to visit Cozumel from Playa del Carmen:

Ferry without a car: 45min-1h by ferry from the Terminal Marítima Navega with Ultramar or Winjet Fast Ferry.

Ferry with car: by ferry from Punta Venado Calica with Transcaribe or Ultramar Carga.

Many tours to Cozumel include pick-up from your hotel!

24. Playa del Carmen – Tulum

playa del carmen tulum
tulum mexico travel and leisure

Tulum is a must-see destination in the Riviera Maya with its famous beachfront ruins, long white sand beaches, beautiful cenotes and bohemian atmosphere.

The good news is that it is only 1 hour away from Playa del Carmen, so you can make the round trip in one day and have time to visit its main tourist attractions.

How to visit Tulum in one day from Playa del Carmen:

Start with the archaeological site of Tulum, then go to a cenote to cool off.

In the afternoon, take a walk along the Tulum Beach Strip and enjoy the beach (Playa Paraiso, Las Palmas).

If you prefer to take a tour of Tulum from Playa del Carmen, I recommend this one that includes the Tulum ruins (guided tour and free time included), and a visit to a cenote with air-conditioned transportation from your hotel.

25. Admire Chichen Itza

mexico travel and leisure

Chichen Itza was the most important city of the Yucatan Peninsula of its time and is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World.

Within the two to three-hour visit, you will see El Castillo, the main pyramid, the astronomical observatory El Caracol, the Mesoamerican ballgame court, and many other buildings.

Entrance fee: Around 600 Pesos for tourists, 300 Pesos for nationals, and 100 Pesos for Yucatan residents.

How to visit Chichen Itza from Playa del Carmen:

By ADO bus (about 3.5 hours), only one service per day – departs at 8 am and returns at 4.30 pm. The ticket is like 400 pesos.

By car, take highway 307 along the Riviera Maya, then highway 180D. Parking costs 80 pesos

This is one of the most touristic places in Mexico, so I suggest you buy your skip the line tickets for Chichen Itza.

26. See the tallest pyramid in Yucatán

Nohoch Mul
Nohoch Mul

In the Yucatan jungle, surrounded by toucans and monkeys, lies Coba, the great rival of Chichen Itza and one of the most important cities of the Mayan world.

For easy access to the different structures of the archaeological site, it is best to rent a bicycle (80 pesos) at the entrance or a bicycle cab (170 pesos for 2 people).

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to see Nohoch Mul, the tallest pyramid in Quintana Roo and the second tallest in the entire peninsula.

If you have time to spare (and a car), there are 3 cenotes in Coba: Tamcach Ha (or Tankach-Ha), Multun Ha, and Choo-Ha.

27. Swim with turtles near Playa del Carmen

playa del carmen akumal

As I mentioned before, Akumal is known as the best place to swim with turtles near Playa del Carmen… and even in Mexico!

No need to worry about the turtles: they are protected species so the activity is done responsibly, following some rules so as not to stress them.

In fact, it is mandatory to go with a guide who will take you to the area where they are fed in Akumal Bay.

Book your swim with turtles in Akumal experience, which also includes pick up from your hotel, with a visit to a cenote and a cave:

28. Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is a quiet little town only 30 minutes from Playa del Carmen, where you can spend half a day or a full day.

It is a great place to visit with the family, as you can snorkel in the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park and discover several cenotes in the famous Cenotes Route.

It also has the best adventure park in Latin America (more details below).

If you want to know the best things to do in Puerto Morelos, here is my Definitive Guide to Puerto Morelos!

29. Selvatica Park (Puerto Morelos)

mexico travel and leisure

Selvatica Park in Puerto Morelos was voted the Best Adventure Park in Latin America at the World Travel Awards.

It’s an ideal place to live out a jungle adventure with the largest zip line circuit on the peninsula, hanging bridges, bungees, quads, cenotes, etc.

My favorite activity? Tarzania, which is a combination of a roller coaster and a zipline that stretches over 800 meters.

You can go on your own or book your Selvatica tickets with hotel pick-up, which includes zip lines, Tarzania, a safari truck ride to a cenote, and lunch.

30. Take a Playa del Carmen catamaran ride

This is a must-do activity if you are traveling to Playa del Carmen with friends or with your partner.

It is a luxury catamaran cruise that takes you diving in the second-largest reef in the world, with an open bar and lunch on board.

Since the number of participants on the catamaran is limited, it is perfect for those who like to party without feeling overcrowded …. which happens too much in the Riviera Maya!

31. Experience a Mayan Temazcal

temazcal playa del carmen
Temazcal at Pueblo Sacbe

Temazcal means “house of sweat” in Nahuatl. It is a traditional steam bath, long used by the peoples of Mesoamerica to purify the body and spirit.

It is a small round hut with an opening that serves as the entrance, and the space is heated with wood or stones, water and medicinal herbs.

Before entering the temazcal you are first purified with copal, a resin that burns like incense, then you sit inside forming a circle with the other participants, and the temazcalero will accompany you throughout the ceremony with songs.

As the temazcal has become popular among travelers, it can now be found in some spas and hotels such as the Pixan or the Hilton SpAzul.

For a more traditional experience, I recommend Pueblo Sacbe, a jungle community outside Playa del Carmen that offers several ceremonies, a meditation area and some cenotes.

It’s a great place to unwind and clear your mind!

What to do when it rains in Playa del Carmen

mexico travel and leisure
Plaza las Americas is the largest indoor shopping mall in Cancun

Did your plans for the day get ruined because of the weather? Don’t worry, Playa del Carmen offers some great activities when it rains:

Bathing in a cenote: many cenotes are underground, so it is an ideal activity to avoid the rain in Playa del Carmen.

Visit a museum: in addition to the many art galleries, you can spend between one and two hours at the Museum of Wonders in 3D, or go to the Frida Kahlo Museum.

Shopping: there are many shops on Fifth Avenue but it may not be a good idea since it’s in the open air. But you can visit Centro Maya, Plaza Las Americas, or Quinta Alegria malls.

Go to the movies: always a good option, plus you can cool off in the air conditioning. For example at Cinemex in Centro Maya or Cinépolis in Plaza Las Américas.

Get pampered at the SPA: of course, you don’t have to wait for rain to enjoy a massage or a treatment with natural products, but it’s always a good excuse when it does!

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen?

playa del carmen
mexico travel and leisure
Hotel Lunata in Playa del Carmen

With so many hotels and resorts available, choosing the right one can get pretty overwhelming.

The following recommendations are based on personal experiences and positive reviews from friends.

As you will see next, these are great places to stay for all budgets!

Che Playa Hostel & Bar Adults Only: great hostel to meet other travelers and party, with a rooftop terrace with a bar and a small pool, with several offered activities. Clean, with good wifi and a great ambiance. Starting at 13 USD for the dormitory or 37 for a private room!

Hotel Lunata: a charming hotel with hacienda-style decoration, which is hidden on Quinta Avenida, very close to the beach. Quiet, with a garden, rooms with balcony, and very friendly service. Starts at around 85 USD per night!

Porto Playa Condo Beach Club: here you will find a spacious apartment ideal for a family, with a fully equipped kitchen, living room, and terrace. The hotel has a large swimming pool, a gym, and a restaurant, starting at 170 USD per night!

The Reef Playacar Resort & Spa: as the name suggests, it is on the beautiful beach of Playacar, just a few minutes from Fifth Avenue. Ideal for a romantic stay, with a beautiful tropical garden, two pools, a gym, and a spa. 200 USD with “all-inclusive.”

Hotel Xcaret Mexico All Parks All Fun Inclusive: remember all the fun parks I talked about earlier? Well, this is it. The ultimate hotel for the whole family that includes all of the best parks in the region (Xcaret, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xenses, Xoximilco, Xel-Ha, and Xenote). Starting at 900 USD per night, “all-inclusive.”

Is there Sargassum in Playa del Carmen?

Sometimes the Riviera Maya is indeed invaded by masses of seaweed called sargassum.

It is a topic that is being talked about more and more, as these accumulations have increased in recent years due to global warming and pollution.

The big problem is that it is impossible to know when and where they will appear, and it can change from one day to the next.

So how do you avoid sargassum, what is the best time of the year and the best place to enjoy the beach without algae?

There is no magic answer, but there are some solutions. The first thing to do is to look at the Red de Monitoreo del Sargazo de Quintana Roo Facebook Page (Quintana Roo Sargasso Monitoring Network) where you will find maps with the status of the beaches.

If Playa del Carmen is yellow, orange, or red, here are some alternatives to consider:

Cozumel: there is never sargassum on the west coast of Cozumel which is in front of Playa del Carmen (40 min by ferry).

Isla Mujeres, Holbox, and Isla Contoy: these islands are much less affected by algae than the Riviera Maya coast (although it can also happen).

Caleta Tankah in Tulum: a small beach club with a cenote and a cove on the beach where no seaweed enters.

Bacalar is a large and beautiful lagoon where algae cannot enter.

Swimming in a cenote: there are many cenotes in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya where there is never algae!

Normally, the sargassum season in the Riviera Maya runs from April to September.

So if you travel to Playa del Carmen at this time, it is more likely that there will be sargassum on the beach, but with a little luck maybe you won’t find any!

Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Final thoughts

As you navigate through Playa del Carmen’s vibrant streets and serene beaches, remember that this coastal gem offers an experience like no other.

From thrilling adventures to tranquil moments by the sea, Playa del Carmen captivates the hearts of all who visit.

Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, a culture enthusiast, or simply seeking relaxation, this ultimate guide has showcased the top 31 things to do in this small paradise.

Embrace the rich culture, indulge in the flavors, and immerse yourself in the beauty of Playa del Carmen – a destination where every moment is a cherished memory waiting to be made.

Start planning your unforgettable journey today, and let the magic of Playa del Carmen unfold before your eyes.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

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