Welcome to Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is a jewel along Mexico’s Riviera Maya. The beaches, the water, the amenities, and the nightlife are just a few of the things that make Playa del Carmen a top Mexican Caribbean destination. With proximity to nearby Mayan cultural centers and offshore islands, there’s a little something for everyone in “Playa”.
For more transportation information, check out our Getting Around The Yucatan Guide
1. Experience The Adventure Parks
Just south of Playa del Carmen are a cluster of world famous adventure parks that are unlike anything you’ve probably experienced before. The most famous is Xcaret with its meandering canals you can swim through, incredible beach coves, cultural shows, jungle hikes and so much more. They are a little pricey, but the adventure parks are widely considered a must do in the Playa area. Other very popular parks include Xplor with its caves, ziplines, rafting and ATV’s, Xel-Ha with its waterslides, snorkeling, mangrove tubing and other water activities, Xplor Fuego nighttime torchlight adventure, Xenotes cenote experience, Xoximilco floating fiesta and the oddly popular Xenses optical illusion park.
2. Visit A Cenote
Talk about healing properties. The cenote choices in the Playa area are vast and diverse as there are literally dozens of incredible locations nearby. You can swim, scuba dive, snorkel or just walk through one of these breathtaking and powerful forces of nature. There are several tour options for visiting cenotes from Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum.
Check out this epic day tour that visits Cenote Cristalino, Cenote Escondido, Gran Cenote, Cenote Zacil-Ha and also visits Kaan Luum Lagoon and Playa Paraiso. Wow.
For more cenote info and great cenote recommendations, be sure to check out our Ultimate Cenote Guide.
3. Enjoy The Nightlife
The primary pedestrian street is the broad La Quinta 5th Ave which runs parallel to the beach and is lined with vendors, bars, restaurants, tour shops, performers, tequila tasting rooms and everything else you’d imagine. Stretching from Ave. Constituyentes in the north to Calle 1 (1st Street) in the south, this is where the action is. Walk south to the nightlife party area and stop in at some of the clubs and tourist bars. Far and away the most famous club to dance and drink the night away is Coco Bongo with its massive interactive stage shows and wild dancefloor.
This VIP package for Coco Bongo has hundreds of five-star reviews and includes hotel transport, drinks, skip the line privileges and more. It’s actually an excellent value.
4. Take A Trip To The Islands
There are several spectacular islands easily within reach of Playa del Carmen. Isla Mujeres makes for an incredible day trip via catamaran or party boat. Most tours include some fantastic snorkeling and lunch on the beach in Isla Mujeres. The more remote Isla Contoy meanwhile is an uninhabited nature preserve, perfect for getting away from it all to check out wild birds and desolate beaches. Robinson Crusoe eat your heart out. If a sailing adventure isn’t your cup of tea, just take the ferry across the channel to the world-famous Cozumel for a relaxing day at a beach club!
Take a look at this very highly rated catamaran day tour to Isla Mujeres. Here’s the top-rated party boat complete with a waterslide! If you feel like upgrading, book this more luxury catamaran day tour to Isla Mujeres.
Check out this top rated tour to Isla Contoy. Book in advance as access to Contoy is very limited.
5. Have A Beach Day
There are a lot of great beaches in the Playa del Carmen area. Fundadores is the bustling main beach along the strip in Playa del Carmen center and is always great for lounging and people watching. Restaurants and vendors are scattered along the beach so grabbing a ceviche or a cervesa is easy.
Playacar beach is a bit further south, a long walk or a short taxi ride from Centro, and is a bit more idyllic. Playacar is a residential neighborhood, so the beach is well-groomed and the vibe is more quiet and peaceful.