Playa del Carmen, or just "Playa" as it is also commonly referred to by locals, is a coastal resort town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Approximately 70 km south of Cancún and 20 km west of Cozumel island, it is at the center of the Mayan Riviera and offers a more relaxed atmosphere and smaller boutique lodgings.
Playa del Carmen is less internationally recognized than its northern sister city, Cancun. However, this comes with many added benefits. Unlike Cancun, which has a reputation of being incredibly touristy, Playa del Carmen retains an authentic Mexican feel due to its smaller size despite still being a tourist destination. Also, Playa del Carmen can be far less crowded and hectic than Cancun year-round. The resorts and hotels are also much newer in Playa del Carmen. To summarize, anything one can find in Cancun - be it gorgeous beaches, great nightlife, or delicious cuisine - one can also find in Playa del Carmen, but in a much more authentic and relaxed environment.
Quinta Avenida, also referred to in English as 5th Avenue, is the main tourist thoroughfare in Playa. It is a pedestrian only, cobblestone lined street which spans approximately 20 blocks. Along 5th Ave. you will find a variety of restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping opportunities and various overpriced services. In Playa, nearly everything starts from this street. If you have more local fare in mind, head a few avenues (they are counted in jumps of five, the next one besides fifth avenue is tenth avenue) inland and prices as well as the number of gringos tend to fall. Towards the south there is a gated community full of air bnb rentals and hotels called "playacar". You can just walk in, but cars still be stopped at the entrance gate.
Buses can be taken directly from the Cancún International Airport for around M$216 (pesos) (Dec 2020). To get to the ADO bus, veer right after exiting the main terminal and walk about 200 m. Purchase a ticket (buying it in pesos will save you a few dollars) right before exiting the terminal or at a kiosk right at the bus. Tickets for children are half-price.
The ride takes about 50 minutes and the ADO terminal in Playa is at calle 12 & avenida 20, Also there is another ADO bus station right in the heart of Playa del Carmen on 5th Ave which is the one that most of the buses coming from the airport arrive at.
The central bus station, right next to the taxi street, also sells rides to the entirety of the Yucatán Peninsula. Bus travel is relatively inexpensive, you can either travel second class, or first class, which is sometimes also called 'Express' although it is not notably any faster at all. First class buses cost around 40% more and will have toilets and TVs on them, but both classes have air conditioning. A second class ticket to Chetumal on the Belizean border costs M$116 and takes around 4½ hours.
Highway 307 is the only highway that passes by Playa. As you approach Playa from Cancún, the highway divides. Keep left and you will take the raised freeway past the city, keep right and you'll be able to access the city streets. The first east-west artery to Playa is Avenida Constituyentes, which works well for destinations in northern Playa tourist zone. The second is Avenida Juárez, which leads to the town's main square, The ADO Tourist bus terminal, and the Cozumel ferry dock.
There are a lot of so-called "travel agencies" on the 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. Most of them are time-share offices. One reliable travel agency is Solatino Tours & Travel. The owners have day trips covering the whole area.
Private transfers are another way to get from Cancún's International Airport to your hotel, condo, or beachfront home in Playa Del Carmen or Playacar, and can be booked online in advance. Some local businesses offering these services are:
- Transfers USA, Bosque Real, ☏ , toll-free: 01800 890 6351, ✉ email@example.com. Transportation to and from the airport, point to point transfers.
- Cancun Airport Transportation, Calle 54, La Luna, 505, 77533 Cancún, Q.R., ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Discovery Mundo Transfers, ☏ . 24 hr daily. Airport transfers and general transport.
There are two competing companies that will ship you across to Cozumel for around US$24 round trip. The dock is on the south end of the city, just south of the plaza. Boats leave roughly every hour, from 08:00-20:00, and the ride is 30 minutes.
Because the layout of downtown Playa is a rectangular grid, getting around is very easy.
The main east-west street, Avenida Juárez, connects Highway 307 with the town square, El Zócalo, near the beach. As it does so, it crosses several numbered north-south avenues that run parallel to the beach, all of which, interestingly enough, are multiples of five. Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), the closest to the beach, is closed to traffic from the Zócalo to Calle 6 (and some blocks beyond, in the evening).
Almost the entire town is north and west of the town square, El Zócalo. The east-west streets parallel to Avenida Juárez are numbered Calle, with even numbers to the north of Juárez and odd numbers to the south. The other main east-west street Avenida Constituyentes is located where you would expect to find Calle 18.
To the south of the downtown is "Playacar" a golf-course development of private residences and a dozen resort hotels.
Playa is pedestrian friendly town and you can basically walk to everything. The heat may be a problem, however. The main north-south pedestrianized street, 5th Ave, does not allow cars except in the early morning hours for deliveries. On 5th Avenue are many hotels, restaurants, and small shops. The north-south thoroughfare Avenida 30, five blocks west of 5th Ave, is where the large stores are located. To walk from the town square, El Zócalo, and Avenida Juarez to Avenida Constituyentes takes only about 10 minutes.
A bike is a fun alternative to walking; there are a number of bike rental shops at the north end of 5th Ave. Bike paths exist on some streets but it seems to be totally random which ones get them and which don't. Where they exist, they are generally segregated from foot and motorized traffic and in a state of good repair.
Car rentals are readily available at a number of locations at the north end of 5th Ave. Large companies, National, Hertz, etc. are convenient, as well as local agencies, which are generally less expensive.
- Easy Way Playa del Carmen Rental Car, 10th North Avenue, between 2nd y 4th Mza 7, lote 7, Loc 1. Quintana Roo, ☏ , toll-free: , ✉ email@example.com.
5th Ave. ('Quinta Avenida' or '5ta Av.') is a pedestrianized street and taxis are available at various intersections along its length. A taxi taken from a 'sitio' (place where taxis park) will cost a few dollars more than a taxi hailed on the street. It costs US$7 to get to Playacar, and about US$1.50 to get around the rest of Playa.
Scheduled bus service to destinations in the region (e.g. Xcaret, Xel-ha, Tulum, Cancun airport, Cancún, etc.) and beyond depart from Playa bus station at southern end of 5ta Avenida and Avenida Juárez, which is near the Ferry terminal to Cozumel.
First class ADO bus departs hourly or so for tourist destination of Xcaret, Xel-ha and Tulum - fares are in US$4 range. The ADO Bus goes directly to the entrances of Xcaret and Xel-ha. ADO also runs direct service to Cancun airport from Playa Del Carmen for approximately M$116.
Second class local Mayab buses also leave from Fifth Avenue station. Mayab buses stop more frequently en route and drop off alongside the highway to Tulum, requiring walking from the highway to the entrances of Xcaret or Xel-ha.
An alternative to the buses is to catch a "colectivo" van. These leave/return at Playa from a location on Calle 2 between Av 10 and Av 15. Colectivos are cheap government regulated air-conditioned vans which transport people on Hwy. 307, which runs north/south along the coast between Tulum and Cancún. Pick-up times for these collectivos vary, roughly every 10 minutes, and pick-up/drop-off is along the freeway; but one can get you a ride near to any destination between Tulum and Cancun for as little as US$3.
There are also vans either ran by individuals or tour vans returning empty from a drop off that will pick you up alongside Hwy 307. The easiest way to catch one is to wait at a bus stop and extend your hand out (like a handshake). Sometimes a van will flash their lights which is asking if you want them to stop. Prices vary, but can be as cheap as M$3. They pickup up and down the entire length of the highway. Most all speak English. They drop you off only along the highway at your choice. No door to door service.
Organized bus tours are also available from a variety of companies that cross the Riviera Maya & Yucatán (Tulum, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Mahahual, Ek Balam, Celestun, Rio Lagartos, Mérida, Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Coba, Sian Ka'an, Xcaret, Xelha, etc.)
As the town is part of the 1970s master plan to develop the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula as a tourist hotspot and barely existed as a hamlet half a century ago, there is very little in the way of remarkable architecture. There is however a couple of small Maya Ruins around the "Playacar" gated community.
You may see many boats on the beach in Playa del Carmen waiting for a deep sea fishing charter. Most of these boats are unlicensed and provide the bare necessities. They are generally small "pangas" which may or may not even offer shade. The equipment is generally sub-par. The professional charter fleet is in Puerto Aventuras which is about 10 km south of Playa. Puerto Aventuras is the oldest and nicest marina on the Riviera Maya. The protection is so good that the Cozumel Ferries park there in bad weather. There are numerous charter boats available from 29-47 feet. For not much extra money (if any) you can upgrade to a private boat. Just walk past the charter boats and you will find private boats. These boats are privately owned by affluent owners who maintain them with an open check book. Some of them offer their boats for occasional charter. The extra effort is well worth it.
Private Yachts and Vessels
With the closest port to Playa del Carmen at 25 mins away there is different options for private luxury yachts, vessels or catamarans, whether to enjoy a day out doing sport fishing, drinking, tanning or celebrating something you can try Playa Yachting for good options.
Scuba diving and snorkeling is plentiful around Playa, though the reefs are off the shore require a boat to get to. The offshore reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest coral reef system in the world. All hotels have a dive shop, though many can be found on 5th Ave. Better open-water scuba diving can generally be found in Cozumel so if this is the focus of your trip it is best to stay there. Excellent snorkeling is at Puerto Morelos, roughly halfway between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, and in the lagoon at Akumal, on the way to Tulum. Several dive shops in Playa del Carmen do offer cenote diving south of town.
Cenotes are cavernous freshwater sinkholes which are found all over the Yucatán Peninsula. Many of them are open to the public for swimming, diving, and exploration. Many are open, however some of them are partially underground and the caves associated with these cenotes can run for miles underground. Cenotes also vary in size with openings as little as a foot wide to as large as a small lake. The water clarity in these cenotes is often unsurpassed, often exceeding 60 m (200 feet), and makes for exceptionally good swimming. Some of the bigger cenotes are available as tourist destinations, many are locally owned, and many more still are either undiscovered or undeveloped. Entrance to the commercial cenotes is correlated to the amount of development (i.e. if there are washrooms, restaurants, showers) with fees ranging from US$1-20.
Two good cenotes within 15 minutes drive of Playa del Carmen with facilities are Cenote Chaak Tun and Rio Secreto. Both provide wetsuits, life jackets, shoes, etc, and run guided tours of 1½-2 hours involving walking and swimming through underground caves with beautiful rock formations, with the occasional fish below you, and bats above. No personal photography is allowed at Rio Secreto but their photographer will sell you photos for $100. Cenote Chaak Tun allows photography, but lighting conditions are challenging, and you may be better buying photos from them for $30 (from your trip and stock photos).
Cenote Chaak Tun is open 9-5, with guided tours leaving every 30 min or so. Entry is M$500/US$30 plus tip for the guide. Rio Secreto entry is from USD79 (different tour options available).
- Abyss Dive Center and Training Facility.
- AlwaysDiving. A good place to do your diving or scuba diving classes. Scuba diving for everyone, from beginners to professionals.
- Cenote Dive Center (in the town of Tulum). For cenote snorkeling tours or cenote dive excursions.
- Scuba10 (Avenue 10 between 10 & 12 St). Great option if you want to do cenote diving with an experienced operator in Playa del Carmen.
- 1 Advanced Diver Mexico, 77712, Fuente de Cervantes 15, Santa Fe del Carmen, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 08:00-20:00. Dive shop, providing cenotes & cave diving experiences in Playa del Carmen, tech training and support.
- Academia Columbus, Av 30 Norte x 6 Bis (Take Ave 30 and turn on Calle 6 bis, an orange building), ☏ . 09:00-14:00. Academia Columbus offers Spanish language courses for international students at the most affordable prices. Small classes of no more than 5 students per class. Price varies.
- International House Maya Riviera (Calle 14 off Quinta Avenida).
- Playa Lingua (Calle 20 between Quinta Avenida and Avenida 10).
- TAAN Spanish School, Different locations throughout Playa del Carmen, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 09:00-18:00. Spanish school offering a full cultural immersion.
- Viva Idioma, Spanish school (different places in Playa del Carmen), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 07:00-19:00. The Viva Idioma, Spanish school offers one-to-one and group classes with certified spanish teachers. Language stays with homestay or student house. Activities: Salsa, Yoga, etc...
The touristy part of Playa is laden with shops selling 'artesanias'. These basically sell the same products - shirts, bracelets, and souvenirs, but for varying prices depending on the mood of the shopkeeper and your haggling/seduction skills. Haggling is accepted in the less formal shops in Playa, as in the rest of the Yucatán, though it is worth remembering that if you are able to afford an international vacation your income is many times higher than the storekeeper's (most of whom struggle just to pay the very high rents). It is possible to buy Mexican and Cuban cigars here, but Cuban cigar prices are not particularly cheap. Counterfeits are commonplace in Mexico, so due diligence in the selection of cigars is advisable. If you are young or have long hair, many shop keepers are likely to also offer you marijuana. Marijuana is illegal in Mexico, though its use is widespread among tourists.
There are three large supermarkets in Playa del Carmen: Wal-Mart (30 Ave and Calle 8), Comercial Mexicana MEGA (30 Ave and Constituyentes), Chedraui (Highway 307 between Playa del Carmen and Playacar). There is also a Sam's Club (Hwy 307 in front of Playacar).
There are two large shopping centers on the outskirts of town: Centro Maya (on the right of Highway 307 heading towards Tulum - opposite Playacar) and Plaza Las Americas (entrance is on the right side of Hwy 307 as you head to Cancún, by the large traffic circle with statue at the entrance of Playa del Carmen). Both shopping centers have multiscreen cinemas and large supermarkets (Soriana and Chedraui, respectively).
There are dozens of restaurants in Playa, with foods of every type and price range: try to stay away from 5th avenue to get decent prices - usually 2 blocks only will make a huge difference. There are also various pizza stands with prices ranging from M$10-20, most of them remain open up to 06:00 when bars begin to close. As is the case in much of Mexico, the street food is not to be missed. Simply walk south down 5th Ave until you reach the pier and taxi stand. There are generally five or six carts there serving tacos of various types. Every seafood taco is generally outstanding, along with the carnitas, pollo, and chorizo. Also, try the stuffed poblano tacos. Tacos are typically in the US$2-3 range. For the best and freshest tacos arrive mid-morning before the lunch rush as the carts are setting up.
- Ah Cacao Chocolate Café (5th Ave. at Constituyentes). A chocolate-themed coffee shop, selling chocolate in all its forms (including pure cacao beans). Famous for the brownies. Probably serves the best lattes and espresso in Playa.
- Benito Juarez and 5th Ave Street Cart. At the corner of Benito Juarez and 5th Ave there are carts every morning where all the hotel and shop workers stop for breakfast. Gathering starts at around 06:00, they stay there until around 11:00. It is right outside of the main ADO bus station and at the start of the walk to the ferry to Cozumel so it is easy to find. The price in September 2011 was M$18 each. One is enough to fill most people. These can be put together in different combinations and if you want something specific (like eggs alone), they will cook it on the spot.
- La Tarraya (On the beach between Benito Juarez and Calle 2 Nte). Specializing in seafood, it's almost certainly the cheapest place on the beach, with ceviche for around M$40 and fried fish for less than M$100, and beer to wash it down with costing M$20. The atmosphere is slightly spoiled by cheap white plastic tables and very clinical white lights after sunset, but at these prices that's par for the course, and the quality and quantity of the food itself is excellent.
- HC Monterrey (Calle 1 Sur between 15th and 20th Avenidas, well off the tourist strip of the Quinta Avenida, and a second restaurant on Constituyentes between 25th and 30th Avenidas, opposite the MEGA hypermarket), ☏ . The arrachera nacional is so tender it almost melts in your mouth. The meat is served simply with a foil wrapped potato and half of an avocado. If you are looking for something a little different, but truly delicious, try HC. With prices around M$85 a person for the meat alone and M$135 for the full meal, make sure to get there early, they are open until only 19:00.
- El Oasis Seafood, 50 Av. Nte. esq, Calle 22 Nte Mza. 7, Ejido, ☏ . Mexican seafood. Battered shrimp tacos, seafood soup, fried fish. Attracts mostly Mexicans and Playa locals. Prices are reasonable and the quality is consistent.
- La Parilla Mexican Grill (Av Constituyentes Manzana 26 Loc. 1 entre 5ta Av. y Zona Federal Marítima), ☏ . The mariachi band was excellent and would play any single song that they knew for USD10.
- Eat Bar, 10 Avenida Norte LB entre calle 6 y 8, Centro, ☏ . Hot dogs and grill items.
- PlayaMaya Hotel (At the beach). Octopus Tacos, wonderful.
Nightlife is definitely happening in Playa del Carmen, but is not as wild as its neighbor to the north, Cancún. Typically, Playa's shops and restaurants close around 22:00, but nearly all of the clubs stay open through most of the night. Some of the best nightclubs are on the beach. If you are interested in nightlife (dancing, drinks late until the evening/morning), then be sure to visit El Pirata. There is no shortage of great bars in Playa, many of which can be found on the beach. Alternatively, if you are on a very tight budget, many shops outside the main tourist area will sell drinks in bottles and cans that you can pack into a cooler for the beach. Prices at the bars in Playa are consistent with any major tourist area, but a US$1 beer is not uncommon.
Liquor can be bought from any number of tourist shops, which typically sell Kahlua and a variety of tequilas at a price which is generally the same. If you are requiring a more diverse liquor supply, there are places in and about Playa that can accommodate. The most prominent is Covi Liquors, on Hwy 307 in Playa, which offer a wide variety of liquors at prices that are generally cheaper than those shops which cater to tourists on 5th Ave.
Fifth Avenue is packed with restaurants and bars but most close before midnight. There are two main streets to find clubs and bars that close after midnight: The 8th street between 5th and 10th Ave is frequently visited by locals and backpackers, bars offer live music and pool tables and cheap beer, 2 x 1 drinks and great music (close at 02:00). The 12th offers more tourist places like Coco Maya in the beach area.
The Dirty Martini Lounge on 1st Avenue between 10th and 12th Street gives you an alternative place to party and chill without all the hustle and bustle of the other bars. With a hotel on-site and pizza served to your table for the late night munchies, this community is a great place to spend the evenings in Playa Del Carmen.
- [formerly dead link] El Bistro at La Tortuga (Hotel La Tortuga), 10th Ave, & Calle 14th, ☏ . 7-23. El Bistro at La Tortuga & El Bistro en la Quinta. Two gastronomic options of good food in a relaxed atmosphere but always with excellent and consistent service, open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 12.
- Fusion Beach Bar & Grill, Calle 6 & the Beach, ☏ . Located on a white sandy beach with a lounge area that looks out to sea. From US$59.
Unlike other beach destinations, all the "best" hotels are not on the beach. A few face the ocean but the majority are set back a block or two near 5th Ave.
- Pueblito Escondido by Mistik (Pueblito Luxury), Av. 38 Norte s/n Col. Centro, ☏ . Pueblito Luxury Condohotel features modern condominiums that have been appointed with every convenience possible. Luxurious suites have cozy living and dining areas where enjoying a meal or a cozy evening includes the marvel of the Caribbean Sea breeze. M$5424.
- Aventura Mexicana, On Calle 24 between Ave 5 and Ave 10, ☏ . Very nice and reasonably priced hotel about 3 blocks from the beach in the North end of Playa. Located on a quiet street, but just off busy 5th Avenue with all the action. Beautifully kept grounds, pool, friendly staff, 2-for-1 happy hour drinks (all evening!), and a decent continental breakfast included in the room rate in their full-service restaurant. M$997.
- Hotel Casa Tucan, Calle 4 entre Avenida 10y 15. Hotel Casa Tucan is 2 blocks from the ocean.
- One Playa del Carmen, 25 Avenida Norte Manzana 97 entre Av. 12, Calle 12 Nte Bis, ☏ . This trendy lounge & hotel is frequented by youthful globetrotters. Best rates start at M$658.
- Aldea Thai by OceanFront, Av. Cozumel Mza. 81, Lote 1, ☏ . An exclusive luxury condohotel in Playa del Carmen that, blending the Thai-Balinese aura with the laid back soul of the Mexican Caribbean, offers a majestic design where Asian inspired sculptures, outdoor fountains and thatched roofs meet. M$1934.
- Hotel Casa Ticul, 5th Av. between 38 street & 40th street, LT 08 MZ 151 Col Zacil-Ha, ☏ . All adult small boutique hotel on 5th Ave. 20 charming rooms with modern design and decorations. M$578.
- Hotel Coco Rio, C. 26, Gonzalo Guerrero, ☏ . Located along the quiet side of Quinta Avenida. The hotel offers rooms with air-conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, and Wi-Fi access. M$558.
- Condominiums Natz Ti Ha, Coco Bay, Calle Flamingo, ☏ . 60 m from the beach and Quinta Avenida. The Condominiums offer fully equipped kitchens, air-conditioning, large terraces, pool, cable TV, 24 hour security and Internet access.
- Hotel Colorado, Calle 4 Nte. Entre 20 y 25 Avenida Col. Centro, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Small, inexpensive hotel with charming, colorful, funky but clean accommodations in a downtown setting. central courtyard, many rooms with balconies, common balcony on second floor. cableTV, mini-fridge, private bathroom with hot water. A/C available. Some rooms with kitchenete. Free WiFi. Friendly management. M$578.
- La Tortuga Hotel & Spa, Calle 14 Nte (less than one block from La Quinta), ☏ . A small boutique hotel, La Tortuga offers quaint rooms to suites with private pools. Their pool is considered Playa Del Carmen's prettiest. Their poolside bar, Las Margaritas, offers 2 for 1 happy hours every evening. Their hotel restaurant is El Bistro. A full, hot breakfast at El Bistro is included with your stay. La Tortuga is not directly on the beach. They offer free passes for loungechairs and palapas at Mamitas Beach.
- Hotel Las Golondrinas, Av. Constituyentes 178, entre av. 15 y av. 20, Centro, ☏ . The Hotel Las Golondrinas is designed in a Mexican style, which highlights the craftsmanship of the region. All rooms have views to the pools and gardens, where you can enjoy a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. M$778.
- Playa Palms Beach Hotel, 1st Av. Bis, Norte Entre 12 y 14, ☏ . Offers air-conditioned rooms, all of which have Internet connection, cable TV, and mini-bar. Some of its amenities include swimming pool, beach lounges, and gym.
- Hotel Posada Mariposa, Calle Quinta Avenida 314, ☏ . A boutique hotel on 5th Avenue in what today is referred to as "Little Italy" because of the large population of Italians who are today calling Playa Del Carmen home and opening businesses bringing a special Italian flare to the area. Within walking distance to the beach. M$518.
- Reina Roja Hotel, Calle 20 Norte Entre 5ª Av. y Av. 10 N°298, Centro, ☏ . It offers 63 rooms, all of which have air conditioning, LCD TV with cable connection, and Internet connection. Some of its amenities include pool bar, solarium with sea view, and fitness center. M$538.
- Hotel Riviera del Sol, Av 1 Nte Con Calle 30 Nte, ☏ . Riviera del Sol Hotel offers a peaceful atmosphere. M$1057.
- Tukan Hotel & Beach Club, 5ta avenida Norte Entre las calles 14 y 16 Col Centro, ☏ , toll-free: . Offers a wide range of comfortable and spacious rooms. M$738.
- Ikonik The Carmen Hotel, Calle 8 Nte No 876 (beachfront at 8th St), ☏ . M$2393.
- Barrio Latino Hotel, Calle 4 entre Avenida 10 y 15 Col, ☏ . Courtesy continental breakfast, wireless internet in every room , local and international calls to 45 foreign countries without limits, and access to beach club, and also parking lot. M$857.
- Hotel Hacienda Real del Caribe, Av 10 Esquina Calle 10 Nte, Col Centro, ☏ . Hotel Hacienda has rooms decorated with fine woods, in a finished marble and clear tones in its walls are the complements of warm hospitality.
- Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Cancún - Tulum Km. 54, ☏ . Check-in: 16:00, check-out: 12:00. This eco-friendly resort is 10 km from Playa del Carmen and offers an all inclusive plan to discover its own pristine nature park.
- Hotel LunaSol, ☏ . Small family hotel with 16 rooms set around big beautiful gardens.
There are some inexpensive backpacker hostels in Playa del Carmen if you are on a budget and don't mind sharing a dorm room with other travelers this is a good option.
- Hostel 3B. One block from 5th Avenue,close to the ADO station and Cozumel ferry. Clean and comfortable dorm rooms with shared kitchen and TV room.
- Urban Beach Hostel, 10 Av 306 entre 24 y 22 Las Quintas del Carmen, ☏ . Another great hostel with private rooms, TV common rooms, terraces and kitchen and its located just a block from 5th avenue.
There are a few all inclusive resorts in Playa, but the rest are south of town in Playacar. The resorts are generally secluded, and prevent one from experiencing the sights, sounds, and tastes of the city, and to some extent Mexican culture as well, since you will be surrounded by Western tourists and amenities. These hotels typically offer nice accommodations that are well served.
- Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. 71 acres, Mediterranean architecture.
- Grand Velas All Suites & SPA Resort Riviera Maya, Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62, ☏ .
- Public Parks : All the parks in Playa del Carmen offer free Wi-Fi. Most of the restaurants and bars will ask for a minimum buy before giving you the password which will change every day. The more expensive the hotel or the condo, the less likely you will get free access.
- Calle 4 between 15 and 10 Avenue: This is the 1st block in Playa fully covered by a free service (powered by Hotel Barrio Latino together with the AHRM, local association of hotels): fast, free.
- United States, Plaza Progreso, Local 33, ☏ , (Emergency cell phone), fax: , ✉ ConAgencyPlayadelC@state.gov.
- Cozumel the large island off the coast of Playa is famous for snorkeling and scuba near the Great Maya Reef, the large coral system. Note that Cozumel is also a main port for Cruise ships, so can be quite busy sometimes!
- Tulum is a pre-Columbian walled city of the Maya right on the ocean, the number one attraction when visiting the region, the site consists of a large temple, several auxiliary buildings and huts. Many tours frequent the archaeological zone so it is often busy, you can shop at several different vendor sites on your way in or out and it is recommended you use the washrooms near where the buses load. There are several other impressive Mayan vestiges within a few hours drive of Playa. Among them are Ek Balam, Coba, and Chichen Itza.
- Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve is a wonderful nature preserve, just an hour south of Playa for the ecologically minded. Day tours available from Playa. One group offering tours is Sian Kaan Community Tours [dead link], mentioned here because it is run by a local Maya community, so your tourist dollars go directly to the community. That apart, it's great value for money (includes a tour of Maya ruins at Muyil, a float down a stream through the mangroves which other companies did not seem to offer, an experienced nature guide who points out the flora and fauna, boating through a lagoon, and not least, a delicious home-cooked Maya meal).
- Puerto Aventuras Puerto Aventuras is about 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen.
- Puerto Morelos Either "Puerto" is a much shorter drive than to Cancun and less expensive. In Cancun, fishing the waters, where the Gulf of Mexico meets the Caribbean, can be extremely rough.
- Merida (Mexico) Merida is the cultural center of southern Mexico, the Mayan indigenous people and the capital of the Mexican state of Yucatan. It is a world away from the rowdy, busy, resort towns of Quintana Roo. There, one can experience the unique way of life of the Mayans which is unlike any other ethnic group in Mexico, with their own cuisine, language, history, and traditions. Although it may be a three hour drive, it makes for an excellent trip for adventurous travellers. Along the way, one can stop at the ancient pyramids of Chichen Itza, or take a dive in one of the various Mayan watering holes, called Cenotes.