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Playa del Carmen, or just "Playa" as it is also commonly referred to by locals, is a large 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.

Understand[edit]

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 might be able to just walk in, but security will stop cars and possibly pedestrians at the entrance gate.

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

The main airport for Playa is the Cancún International Airport (CUN IATA). You could also check flights to the Cozumel airport (CZM IATA).

From the Cancún airport to the city center[edit]

From all terminals of the Cancún International Airport depart ADO buses directly to Playa del Carmen. The price is M$216 (pesos) (Feb 2022). Purchase a ticket right before exiting the terminal or at a kiosk right at the bus. Buying it in pesos will save you a few dollars. Tickets for children are half-price. The ride takes about 50 minutes. The buses arrive in the Terminal Turistica of Playa del Carmen.

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.

Once you wander outside of the terminal into the crowd of transfer service agents, if you have booked ahead of time, feel free to tell other agents which service you are looking for. The agents look out for eachother and will likely point you in the right direction. It can be extremely crowded, so you are better off asking for help rather than wandering around looking for the right agent and getting in the way

Some local businesses offering these services are:

From the Cozumel airport to the city center[edit]

Take a taxi for the 2.5 km to the Cozumel ferry terminal. From there take a boat to the center of Playa de Carmen for US$13 (Feb 2022). More details are stated further below in "By boat". In front of the nearby Terminal Turistica are taxis which bring you to your accommodation.

By bus[edit]

The 1 ADO Terminal Turistica is right in the heart of Playa del Carmen on 5th Ave. The ADO buses from the airport only arrive in this Terminal. Upstairs are a Santander and BanBajío ATM.

And there is the 2 ADO Terminal Alterna in the city center at Calle 12 Nte & Avenida 20 Nte. ADO buses from destinations further away like Bacalar, Chetumal and Mérida only arrive in this Terminal.

Coming from Cancun, Valladolid or Tulum you can choose in which Terminal you would like to arrive. 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 about M$300 (Jan 2022) and takes around 4½ hours. For getting to know the schedule of a second class bus, the employees inside the ticket booth of a Terminal show it to you on their LCD screen.

By car[edit]

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.

By boat[edit]

From Cozumel there are two competing companies which ship you across: Winjet and Ultramar. The price is about US$13/26 one-way/return (Feb 2022). The 3 Ferry Terminal 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.

Get around[edit]

Map of the city center

Orientation[edit]

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.

On foot[edit]

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.

By bike[edit]

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.

By e-hailing[edit]

There is no e-hailing service which serves Playa del Carmen.

By car[edit]

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.

By taxi[edit]

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 M$30-50 (Feb 2022) to get around the rest of Playa. In the evening and at night, some taxi drivers demand way more. Ask for the price before entering.

By public transport[edit]

City bus[edit]

There are some city buses and shared vans which cover Playa del Carmen. The destinations are marked on the windshield. It's best to ask a local or a bus driver for an advice which and from where you can take one.

Intercity bus[edit]

Scheduled bus service to the main destinations in the region (e.g. Tulum, Cancun airport, Cancún, etc.) depart from both the ADO Terminal Alterna and ADO Terminal Turistica. To tourism destinations like Xcaret and Xel-ha go buses from the ADO Terminal Turistica. The ADO bus goes directly to the entrances of Xcaret and Xel-ha.

Second class local Mayab and Oriente buses also leave from the ADO Terminal Turistica and ADO Terminal Alterna. These buses stop more frequently en route and drop off alongside the Highway 307 to Tulum, requiring walking from the highway to the entrances of Xcaret or Xel-ha. The schedule of the second-class buses is not provided online. You can see the schedules on the LCD screen of the employees in the ticket booth of the Terminal.

The last buses from Cancun and Tulum depart about midnight back to Playa del Carmen.

Shared vans[edit]

The very frequent 4 Colectivos in the direction of Tulum and Cancun depart 500m outside of the center near Chedraui (on Calle 2 between Av 10 and Av 15). To both Cancun or Tulum it costs M$50 (Feb 2022) and somewhat less when leaving somewhere on the route. They depart from 4:30am to 10:30pm. Colectivos are cheap government regulated air-conditioned vans which transport people on Highway 307, which runs north/south along the coast between Tulum and Cancún. Pick-up times for these collectivos vary, roughly every 5-10 minutes. Pick-up/drop-off can be done along the freeway. The vans may only be marked with "Playa", which means "Playa del Carmen".

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.

Bus tours[edit]

Organized bus tours are 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.). 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.

See[edit]

  • 1 Portal Maya. Oceanfront bronze statue and archway
  • 2 La Quinta Avenida. A pedestrian street.
  • 3 Parque La Ceiba.
  • 4 3D Museum of Wonders.
  • 5 Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen.
  • 6 Playa del Carmen Lighthouse.
  • Small Maya Ruins around the "Playacar" gated community.


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, the small Maya ruins are everything regarding historical architecture.

Do[edit]

Region around Playa del Carmen

Skydiving[edit]

Charter fishing[edit]

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[edit]

With the closest port to Playa del Carmen at 25 min 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.

Diving[edit]

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 US$100. Cenote Chaak Tun allows photography, but lighting conditions are challenging, and you may be better buying photos from them for US$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, +52 984 135-3305, . 08:00-20:00. Dive shop, providing cenotes & cave diving experiences in Playa del Carmen, tech training and support.
  • Dive X, Blue Bay Resort, +52 984 165 7313, . 08:00-18:00. Great dive center if you are looking to dive in Cenotes or experience a dive with bull sharks.

Theme parks[edit]

  • 2 Xcaret (ecopark). – An eco-archaeological park. Here you can admire tropical flora and fauna typical of the region as well as different expressions of the Mayan culture. In its facilities you can find an archaeological site, snorkeling in underground rivers, beach, butterfly pavilion, orchid greenhouse, regional fauna breeding farm, Mayan village, jaguar island, among others. For additional cost visitors can swim with captive dolphins; enjoy the Temascal and Spa services. At night you can admire the unique night show “Xcaret México Espectacular” which features a variety of performances from ancient Mayan culture to traditional Mexican music and dances.
  • Native Park Playa del Carmen

Water parks[edit]

  • Chanolandia


Out of town trips[edit]

  • 3 Tulum Archeologicial Site – 65 km. The only major Maya archeological site to overlook the Caribbean Sea. Tulum is believed to be one of the most important ceremonial sites for the Maya people. It dates back more than 7 centuries and shows the remains of a huge walled city with roads, homes and businesses by the sea. The major highlight of Tulum is El Castillo which is a large pyramid that sits on a forty-foot cliff. ADO buses from the Terminal Touristica run 1 hr and cost M$104 (April 2022). On the ADO website and app the stop is called "Tulum zona arqueológica".
  • 4 Coba – 110 km. A beautiful site; it was one of the largest Maya cities in ancient times, but much is still hidden under lush jungle. It boasts the tallest pyramid of the Yucatan Peninsula, the Nohoch Mul. Muyil boasts a lake surrounded by many Maya constructions.
  • 5 Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve – 130 km. It's 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, 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).
  • 6 Puerto Aventuras – 20 km. About 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen.
  • 7 Puerto Morelos – 35 km. 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.

Learn[edit]

Spanish classes[edit]

  • Academia Columbus, Av 30 Norte x 6 Bis (Take Ave 30 and turn on Calle 6 bis, an orange building), +52 984 873 2100. 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, +52-55-4169-2530, . 09:00-18:00. Spanish school offering a full cultural immersion.
  • Viva Idioma, Spanish school (different places in Playa del Carmen), +52 998 123 89 87, . 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...

Buy[edit]

ATMs with low withdrawal fees in the center are:
• BanCoppel (inside the Coppel store)
• BanBajío (inside the Terminal Touristica upstairs)
• Banco Azteca (inside the electra store)
• (city)banamex
• Santander and
• Banorte (in the middle of the centro).

For buying groceries, there are Oxxo and 7-eleven around. There are three large supermarkets in or near the centro:
1 Wal-Mart (30 Ave and Calle 8).
2 Comercial Mexicana MEGA (30 Ave and Constituyentes).
3 Chedraui (Highway 307 between Playa del Carmen and Playacar). It has a variety of good, fresh and low-priced fish and meat for cooking.
4 Sam's Club (Hwy 307 in front of Playacar). Membership-only warehouse

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 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).

Eat[edit]

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.

Street food[edit]

All these are in the city center:

  • 1 Food stalls. Tasty mexican food in the evening at the Monumento a los Pescadores along the Calle 2 Nte. You get: a hot dog for M$25a hamburger for M$40tacosa long torta for M$60gringas anda big burrito for M$60
  • 2 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. 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.

Budget[edit]

All these are in the city center:

  • 3 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, fried fish, and beer to wash it down. 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.
  • 4 Eat Bar, 10 Avenida Norte LB entre calle 6 y 8, Centro, +52 984 187 5247. Hot dogs and grill items. Amazing and affordable Middle Eastern food. Fresh food and great flavor. Cool little place that serves Vegan as well.
  • 5 Asadero el Pollo, 20 Avenida Nte. 652. Don't let appearances deceive you. The place does not look fancy but the roasted chicken is delicious. It is adapted for national and foreign visitors. The place is busy, you have to wait a few minutes especially at lunchtime.
  • 6 The Lost Tiki, Calle 6 Nte 20. A place that makes you feel like in Hawaii. Excellent food, drinks, atmosphere and service. Amazing people working over there. Very cool vibe.
  • 7 Kaxapa Factory, Local 7 Calle 10 Norte SN Entre Av 15 y 20 Avenues Mz 105 Lote 8. A place to taste Venezuelan food. its owner has a charisma and a humility that makes you feel at home. Recommended are the cuchapas and the patacones pepiao. Lots of different choices and also vegetarian options.
  • 8 La Cochi Loka, Calle 10 Nte 27. Great Tacos and a nice shady patio area to eat them in. Excellent flavor, good service. Delicious cochinita pibil tacos. Lovely little spot.
  • 9 Falafel Nessya, Calle 6 Norte entre avenida 10 y 15. The falafels are yummy, soft and zero dry. The humus is spot on. The Chef really looks like he loves making the food, is friendly and smiles.
  • 10 El Fogón, Av. Constituyentes. Great tacos especially the pastor (pork).Big portions and great varied drinks. The guacamole is delicious.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 11 HC Monterrey, Calle 1ra Sur # 190 (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), +52 984 169 1347. 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.
  • 12 El Oasis Seafood, 50 Av. Nte. esq, Calle 22 Nte Mza. 7, Ejido, +52 984 803 2676. Mexican seafood. Battered shrimp tacos, seafood soup, fried fish. Attracts mostly Mexicans and Playa locals. Prices are reasonable and the quality is consistent.
  • 13 La Parilla Mexican Grill (Av Constituyentes Manzana 26 Loc. 1 entre 5ta Av. y Zona Federal Marítima), +52 984 873 0687. The mariachi band was excellent and would play any single song that they knew for USD10.

Splurge[edit]

  • PlayaMaya Hotel (At the beach). Octopus Tacos, wonderful.

Drink[edit]

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.

Sleep[edit]

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.

Budget[edit]

There are some inexpensive backpacker hostels in Playa del Carmen.

in the center:[edit]

  • 1 Hotel Colorado, Calle 4 Nte. Entre 20 y 25 Avenida Col. Centro, +52 984 873 0381, . 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.
  • 2 Hotel Posada Lily. A simple hotel opposite of the ADO Terminal Touristica. It seems that you only get a low-priced basic room if you specifically ask for it. Otherwise it has also rooms with A/C.
  • 3 Maya del Mar. Google Maps shows you where you can book it online. About M$530 (April 2022).
  • 4 OYO Hotel Playa Del Carmen. For about M$550 (April 2022).
  • 5 Capital O Hotel Illusion Express. For about M$560 (April 2022).
  • 6 Casa Palma Hotel. For about M$570 (April 2022).

near the center:[edit]

  • 7 Hotel Posada Mariposa, Calle Quinta Avenida 314, +52 984 878 1016. 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.

Mid-range[edit]

  • 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, +52 984 877 3060. This trendy lounge & hotel is frequented by youthful globetrotters. Best rates start at M$658.
  • Hotel Casa Ticul, 5th Av. between 38 street & 40th street, LT 08 MZ 151 Col Zacil-Ha, +52 984 267 3501. All adult small boutique hotel on 5th Ave. 20 charming rooms with modern design and decorations.
  • Hotel Coco Rio, C. 26, Gonzalo Guerrero, +52 984 879 3361. Located along the quiet side of Quinta Avenida. The hotel offers rooms with air-conditioning, cable TV, refrigerator, and Wi-Fi access.
  • Reina Roja Hotel, Calle 20 Norte Entre 5ª Av. y Av. 10 N°298, Centro, +52 984 877 3800. 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.
  • Tukan Hotel & Beach Club, 5ta avenida Norte Entre las calles 14 y 16 Col Centro, +52 984 113 9135, toll-free: +1-800-008-8526. Offers a wide range of comfortable and spacious rooms. M$738.
  • Barrio Latino Hotel, Calle 4 entre Avenida 10 y 15 Col, +52 984 147 2579. 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, +52 984 8733130. Hotel Hacienda has rooms decorated with fine woods, in a finished marble and clear tones in its walls are the complements of warm hospitality.

Splurge[edit]

  • Pueblito Escondido by Mistik (Pueblito Luxury), Av. 38 Norte s/n Col. Centro, +52 984 803 1400 ext 403. 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$5,424.
  • Aventura Mexicana, On Calle 24 between Ave 5 and Ave 10, +52 800 537 4197. 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. About M$1,950.
  • Aldea Thai by OceanFront, Av. Cozumel Mza. 81, Lote 1, +52 984 168 6936. 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$1,934.
  • Condominiums Natz Ti Ha, Coco Bay, Calle Flamingo, +52 984 873 5218. 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.
  • La Tortuga Hotel & Spa, Calle 14 Nte (less than one block from La Quinta), +52 984 873 1484. Temporarily closed as of April 2022. 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.
  • Las Golondrinas Hotel, Av. Constituyentes 178, entre av. 15 y av. 20, Centro, +52 984 873 2805. 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. About M$1,350.
  • Playa Palms Beach Hotel, 1st Av. Bis, Norte Entre 12 y 14, +52 984-803-3908. 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.
  • Riviera del Sol, Av 1 Nte Con Calle 30 Nte, +52 984 873 3100. Riviera del Sol Hotel offers a peaceful atmosphere. M$1,057.
  • Ikonik The Carmen Hotel, Calle 8 Nte No 876 (beachfront at 8th St), +52 984 803 2409. M$2,393.
  • Hotel LunaSol, +52 984-873-3933. Small family hotel with 16 rooms set around big beautiful gardens.

Resorts[edit]

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.

  • 8 Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun. Temporarily closed as of April 2022. 71 acres, Mediterranean architecture. Accessed from the highway and secluded - not walking distance from the rest of town. To get off the resort you will need to use a vehicle.
  • 9 Grand Velas All Suites & Spa Resort Riviera Maya, Carretera Cancun Tulum Km. 62, +52 984-877-4400. High end resort outside of the main town. Secluded. ~1280 USD.
  • 10 The Reef 28, 1a Avenida Nte. & Calle 28 Nte. All Inclusive and Adults Only resort is only one block from the bustling ave 5, and relatively 'right in the middle of town'. Great rooftop bar and pool; with good food and decent rooms. No direct beach access; but wristbands can be used at sister resorts at coco beach and playacar. DJ at night on the rooftop. Best for couples or small groups. The music at the pool can be loud, so perhaps better for the party crowd than those looking to read a book by the pool. 100-200 USD/night for all inclusive.
  • 11 The Reef Coco Beach. Family oriented resort with large central pool, attached to some beachfront with a marina calming the adjacent water. Nice enough, but a bit of a walk from the more vibrant areas of town. You probably wouldn't want to walk here from the bus station tourista.
  • Hacienda Tres Rios Resort, Cancún - Tulum Km. 54, +1-800-494-9173. 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.

Connect[edit]

Wifi Spots[edit]

  • 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.

Cope[edit]

Consulates[edit]

  • United States United States, Plaza Progreso, Local 33, +52 999 942-5700, +52 984 807-8355 (Emergency cell phone), fax: +52 984 873-0481, .
  • Canada1 Consular Agency of Canada in Playa del Carmen, Plaza Paraíso Caribe, Modulo C, Planta 2, Oficina C21 - 24, +52 55-5724-9796, fax: +52 984-803-2665, . Monday - Friday: 9:00 am - 1:00 pm | Must call first. Consular points of service in Mexico remain closed to the public and continue to offer only essential consular services: urgent passport services, emergency medical/welfare concerns and COVID-19 related services. Consular assistance and support is still provided through email exchanges or by phone. Canadians in distress should call at +52 55-5724-7900 ext. 379-3348 or send an email to mxicocs@international.gc.ca before presenting themselves at any of the offices across Mexico.

Go next[edit]

For going to the Cancun airport by ADO bus, you don't need to queue for the ticket booth. Just buy your ticket online on the ADO website or in the ADO app. To the airport you can depart from the Terminal Turistica and Terminal Alterna. At the Terminal Turistica are also shared taxis to the airport for M$200 (March 2022).

You find private rooms and hostels ...:

To the east[edit]

  • Cozumel – 20 km. 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!

To the south[edit]

To the west[edit]

  • Valladolid – 140 km. From an accomodation in Valladolid it's more convenient than from Playa del Carmen to visit the archeological sites of Ek Balam and Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza itself has also hotels for an overnight stay.
  • Merida (Mexico) – 290 km. 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. 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.

To the north[edit]


This city travel guide to Playa del Carmen is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.