Playa del Carmen Beach the heart of the Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen Beach the heart of the Riviera Maya

You’ll fall in love with this amazing paradise, Playa del Carmen Beach is a place you have to visit at least one time.  Playa del Carmen, Mexico is located between Cancun and Tulum. In recent years the great tourist growth and its natural charm have placed it as one of the favorite destinations in Mexico.

Playa del Carmen is for everybody! It’s perfect for traveling with friends, family, couple or even alone. Great for honeymoons, relaxing days or party!

Beach at the Mexican Caribbean
Relaxing Beach

How to Get to Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen doesn’t have an airport, you can choose to fly to Cancún or Cozumel Island, International airports. If you’re flying to Cancun, the best option is to take an ADO bus to Playa (45 min.)

The ADO bus station in Playa del Carmen is located on 5th avenue if your hotel is near you can easily walk; but if you need to take a Taxi that is easy too.

If you’re flying to Cozumel Island you can take a taxi to the ferry terminal and then the ferry to Playa. (40 min.)  The Ferry terminal is also at the 5th avenue, near to the ADO bus station. So, as you can see, it’s very easy to get to Playa.

The small church next to the Caribbean at Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Beautiful Parish Nuestra Senora del Carmen next to the ocean.

My first time in Playa del Carmen was in 1999 and the place was so different; the 5th avenue was not that long, it was just a few hotels, restaurants and bars.

A lot of things change after Hurricane Wilma in 2005. A lot of businesses suffered and closed doors. But now Playa del Carmen is better than ever, and that’s why you have to visit.

Flying men of Papantla in the Mayan Arch in Mexico
The unique Papantla Flyers at Fundadores Park.

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Where to stay in Playa del Carmen Beach

There are a lot of options here, you can choose from hostels, guesthouses, fancy hotels or the best All-Inclusive resorts.

Of course, it depends on you and the price and amenities you prefer. My favorites are hotels near to 5th avenue because you can walk easily to restaurants, stores, night clubs and of course you have the beach. When I stay in this area I like to take breakfast at my hotel, enjoy the beach for a few hours and wander while I find the perfect restaurant for lunch. Later some shopping and maybe a drink after dinner. So, if you stay near 5th avenue, it is going to be easier for you to explore more of the charming Playa del Carmen.

The Ferry boat you take from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel Island in Mexico.
The ferry boat to Cozumel Island.

Tips to move around Playa

  • My first choice is to walk, you can walk to most of the places; but if you prefer you can rent a bike. It’s cheap and there are a lot of places to do it.
  • A taxi can be a good idea too, it’s safe and everything is near. It shouldn’t be expensive.
  • If your plan is to explore more places, you can rent a car. But only if you are going to different and far places. Ask in your hotel first, because maybe you don’t need a car at all. 
  • The local vans are a great option too, those are cheap, but crowded sometimes. But if you don’t mind you can experience local adventure and explore a lot more at a very low price. 
The spectacular Underground river near to Playa del Carmen at Xcaret Park
Fantastic natural places at the Riviera Maya

The Best Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has a lot of things to do, but my favorites are here.

Ecological Parks

One of the best experiences you can have in the Riviera Maya is the several ecological parks. So different from each other, and you can choose to pay for only one or more for different days.

There is a wide variety of ecological parks near Playa, some include underground rivers, cenotes, caves, water activities or a little more extreme fun, like ATV’s, Zip Lines and more.

Some of them are Aktun Chen, Rio Secreto, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xavage, and Xcaret.


Beach at Xcaret Eco Park
Spectacular Xcaret Eco Park
The traditional Mexican Cemetery, so colorful near to Playa del Carmen at Xcaret Park, Mexico.
The amazing Mexican Cemetery

Walk and Explore Playa del Carmen

5th Avenue is for pedestrians only, which makes it so easy to walk and discover everything there. You can walk on the 5th avenue and enjoy the local stores, explore different restaurants with local and international food, maybe spend some money shopping at Calle Corazón, La Quinta Alegría or Paseo del Carmen.

A very important thing, Playa del Carmen is much more than the 5th Avenue, do not forget to explore further, I assure you it will be worth it. You’ll find more food options, shops, hotels and more of the local life.

Visit the Iconic Arch of Playa

This beautiful piece of art is located in the Parque Fundadores, very close to the ADO bus terminal. Its name is Portal Maya and it was inaugurated on December 21, 2012. The same day that the new Mayan era began. To me, it seems like the charming sculpture frames the beauty of the Caribbean Sea and fills us with hope for a better future.

Portal Maya Sculpture in Mexico
The beautiful Portal Maya Sculpture

Visit the Fundadores Park day and night, you can witness pre-Hispanic dances or the incredible tradition of the Papantla Flyers.

Night Life

When the night comes Playa del Carmen becomes a party, but you can decide if you want a bar with a good relaxed atmosphere or a place with great music to dance all night. There are many options!

Water Activities

Of course, on such a beautiful beach you can’t miss the best water activities. You can snorkel, dive, sail, kayak, parasailing, fly-board and more. You can find these activities with different companies, ask what is included before deciding on the best option.

Where to Eat at Playa del Carmen

That is one of the most difficult questions to answer, simply because in Playa there is a great and delicious variety of options. But remember that there is more than just 5th Avenue, so do not be afraid to explore and try not only in the most famous restaurants.

Beautiful restaurant at 5th Avenue in Playa.
Great Restaurant for dinner and cocktail.

Here you will find almost any type of food, International, Italian, Seafood, Vegan, Fast Food and of course Mexican.
Speaking of Mexican food there are many options from the most elegant restaurant to delicious Mexican snacks at more affordable prices.

No matter what you crave, you can always check the menu before deciding the best option.

Mexican Restaurant and Tacos at Playa, Mexico
In Tacos We Trust!

Talking about food, there is one place in Playa del Carmen that you should consider to visit. ALUX Restaurant; It’s a restaurant inside a cave with more than 10,000 years old. They offer a mix of Mexican, Pre-Hispanic and International cuisine.

Visiting Other Destinations Near Playa del Carmen

Because of its location, it is very easy to visit some other places near Playa. It can be a day trip or you can explore other marvelous destinations for more days.

The best options are Cozumel Island, Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Tulum, Isla Mujeres.

If you love Archaeological Sites, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba are great options. There are many archaeological sites in Quintana Roo and throughout the Yucatan peninsula, but some of them are further away and it is difficult to visit them in one day.

Pink Flamingos and natural places at Playa del Carmen, Mexico at the Riviera Maya.
Lovely and sweet pink flamingos at Xcaret

I can tell you a million reasons to visit Playa del Carmen beach, but the most important is that is a paradise for sure.

Take a lot of photos and enjoy every moment!

Please share with people who love to Travel

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