The enormous palm-lined beaches and year-round party culture of Playa del Carmen attract vacationers. Divers and snorkelers can explore one of the world’s largest coral reef systems at this seaside hamlet along the Riviera Maya. The heart of Playa del Carmen is a bustling street lined with unique boutiques and restaurants, as well as a seaside park where traditional Mayan performances are held in the evenings.
Many consider Playa del Carmen to be Cancun’s laid-back younger sister, with the majority of activities centred on the beach. If you’re looking for adventure during your vacation, ancient Mayan ruins, adventure parks, and beautiful jungles are all just a short drive from the town centre. Check out our Playa del Carmen activities guide.
Start the day in Quinta Avenida
Quinta Avenida is a fashionable street that runs parallel to Playa del Carmen’s major beach. There are plenty of souvenir vendors, grocery stores, and shops offering beachwear, Cuban cigars, and handicrafts along this popular boulevard. It’s also a good area to see street performers such as impersonators of celebrities, dancers, and musicians. Quinta Avenida transforms into a vibrant hive of nightclubs and mescal bars with views of the beach once the sun sets.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Centro, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico; Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo
Playa del Carmen Beach
The beach at Playa del Carmen is a lengthy stretch of sand that is divided into sections by the town’s numerous beach resorts and clubs. The widest beach is in front of the quirky Playa del Carmen Arch, which marks the entrance to Parque Fundadores. Due to its proximity to Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), it is frequently overrun with tourists, and the beach is dotted with beach clubs that give out sun loungers for a few pesos. On the full-sized volleyball court, you may have some fun or try your hand at kitesurfing and paddleboarding on the Caribbean Sea.
Playa del Carmen is located in Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Must-See: Xaman-Ha ruins
The Xaman-Ha ruins (also known as the Playacar ruins) are a collection of three stone constructions dating from the year 1200. Mayan ladies travelled for Cozumel Island to honour the Goddess Ixchel from this historic fishing community. Xaman-Ha may appear insignificant in comparison to Chichen Itza and El Rey, yet it is one of the few Mayan ruins that is free to visit. This archaeological site is only a 10-minute walk from Playa del Carmen Beach, but due to its jungle setting, it is rather peaceful. Iguanas can be found reclining on the stone buildings.
Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico (77717).
Tlayuda is a Mexican take on pizza, consisting of a giant tortilla covered with a variety of meats and vegetables. Tlayuda is a popular dish in most Playa del Carmen restaurants. The corn tortilla is roasted till somewhat crispy on a flat griddle before being smeared with refried beans. Asiento (unrefined pork lard), shredded lettuce, avocado, thin slices of pork or beef, quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese), and a generous amount of salsa are all common toppings.
Relax in Parque Fundadores
Playa del Carmen’s principal beach is overlooked by Parque Fundadores, a recreational area. Its 16-meter-tall bronze arch, which features a fanciful design of a man and a woman holding hands, is one of the town’s most photographed locations. There’s a pirate ship-themed playground, as well as a year-round stage with live performances. The Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), a Mayan spectacle combining acrobatics and traditional music, is a must-see.
77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico, Av. Benito Juárez, Centro