Playa del Carmen Travel Guide

Browse 98 travel reviews, 34 travel blogs and 2,839 travel photos from real travelers to Playa del Carmen.

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Playa del Carmen Overview

At the heart of a district that’s become known as the ‘Mayan Riviera’, Playa Del Carmen offers a chic alternative to its larger cousin to the north, Cancun, in laying on pedestrian only, cobblestone streets that give a laid back, old-world vibe. Playa (as its known locally) is also home to some truly spectacular diving and a standard of beaches that will have visitors settling into a beach-hotel-beach routine.

The offshore MesoAmerican reef, in fact, is the second largest reef system in the world, and while the delicate infrastructure must still be treated with care, the sheer extent of the sight means you can often find your own spot to dive over. The snorkeling is also impressive, and while snorkelers can join the scuba divers on an offshore trip, they might prefer to enjoy the seaside lagoons, which have a similarly impressive array of underwater life, without the depth required for serious diving.

If you prefer a slightly more cultural experience, the town of Tulum – a half a hour trip from Playa itself – is the home of extensive Mayan ruins, ideally placed for photographers overlooking the sea. Another perfect day trip option is the island of Cozumel, often inundated with the passengers of passing cruise ships, but the perfect place to launch a snorkeling expedition or simply explore the tropical wilderness that seems to appear each time the cruise ships depart.

Another must see sight is the cenotes, a set of alternative swimming destinations that consist of freshwater sinkholes, and are home to incredibly clear water and make for the kind of obscure holiday aside that make the whole trip worthwhile, with some the size of small lakes developed into natural ‘swimming pool’ destinations complete with changing rooms and restaurants, while others remain in their more natural state. The natural versions are – if anything – a more attractive, ‘wilderness’ option.

At the end of the day, Playa Del Carmen is a resort, but it’s one with such impressive natural and historic asides that you can forgive the excesses of tourism, and still go home having had a taste of Mexico.

Best time to travel to is november till march

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