In the mood for summer, sun, beach, and relaxation? This time we will talk about the incredible destination of Playa del Carmen. One of the most visited destinations by tourists worldwide, located in the Mexican Caribbean, privileged for its stunning beaches. Plus, it is easy to get there as it is only an hour and a half by Transportation from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and indeed is the right place to forget about everything and enjoy nature.
Playa del Carmen has established itself as one of the great tourist destinations in the Mexican Caribbean. Its beaches always appear among the best in the world, and its white sand bathed by turquoise blue water more than justifies it. What a real luxury to swim in its waters! But it must say that Playa del Carmen is not limited to swimming or diving. In this area of the Yucatan peninsula, we find an important Mayan legacy, and we can relax on its golf courses, enjoying its lively nightlife or the local cuisine. Also, ‘Playa,’ as known in Mexico, has the perfect location: just a 45-minute drive from Cancun’s international airport, close to other important tourist attractions such as Tulum, Coba Cozumel Island, which can be reached by boat from Playa del Carmen itself. Tourists of all nationalities flock to this Mexican city, which has become one of the Riviera Maya’s must-see destinations.
The Caribbean is synonymous with beaches, so let’s start by reviewing the most outstanding Playa del Carmen. Undoubtedly, the most memorable is the private complex of Playacar. A spectacular coral reef protects its calm and transparent waters, and the low wages mean that we can go with children without any problem. It has the equipment to play beach volleyball, and in nearby hotels, we can rent windsurf boards, canoes, or even small catamarans to enjoy a different kind of beach day. Just thinking about it makes you want to pack your bags.
The favorite for tourists is Calle 28, in the heart of the city, making it a lively beach surrounded by beach clubs. If you want to escape the crowds, you can resort to the Bay of Punta Soliman. It is a succession of paradisiacal beaches in two protected bays, where the palm trees practically come out of the water. There is an important concentration of birds and fish, so diving enthusiasts are sure to have a great time. Before leaving the beaches, we must mention the cenotes, waterways, or wells in subway caverns, ideal for snorkeling. They are very safe, so no experience is necessary. The largest in the world is Nohoch Nah Chich, a complex caverns system that starts in the jungle. You will find several resting areas and openings for sunlight to enter. Also near Playa del Carmen is the Xcaret cenote, which leads from the forest to a beach inhabited by red flamingos.
Shopping on Playa del Carmen’s famous Fifth Avenue
We are not in New York, but Playa del Carmen also has Fifth Avenue, one of the most active areas both day and night. During the day we can enjoy shopping along its four kilometers of pedestrian streets and at night the best nightclubs in the city of all environments. There are also a large number of restaurants. On 22nd Street begins the New Fifth or Italian Zone, the most bohemian, where many Italian businesses have opened in recent years. If we want to delve a little into the local gastronomy, in the restaurants of the Quinta, we can try the marinated suckling pig wrapped in palm leaves cooked in a hole in the ground, following the indigenous tradition; or the Tikinxic, a fish that is prepared in the Mayan barbecue style. Being a beach destination, lobster, conch, grouper, turbot, or red snapper are among the most outstanding dishes, and shrimp curry, one of the local specialties.
Exploring the Archaeological Zones
And after talking about food, let’s see how we’ll bring it down later with a bit of a road trip. Just 45 minutes away by ferry, Cozumel’s paradisiacal island awaits us with the second largest reef in the world. Perfect beaches and archaeological remains, making it a must in Playa del Carmen.
Under its waters, visibility can exceed 50 meters, and it has incredible biodiversity. We can dive in Paradise Reef (ideal for beginners), Punta Sur (in a cave at 36 meters deep, there are rays or sharks), Santa Rosa, and its reefs where you can find sea turtles or Yal-Ku. Can find more nature in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, a tropical rainforest declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Foxes, anteaters, pumas, crocodiles, jaguars, flamingos, giant land crabs, or howler monkeys are some of the animals we will find there. We can also enjoy bird watching or diving in the crystal clear waters of Punta Allen, where near the coast there is another interesting reef.
We finish with the Mayan ruins, essential to know the history of this territory. Those of Tulum crown a cliff from which you can see a spectacular beach, a postcard image. The palace, where the figure of a Mayan god is represented, and the castle, from where we can go down to the beach, stand out. On the other hand, the Mayan ruins of Cobá correspond to a city that reached 40,000 inhabitants 1,000 years ago. To get to Tulum is as easy as taking a Shuttle from Cancun to Tulum round trip, or you can also take the option of renting a car to visit more archaeological sites.