One of the largest cities in the Mexican Caribbean, Playa del Carmen is one of the coolest spots on the Riviera Maya and it’s perfectly positioned so you can get to other nearby cities such as Tulum and Cancun too. Playa del Carmen offers everything you could want from a vacation - you could be exploring the Mayan archaeological sites scuba diving with sharks, and dancing the night away to fantastic nightlife all in the space of the same day. Exciting, right?
In this post, we’ll take a closer look at how to spend a weekend in Playa del Carmen. With our help, you should just about be able to pack everything in!
Check in to your four or five star hotel
Before you start exploring, you might want to put your bags down and take a shower after your journey to Playa del Carmen. The city is packed with luxury hotels with four and five star ratings - suited to several different travel styles too. A selection of all-inclusive resorts with endless facilities, cute boutique hotels, and stylish bed and breakfasts all await you. You just need to decide which suits you best!
Go stand up paddle boarding
After arriving in Playa del Carmen, ease yourself into the weekend with a fun but chilled out activity. Stand up paddle boarding offers you another perspective to discover the area from. Paddle your way across flat and clear waters and feel the stresses of daily life just melt away. The best place to go stand up paddle boarding in and around Playa del Carmen is Tulum or Puerto Morelos. So grab a board and give SUP a try. While you’re at it, you can also enjoy snorkeling and surfing.
Embrace the nightlife
Luckily, stand up paddle boarding isn’t particularly tiring, so you should still have plenty of energy to make the most of the night in Playa del Carmen. And what a lot you have to choose from! If you want a quiet holiday, pick a picturesque beach bar where you can watch the sunset with beers and good company. Looking for something a little more out there? How about enjoying yourself in an intimate theater setting with JOYÀ by Cirque du Soleil while enjoying a fine dining experience. It’s all possible along the Riviera Maya.
Sample traditional Mayan Cuisine
Head to La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) for the widest selection of restaurants in Playa del Carmen. You can sample everything from traditional Mayan and Mexican cuisine, to international delicacies such as Italian pizza. In the unlikely event you don’t find something that catches your eye, head to a restaurant in one of the hotel resorts in town!
Take a day trip
Get up early for a day exploring one of the many treasures of the Riviera Maya on a day trip. Should you want to see Mayan archaeological sites, you have a lot to choose from. Head to nearby Tulum to see the old city, or visit the highest pyramid of the Mexican Caribbean at Cobá. Located in the neighbor state of Yucatán, is Chichen Itza too - a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Another thing you shouldn´t miss is the chance to swim in a cenote. These natural sinkholes are found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula - it’s a good idea to take a guided tour as you’ll be visiting cenotes that are safe for swimming, such as Gran Cenote in Tulum.
Prefer to get away from the world and just relax? Then head to Holbox Island or Isla Mujeres and make the most of white sands and turquoise waters.
Other day trips available include zip lining, sky diving, and ATV tours through the jungle.
Get up for a morning swim
It’s your final day in Playa del Carmen, so be sure to make the most of it. The area is surrounded by clear and azure waters, perfect for swimming and snorkeling. From May to September, you could be swimming with turtles, while you’ll have the chance to scuba dive with bull sharks from November to March if you have an advanced diving certificate!
Diving is another great day trip from Playa del Carmen - the nearby Cozumel is part of the world’s second largest barrier reef. It has 40 dive sites for you to see colorful fishes, vivid corals, and turtles and sharks, and even a ship wreck, which you may be able to explore!
Pick up some souvenirs
La Quinta Avenida isn’t only popular for its huge selection of restaurants. Don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs before the end of your trip for friends and family back home. After all, Fifth Avenue is packed with shops selling everything from holiday trinkets to designer clothes. La Quinta Alegría, Calle Corazon, and Paseo del Carmen are three of the most popular shopping malls, while there are several smaller independent stores too.
Final Thoughts on how to spend a weekend in Playa del Carmen
Now that you have an idea of how to spend your weekend in Playa del Carmen, it’s time to pick somewhere to stay. Check out Mexican Caribbean to find out everything you need to know about this beautiful part of the Yucatan Peninsula.
The top place for recommendations on where to stay and what to do. Now, all that’s left is to wish you a fabulous vacation in Playa del Carmen!