What to do in Playa del Carmen
At the heart of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is a cosmopolitan destination that has preserved the Caribbean essence that has made it so popular. With spectacular beaches, incredible gastronomic options, nightly entertainment, fascinating natural spaces, fun amusement parks, and mystical cenotes, Playa del Carmen offers plenty to see and do.
Exploring Playa del Carmen
The main attraction of “Playa”, as the locals call it, is without a doubt Fifth Avenue. It is a pedestrian street that extends for over three miles, featuring small hotels, hostels, shopping centers, boutiques, and art galleries. Amidst all these, you can also find restaurants, bars, and nightclubs that come to life at sunset. Between mariachis, live music, DJs, and street dancers, nightly entertainment makes its mark on the avenue. One of the places you have to visit in “La Quinta” is Parque Fundadores, where the Portal Maya is located, a huge sculpture that, together with the sea in the background, is the perfect place for a souvenir photo. This is also an ideal spot from which to see the sunrise and in the afternoon you can enjoy live shows that bring tourists and locals together.
Away from the city center, visitors can visit spectacular beaches like Xpu-Há, Akumal, and Xcacel-Xcacelito (the latter two are sea turtle sanctuaries) as well as natural parks, theme parks, and the famous cenotes.
According to the Mayans, the tz'onot (cenotes) were the entrance to the underworld (Xibalbá), and are now incredible places to practice diving and snorkeling, or to simply float and cool off in their crystal clear waters, contemplating the beautiful landscapes and the flora and fauna that inhabits them.
No trip to Playa del Carmen is complete without adding the Riviera Maya's archaeological sites to the itinerary. Located south of the city and one of the most popular in all of Mexico is Tulum, a true architectural gem and the only site built on the shores of the Caribbean Sea.
Cobá is another one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the region that many have yet to discover. It is home to the Nohoch-Mul pyramid, which is the tallest in the Yucatan Peninsula at 137 feet high. Complement the cultural part of your trip by visiting one of the Mayan communities that are scattered throughout the region, where in addition to learning about their lifestyle, customs, and traditions, you can delight your palate by trying the delicacies of Mayan cuisine. While you’re there, you can also dive into cenotes and even experience a Mayan purification ceremony.
For nature and adventure lovers, Playa del Carmen and its surroundings offer a wide variety of activities surrounded by beautiful natural settings; from bird watching tours, ATV rides, and zip line circuits to skydiving. "Playa" is the only destination in the Mexican Caribbean where you can do this last activity.
Get up-close and personal with the local fauna like never before swimming with turtles in Akumal (from May to September), diving with bull sharks (from November to March), or spending some time with crocodiles in a cenote at night, an experience that only the bravest dare to do.
Whether with family, friends, as a couple, or alone,
dare to discover everything that Playa del Carmen and its surroundings have for you.