Playa del Carmen, located just over an hour south from Cancun, is a lover's wonderland with incredible white-sand beaches, funky shopping, nightlife galore, dining options from casual chains to french bistros, and tucked-away neighborhoods lined with swaying palms.
This walking-friendly city is perfect for exploring on foot. The vibrant pedestrian-only shopping district known as 5th Avenue is a long, cobblestone-lined street with a huge array of fun restaurants, bars and shopping, all closeby to the white-sand beach.
A bit off that more crowded path, up near 38th Avenue, you'll find a quieter area with higher-end cafes and cozy restaurants, garden-like plazas and even more shopping to get lost in. Playa is a perfect day trip from Cancun, but once you discover all the nooks and crannies of downtown, you might decide to book a hotel and stay a few days!