Destination Overview

Playa del Carmen, located just over an hour south from Cancun, is a lover’s wonderland with in-credible 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 restau-rants, bars and shopping, all close by 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, gar-den-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!

About Playa Del Carmen

At a Glance

  • There are 16 beaches at Playa del Carmen. You can go swimming, snorkeling, kayaking and boating in the crystal clear waters. And relaxing on the beach is something of an art form here.
  • Playa may be quieter than Cancun but it still has a vibrant night life, with clubs that stay open all night. Coco Bongo has some of the most spectacular shows.
  • Fifth Avenue is the main tourist thoroughfare, lined with boutiques, handicrafts stores, bars and restaurants and wandering musicians serenading passers by.
  • When you want a change from urban buzz, head off to the Rio Secreto (Secret River) to ex-plore the world of hidden caverns and waterways.
  • Take a day trip to see the archeological site at Coba. The remains of the Mayan city date back a thousand years.
  • There are plenty of cenotes and zip lines in the area for a day of adventure.
  • There are a wide range of accommodations, from luxury hotels and all-inclusive resorts in Playacar in the south to condominiums, boutique hotels and lodges.

Honeymoon Hints

  • Swim with the turtles at Akumal beach, a marine life sanctuary.
  • Treat yourselves to a performance by Cirque du Soleil at the Vidanta Theater. The theater was built specifically for the show Joyà, inspired by Mexican culture.
  • Surprise your partner with a candlelit dinner on the beach.
  • Enjoy a day’s sailing on a catamaran along the beautiful coastline.
  • The only thing more romantic than a gondola ride is a sunset and dinner cruise on a gondola-type boat.
  • Every romantic holiday needs a relaxed spa day. You’ll find a range of wellness treatments in-cluding yoga on the beach, state-of-the-art spa treatments and, temazcal, which is a traditional Maya sweat lodge.

Travel Tips

  • GETTING THERE: The nearest airport in Cancun International Airport (CUN). ADO abuses run between the airport and the terminals in Playa. You can also rent a car at the airport.
  • GETTING AROUND: You don’t need a car to get around Playa but it is useful if you want to visit other attractions in the area. Local bus and taxi services are available.
  • MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: If you’re planning to get married here, make sure you meet all legal requirements. You’ll find all information on marriage regulations here (link: