Things to know before you go…
Not to sure what to expect in Playa del Carmen? Do you have questions about the Cancun Airport, is Playa del Carmen safe, questions about the currency used in Mexico or just looking for general information? You have come to the right place.
Playa del Carmen is said to be “the fastest growing city” south of the United States and we would agree. The once sleepy village of Playa del Carmen doubled twice in population in the last few years. In the 1980′s, it was a fisherman’s village, with unpaved roads and little known to tourists. Due to it’s beautiful beaches, turquoise waters, lovely warm weather and proximity to the US and Canada, Playa, as it is known to the locals, has now become a “must-do” on anyone’s travel list.
Visitors from all over the world has resulted in foreigners setting up roots and deciding to call Playa home. The strong foreign influence has created a unique vagabond traveller ambiance. Combine that with a relaxed Mexican-Caribbean feeling and a sprinkling of North American free- spirits and you’ve got Playa. It’s definitely not the place to ‘get away,’ but it is a place to enjoy marvellous beaches by day and a lively night-life in the evening. The mix of backpackers, archeological buffs and New Age sun worshippers makes Playa very interesting and worth some time.
Playa del Carmen town is in the center of a region called the Riviera Maya. We are 68 km (42 miles) south of Cancun, and 64 km (41 miles) from Tulum.
If you are visiting from Cancun, you have a couple of options. Take a taxi, grab the ADO bus, or the Playa Express colectivo.
If you are visiting from a hotel in the Mayan Riviera, you can grab the colectivo (shuttle mini-bus) on the 307 highway, or take a taxi.
Once in the center of town, pretty much everything is walking distance. The avenues run parallel to the beach: 1st, 5th, 10th etc. up until the main highway which would be 50th. The calle’s (k-eye-yay) run perpendicular to the beach and in the north side, run in two’s with even numbers (2, 4, 6, etc.) and in the south part run in two’s with odd numbers (1,3,5 etc.).
One main road into town, Ave. Juarez, separates the north part of the town and the south part of town. It also leads you right to the ADO bus station where you can connect with other cities throughout Mexico, but the most popular are Cancun, Tulum and Merida.
The ferry dock to Cozumel is steps away from Juarez. A round-trip ferry ride costs about $24US per person and will get you over to the island in about 45 minutes.
5th Avenue is the pedestrian street that brings Playa some fame. Here you will find shops, flea market type stalls, restaurants, bars and cafe’s. You can also head along some of the sidestreets for even more shopping. It begins just south of Juarez at the Paseo de Carmen shopping area and runs through town. Until now, it has been developed through until Calle 44, but plans are to eventually extend until Calle 80!
Hotels in Playa del Carmen
In Playa del Carmen, you will find hotels for every budget.
Beachfront hotels include the 5*, adults-only THE Royal, the palapas of the Mahekal, the luxury condos at Playa Palms, or the family friendly Gran Porto Real.
In addition to beach front options, there are choices within 1 block of the beach or a little bit farther. Hostels, boutique hotels, posada’s and other hotels are available in Playa del Carmen.
Playacar is a gated community just south of town. It has several all inclusive resorts, most set on the pristine beach in the area.