Planning a vacation in Playa del Carmen? We’re here to help!
Referred to by locals simply as “Playa”, Playa del Carmen is all about beautiful beaches, buzzy nightlife, and lush landscapes. Situated on the strip of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula known as the Riviera Maya, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Playa del Carmen has a reputation as a stylish destination. No wonder, as its compact downtown full of shops, bars, and restaurants make this town the ideal choice for a memorable vacation. Playa’s cobbled main street, Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, is the epicenter of life in the town both day and night and is a great spot for people-watching.
Playa del Carmen is easily accessible from either Cancun Airport, which is approximately 45 minutes away by car, or from the much smaller Cozumel Airport, which is a 45-minute journey by ferry from the island of Cozumel. Visitors to Playa del Carmen can expect pleasant temperatures all year round, but the town is at its best in late spring, when the beaches are quietest. Hurricane season lasts from June to September, so if you’re planning to travel during this period be sure to check the forecast.
Marvel at the magnificent Chichen Itza
Although Chichen Itza is a two-hour drive inland from Playa del Carmen, it is well worth the trip to see the remains of what was once one of the greatest Mayan cities on the Yucatan peninsula. Archaeologists believe that the rise of Chichen Itza as a major power started around 600 A.D. and continued until the 13th century when the Maya revolted against the rulers of Chichen Itza. Fortunately, the site has been very well preserved and provides an excellent insight into how the Mayan and Toltec people saw the world. The major monuments include the Pyramid of Kukulkan, known as El Castillo, which is a temple dedicated to the feathered serpent god Kukulkan; the Interior Temple, which is home to King Kukulkan’s jaguar throne, and the Great Ballcourt, which is one of the largest, most impressive, and best-preserved courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in the whole of Central America.
Swim in cenotes
Of course, the beach is a major draw for visitors to Playa del Carmen, but there is another option for anyone looking for a special spot to swim, snorkel, or dive. Cenotes – which are natural sinkholes in the limestone bedrock – are found all over the Yucatan peninsula, and while some are very small, others have become very popular with locals and tourists who come to enjoy the clear, bright-blue waters. Just 20 minutes’ drive from Playa del Carmen, you’ll find Cenote Jardin del Eden, one of the prettiest in the region, which is surrounded by lush greenery and huge rocks which are perfect for sunbathing or diving.
Explore bohemian Tulum
Located a little off the beaten path around an hour’s drive south of Playa del Carmen, Tulum is a laid-back, hippie-ish little town which makes for a great day trip destination. Like many towns on the Yucatan peninsula, Tulum has its share of Mayan ruins – the difference here is that Tulum’s ruins boast an unrivaled location overlooking the jade waters of the Caribbean Sea, and have over recent years become one of Mexico’s most emblematic images. Tulum is also home to the beautiful Paradise Beach, which is undeniably deserving of its moniker. Powdery white sands, picture-perfect palm trees, and crystal clear waters make this the archetypal tropical utopia.
Take a trip to Isla Cozumel
Though Cozumel is only 12 miles or so off the coast of Playa del Carmen, and reachable by ferry in just 45 minutes, the island has a distinctly Caribbean feel and a unique energy that make it well worth a visit. The main draw for many visitors to Cozumel is the island’s fantastic beaches and the opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Palancar Beach is a particularly popular spot, thanks to the reef located just offshore, which provides excellent diving conditions for beginner and more experienced divers alike. Cozumel is also home to some smaller – but nonetheless interesting – Mayan ruins, including El Cedral, which was once a fertility temple, and still holds religious significance for locals, and San Gervasio, which is thought to have been the location of the sanctuary of the Mayan goddess Ixchel. The best (and most fun) way to explore Cozumel is to hire a scooter in the main town of San Miguel, but it is also possible to get around by taxi.
Experience the luxury of our Playa del Carmen rentals
Make your trip to Playa del Carmen even more special with a stay in one of our luxury vacation rentals.
Plan your honeymoon in Playa del Carmen
If you’re looking for the ideal destination for a very important vacation, why not let us help you to plan the perfect honeymoon in Playa del Carmen? You’ll spend your days relaxing in the sunshine on tropical beaches, exploring Mayan ruins, and swimming in cenotes, while by night you can enjoy Playa’s excellent bars and restaurants. If you prefer bold, contemporary architecture, you’ll love our homes with clean, minimalist interiors. For those with more traditional tastes, our selection of villas at the Viceroy Riviera Maya might be just the ticket. Described as a “sexy, eco-conscious hideaway” by Travel + Leisure magazine, villas here feature amenities such as private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and hammocks strung under shady palm trees.
Beachfront vacation rentals in Playa del Carmen
To really make the most of your trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, book one of our beachfront vacation rentals in Playa del Carmen. With views of white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, you and your fellow guests are guaranteed a relaxing and memorable vacation. For smaller groups, we have homes that will accommodate up to eight guests and would be ideal for families and smaller groups, while other properties have space for 20 and would be ideal for larger gatherings and special events.