Introducing Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, now the third-largest city in Quintana Roo, is the trendiest spot on all of the Yucatán Peninsula. Sitting coolly on the lee side of Cozumel, the town’s beaches are jammed with superfit Europeans. The waters aren’t as clear as those of Cancún or Cozumel, and the beach sands aren’t quite as champagne-powder-perfect as they are further north, but still Playa (as it’s locally known) grows and grows.
Strolling down Playa del Carmen’s pedestrian corridor, Quinta Avenida (keen-ta; 5 Avenida), is a fabulous game of see-and-be-seen. La Nueva Quinta (New Fifth Ave) is also called La Zona Italiana for the number of Italians operating businesses there. It begins on Calle 22 and stretches north for 10 blocks.
The town is ideally located: close to Cancún’s international airport, but far enough south to allow easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Cobá and other worthy destinations. The reefs here are excellent, and offer diving and snorkeling close by. Look for rays, moray eels, sea turtles and a huge variety of corals. The lavender sea fans make for very picturesque vistas.
With daily cruise-ship visitors, Playa is starting to feel like a mass-tourism destination, but it retains its European chic, and one need just head two blocks west of the main strip to catch glimpses of the nontouristic side of things.
Best places to stay in Playa del Carmen
Off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen prides itself on being the anti-Cancún destination, and it’s true that the Riviera Maya beach town exudes a hipper, more laid-back vibe than gringo-friendly Cancún to the north. But make no mistake: Playa, as locals call it, is big-time touristy all the same...
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Playa Del Carmen destination guides
Tulum and Xel-Ha All Inclusive Day Trip from Cancun
Discover the mysterious beauty of Tulum and the stunning, natural Xel-Ha aquarium. This relaxing, all inclusive excursion from Cancun or Playa del Carmen will give you the opportunity to explore the spectacular Mexican landscape and natural aquatic life.
Best of Guatemala & Mexico
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