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Playa del Carmen Visitor's Guide

playa del carmen beach just north of ferry pier

Playa del Carmen is a cosmopolitan town located on the Caribbean Sea about 35 miles South of Cancun in the heart of Mexico's Mayan Riviera. The town is small enough where you can walk just about anywhere you need to go. The location of Playa del Carmen and its nearby attractions makes this the perfect holiday destination for a Caribbean Vacation.

Lodging runs the gamut from youth hostels to upscale, boutique hotels available in all price ranges. There are over one hundred Playa del Carmen hotels to choose from and all are within town and walking distance to the beach.

A myriad of dining options ranging from roadside taco stands to upscale, fine-dining restaurants line 5th Avenue, downtown's pedestrian walkway. Enjoy local Mayan cuisine or choose from a variety of international eateries, including Italian, French, Argentinian and Thai restaurants. For local dishes venture up Juarez Avenue or past 10th Avenue to sample authentic Mexican food.

A typical day in Playa, as the locals call it, can be spent relaxing under an umbrella propped along the breathtaking Mayan Riviera beaches sipping a margarita. The azure sea is the perfect temperature for a swim, and the ocean breeze is steady enough to keep you cool. Seaside bars and restaurants are located all along Playa del Carmen beaches and are the perfect place to kick off your shoes and enjoy lunch with your toes in the cool, white sand.

During the afternoon, you may browse the many shops and markets along 5th Avenue. Banks, pharmacies, one-hour-film developing, liquor stores and supermarkets are located downtown and nearby.

After dinner at an palapa-roof restaurant, there are plenty of fun bars on the beach and in town where you can kick back with an ice-cold cerveza and watch live music. Listen to rock, reggae, folk, mariachi, and Mexican bands all around town and dance to live Salsa music at the Mambo Cafe.

Playa is located in the perfect location and there are many opportunities for day trips from Playa del Carmen to explore Mayan ruins, snorkel, swim in a cenote (underground cave), or explore the charming island of Isla Mujeres.

Modern public transportation systems make it easy, and affordable, to explore the Riviera Maya from Playa del Carmen. Hop on a bus and explore the ruins at Tulum, Coba or Chichen Itza. Catch a collectivo bus to snorkel the lagoons at Xcaret or Xel Ha. Take the ferry to Cozumel and dive in the world-famous reef. Busses from Playa del Carmen to downtown Cancun depart every 15 minutes.

If you prefer a more serene atmosphere, Akumal and Tulum are a short distance away. You might want to spend a day visiting the historical churches and buildings of colonial Valladolid.

Playa del Carmen is the perfect location with its close proximity to everthing the Riviera Maya has to offer.

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