Playa del Carmen, a popular tourist destination in the Riviera Maya, is the ideal place to spend your vacation days enjoying turquoise-colored beaches, delectable Mexican cuisine, and a buzzing nightlife.
If you have more time, day trips to the Yucatan Peninsula's wonders, including its amazing cenotes, archaeological sites like Tulum and Chitzen Itza, theme parks like Xcaret, and endless activities that will fill your trip with culture and fun, are another of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen is the perfect place to use as a base to see the main attractions of the Riviera Maya, as it has an unlimited supply of hotels and restaurants and is located midway between the popular tourist destinations of Tulum and Cancun, each of which is about an hour's drive away. It is recommended to arrive at Cancun's international airport, which is approximately an hour's drive away, to reach Playa del Carmen.
The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is between November and May, as it rains less during those months. But, in modern times, it is also vital to investigate the presence of sargassum on the beaches, as on recent occasions it has covered the Mexican coasts.
Visit Punta Esmeralda
After seeing the city center, you may cool down at the Playa del Carmen, which is close to Park de los Fundadores and is known for its vibrant environment both during the day and at night.
We advise driving or walking to Punta Esmeralda, a white sand beach with picturesque palm trees that is full with residents to enjoy a day with the family enjoying a picnic, if you are searching for more peace and a more lovely natural setting.
The freshwater cenote that rises from the sand and the spectacular sunset are additional features of this free beach.
The island of Cozumel, which is only 45 minutes away by boat from Playa del Carmen, is renowned for being one of the greatest locations in the world for snorkeling and scuba diving since it is so near to the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the second biggest reef in the world.
The easiest way to see this popular tourist destination, which is overrun with cruisers in peak season, is to hire a motorcycle or a buggy and go about Cozumel to avoid the busiest places.
Taking a bath in a cenote
A swim in a cenote, whether open, semi-open, or underground, is unquestionably one of the top things to do in Playa del Carmen.
These caverns provide a soothing dip in fresh water as you take in the intriguing stalactite and stalagmite formations that were formed as a result of underground rivers eroding over the fragile limestone bedrock.
See the Tulum ruins
To get to Tulum, you can rent a car and drive from Playa del Carmen to one of the most impressive Mayan archaeological sites.
In order to see the Tulum Ruins almost alone and to have two hours to admire amazing stone buildings like the Gran Palaci before finishing with a dip in the clear waters of the beach at the base of the castle, we advise coming at 8 am.
During a tour of the Riviera Maya, Playa Paraiso is one of our favorite stops, and if you have extra time, you can walk there in about 15 minutes. You may have a mojito or supper at one of the beachside restaurants there.
Take Chichén Itzá in awe
Another must-do in Playa del Carmen is to visit Chichen Itza, the most well-known Mayan ruin in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
This Mayan archaeological complex, which will take you between 3 and 5 hours to explore, is less than 2 hours away by vehicle and has significant structures including the Temple of the Jaguar, the Ball Game, and the well-known Pyramid of Kukulkan.