Do's and Don'ts in Playa del Carmen Mexico

Beaches, cenote, Mayan ruins and much more: if you are planning a trip to Mexico in this post you will find mine favorite things to do (and those I strongly advise against) to Playa del Carmen.

What to do in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is a fun and lively beach town in the Yucatan peninsula which over the years, also thanks to the many resorts, is becoming more and more popular.

Whether you are a do-it-yourself traveler, or simply you are spending a week of sun and relaxation in a resort, there are so many excursions and activities that in my opinion are absolutely not to be missed.

Many activities can be done directly on site and by public transport. However, Playa also offers a series of tours (which you can see here for example) organized that, if you have little time and little desire to beat you, are the ideal choice.

Beware of that it is often best to book online: Playa is very touristy and tour prices are often inflated.

Do you want to discover the Mexico truer and more authentic by relying on atrusted local agency?
For a personalized and tailor-made itinerary fill out the form which you can find by clicking on the blue button below and telling us a little about yourself and the journey you would like to experience.
One of our expert Mexico consultants will contact you within 48 hours to assess your needs and create the perfect tailor-made itinerary for you! If you don't receive the email please check your spam folder, we may have ended up there.Yes, I want my own tailor-made itinerary!

1 - Relax at Playa del Carmen beach

Playa del Carmen beach during the seaweed invasion. Fortunately, they are gone now

At the top of the list of things to do in Playa del Carmen of course it couldn't be missing enjoy the beach?

Although the marine erosion here has done some damage in recent years (lately there has also been an invasion of algae) and even if frankly the beaches of Tulum are much more beautiful, there are also some quiet places in Playa del Carmen. in which to sunbathe, swim and, why not, drink a fruit cocktail.

A well-known place to relax in the sun is the Mamitas Beach Club. Here you can rent deck chairs and umbrellas and participate in lots of sea activities, such as jet skis, sailing and parasailing.

If you prefer a quieter place, you have to go to the surroundings of Playacar.
To get there, walk a few minutes south from the dock where the ferry to Cozumel departs.

There are certainly fewer tourists here but there are also no services for which you need to bring a packed lunch.

All Playa del Carmen beaches are public not like in Cancun where many beachfronts are for resort guests only.

If you get away from the chaos of Playa, the beaches of Akumal and Tulum they are easy to reach and much quieter.

2 - Visit the Rovine Maya

Mayan ruins of tulum: turtles nest on the beach below

The Maya were the first inhabitants of the Yucatan before being conquered by the Spanish explorers.
La their presence and influence are rooted in the culture, in the food, beliefs and architecture of the region.

Le antiche rovine Maya di Tulum they are located just an hour south of Playa del Carmen and are a must visit as they are the only Mayan ruins on the sea. In fact, Tulum was once a small but important port city for the Maya.

Just below the impressive cliffside ruins is a small beach on which sea ​​turtles nest.

Unless you arrive early in the morning or late in the evening the ruins of Tulum can be very busy, because this is a very popular destination and from a certain time onwards, organized travel buses start to arrive and turn over groups of tourists.

In addition to Tulum there are also absolutely to visit le rovine at Coba which are also much less touristy (but in my opinion less beautiful).

Coba is a vast complex of ancient Mayan paths, roads and ceremonial structures. Nohoch Mul Pyramid it is the tallest temple and can still be climbed. The best is to rent a bike to tour the ruins.

The view overlooks the dense, green Yucatan jungle and makes you wonder what the Mayans thought as they looked at all this greenery around.

Colectivos, or local buses, run non-stop all day from Playa to the Tulum ruins.

Many agencies also offer combined tours Tulum, Coba and stop in a cenote: taking part in tours such as questsi you will have the opportunity to visit three unmissable places in one go comfortably and without going crazy on public transport.

Chichen Itza instead it is very far from Playa del Carmen and it is impossible to get there in the day by public transport.

Better to take part in a organized tour like this, but get it online because Playa agencies often charge absurd prices.

3 - Trip and snorkelling on the island of Cozumel

Snorkelling and diving are a must!

Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Playa del Carmen known for its pristine beaches.
Ferries depart directly from the Playa del Carmen pier. If your hotel is within walking distance of the beach, the ferries are within walking distance.

You can buy the ticket without any problems either at the ticket office or from the vendors along 5th Avenue.

The cheapest one I found was the Mexico Waterjet (about 4 euros), but before buying, look around and check the various prices of the different companies.

The ride takes about 35 minutes so you will have all day to spend on the island.

Lo snorkeling it's one of the best things to do in Cozumel.

You have two choices: the first is to go independently, rent a vespa or scooter on the island and go snorkelling in different spots.

The alternative is to buy a package from some agency that includes everything, including the rental of the necessary equipment.

The best snorkeling spot in Cozumel is there coral reef of Palancar.

5 - Swim or dive in a cenote

Diving nei cenote!

What is a cenote? It is an underground cave filled with fresh water.
These natural sinkholes and caverns are found all over the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Maya thought they were sacred and used them for ceremonial rituals. Today, they are popular for snorkeling, swimming, free diving (where permitted), and scuba diving.

Cenote Azul, Jardin del Eden, and Cristalino are cenote near Playa del Carmen, while Gran Cenote, Dos Ojos, and Cenote Ik Kil are among the most popular.

If you have the Open Water certification, you can go diving in these caves with the guide.

If, on the other hand, you really want to dive but you don't have a diving license, don't worry, you can do it anyway: read my post Diving in the cenote without a diving license.

Not a diver and don't want to dive? No problem. You can also snorkel in most cenote!

6 - Shop, eat and drink on 5th Avenue

In Aveida 5 you can buy anything, even a sombrero for you and your 4-legged friend!

After spending the day at the beach, in the water or exploring ancient ruins, spend a few hours in the center of the nightlife e of tourism in Playa del Carmen: 5th Avenue.

Hundreds of shops, restaurants, bars and clubs line this pedestrian zone. If you are looking for a family-friendly place, a place to eat, to buy local clothes, mini-sombreros for your dog (really!), You can find it on 5th Avenue. Yes, it's totally touristy, but it's a good place to buy extravagant souvenirs for friends and family.

On Avenida 5 there are excellent restaurants: in one of them I ate an amazing burrito (veggie!)

And since we are in Mexico and the Mexican food in the Yucatan is cheap and delicious, I recommend 3 special restaurants in Playa del Carmen.

If you are looking for some real tacos, check out The Fogon (Avenida Constituyentes, Quintas del Carmen, 77720 Playa del Carmen). It's a hangout for locals. The place is super simple with plastic chairs and blaring Mexican TV, but order 3 or 4 tacos, a cold beer and you'll be in heaven.

I personally loved it too The Tapas & Company on Calle 10 Norte between 15th and 20th Avenue.

Instead for something exclusive and special, go to Alux, a restaurant built inside an underground cave. The name already says it all: the alux are mischievous supernatural spirits that protect the sacred places of Mexico.

For after dinner, why not try an excellent craft beer? To the Beer Club there is a choice of beers from all over the world!

7 - Get the diving license

With coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and a multitude of colorful and tropical fish, Playa del Carmen is a great place for both snorkelling and Diving.

In addition to the cenote mentioned above, there are a lot of places to go diving in the sea: some you can find them by yourself, in others you can go with some agency (and with a boat you can go to much less crowded and more beautiful places)

Some of the most popular spots are green wall (Green Wall) e Turtles near Playa del Carmen itself, Gorgonians down near Akumal, Palancar Reef e Santa Rosa Wall off the coast of Cozumel.

There are plenty of diving schools in and around Playa del Carmen, so if you've always wanted to get your Open Water Diver certification, Playa del Carmen is the place to do it!

8 - Experience adventures, thrills and adrenaline

Want to zip line or swim in an underground river?

Or are you like me and prefer caving and rafting? Xplor it is the right place to do all this and is located not far from Playa.

If you want a day full of adventures, thrills and adrenaline this is where you have to come.
I advise you not to go to the much vaunted Xcaret, which if you are an animal lover, should be avoided.

Don't miss out on Rio Segreto which can only be accessed with a guided tour.

Explore the dark caves, descend between the stalagmites and be amazed by the complex shapes that Mother Nature can create.

9 - Visit the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve

Fortunately, mass tourism has not yet reached the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve and, thanks to its protected area status, this is one of the few places where it is possible to have a genuine encounter with the wonderful fauna of the Riviera Maya.

Tour groups in Sian Ka'an are limited and it is always best to book a few days in advance to secure a spot.

The reason the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site is said to be its diverse fauna: Sian Ka'an is home to over 300 species of birds, 400 species of fish, 100 mammals and 40 amphibians.

10 - What to do in the evening: Coco Bongo Nightclub

What to do in Playa del Carmen in the evening? Well with all the clubs that are there you will be spoiled for choice

Playa del Carmen's nightlife is fun, but not as crazy as in Cancun.
However it has a special nightclub called Coco Bongo which I think is worth visiting.

Partly a stage for shows, partly a nightclub, flying acrobats, imitators of successful movie characters and rock stars perform on the stage.

A different and fun evening, to be enjoyed with a large glass of mexcal in front of you.

Each ticket includes open bar open all night so take lots of photos because the next day you probably won't remember what happened!

11 - Swim with turtles in Akumal

Who wouldn't want to swim with sea turtles? You have the chance to Akumal beach, 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen.

The shallow blue-green is home to the Green, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead sea turtles that you can swim with.

To visit Akumal, the cheapest way is to take a colectivo taxi to Tulum from the stand located on Calle 2 Norte between Avenida 15 and 20 in Playa del Carmen. Tell the driver to drop you off at Akumal

Attention that given the damage that lately the influx of people has generated to the environment, since 2017 things have changed and this information that I am giving you may no longer be very reliable. Inquire first!

What not to do in Playa del Carmen

One of the things not to do: buy protected coral or shells

And here alas the sore point. Mexico and Playa del Carmen in particular, as well as Cancun, are places to unfortunately animals are still exploited (badly) for the amusement of tourists, as if they were toys.

I have already written of my bad experience in Isla Mujeres, but also in Playa del Carmen I had the confirmation that a certain type of tourism is unfortunately still very present.

Try to avoid taking pictures along 5th Avenue with chained tiger cubs or monkeys.
Avoid picking up a shark to take a picture of yourself to post on social media.
Do not buy protected shells and corals: among other things, in the best of cases they will be seized from you at the airport or you will get a fine or have to pay a bribe.
In short, avoid all activities based on the exploitation and trade of animals and marine species.

If you want to learn more I recommend you read this post written by great travelers about tours that exploit animals.

In short, even if you are only spending a week in Mexico and don't feel like renting a car and wandering around, Playa del Carmen is a great destination to base yourself on to explore a part of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Do you want to discover the Mexico truer and more authentic by relying on atrusted local agency?
For a personalized and tailor-made itinerary fill out the form which you can find by clicking on the blue button below and telling us a little about yourself and the journey you would like to experience.
One of our expert Mexico consultants will contact you within 48 hours to assess your needs and create the perfect tailor-made itinerary for you! If you don't receive the email please check your spam folder, we may have ended up there.Yes, I want my own tailor-made itinerary!
Audio Video Do's and Don'ts in Playa del Carmen Mexico
add a comment of Do's and Don'ts in Playa del Carmen Mexico
Comment sent successfully! We will review it in the next few hours.