Playa del Carmen, located on the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula in Quintana Roo state, is considered one of the top beach towns in Mexico. Its popularity as a tourist destination is due to its wide range of activities and attractions.

Photo of Playa del Carmen beach

What Makes Playa del Carmen Special

Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, charming boutique shops, and convenient location near historic sites. It’s also the perfect base for exploring nearby cities like Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum.

With a variety of accommodation options, including adult-only and family-friendly resorts, budget-friendly hostels, all-inclusive retreats, eco-lodges, and trendy boutique hotels, there’s something for every type of traveler.

Whether you’re looking for relaxation, adventure, or cultural experiences, this destination has it all. And despite its thriving tourism, Playa del Carmen maintains a laid-back atmosphere that sets it apart.

Airplane photo

Getting There

The most common way to reach Playa del Carmen is by flying into Cancun International Airport (CUN), which offers direct flights from major cities in the U.S.

The drive from the airport to Playa takes around 45 minutes, as Uber services are not available. Instead, travelers can choose from shuttle, taxi, private car, or rental car services at the airport.

If you’re visiting Cozumel and want to take a day trip to Playa del Carmen, there’s a 30-minute ferry ride available.

Photo of Paradisus Walkway to the beach

When to Go

Playa del Carmen has a tropical climate with consistently warm temperatures ranging from 75-85 degrees throughout the year. However, there are distinct seasons that visitors should be aware of.

The most popular time to visit is from December to April, with minimal rain, clear skies, and warm temperatures. July and August are also considered peak season, as it coincides with the U.S. summer break.

However, the weather during these summer months can be hot and humid with frequent rain showers. For a quieter experience, consider visiting in May or early June when the weather is still pleasant with occasional showers.

September to November is also less busy, but keep in mind that hurricane season typically runs from June to early November. In addition to weather, visitors should also be mindful of “sargassum season” which typically occurs from May to August. During this time, large amounts of seaweed can accumulate on the beaches.

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Photo of Mariachi Band at Xcaret

Choosing a Hotel

Playa del Carmen offers a diverse range of hotels to suit every traveler’s needs. When selecting a hotel, it’s important to consider the location as each area offers a unique atmosphere and amenities. Those looking for easy access to shopping, dining, and nightlife should opt for hotels near Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue).

For a luxurious stay, Maykoba is an excellent choice. The North Riviera Maya has expansive all-inclusive resorts, while the South Riviera Maya offers a more natural setting. And Playacar is a great option for families.

Additionally, Playa has over 15 hotels with 500+ rooms and ample event space for meetings and incentives, as well as boutique hotels for a more intimate setting.

Photo of ocean near Xcaret

Things to Do

Playa del Carmen offers a wide range of exciting activities for visitors. Some options include:

  • Discover La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), a bustling 20-block pedestrian street lined with an abundance of shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
  • Venture beyond the city to explore ancient archeological sites, such as the Mayan ruins in Tulum and the renowned Chichen Itza – one of the 7 Wonders of the World – just a couple of hours away.
  • Spend a relaxing day at the beach and indulge in water sports.
  • Take a refreshing dip in the jungle’s crystal-clear freshwater swimming holes known as cenotes.
  • Explore the vibrant marine life through scuba diving or snorkeling.
  • Embark on food tours and taste tequila, the signature drink of the region.
  • Immerse yourself in nature parks like Xcaret.

So don’t hesitate, get ready to experience the beauty and excitement of Playa del Carmen.