Top Things To Do In Playa Del Carmen Including Travel-guide, Attractions, Restaurants, Cheap Hotels, Good Places To Visit.
1. Stroll down Fifth Avenue
2. Visit the Parque de los Fundadores
3. Go to the beach
4. Take an excursion to Cozumel Island
5. Visit archaeological sites
6. Swim in a cenote
7. The Frida Kahlo Museum
8. Approach the beautiful colonial city of Valladolid
9. The Municipal Palace
10. Just getting lost
11. Come visit Cancun!
12. Eat like there's no tomorrow
13. More plans to do in Playa del Carmen: theme parks
14. Enjoy the night at the beach
15. Other excursions to do in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen
Do you want to know what things to do in Playa del Carmen? Well, get out a pencil and paper, here you will find a lot of plans to fully enjoy your visit.
This Caribbean city is perfect for a relaxing vacation, and also for basing and excursions in the Riviera Maya. Likewise, we recommend that you spend a few hours taking a good walkthrough of things to do in Playa del Carmen and discovering some less touristy things to do in Playa del Carmen ...
We tell you which are the best 15 things to do in Playa del Carmen and its surroundings, accommodation recommendations for different budgets, and all the options to get there. We started!
Playa" was born thanks to the fact that there was the port to take the boat to the island of Cozumel. Little by little, it evolved from a fishing village to what it is today: one of the most famous things to do in Playa del Carmen.
We thought it was going to be a very touristy things to do in Playa del Carmen with little charm. Although the first cannot be denied, the reality is that we were super comfortable, we had a great time and we did not find inflated prices, no insistent sellers or poor quality food ... quite the opposite! In fact, we would go back tomorrow!
On the other hand, as we said at the beginning, it is a perfect things to do in Playa del Carmen (and perhaps more comfortable than Cancun, due to its size and location) to base and visit Bacalar, Tulum, Valladolid, Chichén Itzá, the islands ...
For all this, we encourage you not to get carried away by prejudices and make the most of your stay in this coastal city next to the Caribbean. Are you coming to discover the best things to do in Playa del Carmen?
We could not start this list with any other point than Fifth Avenue, the heart of Playa del Carmen.
This commercial and leisure street, about 4 kilometers long, runs from Calle 3 Sur to Calle 40 Norte. It is the liveliest area of Playa, where there are plenty of restaurants and hundreds of stalls and shops for all tastes and pockets.
Although there is also an atmosphere during the day, walking Fifth Avenue at night is a must things to do in Playa del Carmen.
To the south, very close to the port and the beach, is the modern Paseo del Carmen shopping center (where you can find from the typical Inditex stores to other international brands such as Tommy Hilfiger). Almost at the end, you have another shopping center, Quinta Alegría, which is right in front of the Mayan Fountain.
stroll down fifth avenue playa del carmen
Our one of favorite things to do in Playa del Carmen is, without a doubt, the Parque de los Fundadores.
Located right at the beginning of Fifth Avenue, practically between the tourist bus terminal and the beach, not going through there during your days in the city is really complicated ... you can't miss it, you'll see.
This pleasant square is ideal to sit quietly to enjoy the view, the atmosphere, the climate of the Caribbean… come on, of life! In addition, there you can also discover some of the most interesting things to do in Playa del Carmen:
parque de los fundadores playa del carmen
Are you going to go to the beach and not go to the beach? Okay, let's draw a thick veil over this bad joke ...
Just behind the Parque de Los Fundadores, you have a fairly long beach, facing the calm Caribbean with transparent waters. It is not the most beautiful or the quietest ithings to do in Playa del Carmen, but to spend a relaxing afternoon or to cool off for an hour, is plenty.
This beach is totally free, and safe for tourists. Even so, it never hurts not to take valuables if you plan to leave the towel "alone" for a while.
Bear in mind, of course, that in this area there are usually problems with sargassum. This is a type of seaweed that usually reaches the shores of the Mexican Caribbean, especially in spring, in exaggerated quantities. This can be annoying for travelers, and even dangerous for marine ecosystems. In case you are interested, we leave here more information about sargassum in Quintana Roo.
Going to see Cozumel is the point on the list of things to do in Playa del Carmen that bothers us the most not being able to comply. We really wanted, but in the end, due to lack of time, we could not square it on the trip to Mexico in two weeks.
Everyone who goes speaks wonders of this island about 20 kilometers from Playa. Next time we won't miss it!
If you are going to include it in your visit things to do in Playa del Carmen, you have two options:
The first is to take the ferry at the Maritime Terminal, next to the beach and the Fundadores Park; You will see that it has no loss! The trip takes about 45 minutes, and there are several companies that do it.
If you don't want to worry about transfers, here we leave you this day trip to Cozumel from Playa del Carmen that includes the roundtrip boat and transfers from your hotel to the port and vice versa. Once on the island, you can move at your leisure and do whatever you want, such as bathing on the beaches, enjoying the restaurants, or reaching the Celarain lighthouse, the easternmost point things to do in Playa del Carmen. You also have the option of adding a snorkeling tour and food.
Cozumel Island, Cozumel, Mexico
As we told you at the beginning, things to do in Playa del Carmen have a privileged location on the Yucatan Peninsula. From there, you have the three most famous archaeological sites in the area a stone's throw away, so why not include them on your list of visits things to do in Playa del Carmen?
Chichen Itza, the best known, is also the farthest, 185 kilometers. Tulum and Cobá are closer: 65 and 110 kilometers, respectively.
Personally, we recommend going (if you can) at three. Not only are they super interesting from a historical and cultural point of view but they are also imposing buildings surrounded by nature. Beautiful and very photogenic!
That said, it is clear that Chichén Itzá is a Wonder of the Modern World, and that Tulum, next to the Caribbean, has an unmatched position. Cobá is a hidden gem in the middle of the jungle, less touristy and not so well preserved, and that is what gives it its charm!
If you have little time and do not want to give up any, you can sign up for this private day tour of Chichén Itzá Cobá and Tulum. Be clear that you are going to get beaten up, but hey, that's better than staying with the desire, right?
Whichever you choose, keep in mind that no pyramid can be climbed anymore. Do not forget to bring cool and comfortable clothing, sunscreen and a cap or hat, as well as water and a snack.
Well, well, well ... but how cool is bathing in a cenote? For us, it was one of the top experiences things to do in Playa del Carmen through the Yucatan Peninsula. Someone tells you that, before going, she thought she was going to be scared and she wasn't going to put more than her feet in one ...
The cenotes closest to Playa del Carmen are the Garden of Eden and the Blue. They are about 25 kilometers away, in the area of the large all-inclusive hotels.
The cenotes around Tulum, or even Valladolid, are not far away either. Come on, what do you have to choose from!
Without a doubt, bathing in at least one cenote should be a mandatory thing to do in Playa del Carmen. We are sure that you will like the experience a lot! In fact, if for anything (ahem, the temperature of the water, ahem) you don't feel like bathing, surely just looking and enjoying these incredible works of nature will be worth it.
You can create your own route with the car or sign up for this day trip through the cenotes of the Riviera Maya. You have an updated price and more details here below:
The last option is the one we chose: to combine the visit to different cenotes with archaeological sites or other nearby places of things to do in Playa del Carmen. For example Cobá and the cenotes of Tamcach-Ha and Choo-Ha, Chichén Itzá and the Ik Kil, Valladolid and the Suytun cenote ... If you prefer not to drive, here we leave you an excursion to Tulum and the cenotes of Chikin Ha with snorkeling.
Who doesn't like Frida? Although the most famous Mexican artist was from the beautiful neighborhood of Coyoacán, in Mexico City, where her famous house-museum is located, the Riviera Maya is the Riviera Maya and she was not going to be left without a place to pay tribute (and, incidentally, earn little money) a la Kahlo.
It is a tiny place, in which, obviously, the works of Frida Kahlo are not exhibited, but objects and images related to the artist.
At the top, there is a delicious restaurant, overlooking Fifth Avenue and Mexican cuisine with a modern touch. At the entrance, the famous Frida Kahlo graffiti, which you have to photograph yes or yes if you are as much a follower of the painter as we are.
Although we love Frida, her work, and everything she represents, visiting her museum was not one of our priority things to do in Playa del Carmen. Our trip to Mexico in two weeks was still in the capital, where we were going to fulfill our dream of visiting the Blue House of Coyoacán, which we loved!
We believe that going to this museum can be an interesting thing to do in Playa del Carmen if this time you are only going to visit the Riviera Maya and you like or are interested in Frida. Thus, you "kill the bug" until you can go to Mexico City. You will tell us!
Museo Casa Estudio Diego Rivera y Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, San Ángel Inn, Ciudad de México, CDMX, México
Colonial architecture is, for us, one of the most beautiful things to do in Playa del Carmen. As you can imagine, the Riviera Maya, being a place more focused on tourism and with few cities, is not the best place in the country to see colonial towns ... Now, we have a plan b!
The beautiful city of Valladolid, in the state of Yucatán, is only 140 kilometers from Playa del Carmen. In less than two hours, you will be able to visit places such as the San Bernardino de Siena convent, the Calzada de Los Frailes, the Main Park with its imposing Cathedral, or the Zaci cenote. For us, one of the most beautiful things to do in Playa del Carmen, and there is competition!
If you want to know Valladolid, keep in mind that it is less than 50 kilometers from Chichén Itzá, and in the same direction. Although it would be advisable to spend a whole day on it, if you go just, combining both places can be great.
Valladolid, Yucatan, Mexico
So far we have talked about all those "typical" or more touristy things to do in Playa del Carmen, and of course, they are enjoyed a lot. Even so, if you dare to take a walk around the "town" area, we are sure that you will be left with a great taste in your mouth ...
The Municipal Palace of Playa del Carmen is just 500 meters from Fifth Avenue. The building, all white and with the typical colonial-style arches, although its true jewel is inside. In the central courtyard, circular in shape and lined with palm trees, a whole side is occupied by a beautiful and impressive mural, which somehow reflects the history of the municipality.
We had no problem going in and taking a couple of quick photos. Even so, keep in mind that it is a place where civil servants work and that you have to be discreet and polite. For the same reason, it would not be strange if, at some point, they do not let you pass.
To complete the visit, take a walk around the wide square it is in, known as Andador Solidaridad. There, in addition to palm trees, you can see several arches (one per population of Solidaridad, the municipality to which Playa belongs), and the statues of the marriage formed by Andrés Quintana Roo and Leona Vicario.
The first was the politician from whom the state in which the Riviera Maya is named, and she was, in addition to one of the first Mexican journalists, who collaborated with the insurgents in the Mexican War of Independence. Come on, they deserve that and more, don't you think? Here we leave you more info about Quintana Roo and Leona Vicario.
In the same square, they celebrate parties, concerts, demonstrations ... And there are also some colorful letters from I love things to do in Playa del Carmen, although they are on the wall, they are not like the ones in the Parque de Fundadores. The 3D Museum of Wonders is also across the block. As we do not visit it, here we leave you the official website of the museum.
We're not going to lie to you: We didn't even know this square, so of course, it wasn't on any list of things to do in Playa del Carmen. We found him going to Walmart (which is on the next block), and thank goodness! Because we liked it a lot.
municipal palace mexico
Continuing with the less touristy, or different things to do in Playa del Carmen, we suggest that you “get lost”. As is well.
It is not a matter of going to a suburban neighborhood, but we are fortunate that leaving Fifth Avenue already a little, you can find areas that are one hundred percent local. And is that who does not like to discover the "other side" of these well-known places?
Of course, and although we always feel totally safe it things to do in Playa del Carmen (and in Mexico in general), we recommend that you take this walk during the day and limit yourself to the surroundings of the tourist area.
Another thing that has become super fashionable in the city of solidarity is urban art or street art. Right now, you can find it (almost) wherever you look, and there are really incredible works. Full of color and focused, above all, on marine images or those related to the Mayan culture, it is worth opening your eyes wide because they are a cool one!
With Frida's permission, the most famous things to do in Playa del Carmen are that of marine animals on a turquoise and pink background, by the artist Senko. It is on the right side (if you look at it from the front) of the Playamart store, in front of the Parque de Los Fundadores. You will see that it has no loss ... Enjoy!
Although it is not the capital of Quintana Roo (this title is taken by Chetumal) nor the most populated city in the Yucatan Peninsula (Mérida wins, by a little), Cancun is, without a doubt, one of the most famous and tourist things to do in Playa del Carmen.
About 70 kilometers separate Playa del Carmen from Cancun city, and a little more from the hotel zone, so why not go for little visit things to do in Playa del Carmen?
If you go there, you will be able to enjoy beautiful beaches (such as the Delfines, the most famous), a lot of shopping for all budgets and even an archaeological zone, El Meco, on the outskirts.
Cancún, Quintana Roo, Mexico
It could not be missed! It is impossible to talk about things to do in Playa del Carmen, or anywhere in the Aztec country, without naming its unbeatable food.
Mexican gastronomy is not only one of the richest in the world, but it is also an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO. Millions of types of tacos, fish chicharrón, delicious cakes, grasshoppers, tropical fruits, paletas, Mexican ceviche (originally it is one of the typical dishes of Peru, let no one be angry) ... of course, always washed down with a good beer or michelada and, to top it off, a tequila. Come on, the list would be endless!
Some of the restaurants about things to do in Playa del Carmen are:
If you want, you can also sign up for this taco tour in Playa del Carmen. For 3 hours, you will visit local markets, taquerías, and snack shops to try authentic tacos and Mexican food, with a guide. There is also an option for vegans.
Taqueria El Fogón
La Famiglia Pizzeria
Less than 10 kilometers south of Playa del Carmen you will find the largest and most famous nature and leisure park in the Riviera Maya, Xcaret.
Located in the middle of the jungle, in the place where formerly there was a Mayan commercial city of which today there are ruins (managed by the National Institute of Anthropology and History), Xcaret is a theme and ecological park.
Although we were not there due to lack of time, we have read that there are a lot of restaurants there and that adventure and themed activities are held, focused on the Mayan world and, in general, on Mexican culture. There are also different conservation programs for the local flora and fauna, especially the sea turtle.
As a curiosity (not to say gossip ), we tell you that in Xcaret weddings and events can also be celebrated. There, for example, Paulina Rubio and Collate were married, and apparently Mayan ceremonies are also celebrated.
To visit Xcaret, you can do it by car, on your own (although it is always recommended to buy your ticket in advance here, especially in high season) or sign up for this one-day excursion to Xcaret, which leaves free time but includes transfers entrance.
Very close to Xcaret, there are two other visit things to do in Playa del Carmen that may interest you: the Xplor Adventure Park and the Río Secreto cave.
In the first one, you can ride an amphibious car and zip line, go through caves and caves, rivers, do an obstacle course ... You can see more information and buy your ticket to Xplor with transfers and equipment included here.
In the second, on the other hand, you will travel the longest underground river in the Yucatan Peninsula for one kilometer. You can sign up for this excursion to Río Secreto with transfers and guide included, or arrive on your own and buy the entrance with a guide.
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
Going out at night is one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen since there are options for everyone.
If you are more like going out to dinner and taking a walk (like us), you are going to enjoy a lot of the atmosphere of Fifth Avenue while you eat or have a drink in one of its cities. The beach area and the Parque de Fundadores are also ideal to sit down and eat ice cream or drink coconut in peace, while you enjoy it with the privileged climate of the Mexican Caribbean.
If, on the other hand, you want to party, in Playa, there are a lot of pubs and discos. The most famous is the Coco Bongo (in case you are interested, here you can get your skip-the-line ticket, with an open bar and go to the VIP area), but there are many venues, with all kinds of music and public.
As things to do in Playa del Carmen, there is tourism all year round, and it comes from different countries, the hours are very wide. The march begins around eight in the afternoon and lasts until three in the morning.
Of course, as we would do in any other place, we recommend caution. Alcohol is not expensive, and there are usually happy hours, an open bar ... but don't go overboard drinking, please!
If all the options that we have given you throughout the post have "known you little", or if you have enough time and want to make the most of it (what envy!), Here we leave you other day trips from Playa del Carmen.
Keep in mind, yes, that although all these things to do in Playa del Carmen are incredible, they are further away. Therefore, the ideal would be to spend more time or to start from closer points. Although, as you already know, there are times when time is short and there is no choice but to "squeeze" the activities to fit the trip, right?
Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Also, Look Mexico Travel Guides
Playa del Carmen