Playa del Carmen
Sometimes simply known as “playa” (Spanish for “beach”), Playa del Carmen is located in Mexico on the Yucatan Peninsula. It is approximately 20 kilometers west of Cozumel and 50 kilometers south of Cancun. Although Playa del Carmen is considered to be within the heart of the Mexican Riviera, its tranquil atmosphere lends this location to be perfect for anyone who is looking for a bit of rest and relaxation.
The Best Times to Visit Playa del Carmen
There are two major concerns which need to be taken into account when booking any reservation here. These are the annual monsoons and the hurricane season. Usually occurring between the months of July and November, such times should be avoided. Visitors will frequently choose to experience Playa del Carmen between the late winter and the middle of summer (up until the end of June). There are few storms, the weather is quite amenable and travel rates are likewise quite more flexible than if chosen during July or the holidays.
Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the major transportation hub which serves Playa del Carmen. However, there can be times when a visitor chooses to arrive at Cozumel International Airport. From here, one can take a quick ferry ride to Playa del Carmen. This is worth noting, for the rates to Cozumel International Airport may be substantially cheaper than those associated with a direct flight to Cancun. Major carriers include Jet Blue, Aeromexico, United Airlines and Delta. The average time for a non-stop journey from New York City is approximately 4 hours.
One of the best aspects of Playa del Carmen is that the lodging is relatively cheap when compared to larger cities. This arises from the fact that countless boutique hotels are all found within an agreeable distance from the beaches and the city centers. Note that those which are considered to be the best hotels are normally located a block or two from the beach itself. For those on a very strict budget, countless hostels are available and most are relatively clean and safe. Two in particular are said to be the most respectable. These are Hostel 3B and Hostel Che.
Things to do in Playa del Carmen
While it should go without saying that the beaches here are phenomenal, lesser-known attractions which are definitely worth a glance are freshwater sinkholes known as “cenotes” in Spanish. Most are open to the public and some are as deep as 200 feet or more. Due to the exceptional quality of the water here, these sites are perfect for exploring as well as diving. Some are the size of a lake while others can be just a few meters across.
Playa del Carmen is also known for its bustling nightlife (although not as hectic as Cancun). While most shops close at around ten in the evening, the majority of the bars and clubs will remain open until six in the morning. Some spots worth taking a closer look at are Santanera, Hotel Deseo, Coco Bongo and El Pirata. Perhaps the highest-rated property is the Blue Parrot. Fire shows, beach dancing and even built-in swings at their massive bar will provide what can only be called a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
While the nightlife is indeed impressive, it needs to be mentioned that Playa del Carmen also possesses some of the most beautiful natural regions in all of Mexico. It is for this reason that many eco-tours are available. A popular spot is known as the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is located only one hour from Playa del Carmen and is home to some rather unique species. This is also one of the largest nature preserves within all of Mexico. While the occasional jaguar can be spotted, visitors are more likely to see a variety of tropical birds and even a manatee or two. A few others locations which are all in close proximity to Playa del Carmen include Ria Lagartos which boasts stunning flamingos and Akumel; home to large sea turtles perfectly at home within their natural habitat.