Playa del Carmen is located about 68 km away from Cancun, and in the heart of the Mayan Riviera. It’s an ideal place to stay because it has all the facilities and easy access to many tourist attractions in the area, but also, a few blocks from the center or Quinta Avenida you can enjoy quiet places that will make you feel like a local.
During my stay in Playa (which was very short) I felt very comfortable, and I was really looking forward to exploring the place and everything it has to offer.
Below, some of the reasons why I could go live in Playa del Carmen!
1. PLEASANT CLIMATE
I come from a tropical country, so being in Playa I still felt in my environment. It can get quite hot, but nothing that a visit to the sea, pool or cenotes does not solve!
The average temperature throughout the year ranges from 20 to 32 ˚ C.
It should be noted that the hurricane season begins in June and ends in November, But Playa and the area of the Riviera Maya have rarely been seriously affected by these phenomena.
2. FEWER TRAFFIC JAMS
If I compare Playa del Carmen with the city where I live, or at least with other larger cities in Mexico (DF for example!), It would definitely be a relief to live there. Because during the time I stayed, the level of traffic did not even reach the minimum level of traffic jams I live every day.
3. FRIENDLY PEOPLE
If you want to meet friendly people, you can find them throughout Mexico; and even though Playa is extremely multicultural you can always count on a person to guide you in the right direction, to greet you and thank you; and also try to help you as much as they can in what you need.
4. EASY TO MOVE AROUND
Quinta Avenida is the backbone of Playa and from there you can access several popular spots such as shops, restaurants, museums, clubs, bars; and also has various accesses to the sea and beach clubs like Mamita’s Beach Club. It’s a must to take a walk along this important pedestrian street that is always full of life and activity.
Additionally, it’s very easy to move around Playa del Carmen to other points of the Mayan Riviera and the Yucatan Peninsula, and best of all, very affordable. Bus and taxi services are good, but also you can walk around within Playa or drive to different areas or towns.
5. BEAUTIFUL PLACES TO VISIT
The Mayan Riviera extends along the Mexican Caribbean coast, from Puerto Morelos to Punta Allen south of Tulum. Playa del Carmen is in a perfect location because from there you can visit beautiful beaches, natural sanctuaries, do various activities, and especially: you can find many vegan options!
I highly recommend that you visit the Mayan Riviera and its surroundings; Here are some of the points of interest that you can see:
Tulum Archeological Zone
Tulum is located just 63km from Playa del Carmen and 131km away from Cancun.
One of the cheapest ways to get there is by boarding one of the buses that stop on Calle 2 Norte and Avenida 20, very close to Quinta Av. The cost is around 40 MXN and they are quite frequent. ADO buses also have a route to the ruins and you can make your reservation online, but they have less frequency and the price is around 70 MXN. At the end of this post, I will leave a link with more information on how to get to Tulum.
Tulum is a place full of history. So far, they are the only Mayan ruins that have a view and access to the sea, so take advantage of that and dip in its beautiful turquoise waters after you’ve explored around.
Try to visit as early as possible because the place gets quite crowded.
The area of Tulum conserves a lot of its natural environment, there is a great offer of hotels so it would be very good to be able to explore more the area and stay longer if possible. The vegan restaurants in Tulum also provide an important reason to opt to stay longer.
And if you are not convinced, take a look at these pictures!
Coba and Chichen Itza
Another impressive archaeological site is the ruins of Coba, located about 44 km from Tulum.
They are special because they are surrounded by natural lakes and in addition, they are still allowed to climb, unlike the ruins in Chichen Itza.
But also, from Playa del Carmen you can easily go to the famous Mayan city of Chichen Itza either by bus or driving.
Cenotes and their crystal clear waters
From the first time I heard about the cenotes, I always felt a fascination. The area of the Yucatan Peninsula has dozens of these natural sinkholes throughout the region.
The term cenote is only used in Mexico and comes from the Mayan word “dzonot”, or abyss. For them, it represented an entrance to the underworld and a source of life for the important resource they provided.
If you visit, you should definitely swim in its beautiful and fresh waters! They are also a great spot for snorkeling or scuba diving.
Some of the popular cenotes are Cristal, Xkekén, Ik Kil, Dos Ojos, Cristalino, Cenote Azul, El Eden, among others.
Cozumel is an island very close to Playa del Carmen and can be easily reached by taking the ferry that sails from the pier in Playa, where several companies offer their services.
It offers a good option for a day trip because in this beautiful island you can also enjoy spectacular turquoise water beaches, lush nature, archeological sites, and if you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving then this is the perfect place for it because of its Incredible underwater life.
Beach, beach and more beach
There is over 150 km of coastline to choose from! So it is possible to visit a different beach every day. Either in Playa del Carmen with its several beach clubs, Akumal with the cute turtles or the majestic turquoise beaches of Cancun, Isla Mujeres or Tulum. You’re the owner of the choice.
Sian Ka’an Reserve
If what you want is to venture into the jungle, then a tour to Sian Ka’an can be very attractive since it’s the largest protected area of the Yucatan peninsula and the Mexican Caribbean. This natural sanctuary is located south of Tulum and you can find beautiful coral reefs, lots of marine and terrestrial fauna, different types of habitats and natural attractions such as virgin forests, cenotes, mangroves and even sand dunes.
Cancun and other stunning places
The city of Cancun is very close to Playa del Carmen, but in my opinion, it’s a bit more crowded and chaotic. However, if you are not staying in Cancun any day then it’s s worth going to visit that city at least one day because there are also interesting things to see and they have some vegan restaurants with yummy food. To see more details about Cancun go to the link I made about it in Cancun: Vegan Travel Guide.
In addition to Cancun, the Yucatan Peninsula has very beautiful and interesting towns and villages that unless you stay for several months is very difficult to know or even visit. For example Isla Holbox, Bacalar, Mérida, Valladolid, among others.
Besides Cancun, the Yucatan peninsula has very beautiful and interesting cities and towns such as Holbox Island, Bacalar, Mérida, Valladolid, among others: but unless you stay there for a while, it may not be possible to visit every place.
6. EXCELLENT VEGAN FOOD OFFER
Sometimes when you travel, it’s not always possible to find places with so many restaurants that understand the concept of veganism and offer options for this type of travelers. Luckily, Playa del Carmen was not one of those cases! While I was doing my usual research I could find many places that were very interesting and offered delicious food.
I had a list that included many restaurants, and even though I tried to visit as many as possible, I couldn’t try them all so it will remain pending for the next time.
To learn more about all the things I ate during my stay in Playa and what you can try there, check out my next post! ⬇
- How to get to the ruins of Tulum
- How to get to Coba
- How to get to Cozumel
- How to get to the Sian Ka’an reserve
I hope you enjoyed this little review about Playa del Carmen and the things that can be done around the Riviera Maya, is definitely a wonderful place that is worth visiting and those who live there are very fortunate.
For any questions or comments do not hesitate to leave them below and as always, I invite you to follow me on my social networks to find out about my latest adventures.
* * Note: Why I didn’t visit XCARET, XELHA and similar?
All the travel guides I consulted suggested that I could not miss a visit to these parks, all my acquaintances who had visited the Mayan Riviera recommended them to me. The truth is that the parks looked great and super fun to spend an entertaining day. But there was something that didn’t convince me at all… The fact that they also feature the “swim with dolphins”show and keep animals in captivity, although it’s advertised as an eco-touristic and sustainable place.
Part of me was not comfortable with it and I decided to investigate a little bit more, I consulted with other vegan people of the locality to know more details about these parks, and finally I made the personal decision not to go, because I do not like to participate, or attend places where animals are used for entertainment. I feel that it is more enjoyable to interact in a different way with nature.