Travel  |  See all articles tagged beaches exploring-tourism or in region Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo Maya Riviera

The magic of Playa del Carmen on Mexico's Maya Riviera

Sergio Wheeler

A paradisiacal town on Mexico's Maya Riviera can be found just a 45-minute drive from the Cancun International airport. Less known, but no less beautiful, Playa del Carmen has a lot to offer, and has become a popular destination for tourists from all around the world.

Most of the action in Playa del Carmen happens on 5th Avenue, a 20-block pedestrian street, two blocks from the beach. Here you can find a large variety of shops, hotels, bars, restaurants and boutiques. During the day, it is a great place for shopping. In addition, there are stands representing the main attractions in the area, where you can book tours. At night, 5th Avenue becomes a unique scenario full of light, color and social interaction.

Hotels in Playa del Carmen range from boutique hotels with theme rooms filled with art to world-class all inclusive resorts to small rustic hotels. In the same way, shops offer options that range from traditional Mexican arts and crafts to world-renowned designer fashions.

Regarding mobility, there are options that vary in prices and lifestyle. Taking a cab tends to be pricy but it's a good option when parking becomes an issue. Car rentals are also available and tend to be a better option for sightseeing along the Yucatan Peninsula. There is a segregated bike lane along 10th street (one block from 5th avenue). Bicycles can be rented at a modest price and are an ideal way to move around short distances. An even more economical option to move around long distances is public transportation. Brand new air conditioned vans will take you from Playa del Carmen to Tulum and other archeological sites for around as little as $35 pesos per person.

Theme Parks and Activities on Mexico's Caribbean Coast

Theme parks abound. Tours can include both the entrance fee and free transportation from your hotel when booked at the different booths installed on 5th Avenue. Besides the main tourist attractions, there are other less commercial and equally amazing places to get to know.

If you drive slowly along the highway from Playa del Carmen toward the Cancun International airport, you can find small wooden signs that indicate there is a cenote nearby. Cenotes are natural circular sinkholes in the limestone subsoil. They often have caverns and passages that interconnect them, and usually are filled with water. They exist with different shapes, sizes, depths. Entrance fees go from 15 to 40 pesos per person to visit these natural landscapes unique in the world.

A few feet beyond the entrance to the Tulum ruins, you will find a paradise of white sand beaches and celestial blue waters. Unimaginable landscapes can be enjoyed on virgin beaches, far away from civilization. These are ideal to relax and let go, enjoy the scenery and disconnect from the routine.

Among the main theme parks some of the most recognized for their beauty and tourist attractions are Xcaret, Xel-Ha and Xtremo.

You can also ask in the tourist stands about snorkeling. Playa del Carmen has several nearby beaches, where you can rent snorkeling equipment. For an unforgettable experience, hire a boat to local beaches where you can snorkel with wild sea turtles.

In addition to tourist attractions, you'll find a world of activities in Playa del Carmen. In fact, it is considered by many to be the cultural version of Cancun — a not-entirely-tourist-oriented city on the Maya Riviera.

Published or Updated on: June 30, 2011 by Sergio Wheeler © 2011
Contact Sergio Wheeler
All Tags