5 Things To Do In Playa Del Carmen That You Will Regret If You Don’t Do It

The beach in Playa Del Carmen

5 Of The Best Things To Do In Playa Del Carmen

So you are coming on vacation and you want to know what things to do in Playa Del Carmen. Certainly there are things that are “a do not miss“. It is good if you read this before you come on vacation to the Riviera Maya because you just might kick yourself for not knowing about it. Some of these are a bit generic but we have detailed information about each one that can help you. See if you like any of these things to do here. If you have any other suggestions, let us know in the comments below.

#1 Hit the beaches but not just the main beaches

Go to the beach! After all that is one of the biggest reasons you choose Playa Del Carmen as a destination. There are the 5 best beaches in Playa Del Carmen that we recommend but did you know that there are some pretty nice beaches just outside of Playa Del Carmen? We have a guide to the best beaches in the Riviera Maya here. We also have an interactive map to help you find them.

Best things to do in Playa Del Carmen
This is the beach in Playa Del Carmen just north of the Cozumel Ferry Pier.

#2 Explore the past with a visit to some Mayan ruins

Visit some Maya Ruins. This is something that is unique to this area of the world and there are several to choose from. These are amazing not only because they make good photo ops, they also hold thousands of years of history. If you take a tour to visit one of the ruins you will most likely be stopping at a second stop which can hold something interesting to see. To help you choose what Mayan ruins are best for you to visit we have a guide here for  all of them in this article.

Here are the top 4 Mayan ruins to visit:

  1. Chichen Itza
  2. Tulum
  3. Ek Balam
  4. Coba
Muyil Ruins things to do in Playa Del Carmen Mexico
Muyil ruins site just south of Tulum. One of the lesser known Mayan ruins in the area.

#3 Party hardy! Well, at least enjoy the nightlife!

Get our there! We mean go out at night and explore the vibrant nightlife Playa Del Carmen offers. There is world class entertainment, bars, and clubs for you to experience right here in Playa Del Carmen.

Things to do in Playa Del Carmen in the day

Playa Del Carmen does not just party at night. There are some fun things to do in Playa Del Carmen in the day as well. Here are some options.

  • If you like going to the beach and like some electronic music you might like Mamitas Beach Club. This is the most popular beach club in Playa Del Carmen. You can got to the pool here or you can rent a beach chair.
  • If you want a daytime club, which is a beach club you can check out Coralina Daylight Club. This is like a nightclub but in the day. There is a DJ and small pool. This is a young and upscale club at the beach.
  • There are many bars that are open from the early afternoon until the evening. Having a margarita in the afternoon can be very relaxing. For the most active bars in the day you can try 28th Street between the beach and first avenue and 10th Street between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. See more in our Bar Guide to Playa Del Carmen.

Things to do in Playa Del Carmen at night

Playa Del Carmen comes alive at night! With world class clubs and events you cannot go wrong with a night on the town. Here are some things to do in Playa Del Carmen at night.

things to do in Playa Del Carmen Nightlife
Packed 12th Street full of people looking to dance the night away.

#4 Visit and Eco Park for the day

Go to one of the big eco parks. These parks are some of our favorite things to do in Playa Del Carmen. They offer fun filled days and a unique experience. You also might learn something, but shhhh, don’t tell your kids. The three biggest are Xcaret, Xel Ha, and Xplor. We will give you a brief description of the three below.

Xcaret Park

This is the biggest of the parks. Xcaret has a very full day of activities for you. Here are some of the things to do here:

  • swim in underground rivers while exploring the park.
  • see shows throughout the park during the day.
  • see animals and an aquarium.
  • visit an amazing bird aviary.
  • discover the ancient past and visit a Mayan town and cemetery.
  • Stay for the grand show at the end of the night.

Xel Ha Park

This eco park is all about swimming and snorkeling all day. This park is a full day of activity with all food and drinks included. To read more about Xel Ha park see our article here.

Xplor Park

This is the most active of all the parks. Xplor has a fun filled day in line for you. Here are the things you can do at Xplor:

  • two zip line routes.
  • paddle in boats in underground caves.
  • drive 4 wheel jeeps in the jungle.
  • swim in underground rivers.

To read more about  Xplor and how you can save money on tickets, see our Xplor article here.

#5 Get off the all inclusive hotels property!

All inclusive hotels are beautiful and provide a park like atmosphere with everything you need to enjoy your vacation. But there is a lot to explore just outside of the walls. You can come here and have a nice relaxing time  by the pool and eating at the buffet but if you knew what things in Playa Del Carmen you missing you just might regret it.

We put together a fun interactive map that lets you know what is close by and what tours and excursions you might want to go on. See our tours and places to visit from Playa Del Carmen article here.

What are your favorite things to do in Playa Del Carmen? We would love to hear from you in the comments below.

Ojos Mayas Tour Riviera Maya Mayan Tour
Visiting with the traditional herbal doctor and learning about the local plants. 


  1. Although it’s not in playa we love to go to Isla mujeres. COCOS Culinary classic a must if you enjoy cooking and learning about Mexican food, the difference between tequila and mezcal, and having a great time meeting new people. We love wah wah beach bar as well as Las Tabenacos and Bar Ranita

  2. Hi we are just planning out trip and find your site really helpful in what things to do in the area. It can be hard at first with so many sites and information. It looks like there is too much to do when there.

  3. I just read through your list and have to agree that cenotes and Xcaret park are great things to do when in Playa. We go to a different cenote mainly near to Tulum and also to Xcaret with our kids each year. Tey are always updating the park and we find it different each year.

  4. We love going to the roof tops bars in Playa del Carmen. The view from Catch is really nice and the drinks are perfect combination. We also like The Palm Hotel for the pool. It is great for a day or relaxing.

  5. We don’t know why anyone would come to Playa Del Carmen and not go to the beach, but we love to start our days there. It is the best thing to do in Playa Del Carmen. We even found the small coffee shop down by the Cozumel Ferry Pier that has fresh croissants in the morning. Perfect times in Playa!

  6. One thing we always like doing in Playa Del Carmen is walking 5th Avenue at night and going for an ice cream. So many places to see and lie street music and art. It is one of our favorite places to visit.

  7. Hands down, get out and explore!!! There is so much in the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan. It is a very safe place to explore and this site helps people easily finds the good stuff. Please do more then just stay at an all inclusive hotel. Please take tours and explore on your own. Many small businesses need your support. Do not just give your money to large hotels that are big chains.

    • Small businesses can give you surprises. Big chains must maintain standards. Actually it doesn’t matter either way. We exploit the poor Mexican just the same. Or maybe we should just stay home.

  8. We love spending time on the beach near Wah Wah beach club. The days go by so fast but the service is so nice there and we appreciate the good value of going to the beach.

  9. We went diving off Cozumel and have to saw it was some of the best diving we have ever done. There are some marvels out there and many hidden and not so hidden gems in the Riviera Maya.

  10. We are always impressed with the high level of restaurants that are in Playa del Carmen. We like to select a few to spend a few nights out at. We enjoy a wide range of food and it really makes our vacation special.

  11. We love Coba ruins. This was one of our favorite things to do on vacation there. The trees and jungle make it feel like a real adventure and not so hot. The renting of the bikes gives you a nice perspective to see the ruins.

    • Hello Florian
      We love Coba ruins too! The biking is a great way to the ancient Mayan site. We recommend this to many of our readers and friends that come to visit.

  12. I think too many people focus on the beach. Playa is much more than that. You have good hotels, roof top pools and good places to go out. Plus Playa is always changing and evolving.

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