Living in Playa Del Carmen-how to do it guide!

Living in Playa Del Carmen

Have you thought about moving away from home and becoming an expat in Playa Del Carmen? What is living in Playa Del Carmen like? We are sure you have lots of questions, so we attempt to give you a good overview of what Playa Del Carmen is like and what to expect.

What is living in Playa Del Carmen like?

Many people think about living in the Caribbean and sipping on a margarita, but what is life really like? Playa, as it is called by locals, is a very international city. Playa Del Carmen is unique in the way that it offers beach, access to so much culture and is modern. Being right in the middle of the Riviera Maya, Playa Del Carmen offers you access to many historic sights and Mayan communities. Playa also has easy access to the Cancun Airport.

A nice overview of Playa Del Carmen can be found in our welcome article here.

Living in Playa Del Carmen
Golden moment at Park Fundadores.

Packing before you move to Playa Del Carmen

Moving in general is a lot of work, but to another country? Well, it can be a lot of work, or it actually can be quite a cleanse. It all depends on how you do it. There are two ways people pack to move.

  1. Take everything you want including furniture and put it in a shipping container or moving truck and bring it to Mexico.
  2. The second way is sell or give away most of the things you own and bring only your favorite things and clothes.

Whichever option you choose you still will need to know what is best to bring. Here is a list of things we have put together if you are moving to Playa.

Where to live in Playa Del Carmen?

Do you want a great condo overlooking the ocean? Sure, don’t we all. But reality might budget another option for you. Playa Del Carmen has a downtown and then the outlaying neighborhoods.

Your first move might be renting for a while you look around. How do you look for a place to live? What is the rental market like here? We answer these questions in our rental guide to Playa Del Carmen.

The map below will help you see where you might focus your search for living in Playa Del Carmen. We also have articles on some of the neighborhoods in the city that will help you.

Living outside Playa Del Carmen?

If you cannot find what you are looking for in Playa Del Carmen, what about the surrounding towns? Here is a look at where expats have moved to in the Yucatan Peninsula. These options might give you something to think about or reaffirm your desire for living in Playa Del Carmen. Here is also a video and article about beachfront real estate in the Riviera Maya

Real Estate in Playa Del Carmen

If you are looking to buy a house or condo for living in Playa Del Carmen, then you will need to understand the real estate market. We have you covered in our Playa Del Carmen Real Estate Guide for you. We also have this article on recommended real estate agents in Playa Del Carmen for you. Since the buying process in Mexico is a little different, we wrote this guide for you. 

Living in Playa Del Carmen might mean buying something

To answer a lot of our readers questions, we put together this video. We talk about areas to live in, what condos are like and what investors look for in real estate plus a lot more. We hope you find it helpful. 


Living in Playa Del Carmen

Water, Electricity, Gas, Internet and Cable TV

Getting services set up is always a challenge when you move somewhere and there will be some hiccups no doubt here. Hopefully we can take some of the mystery of how these things work and how to pay for services. Here is a primer for living in Playa Del Carmen and how to get started.

Everything about the water in Playa Del Carmen

The City of Playa Del Carmen provides water to each residence. The water is for use in your home but it is not potable. How does this water come into your home? You can see our article on how the water system works in your home here in Mexico.

Most people will use the city water for cleaning but not for drinking cooking.  What is the truth about drinking the water in Mexico? See our article for a complete discussion.

Each month you will receive your water bill from Aguakan. You can pay this at Aguakan offices or at convenience stores like OXXO. For where to pay, you can see our article about Aguakan here.

Everything about the electricity in Playa Del Carmen CFE

There is one electric company for all of Mexico. This company is called CFE. Electricity in Mexico is fairly low in cost but it can get expensive if you don’t use it the best. To learn how to read your bill and keep it low, see our article here in CFE.

Living in Playa Del Carmen
What an electric bill looks like in Mexico.

Everything about gas in Playa Del Carmen

Most houses and condos use gas for heating water and cooking. Many homeowners and renters have the responsibility to call and have tanks filled with gas. There are about three sizes of tanks that are common at house. Zeta gas is a service that comes to your home to fill the stationary tanks.

To order gas you can call them or order on their website. If you don’t speak good Spanish, their website is pretty easy to use, and it works well to get them to come. Their website is

Cable TV and internet options and prices

There are two main options for cable TV and internet in Playa Del Carmen. Service is basically around 600 pesos for cable TV and internet for your home.

  1. Izzi (formerly known as Cablemas).
  2. Telmex Infinitum.

So how much cheaper be to live in Mexico?

We have a good article here that explains all the differences that you will see. For how much cheaper is life in Mexico, see our article here. 

Shopping in Playa Del Carmen

Once you are living in Playa Del Carmen you will need to go shopping. You may need to go shopping for furniture and home furnishings or it just might be grocery shopping. We have you covered in our huge Shopping Guide to Playa Del Carmen. The first half is mainly for tourist and the second half is for residents.

We cover bulk stores, small markets and specialty shops in Playa Del Carmen. If you need help after reading this guide just comment on the end of it and we will find it for you.

Crime in Playa Del Carmen

Each area of the world has things that you have to know about as a resident. Living in Playa Del Carmen comes with a few things to note. While Playa is a relatively very safe area, we recommend you read our article about issues if crime that effect those living here. It is nothing shocking but just an honest look at what crime residents face most and how to avoid certain situations.

Exploring around after moving to Playa Del Carmen

Once you are settled into living in Playa Del Carmen you might want to explore a bit. We have you covered with our interactive map on places that are a day’s drive or perhaps an overnight trip. The tours and places to go guide will show you where is possible to go. We will keep adding to this as well, so it is good to bookmark it for more tips later.

Playa Del Carmen is nicely situated in the middle of the Riviera Maya. That makes it easy to go to Cancun to go shopping, Tulum to the beaches or inland to see Valladolid or other colonial town or Mayan ruin sites.

We hope we have answered some of your questions on living in Playa Del Carmen. We are sure you have more. Feel free to comment below and ask away. We love hearing from our readers. Also use to search box on this page because we have hundreds of articles too that might help answer your questions.

Living in Playa Del Carmen

About The Author


    • Hello Mark

      That is a good question. Most people bring an unlocked phone or buy one here. Telcel is the preferred company to work with. You have an option to get a contract with a plan or just buy credit for your phone and you can recharge it at many stores. It will depend on how much data you use. Most people use WhatsApp and do not use too many minutes. If you don’t use much data you might get by with 200-300 pesos a month in credit or if you want something bigger you can get plans for about 600 pesos a month.

  1. We are very excited to be building our house and moving to Playa Del Carmen. I wanted to take a moment to thank you for this site. It is so helpful in many ways. I cannot tell you how much your honest and to the point information has helped us already in this moving process. Thank you so much and we cannot wait to be new neighbors.

    • Hello Steven

      Thank you for your nice comments and welcome to Playa Del Carmen! We hope we get an opportunity to meet you here.

  2. Hello,

    We just bought a house in Playa Del Carmen in February 2017 and we love being here. We are in Playa right now and we are really considering moving here to live here full time but we are not sure if it’s the best for our 13 year old son, who is in grade 8. Can anyone here help me with respect to schools in Playa for my 13 year old. Are the schools good in Playa. What is the best school in Playa? Would we be better of waiting until our son is older. Any input would be greatly appreciated. Happy and healthy New year to all of you 🙂

    • Hello Jolanda

      Mexico can be very simulating for young minds. More and more families are moving here with children of school age. One resource would be asking some of the locals in Facebook groups for Playa on school information. The good thing is that in the past few years schools have gotten better but some still prefer to school in other countries. We wish you the best with whatever decision you choose and thank you for reading the website.

  3. Hi there! I’m thinking of moving to Playa, but as a single 40 yr old female, am wondering if it’ll be easy to meet people/new friends? Or is it more of a community for families? Thanks in advance for your replies!

  4. Hi

    Very good information here.
    I really like this place , been renting here two times now.
    Do you know any good sites where i can see whats for sale?

    /Johnny from Sweden

    • Hello Johnny

      There are not sites that have everything listed because in Mexico we do not have MLS. That is multiple listing service. Each realtor puts things up and sometime they put other listings up that often have sold because they were listed with another realtor. If you like we can have some of our recommended realtors send you information on what is available and ask you what you are looking for so they can tailor it to what you want. Would you like that?

      • Yes that sounds great.
        I was in playa 5 weeks ago and drove around some.
        Around these google map cordinates 20.665021, -87.093385 they where building some.
        Im looking for a small place where 2 persons can live.


        • This area you mentioned is more of a local area and most are local developments. We did ask Sebastian to email you with some listings and you can tell him more of what you are looking for. We hope you find something you like.

          • Thanks.
            I dont mind live in local areas , im planning to move here Jan to Mars every year.
            I think i rather prefer to live with locals , i find mexicans very easy going and social.
            How do i get in contact with owners/builders in that area?

          • It is best if you like one developement to go to the office at the developement. Most realtors that work with foreigners don’t sell there because there are often a lot of set up with finishes to the houses and most of the sales are done inhouse.

  5. Hello, this website is incredibly helpful. We have been to visit twice and considering buying a house. We are interested in being about 1 mile from the beach (walkable distance for us), and prefer a local neighborhood rather than a large scale condo community. Our price range is $75,000-150,000. Do you have an opinion on the Balam Tun Sak and El Cielo neighborhoods?

    • Hello Robin

      Thanks for reading the website. Here are some thoughts. One mile may be walkable but wait until it is hot out, that gets pretty far to walk in the sun let along taking things to the beach. Balam Tun is a good area on the map. The houses are a little older, so figure in cost of electric work and remodeling. El Cielo is more upscale. You wont have as many Mexican neighbors. A lot of expats like that neighborhood. On the south end of town you might like Bali and the Bamboo neighborhood behind Centro Maya. For all of these you will need a car to get around. The south end does not have good access to the beach by walking.

  6. I am ready to move to Playa del Carmen! If we get past this virus I am ready to start living my life in the sunshine. I don’t want to live in winters again!

  7. hi ther, what is the average price to rent a place for 2persons in playa del carmen a month? we are moving here in about a month, my husband and i have about $ live off of until we find jobs.

    • Hello

      Most month long rentals are vacation rentals, so these tend to be more upper end units. This can be 1000 USD and up. It is good to look at airbnb and look for month long rentals. You might find something out of the center but still close to everything that will work for you. Somewhere between 800-1200 USD for the month would be good. Make sure you read reviews so you know exactly what to expect since you cannot really see it before you arrive.

  8. I very happy to find your website. I have been thinking of living in Playa del Carmen for some time now. I love the euro feel with the beach and close to things. Hopefully this year it will happen for me.

  9. Hello! We are working with a realtor to buy a vacation rental/someday home. What do Americans do for insuring their properties? I am assuming using a Mexican insurance company. Any tips appreciated

    • There are Mexican insurance companies. Most of the time it is just for catastrophic damage. It is not worth it to report every little thing because you most companies will consider you a problem client. If you are renting it out through airbnb you have some coverage which can work well if you have everything documented. Some people do not have insurance. Mexico is not an insurance crazy country. For example if your sidewalk is uneven and someone falls, no none is going to sue you. Some people do not have insurance on properties. Replacing windows and smaller things is less then the yearly payment for insurance. One good insurance place that expats like is this one. They are based in Merida but it does not matter since it is online and still close by.

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