Moving to Playa Del Carmen guide for everything you need to know

moving to playa del carmen

Have you thought about moving to Playa Del Carmen Mexico? 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 moving to 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.

To get a nice overview of Playa Del Carmen can be found in our welcome article here.

Moving to Playa Del Carmen
Sundays are for going to the beach with families and friends.

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. Here are two companies that do shipping. Home – Hyde Shipping , Linea Peninsular – Linea Peninsular (
  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.

Moving and storage in Playa Del Carmen

If you are already in Playa Del Carmen and need to move to another location or store things, here are two resources. 

There are multiple places that have storage in case you need some space. These are at a premium and often have a waiting list. So it is good to plan ahead if you need storage. Here is one place we wrote about for storage in Playa Del Carmen.  

If you need to move things locally, some of our readers like this service. Movi Fletes is a local company that can move things for you. Their number is 984-186-1520. 

Setting up your visa for moving to Playa Del Carmen

It is possible to move to Playa Del Carmen and stay on a tourist visa but there are there are limitations with this. Most tourist are given 180 tourist visas for entering Mexico, but it not always given. Immigration can give other amounts of time. There are also benefits of having a visa for living in Mexico that will make it easier. Things like getting a drivers license, registering a car, importing your belongings, opening a bank account, and other things are all made easier with residential visas.

It is possible to do the process yourself but many often want help navigating the process. One of the best and most recommended immigration specialist in Playa Del Carmen is Milly Arceo. You can read more about her in our article as well as see her website and contact information.

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.

Real Estate info for moving to 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 an article on recommended real estate agents to work with.

If you are interested in building your own house here, see our article here with lots of little details to think about.

Our video to help those moving to Playa Del Carmen area

Since moving to Playa Del Carmen might involve buying something on the real estate market, here is a video we put together for our readers that might be helpful in orientating you with the market. 


moving to 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.

moving to 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

Trash service and recycling

Trash is usually collected daily from dumpsters or street side pickup. Daily pick up is important in the tropical climate where the heat can make trash go bad fast. Because trash service is so frequent you might want to use small bags like the ones you get your groceries in. This will recycle your bag and you will not need to purchase many trash bags.

At the moment all trash goes out together and there is no separation of recycling. There are random recycling places around Playa that can make you feel better about doing your part. There is however a very informal recycling network. People go through neighborhoods and go through the trash pulling out cans, metal and whatever they can recycle or use. Usually these are very poor individuals and one nice thing you can do is set things aside from the dirty trash. For example if you have some old clothes or a useable household items, you can set them besides the trashcans. You will soon see how fast these things disappear and you can be assured that someone is enjoying it.

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 know as Cablemas).
  2. Telmex Infinitum.

There are a few small services that provide internet for areas of Playa Del Carmen that do not have good coverage of the above two mentioned companies. These companies do not have a good reputation nor is the service the best. If internet is important to you, you should take this into consideration when moving to Playa Del Carmen. Since the city has grown so fast, coverage of cable and internet is not available if some neighborhoods.

Getting around in Playa Del Carmen

One factor you have to think about when moving to Playa Del Carmen is transportation. Some people like to live here without a car because it give you the freedom. Many people choose moving to Playa Del Carmen because the center is so walkable. So what options do you have if you don’t have a car?

moving to Playa Del Carmen

Shopping after moving to 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 days 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. There is so much to explore here that even after years of being here, we still have a long list of places to visit. Best of all, many places are not well know and there are little surprises around every corner.

Expats guide to travel around Mexico

When you get settled in you might want to discover the new country you live in. Mexico has many great destination. Here is our expat guide to how to travel and where to go in Mexico.

Meeting new friends after moving

Part of getting situated is meeting new friends. It has been said by many that it can be harder then you think. With a transient population and language difficulties, it can take time. Here is our article about where to meet likeminded people the best places to meet people in Playa Del Carmen.

We hope we having answered some of your questions on moving to 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.

Moving to Playa Del Carmen
Park Fundadores is just one of the places you can visit after moving to Playa Del Carmen.


  1. I will be moving to playa in october and I have no idea what I have to do to get myself and my house set up

    • To start with, what are you bringing? Will you come with furniture? Are you renting to buying? Is tour house new? If you are not coming with a lot of things you might want an interior decorator to plan out rooms and do that work for you. We have a good one on our site that speaks English and gets good comments. If you have just bought a place your realtor should be able to guide you to setting up your water, electric and gas for your place

  2. What are schools like there? We have a 5 & 8 year old. We currently live in Arizona. Are there english speaking schools or bilingual?

    • Hello Vince

      In recent years schools have gotten better and more options. There are bilingual schools. We have. Ot written about all of them but a good option is to ask parents in this area their opinions of the schools and what they like and don’t like from each one. The faceboook group expats and locals is a good place to ask because there are parent there.

    • Did u end up moving to playa del carmen? If so I would love to ask u a few questions as we also have kids and want to move there.

  3. Plan to move to Playa Del Carmen in the next year. Overall plan is to rent a 2 bedroom condo. Initially, we would love to find a great house sitting situation for the first 6 months.

    • Hello Joe

      Playa is a little different then other place in Mexico where people come for 6 months and then go home. Playa is more a place people come and then rent out their places on Airbnb or through management. We don’t really know of anyone that has house sitters but we hope you find something that works for you.

  4. Hello,
    Thank you so much for your well written article I found it very informational. I am currently in herbalist I make medicine from herbs and almost everything else. Here in America we live by an allopathic medical system which I do not believe in that is why I’m seeking to live somewhere else where homeopathic and allopathic are options for the citizen. I’m hoping wherever I go I’m able to continue my herbal business so I was wondering if you know anything about this what kind of medicine is relied upon within the community are there herb shops? is it respected? I know that degrees are required for working at hospitals and professional clinics but are there Small Time medicine men medicine women that people go to to get medicine? Any information on this from a local would be truly appreciated. Thank you

    • Hello Alyssa

      In Playa most of the traditional medicine is fading away or not really practiced. There are “grandmas” cures from tea and things but more serious doctors, no. You have to go to the more traditional parts of the Yucatan Peninsula. You have to remember that the state of Qroo was only made in the 1970’s and most people living here have moved here. Is some small towns in the Yucatan there is the regular hospital and then behind it is a Mayan doctor with herbal medicine. The use of traditional medicine is alive and well. In fact in Campeche there is a school of traditional medicine. In Tulum and Playa you can find a low of people looking for herbal/holistic cures and treatments but many are not based on local traditions.

  5. We are going to the Hard Rock hotel in Rivera Maya in October. Is there anyone there that could give us a brief tour before we catch our flight back home ? We will be returning the 22nd.

    • Hello Tim
      We dont have someone full time that is availabel to show people around. If you drop us a note in October and we can see if we can set something up for you.

  6. What is going on with the internet service? Will I be able to access favorite game sites, Facebook, order clothing from the USA..?

    • In general the internet service is good. It does depend on where you live though. Since Playa has grown so fast the services to some area are not good. Some neighborhoods only have satélite internet which is not greet. In the center of Playa you can get good service with Izzi internet.

  7. Great article. thank you … so helpful!!! If you need to updated it or when you updated it please email an update link! yay!

  8. my wife and i will be moving to playa in a few weeks, so many things to do before our move. we decided to sell all our furniture and house hold items, not sure if we want to drive because of the requirement and limitation of vehicle. we are renting for 1 year, and looks like the best way for us is to continuing renting property. we are applying for work visa as we are real estate agents. got 3 pups so we are getting a pet friendly property. suggested by friend to fly with our pups two are service animals and 1 is in training. any advice from seasoned transplants that we might want to know.

    • Almost welcome to Playa! A full welcome when you arrive. Here are a few details for you. Be sure to check with the airline if they are allowing dogs to fly now. Some in the summer months do not allow pets to be transported in cargo due to temperatures. Renting a while is good to get to know the land. So you have already started your visa process in your home country? This is needed before you come. You will finish it when you are here. It will take months more in waiting, so it is good if you plan on not working for a while. Have you looked in to AMPI for certification for real estate? Are you bilingual? This will be almost a must if working with real estate. Yes, many clients are English speaking but contractors, developers, doorman and more will often need to be communicated with in Spanish. Getting set up will be a little more work with covid. Bring your mask and only one person is allowed to go in the store at a time. These are some of the tips we have for you at this time. For transportation from the airport, this company will allow pets in carriers.

  9. I am interested in knowing what the rates are for purchasing a mortgage in Playa Del Carmen. My FICO score is around 830. Monthly income is about $3400 USD.

    • Hello Jerry

      Your fico score is more or less meaningless in Mexico. Mortgages are rare and often 4x-10x that of the States. There are some developers that make a large down payment plan and payments. This might be something you would be interested in or even working with your 401k. Sebastian is an expert that helps many people when they are his clients as a real estate agent/buyer relations ship. You might want to contact him here, through this article.

  10. Hello, we will be moving in our condo in PDC in two weeks. A little bit anxious since we don’t speak spanish. Is there anyone you can suggest to help us to setup basic needs such as electric, gas, water, internet and phone ? Thank you for your help.

  11. Hi There, I’m planning on moving to Playa Del Carmen in October 2021 from Ireland. could someone reckon an Estate agent to use. I’m just looking for a small place for myself and will be living on a small budget. I’m hoping to teach english while there,

  12. I am thinking about moving to Playa del Carmen at the end of the year old beginning of next year. I have dual citizenship so I’m not sure how that all plays into possibly purchasing a home out there. I’ve been told that I should live there for 4-6 months before making any decisions.
    I would like to meet someone like me who has moved there from the US. I’d like to meet people in the Playa/Tulum/Akumal areas.

    • Hello Dora

      You are at an advantage being a dual citizen. You should not need to set up a fidecomisco which will save you time and money. Most people do recommend getting to know the area so you can be sure about what you what and what area to move to. The areas of the Riviera Maya will depend on a few things. 1. Do you want a car. 2. Do you need to be close to many other people to be social. 3. Budget. Larger areas like Playa offer a wider range of prices, Akumal is more exclusive and more expensive since most is close to the beach. Tulum is more eco chic and a different vibe than Playa. Talking to other expats is a good way to know what it is like. Of course, there are all types of expats. Some are not that adventurous and some even pretty limited in knowledge about Mexico. Just not, just because someone is an expat and made the move, that does not mean they know everything. Some people have moved to the area and gotten some pretty bad advice and wound up making some bad decision.

  13. I own a condo in Playa del Carmen already & rent it out. Been considering moving them to my place. If I were to bring all my belongins with me, furniture, etc. how does a person get it there?

    • Hello Jeri

      There are several options. Most people will tell you to simplify and bring as little as possible. Driving down. There are some that do this and return a truck back to the US or eventually get the vehicle back. This depends on your legal status and the status of your vehicle. Some people will hire an assistant to drive with them or even hire people to drive the furniture to your place in Mexico. It is not cheap, but an option. The other is shipping it via boat. There are several services that do this. It makes more sense if you have a lot of things to do this. You will need to have residential status to do this and not pay the import taxes.

    • Palmas 1 is a pretty middle class area for Mexicans and safe area. We don’t hear to many complaints or problems from there.

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