What is Playa Del Carmen all about and why do so many people want to go there?

seaweed Playa Del Carmen
This is the beach just north of the Cozumel Ferry Pier.

Why Playa Del Carmen?

Have you heard of Playa Del Carmen before? Maybe  some of your friends  told you about it. The word is getting out that Cancun is not the only place to visit in the Riviera Maya. Discover for yourself what Playa Del Carmen has to offer both those that vacation here and to those that move to the area.

One of the top reasons people visit or want to live in Playa Del Carmen is the fact it is just the right size. There are many smaller towns along the Riviera Maya that are nice to visit but access to restaurants, shopping and nightlife is lacking. Cancun is the largest city in the area but not as walkable, charming and integrated between tourism and residents. Playa Del Carmen strikes the balance between not feeling too big and yet having a lot to offer people.

We want to provide you with the best information for the area. We are here and out discovering things for you daily. Our passion for traveling and our desire to help people find great things moves us to keep discovering more for you. We like providing insider information and honest assessments that will make for the best vacation or life in Playa Del Carmen.

Where is Playa Del Carmen?

Playa Del Carmen is on the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. This is the part that curves on the east side of the country. See our map guide here for maps of where Playa Del Carmen is and many other helpful maps.

Playa Del Carmen is in the Riviera Maya. This is a stretch of coast that is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico. To our north is Cancun. This is where you most likely will arrive. Cancun Airport is the main arrival point for people visiting the area. We are about 45 minutes south of Cancun and Cancun Airport.

Tulum is to our south. Tulum is about 40 minutes away down the 307 Highway.

There is so much to access from Playa Del Carmen! There are Mayan ruins, colonial cities like Valladolid, Izamal and Merida,  and all the Riviera Maya beaches! We are in a great location to explore!

For a guide on how to get everywhere in the are from Playa Del Carmen or coming to Playa Del Carmen, see our transportation guide and bus station guide here.

What is Playa Del Carmen all about?

Many people love Playa Del Carmen because it is a beach town with a somewhat small feel. Playa (as it is know by locals) is more European feeling than cities like Cancun. What once was a small fishing village has grown into an international and cosmopolitan place it is today. You can still hear Mayan spoken around town but also dozens of other languages from people visiting or from those that have moved from around the world to Playa.

The vibe is what attracts so many. Sunny skies, beaches, nightlife, people from all over and cultural activities so close, this all makes Playa Del Carmen a fun place to visit and live.

Walking 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen

One of the best things to do in Playa Del Carmen is discover the heart of Playa which is 5th Avenue. 5th Avenue is the main pedestrian street that parallels the beach. This avenue is also called Quinta or Quinta Avenida (Quinta is 5th in Spanish). There are about 22 blocks to see here. This is where people love to walk, shop and go out for dinner. There are also many restaurants and things to see on 5th Avenue. You can read more about 5th Avenue in our guide here.

See also our Ultimate Shopping Guide to Playa Del Carmen here. This will give you a nice overall view of where to shop and some things to look for along 5th Avenue and just off of that area.

Nightlife and Entertainment in Playa Del Carmen

One of the more popular things to do in Playa Del Carmen is going out. Nightlife is pretty world class if we say so ourselves. There is about a different bar or club for whatever you are looking for. Also there is a variety of bars, so we wrote a guide to bars. You read in the guide what bar might fit you for your nights out.

If you are looking to go out to a club then see our club and nightlife guide here. You can find all the places to go out for those late nights.

If clubs are not your thing and you might want to see some shows, there are several options both in Playa Del Carmen and along the Riviera Maya, just outside of town. These range from dinner shows to Las Vegas style entertainment.

Special events in Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen also knows how to throw a party or event. Throughout the year there are celebrations, Mexican holidays and concerts. You can see list of yearly events here in our article.

One of the more popular music events is the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. This festival is usualy held on the beach at Mamitas Beach Club which is near 28th Street and the beach.

 Playa Del Carmen
Golden morning by Park Fundadores in Playa Del Carmen Mexico.

What is the weather like in Playa Del Carmen?

You will be pleased to know that we have great weather year round ! In fact this is a main draw for most people.  Playa Del Carmen has a yearly average temperature of  77 Fahrenheit or 25 Celsius.

The ocen is warm year round and you can swim anytime of the year here. That is what makes it so easy to be outside all the time and really explore the Riviera Maya.

For more on weather including when it rains and what the best months are, see our guide here. You can also check the current weather forecast here.

 Playa Del Carmen
A perfect weather day for the beach in Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen Hotels and where to stay

There are about 100 large resorts along the coast of the Riviera Maya and many hotels. Some of these are in Playa Del Carmen and others are outside the city.  So that lets you know there are a lot of options for you!

You can find older motels and hotels in Playa Del Carmen. There are also new and trendy hotels that rival bigger cities in the world. With so many hotels to choose from, we made this where to stay in Playa Del Carmen guide.  This guide can help you narrow down some of these options.

If you are looking for a budget option hostel, we narrowed that down in this article on the best hostels in Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen All inclusive Resorts

In the center of Playa Del Carmen there are just a few all inclusive hotels. Most are outside of town because in the center you have so many restaurants and things to choose from you don’t really want to be trapped on a hotel property.

Most all inclusive resorts in Playa Del Carmen are in the Playacar section. This is a private neighborhood on the south end of town. If you want access to go shopping and still have the comforts of the all inclusive hotel, this area might be good for you.

To see what are the better all inclusive hotels to stay in, we compiled a guide for you. This hotel guide is for all the Riviera Maya and is broken down in sections.

If you are trying to decide on what resort to stay at, you are not alone.  We have had so many emails from people asking us about which  resort is the best for them, we decided to team up with an expert on the area. We encourage you to meet Lori in this article and video. This article also has Lori’s contact information. She has been a great help to our readers.

Playa Del Carmen’s Best Restaurants

With so many tourist coming, there are a lot of restaurants to fit your needs. There are also a lot of people from around the world that have moved here and opened restaurants. This gives a great variety to choose from! You can find everything from tacos to Italian and vegetarian to Venezuelan.

One of our popular guides is our where to eat guide. We talk about where we would eat in one week in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

The Cheap Eats guide tell you where to eat under 100 pesos. Our restaurant guide gives you reviews and a list of all the restaurants we have visited.

We have tons of more guides to food and restaurants. You just need to search in the search box and enter anything you are looking for. Chances are we have written about it! If not, send us a message and we will.

 Playa Del Carmen
This is the view from one of the restaurants in Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen Tours, Activities and Excursions

When you come to Playa Del Carmen you no doubt want to go on some tours or experience some activities in the area. We have you covered with many guides for you.

If you are looking for a tour or day trip, see our very thorough guide complete with an interactive map. You can see where these tours are and read more about them. Here is our guide to tours with the map.

If you are looking for some activities in Playa Del Carmen see our guide here. There is everything from paddle boarding to cooking classes here. We are sure all members of your family or group can find a great activity here in Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen
You have endless amounts of places visit and tours to take when in the area.

Living in Playa Del Carmen Mexico

If you are considering moving to Playa Del Carmen then we have you covered. We love helping people discover the best places to live and what it is like here.

Playa Del Carmen is already home to several thousand expats from around the world. Some people live year round and some live here a few months a year. There is a great dynamic group of people that already live in Playa Del Carmen that have created a vibrant expat community.

Mexico is growing in interest from many people around the world as a place to move to. Not only for people looking to retire but also for an increasing amount of younger people. We wrote an article you might want to read, it is about why Mexico is such a great place to visit and live in now.

We have a lot of information under our “expats” tab on the page. Search through this and hopefully this will be helpful to you. Our guide to living in Playa Del Carmen should be one of the more helpful guides if you are looking to move to the area.

Top Reasons to Move to Playa Del Carmen Mexico

  1. It is beautiful! With turquoise seas and palm trees, it is like a paradise.
  2. Warm and welcoming people. Mexicans are very welcoming  to both visitors and people moving to Mexico.
  3. Lower cost of living than many places. As people age we all have to think about our budget. There are some things that cost a lot less in Mexico and some that are similar or slightly more then where you might live. See our article on the cost of living in Mexico here.
  4. Easy to get to and from. Playa Del Carmen is an easy flight from the US and Canada. This makes it easy to go and visit friends and family. It also makes it easy for people to come and visit you! Cancun Airport is very easy to get to since it is only about 45 minutes away. See our guide on how to get from the Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen. There are also many international and domestic flights available at reasonable cost.
  5. There is great accessibility to many cultural activities and destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula.
  6. Playa Del Carmen is a modern city in Mexico and can offer you more comforts. You are able to have modern conveniences, nice neighborhoods and still have access to the small towns and quiet life.

Playa Del Carmen Real Estate

If you are thinking of moving to Playa Del Carmen you might be looking to invest in a property. It can be a task to get to know the market. We have taken some of the work out of it for you. We have written a handy guide to real estate. Best of all we are not a real estate company and don’t try sway you in any direction. We just wrote it to be helpful.


We hope you get to come and visit Playa Del Carmen soon. We also hope with the use of our guides and articles you are able to discover the best of Playa Del Carmen. At EverythingPlayaDelCarmen.com we will be working hard to continually cover new places and write more guides. We personally go to each restaurant and go on every tour so we can answer your questions.

If you are moving to the area or thinking of it, we hope we get a chance to meet you here! Let us know if you have questions. We love helping people get to know the area and how things work.

Do you have a question or comment about visiting Playa Del Carmen? Let us know below in the comment section. We would love to hear from you.

Playa Del Carmen
How is this view for you?

About The Author


  1. What’s the name of the restaurant from the 4th picture from the top? The beachside restaurant? It’s gorgeous!! I would like to eat there with my family next month

  2. I am coming to Playa Del Carmen for the first time and really looking forward to it. This was a good overall info. I will be looking over your website for many details for my trip.

  3. For years Playa del Carmen a town that people passed through. I have been coming for years and love it or hate it , it has grown. I like to see some progress but not some of the tourist that come to Playa Del Carmen. I think that if cruise ships ever come to dock on the mainland, it will be the end of Playa.

  4. Playa has changed. We have gone to Playa nine years in a row. The change in our opinion is for the worse. 5th. Ave. is lined with mall type stores, well known brands. To top it off they charge more that in the U.S. The hawkers on 5th. ave are getting very pushy and continually harass people walking. There are many, many massage locations and the women are very aggressive trying to sell their massage location and also sexual favors. I can’t tell you how many times I was asked if I wanted to buy drugs, including cocaine. Don’t get me wrong it is still a great vacation spot with many outstanding restaurants, shops and side trips. If the harassing of the people on 5th. Ave. gets any worse many people will not return. The store owners should get together and put a stop to lots of the bothersome actions.

    • Hello Ray

      We agree with you that there are some problems here and we like when tourist make their voice heard because government officials and tourism officials will have to take note.

      As Playa Del Carmen has changed so has other locations here on the peninsula. That means some have grown from nothing but a dusty stop on the highway to somewhere with hotels and cute ambiance. So you might just find somewhere else now that is like Playa 10 years ago. Holbox, El Cuyo, Xcalak, Mahahual and Bacalar are all places where people have been going to find the small town feel near water.

  5. Mr. Yucatan: Thanks for your reply regarding Playa. Don’t get me wrong it is still a great place with so many good restaurants. I just think the growth has caused problems for tourists. I hope the government and tourist officials take notice to some of the problems I mentioned. The hawking is getting out of hand and as I said the massage hawkers offering sexual favors as part of a massage is very annoying. As I said this the first year of 9 that I/we were approached many time to buy drugs, marijuana and cocaine. This has not happened before. I talked to a couple from New Jersey and a street hawked grabbed her arm trying to get her to come into his store. The municipal police used to drive 5th. ave. in golf carts and I think this kept away some of the bad stuff. The federal police walk the streets with their semi-automatic rifles, but it does not halt the bad stuff. We will still come to Playa, but something has to be done to stop some of the stuff I mentioned.

    • Yes we agree with you. It is difficult as non citizens of Mexico cannot legally get involved in governmental affairs. Many care just as much or more for the country and want to see things do well and develop to preserve the natural beauty and preservation of culture. Sometimes though, money speaks the most and when business starts hurting, that moves change.

  6. We went to Playa Del Carmen last year and were surprised we had not heard of it before. We have visited Cancun and never thought that there was much in Playa. We loved walking down 5th Avenue and shopping. Lots of great restaurants and beach clubs. We will be going back next year too!

  7. Is there any danger for travelers to Playa?? The recent bombing of the Cozumel to Playa ferry is terrible. I hope any problems do not effect the 5th. Ave. areas.

    • Hello Ray

      It was sad to see the explosive device on the ferry and other things that have gone wrong with crime in the area. It is always good to be aware of what is going on. We do have this guide for tourist: https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/is-playa-del-carmen-safe/
      Overall things have improved over the last year and Playa is a safe location for thousands of tourist coming weekly. Common sense is still your best weapon and you can enjoy your vacation here.

    • This is a little bit of a complicated question because there are so many variables. The answer is $8000 pesos to 35,000 pesos a month. Of course this is not as helpful so here are some details. Most people like to be in the downtown area, here a basic apartment with standards for foreigners will start at about 10,000 pesos a month. This is for a 6 month or year contract. Most apartments require a month deposit, last month and fee for the contract. This can be three months of rent upfront. An apartment with rooftop pool and modern feel will be more like 20,000-35,000 pesos a month. These will be close to everything and very comfortable. Of course you need to take into account the electricity bill. Most modern places have ac and running them all the time can be about $200 USD a month. Checking to see if the electricity bill is in DAC rate will alert you to the fact you will pay a higher fee for electricity because of past high consumption. Ask to see the last bill from the owner. If you want a house or apartment further back from the center in a planned community you can pay 8000 pesos a month for a two or three bedroom condo or small house. These are nice to feel part of a neighborhood but you really need a car to get around.

  8. Hello Bettsy

    We love what we do here and try to keep up with the changing area of Playa Del Carmen. We will be working hard to bring you all the great new things that open.

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