Playacar Playa Del Carmen-Living and Staying in Paradise

Playacar Mexico Playa del carmen, Phase 1

Where is Playacar in Playa Del Carmen? You may be considering investing in this area, looking at renting a vacation rental or looking to stay in one of the all-inclusive hotels in Playacar. This neighborhood overview will give you an idea of what it is like an is part of our ongoing look at different areas of Playa Del Carmen.

Playacar Playa Del Carmen

The private development is called Playacar. It is a high-end development that was started in 1979. It preserved most of the large trees and left space for an 18-hole golf course, parks and wide winding streets.

Where is Playacar?

If you look at a map of Playa Del Carmen, you will notice a green looking section on the south end. This is the Phase 1 and Phase 2 sections of Playacar.Playacar map playa del carmen

What is the difference between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Playacar?

Playacar is divided up into two phases, Phase 1 and Phase 2. Phase 1 is smaller and mainly residential houses with only a few small hotels. This area is one of the few areas with beachfront houses in the Riviera Maya.  Phase 2 is the larger section and includes a large golf course, houses, condos, a bird aviary park, small shopping area and several all-inclusive hotels.

The main entrances to both Phase 1 and Phase 2 are on the south end of 10th Avenue. Phase 1 only has one entrance as well as exit. Phase 2 has 4 entrances and exits but the main on is at the end of 10th Avenue. Below are photos of the two entrances.

Playacar Playa del carmen Mexico
Entrance to Playacar Phase 1


Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
The main entrance to Playacar Phase 2

Mayan Ruins in Playacar

There are Mayan ruins in Playacar. They are not huge but interesting to walk by and take some snapshots. They are open to anyone in Playacar and there is no charge for them. Occasionally you will see a wedding taking place on the grounds.

The best Mayan ruins in Playacar are in Phase 1. Below you can see a photo of part of the ruins.

Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
Mayan Ruins in Phase 1 of Playacar, Playa Del Carmen

Beaches in front of Playacar

The beaches in front of Phases 1 and 2 are very nice because they are wide and not too crowded. It even made our top 5 beach list for Playa Del Carmen!

Just look at this nice white sand beach photo below! That is in front of Phase 1. Since all beaches in Mexico are public, people do like to walk to this beach from the center of Playa Del Carmen because it is nice.

The beach that stretches south in front of Phase 2 are nice as well. They do have hotel guest on them from the all-inclusive resorts but don’t get many locals because it is more distant from public access. Even from within Playacar there is limited access to the beach if you are not staying at one of the all-inclusive hotels. This does not mean you cannot use the beach; you just need to find access to it first.

Playacar Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
A nice sunny day at the beach in front of Playacar Phase 2.

Roads and streets in Playacar

The main roads in both Phases are nice to bike and run next to. There is more information in our article on running in Playa Del Carmen and biking in Playa Del Carmen. There are sidewalks on both sides of the road in Phase 2. Biking is supposed to be limited to the inside loop of sidewalk. So, make sure you follow the rules.

The roads and landscaping are all manicured and taken care of. Playacar has private security that drives around, and you will see them scanning checkpoints (often markers in trees) to indicate they have passed a certain point.

Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
Main road in Playacar Phase 2

Hidden Playacar

Phase 2 of Playacar is also home to the Xaman-Ha Bird Sanctuary.  This small bird park highlights some of the local tropical birds and can be one place right in Playa Del Carmen to see them.

Shopping in Playacar

There are no stores in Phase 1. In Phase 2 there is a tourist shopping plaza that even has a Starbucks. It is ONLY for tourist though and has the typical souvenir items for sale. You can find many of the same things downtown and possibly a little cheaper, but it does come in handy if you are not wanting to walk around downtown. For more about shopping here see our article on Plaza Playacar.

Restaurants and convenience stores in Playacar

There is a convenience store on the front side of Phase 2 at the Riu Palace Hotel and two Oxxo convenience stores on the back side of Phase 2. See map below.

There are a couple of restaurants on the back side of Phase 2 as well. These are basic and only more of convenience if you don’t feel like leaving the area.

Hotels in Playacar

Hotels in both Phase 1 and Phase 2 offer the advantage of being in a secluded area of Playa Del Carmen but also close enough to the center of Playa Del Carmen to walk or take a taxi to enjoy the entertainment and restaurant scene. If you are interested in staying in this area, click on the link to on the side to check prices.

In the map below you can see the section of Playacar Phase 2. This is where most of the all-inclusive hotels are. Each all-inclusive hotel is marked with and “AI”. Notice there are two all-inclusive hotels that are not beach front.

Playa Del Carmen Map
Hotel map for Playacar


Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
Riu Palace Playacar Hotel

Housing and real estate in Playacar

If you wish to live in this area, houses start in the Low 300,000’s and go into the millions (USD). Even more budget inclined are condos. They start around 145,00 USD and go up from there. Condos tend to be in the back side of Phase 2. Be sure to read our Guide to Real Estate for Playa Del Carmen that will give you an overview of all of Playa Del Carmen. Here are some photos of what houses and condos look like.

We have a good video here to give you an overview of the market and we answer many of the questions our readers ask us about. 


Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
Luxury home in Playacar Playa Del Carmen


Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
Modern house in Playacar.


Playacar Playa del carmen, Phase 1 Phase 2 All inclusive hotel mayan ruins, beach, condos, houses
More traditional Mexican house in Playacar Phase 1.

What things in Playacar do you like? Let us know in the comments below.

About The Author


  1. We live in Playacar 8 months out of the year. We love it. The only drawback is the drive to the grocery store and walk downtown. We find it easy to go to Cento Maya to shop for food. The parking in the center of Playa Del Carmen is getting harder so it is almost good to take a taxi to town.

  2. We are renting a beautiful house in phase 2 for 1 month. It is not really walkable to any beach so we are glad there are bikes here for us to use. Everyone staying/living in Playacar has access card to Reef Club but they only take 20 cards per day so line up early. Then you can’t eat or drink once you get in for the whole day. We gave up on that and bike to beach access 2 streets past Reef at Retorno Pelanque then walk path through woods. Beach chairs on our backs and towels in baskets and can bring own food and drink plus umbrella.

    • Hello Lynne

      Thanks for the inside scoop on the Reef Club and beach access. We have contacted them several times to write about the Reef Club but they never responded. We will say that they do not have the best reputation.

  3. What would a long term rental cost? I’m thinking 1 year or longer. I love Playa del Carmen and plan on retiring there in the near future. I welcome any or all information you can give me. Thank you.

  4. My family loves going to Playa and have been for a long time. Everything about it is great from family excursions to couples, nightlife, great food. Everything youneed is there and of course the weather being absolutely amazing everytime we go. My recommendation for renting a vacation home would be Casa Lupita in Phase 2 of Playacar. Great house beautiful and luxurious the beach is minutes away, the staff is great. You can find it on airbnb or trip advisor or if you are there they have a sign outside the house. Its a nice all white house close to the bird sanctuary. Highly recommendable home and vacation spot.

  5. We’re planning on a playacar vacation for next week but the recent warning from the US government has us worried. Any thoughts on the matter?

    • Well Sarah Playacar is a very safe place and not listed in the current security alert. Going to and coming from the airport also is very safe as well as the parks and excursions. So there is no reason not to come and enjoy Mexico.

  6. How safe is casa los charcos? We are planning to come next month but are concerned about the safety? Also, is transportation to and from playacar safe at all times?

    • Hello. The Playacar section is very safe. It has private security that makes rounds. It is still good to have doors and windows locked when home but that is just common sense. This area is very secure and should not be on the list of things to worry about. Taxis do cost more to enter and go into the downtown since it is another zone but you can also walk into town since it is close.

  7. We love Playa…
    The many and varied wildlife are interesting and the secluded nature of the houses villas and buildings are very nice.
    Our first night we noticed a Capibera and were pleased to see that there were many more of them as well.
    We rigged a snare from a pool skimmer and were able to trap one for a barbecue.
    I have to admit that in my years of traveling these were the most delicious animals we have ever trapped and eaten..
    It was a little far from the Mercado to the resort but that we made do with the condiments we had on hand.

    • That is an interesting story. We are not sure if that is legal. There are some similar animals in that live on the peninsula that are famous for their taste, but unfortunately they are endangered.

    • What an absolute prat!!!!
      Cant believe what i am reading. You need to educate yourself my friend…

    • Hello Catherine

      it will depend if you are starting in Phase 1 or 2 and from which hotel or rental. It can be a little as 5 minutes or as much as 30 minutes. Of course you will be at the one end of 5th Avenue and then you still have a lot of exploring to do, walking further.

    • Hello Kathy

      We don’t rent condos but there are some good services online that do rentals. Perhaps someone here will see your request and comment as well.

    • There are seasons where there are more. It is also block by block in Playa Del Carmen. The city fogs the streets with trucks and in general it is not a big issue. Some neighborhoods have more vegetation, or trashy properties that are breeding grounds for mosquitos. The areas between Playa and Tulum are similar in seasons. The dry season in April May and August are very low. The further back from the ocean there are more moquitos.

  8. Are there any beach bars that you can have a drink and enjoy the sun in Playacar? What is the cost for an umbrella and 2 sunbeds?

    • Hello Marko

      It is a gated community but there are things open to the public. At the gate just tell them where you are going. They might hold your id until you return.

  9. If you are looking for a property to rent in Playacar, I recommend Paseo Del Sol. This condominium complex is less than a 5 minute walk to the beach and across the street (literally) from the Reef Playacar. There is a shopping plaza about a 5 minute walk and a 10 minute walk to downtown. PDS is in the gated area of PDC and is very close to most excursion destinations. If you want to stay at the PDS complex, there is a stunning pool to enjoy. PDS has its own security and its close to grocery locations during your stay. PDS Reef unit 202 is an excellent choice!

  10. I really like your website, there is so much information here. I am thinking of staying in Playacar for about 3 months as I blog about Sandos Resorts on the side. Have you been to Sandos Playacar? Where would you rent for a long terms stay? I think I would try 3 different locations and perhaps 2 inside Playacar and one in Playa Del Carmen. Are they still building in the back of Playacar?

    • Hello Thomas

      The south end of Playcar is going to be good if you need to pass by Sandos. There is still building on the back side of Playacar. They always seem to find more space to build. Of course the exact space where you decide to stay, it will depend on budget and if you are going to have a car.

  11. Hi, How is the location of Mara Residences within Playacar? How far is it to walk from there to 5th Avenue? How safe is Mara Residences? Does it have its own security? Thanks!

    • These condos are close to the beginning of 5th Avenue you could walk there in about 8 minutes. Of course 5th is long and we prefer upper 5th Avenue because there are nicer shops and restaurants. Upper 5th is from about 12th Street to 38th. Playacar is a very safe area. The building of Mara must have its own security. Most larger buildings like this do have someone on site. Are you looking to buy here or rent here? Because if you are looking to buy there are other questions that are important to know.


  13. We are very close to purchasing a house in Phase 2. It is more in the “hotel zone” across the street from Royal Hideaway. I’m having a hard time finding contact info for the equivalent of the Homeowners Association. You wouldn’t by chance have that info would you? Thanks in advance either way.

    • Hello

      Are you working with a realtor? This is something they should have for you or even the current homeowner. We do not have a contact for you about the home owners association.

  14. I am disabled and considering moving tp Phase II Playacar. Are mobility scooters permitted on the roads? What about golf carts?

    • There is a pretty good sidewalk all around Playacar Phase 2. Golf carts are less common now, they do need to be registered. In Puerto Aventuras, there is similar development and accessibility, plus more golf carts.

  15. Great information! I will be in Phase I for a month and look forward to playing tennis. Can you recommend tennis locations? Clay courts would be excellent! Thank you !!

    • There are several courts at 10th Avenue and 32nd Street. They are not clay courts though. We have not heard of any clay courts here. There are courts in PLayacar but we do not know the restrictions on them.

  16. Hi, we are renting a home in Playacar Phase 1 in March. This will be the first visit to the area for our family. I would like to arrange a private boat for snorkel trip one day while there. Any recommendations for a safe, reputable outfit that I can contact? Great info on this blog…thank you.

    • There are several options. You can hire a private tour company like Absolute Adventures. They are very good about using special spots and taking care of the environment. Another option would be going to Puerto Morelos and taking a tour with one of the local guides by the dock. There is a nice reef off the coast there as well as Tulum.

  17. i will be staying nexted week in playacar, can you recomend some resturants,mabe that has chicken mole, also a place for my 70th birthday , thank you

    • Hello

      Mole is a good traditional recipe that takes a lot of time and ingredients to make correctly. One place that might be great both for mole and a birthday is on 38th Street. La Perla Pixan Restaurant is authentic and has a lot of dishes like mole. It is also a nice restaurant to eat dinner and sometimes they have live music.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.