Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen on vacation. Hotels, resorts and neighborhoods

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen

Choosing where to stay in Playa Del Carmen can be hard.  When you search for hotels in Playa Del Carmen, many come up and sometimes it covers miles of the coastline. Sometimes these hotels are not even in Playa Del Carmen. That is why we wanted to help you with a guide to the best areas and what might fit your wants. This is the type of guide we would want for a destination we were traveling to. So that is what we based it on and hope it is helpful to you.

So what are you looking for in a hotel for your vacation? Do you want an all inclusive resort? boutique hotel? a hotel in the center of the fun? or a beachfront hotel?

Below you will find our map to guide you. We give honest descriptions of areas so you can narrow your search and find the best hotel for your stay!

Be sure to check out our recommended transfer from the Cancun Airport to your hotel. These are not only some of the best prices but excellent service. We also have a guide to the cheap hotels in Playa that offer good value and good location.

Our map of what areas are the best to stay in

We have put together a helpful map for you. This helps you know what an area is like and what hotels are in that area that we recommend. Some people want a resort but also want access to Playa Del Carmen to go shopping and eating out. Others want to be in the center of the action while others want a more residential area for an Airbnb. Click around on the map and get a description of what generally the areas are like.

Riviera Maya north of Playa Del Carmen area

This area is just like most of the Riviera Maya. It is just alone the coast and not part of Playa Del Carmen in any way. It is closer to Playa and some of the eco parks but that is all. Consider this just like areas between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen and the area north of here up to Cancun.

Several good things to note about this area is the fact the resorts are more spread out and you are far from population centers. The beaches are considered very good here and you will have more of a resort feeling staying in this area.

Recommended hotels in this area

The Secrets Capri is an adults only resort. The beach is large here and a nice place for a wedding. Hacienda Tres Rios is a good all inclusive for active people and is family friendly.

Luxury resort section

Grand Velas and the four Mayakoba resorts are in this section. These hotels are some of the best and most luxurious in the Playa Del Carmen and Riviera Maya area. This area is very exclusive and shows off some of the more spacious resort properties in the area.

Where to stay in this area

You cannot really go wrong staying anywhere in this area. All of the resorts are good and well recommended. The only drawback is the price. Not everyone can afford to stay in this section.

Grand Velas Riviera Maya all inclusive is one of the most luxurious resorts in the Riviera Maya. It has a beachfront location and top notch restaurants. For more about staying at Grand Velas, you can get info here.

There are four hotels that Mayakoba runs. All are on the upper end of service and quality. We recommend all of the hotels. The four hotels are:

Andaz Mayakoba is the newest property on Mayakoba’s list. This is a slightly younger trendy hotel compared to the other three. Rosewood Mayakoba: Fairmount Mayakoba: This hotel is a car free resort and you can walk the nature scaped property. As with all the Mayakoba properties, it is close to their El Camaleon Golf Course. Bayan Tree Mayakoba: Most of the rooms here are actually separate villas. This property gives you more exclusiveness and less of a big hotel feel. You can also see more photos and description in our article on Bayan Tree.

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen
A luxurious bathroom in a villa at Bayan Tree Mayakoba.

The Fives and Grand Riviera Princess area

This zone just on the north end of Playa Del Carmen is a separate area from the city. Many people ask us what is nearby, and we say nothing. You need to take a taxi into town that will take about 10-15 minutes. These hotels are basically where you will stay when you visit here. You might get into town one night or just arrange some tours from there.

Resorts and hotels we recommend in this area

Grand Riviera Princess all inclusive is an adult only resort. The sister property of this hotel is the Family Club at the Grand Riviera Princess. Le Reve Hotel and Spa is a smaller resort in this area. The Viceroy Riviera Maya is a more upscale resort that is great for couples. The Fives Hotel is a good family hotel that is calm and stylish.

Grand Coral area of Playa Del Carmen for staying

This gated section has some large all inclusive hotels and condos to rent. If you like a quiet setting and golf you might like this area. There are no real services like restaurants besides where you stay. You will need a taxi to go into Playa Del Carmen.  This area is like Playacar but with more space, less houses, and more golf.

The beaches tend to be more quiet in this area. Only Mareazul boarders an public beach area, but even then, there are not many people that frequent the beach there because it is far from a beach access.

What accommodations are in this area for you

Sandos Caracol is the largest resort in this section. There is the adult only side called  Sandos Caracol select club and the family resort is Sandos Caracol Eco Resort. If you want a condo and a resort feel, then Mareazul might be for you. These large condos are on a quiet property. This is beachfront with one of the largest pool at any complex we have seen. Here are 5 rentals that you can book at Mareazul.

Staying at Paradisus Hotel Complex

This large resort complex is beautiful inside and one of the closer resorts to the center of Playa Del Carmen. But if you think you can walk into town when you want, you should know it is a long walk and not through the nicest neighborhood. The surrounding area is a poor area with no tourist attractions. We would describe this as the kings court on the inside and the paupers village outside. The contrast is striking.

The beach is located between two public beach access points. The hotel staff watches the beach and discouraged locals from using it, but all beaches in Mexico are public.

Inside the property there are nice pools and very good restaurants.

The Paradisus resorts

There are two sides to Paradisus Resort. The two sides share 14 restaurants and 11 bars. There is Paradisus La Perla which is adult only and Paradisus Esmerelda for families.

The “not a tourist area to stay in” area

For the most part, this is a poorer area of Playa Del Carmen where tourist do not stay. There is the occasional good Airbnb listing but other then that, this is not an area to look at. One of the main names of this area is the Colosio neighborhood.

Cheaper Airbnb area of central Playa Del Carmen

There are very few hotels in this area but for those looking for Airbnb rentals that are lower in cost, this is the fringe area of downtown Playa Del Carmen.

What are some good places to stay in this area of Playa Del Carmen?

We don’t have any exact places to recommend, just some general information about the location. Most people prefer the area from Juarez Avenue to Constituyentes Avenue and from 30th to the Highway. This area is nicer and closer to things. For what options are available you can click here.

North end quieter rentals

This area is where people mainly stay in more upscale condos and rentals. It is quieter then the center of Playa Del Carmen yet walkable to 5th Avenue, tourist restaurants and shops. As Playa Del Carmen has moved north in development, this area has seen a boom in luxury condo buildings. Most of these go up for vacation rentals.

Where to stay in this area

Hotel La Semilla is a hidden gem. It has only 9 rooms and Tulum style. The adult only hotel will keep you relaxed in simple elegance. For a condo building we like Horizonte. It is a small building with nice rooftop pool. It is walkable to 5th Avenue and in a nice open area of Playa Del Carmen. Here is one condo for rent in the Horizonte you can check out. The Palmares is a new condo building right in Constituyentes Avenue. This handsome building is perfect for a week stay if you want to be a little more independent. You also have easy access to the grocery store. Check out what a one bedroom unit is like here in Palmares.

The heart of Playa Del Carmen

Here you can find beach front hotels, trendy hotels, boutique hotels and for the most part, you can walk out the door and be in the midst of the energy of Playa Del Carmen. This is a good area to stay in if you want to take advantage of what Playa has to offer. If you want to go out to restaurants or enjoy the nightlife, this area offers it all!

Great hotels and places to stay in this section

There really are too many hotels to mention in this section, so we will just name some of our favorites. Hotel Aventura Mexicana is in the center of town and well run. It offers a family side and adult side. The rooms are very Mexican feeling. A more budget option in the center is the Hacienda Paradise Hotel.  The Royal is one of the few all inclusive hotels right in the middle of Playa Del Carmen. This is an adult only resort. Acanto Hotel and Condos is a small hotel tucked into the center of Playa Del Carmen. This hotel is very comfortable and spacious. The Grand Hyatt offers a big hotel feel but is not all inclusive. It offers central location and great access to 5th Avenue. The Carmen Hotel is a new boutique hotel right on the beach. This hotel is modern and youthful. The Thompson has to hotels in Playa but we prefer the one on 5th Avenue. There is a trendy vibe and always a scene around the rooftop pool.  The Live Aqua Boutique Hotel is a medium size hotel with nice rooftop. This is a good hotel for couples to have that romantic stay.

Downtown hotels that are in a quieter area

Here you can find more of the mid range hotels that offer close proximity to 5th Avenue but a few blocks away from the busy tourist area.

Recommended hotels in this area

Magic Blue is an urban oasis. This is a small hotel with nice garden and pool just steps from 5th Avenue. Cache Hotel is modern hotel just two blocks off 5th Avenue. It is quiet and has a pool. This would also be the cheapest of the three options here. HM Playa Del Carmen is just on the edge of this zone and a newly renovated hotel. It is stylish with pool in the courtyard. It is very central and everything is at your door. We are impressed with how they turned this hotel around.

Playacar Phase 1

For the most part this is a residential area with houses. There are just a couple of hotels in this section. This is a private neighborhood with nice beaches. Expect to pay a little more for exclusivity of this area. While it is walkable to the center of town, you might find yourself taking taxis around.

Places to stay in Playacar Phase 1

Sunset Fisherman Beach Resort is a smaller all inclusive. This hotel is surrounded by a high end residential area. You have easy access to downtown but feel like you are out of the city. Xaman Ha Condominiums is a beach front building with units for rent. This is good if you want a kitchen and close access to Playa but a private neighborhood. These condos are a little older but do give you good beach access and views.

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen
The Playacar beach in Playa Del Carmen.

Playacar Phase 2 all inclusive hotel area

Here is where all the all inclusive hotels are in Playacar Phase 2. This is a good option if you want a resort but the option to walk or take a taxi into Playa Del Carmen for entertainment, shopping and restaurants.

Recommended resorts in Playacar Phase 2

Royal hideaway is an adult only all inclusive. This resort gets good feedback form our readers. It is a quieter hotel so it might be better for older couples. You can also see our article here about the Royal Hideaway. Viva Wyndham Maya all inclusive is another resort that is beautiful and gets good marks from our readers. Not be confused with the last hotel, Viva Wyndham Azteca is all inclusive that gets good reviews. Iberostar Tucan and Iberostar Quetzal are the same resort, just two different sides. Which ever one you choose, it is a good option.

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen
The  Royal Hideaway in Playacar Phase 2 is one place where to stay in Playa Del Carmen.

What the backside of Playacar Phase 2 is like

This area is called Playacar phase 2. On the front side are the all inclusive hotels and the backside more houses and condos for rent. If you stay here be prepared to have a car or rely on taxis to get into the center and to the grocery store. It is also a about a 15 walk to the beach. The area is a private neighborhood with a park like  atmosphere.

Places to stay at on the backside of Playacar Phase 2

We do not have any specific places to mention here because all options are single condos or houses. The only tip we have is to look at places that are near the main loop road and not up near the highway. In this are there is some staff housing for the hotels and locals apartments. It is less vacation feeling in that area. If you do want to see what is available when you are coming, see here. There are over ten options to select from.

The other side of the highway

There are few hotels on this side of the highway but at any rate, it would be a bad choice to stay in this area because it is far from the beach and most tourist attractions. While lodging and rentals will tell you it is only 10minutes to the beach (by car) the logistics can be hard. For one, parking near to the beach can be difficult.

Even for short term rentals this means you will need to find transportation to the center of town and even if you have a car, this means finding parking in the center of Playa Del Carmen.

To make your stay in Playa Del Carmen, there are other areas that will be more convenient and more interesting neighborhoods.  This area is more for locals to live in.

Looking for an all-inclusive hotel in Playa Del Carmen?

Are you looking for a place to stay that is all inclusive? There are several areas of Playa Del Carmen where you can find these types of hotels. See our full guide on the best all inclusive hotels to stay at in the Playa Del Carmen area. 

We hope you have enjoyed our guide on where to stay in Playa Del Carmen. We try to give you an honest appraisal on areas so you can pick what best suites you. Let us know if you have any comments or questions below. We would love to hear from you.

On good place to search for hotel bookings it the combined search engine below. It checks multiple sites and gives you the lowest price.


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  1. This is a really helpful maps. We are coming for the first time and have been using your website to find our way around. Looking forward to getting to know Playa Del Carmen this year.

  2. This is super helpful on where to stay. It is hard to know where things are in Playa del Carmen and what is actually in the downtown. We booked once at Azul 5 and it was billed as Playa del Carmen only to find out it was outside the city and we could not walk anywhere.

  3. This article is super helpful. We have seen a lot of rooms and airbnb places on the other side of the highway and in Colosio but since we have not been before to Playa del Carmen we did not know where to stay. We look forward to our three days there and we want to walk everywhere. We will look for a hotel in the center of town now.

  4. Hello there! This is my first time coming to Playa Del Carmen and I have found your website to be super helpful. I booked a hotel based on your recommendation and we have a list of restaurants we will visit to. Thanks so much.

  5. My boyfriend and I will be coming to Playa in March we are in our late 20’s and have reservations at The Fives Downtown. Is this a good area for nightlife, restaurants and beaches ?

    • Hello Nicole

      We will be staying at this hotel this weekend! We can give you a full report. The hotel is beautiful. Most nightlife is around 8th/12th street so that is not that far. Most things are pretty walkable in the center. You might spend more time on the roof at the pool since the beaches have a lot of seaweed now. You are close to Wah Wah beach club and a few other local ones. There are some good restaurants just north of there on 10th Avenue and you should be able to find a lot of options.

  6. We are coming end of June 2018, we booked at Gran Porto Real I did not see them on your site, any comments on it.

    • Hello Linda

      This all inclusive is one of the few in the center of Playa Del Carmen. It makes walking out to 5th Avenue easy. This resort is the sister resort to the Royal which is the adults only resort. The Gran Porto is not the most modern resort. If you book a room on the Constituyentes side you don’t have much of a view. The south and east facing sides have the views although the sough side often has seaweed. The beach is normally very eroded and not the nicest. All inclusives in Playacar have better beaches and a little more resort feel since they are out of the center.

  7. Hello! I just found out that my husband is taking me to PDC for my birthday in December He’s booked us at the Blue Diamond Luxury Boutique, an all inclusive. Unfortunately, I didn’t see anything about this hotel on your site. Do you know anything about it? I plan to make full use of the hotel’s amenities but I’d also like to go see some ruins-most likely Coba. Cheers!

  8. I love your guides because they make it wasy to narrow down on places that are good in Playa del Carmen. Even though I have been twice it is hard to know what is the best area to stay in.

  9. I loved staying at the Reef 28 Hotel. Thanks for your suggestion and great video about it. I do like staying at different hotels just to make each trip feel a little diffrent. I look forward to your next articles and videos about hotels so I can plan out my next stay in Playa del Carmen.

    • Thank you so much for following along. We do like brining people the latest hotels and experiences you can stay at. We hope to see you soon in Playa.

  10. We are headed to Playa at the end of January, for the first time we will be traveling not just as a couple but with our 15 month old. We are deciding between a condo at El Faro or at Xaman Ha. I have stayed at many places in playa including these two places but now with a child not sure where we would be better off? Any insight? How is the beach in front of el faro right now?

    • Hello Kelsey

      Playacar section is more quiet and has some of the better beaches in Playa Del Carmen. A condo in Xaman Ha will give you access to the center of Playa but will feel a little more removed. El Faro is in the center of Playa and the beaches there are smaller and not as nice as in front of Xaman Ha. Staying at Xaman Ha will give you access to some of the better beaches just south of there. It is a nice beach to walk on.

  11. Looking to come in July6-12, have 9 adults and 7 children. We are thinking of staying at Sandos Playacar, in your opinion is this resort great for nice smooth beachesand food variety and kids play

    • Hello Christopher

      The beach is nice there and it is at the end of Playacar, so it feels out of town but still connected to Playa downtown by taxi. It is a more budget resort. Depending on your kids ages, the Princess resorts on the north side of Playa are nice for kids. There are more play areas. We do refer people to Lori who is an expert for helping people book the best resorts, you might want to email her and see what options she can offer in your price range. https://everythingplayadelcarmen.com/travel-agent-playa-del-carmen/

  12. I am looking to go to Riu Playacar from the 19th September for 10 nights.
    Firstly has anyone ever been during this month and what are we to expect with the weather?
    Can anyone recommend a nice hotel/resort with a good beach in this area.

    • The weather in September is nice but can be summer like with chance of showers. To most people, it is just like full summer weather. The beaches are nice there in Playacar. Riu has a good reputation and liked by our readers. It is a little more budget than some of the other large resorts in the Riviera Maya.

  13. I am planning on coming to Playa Del Carmen for my first time with a friend and was told that the Panama Jack Playa Del Carmen was a good option – what are your comments on this resort please?

    • The resort is in the center of Playa which is nice but the beaches are not the best and it is more of a family budget hotel. The beaches in Playacar are much nicer and more private since it is a more separate part of the city.

  14. How is the area and beaches during the beginning/middle of May?
    Any special events besides cinco de mayo?
    Between what area/streets would be the best place to stay under $60 per night not hostel unless private room?
    We were planning on coming down after Cancun for a couple of nights with the following itinerary:
    1st day walk around check out the area, 3D museum, hostels, food, beach, and relax (recommend anything else)
    2nd day cenote hopping (like bar hopping), dinner, and party (what is REALLY good). Planning on doing coco bongos in cancun since I heard its better than PDC, but might check it out anyway lol
    3rd day Xcaret (been there before and have to go back)
    4th day Dolphinis (been there before too and have to go back and spend the day with dolphins)
    5th day on….who knows, any recommendations at this point?
    Id appreciate your feedback and any links. I’ll keep going through what you have on this site. thanks

    and hostels for future trips

  15. Hi Thank you for all the great information!! Do you recommend the Bahia Principe Grand Coba or Tulum resorts for families?

    • Hello

      This resort is popular with families. It is close to Xel ha park and going to Tulum. It is a little farther from the airport, but that is not much to consider.

  16. Hola!
    Funny you don’t suggest staying in the Colosio neighborhood as we always rent here. 15 minutes walk to the beach, which we don’t mind at all and we are far enough from the “touristy” side of Playa Del Carmen. We don’t mind the neighborhood, never felt unsafe even coming back at 2 a.m.on New Year’s. Even made some friends.
    We prefer it here than all the hotels near La Quinta. Too bad you don’t have suggestions on places where to stay around here as we are shopping for a different place to stay.
    Love your website , by the way, very practical to have.
    Thanks for everything

    • Hello Christine

      It is hard to blanket suggest for a wide range of visitors, but the idea is that many that read our article are first time visitors and want to be in the center of town. After visiting several times, people might feel more comfortable in Colosio and might want a break from the busy center. There are 4 types of places in Playa, 1. Center. 2. Surrounding the center but not as nice. 3. Out of the center but you need a car. 4. Really local areas with no hotels, just Airbnbs. Also most people come for a week or less, so they want to be about to walk around and not rent a car and stay in areas that are far from the attractions. Colosio is good for artist and people that might be staying longer. For those of us that live here, we also hear some of the issues that happen in the Colosio area. It is fairly safe, but shoulder areas between local and tourist areas can be areas of petty crime. Also walking solo at night can be issues.

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