Your questions about Playa Del Carmen answered for you!

The most frequently asked questions for Playa Del Carmen

Tourists and travelers often have various questions about Playa del Carmen, Mexico, as they plan their visits. Some of the most frequently asked questions include:

1. Is Playa del Carmen Safe?

Safety is a common concern for travelers. Playa del Carmen is generally considered safe for tourists, but like any destination, it’s essential to practice common-sense safety measures and be aware of your surroundings. Playa Del Carmen is a growing city and along with it come growing pains. We have a very detailed article that we keep updated with the latest things that we want people to be aware of so they can have a nice safe trip to Playa Del Carmen. We also have this specific article about safety when walking around Playa Del Carmen

There are also a few minimal scams that can take place, so also check this article out

2. What’s the Best Time to Visit Playa del Carmen?

 Travelers often inquire about the optimal time to visit based on weather and crowds. The high season is typically from November to April, offering pleasant weather, but some prefer the quieter months during the low season. There are many factors that go into what is the best time to visit for everyone. Here are some guiding details that can help you decide when is best for you. 

  • Out least favorite time is April/May. Why? It is the dry season, and the woods look dead. It is also hot. This time makes for good beach days, but not nice for photos of nature. 
  • The summer months are the slow season. Hotel prices go down and you can find more promotions during this time. 
  • June and October are usually when we get more rain. 

For more factors of when is the best time to visit Playa Del Carmen, see our full article here. 

3. How Do I Get from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen?

Transportation logistics are crucial. Visitors often seek information on the most convenient and cost-effective ways to travel from Cancun International Airport to Playa del Carmen, including shuttle services, taxis, or rental cars. We have a whole guide here where we make recommendations and give you the best options. For more about how to get from the Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen, see our guide here

4. What Are the Must-Visit Beaches in Playa del Carmen?

As a beach destination, travelers want to know about the best beaches. Popular choices include Playa Mamitas, Playacar Beach, and Playa Punta Esmeralda. Where you stay is going to dictate what beach or beaches you visit. If you stay in Playacar for example, you will probably only visit the Playacar Beach. 

Overall, Mamitas beach is the most popular. It is in the center of Playa Del Carmen, has beach clubs, and gets less seaweed than other beaches when there is seaweed (see our map of what beaches get less seaweed here). 

One of Playa Del Carmens beaches you can visit.
One of Playa Del Carmens beaches you can visit.

5. Are There All-Inclusive Resorts in Playa del Carmen?

Many tourists are interested in all-inclusive options. Playa del Carmen has several all-inclusive resorts that cater to different preferences and budgets. The most important thing to note is that when booking an all-inclusive hotel, many booking sites will list resorts as Playa Del Carmen. Many of these are outside of the center of Playa and some along the highway. Location can be important if you want to visit the downtown of Playa Del Carmen or how close other attractions are. 

Here are five different areas of Playa Del Carmen that have resorts.

  1. Playacar. This is a part of Playa on the south end of the downtown. It is in two parts, Phase 1 and Phase 2. People like this area because the resorts are separated from the center of Playa but it is still walkable to the center to shop and walk around. 
  2. Downtown of Playa Del Carmen. There are a few all-inclusive resorts in the center of town. These can be nice, but we prefer the larger resorts outside of the center that offer more exclusive feel and more space. Plus, why pay for all-inclusive when there are so many good restaurants around the downtown area?
  3. North of Playa Del Carmen. This area is around Playa Xcalacoco. in this area you can find the Princess Hotels, and the Fives to mention two of them. 
  4. South of Playa Del Carmen close to Xcaret Park. Hotel Xcaret of Arte are two hotels in this area. It is close to Playa but not in the city. 
  5. All the other areas up and down the Riviera Maya that can extend 20miles north and south of Playa Del Carmen. These areas are usually labeled as Playa Del Carmen. 

6. What Activities and Excursions Are Available in Playa Del Carmen?

Visitors seek recommendations for activities and excursions. Snorkeling in cenotes, exploring Mayan ruins (like Tulum, Chichen Itza, Ek Balam, and Coba), and visiting the nearby eco parks of Xcaret are popular choices. Since there is so much to do in the area as a tourist, here are some guides that can give you some more details so you can choose what looks good for you. 

Xplor or Xplor Fuego
The entrance to Xplor Park. This is the best place to go for ziplines and adventure. 

7. Where Is the Best Shopping in Playa del Carmen?

Shopping enthusiasts often want to know about the best places to shop. Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue is a bustling pedestrian street known for its shops, boutiques, and vibrant atmosphere. A good place to start is by watching our video about 5th Avenue (below). We put a lot of tips and share with you what stores we like and where to find them. We also have this shopping guide to Playa Del Carmen that can answer many of your questions. See also our guide on what to buy in Playa Del Carmen. This last guide can help you look for things that are a good deal for our area and help you not overpay for some things that are not from Playa. 

 

8. What Is the Currency in Playa del Carmen?

Travelers often inquire about the local currency. While the official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN), U.S. dollars are widely accepted in many tourist areas. See our detailed article about using Pesos or USD and the benefits of each. For the most part, it is best to convert currency into Pesos to use. Stores that accept USD can set whatever rate they want. This can mean that you might end of paying 10-20% more because of a bad exchange rate offered by the store.  

On the other hand, grocery stores, La Europea alcohol stores, Home Depot and a few big stores accept USD at competitive rates. One of the reasons is to attract locals that get tips in USD. Since USD is accepted in enough places, tipping at hotels, tours, or transportation in USD is common and easily used by people. Also see our guide as to how much money you need daily in Playa Del Carmen

9. How Is the Nightlife in Playa del Carmen?

 Nightlife is a significant attraction for some. Visitors want to know about the best bars, clubs, and entertainment options. Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) and some side streets are a hotspot for nightlife. The epicenter of nightlight is 12th Street from the beach to 10th Avenue. Here you can find most of the big clubs including Coco Bongo. Nightlife in Playa Del Carmen starts around 10pm and goes to about 3 am. 

one day in Playa Del Carmen
Cars stream by the night club Coco Bongo in Playa Del Carmen. 

10. What Are the Local Culinary Specialties?

Food is a highlight for some on a trip. Travelers often ask about local dishes and specialties. Playa del Carmen offers a diverse culinary scene, with options ranging from traditional Mexican cuisine to international flavors. With that being said, Playa is a newer destination for tourists in Mexico and it has grown around the tourism industry. Playa Del Carmen is a mix of flavors from the immigrants that have come from around the world. You can find excellent Italian, Venezuelan, Argentinian, among other cuisines from around the world. 

Historically, the area of the Riviera Maya was populated by the Mayas and not heavily populated until it started to grow as a tourist destination after the creation of Cancun in the 1970’s. We mention this because the area does not have a historical record as a culinary destination, nor does it have the traditions like other parts of Mexico. With this being said, most of the culinary experiences are either imported from other parts of Mexico or represent the fusion of modern Mexican cooking.

Because The Riviera Maya might be the first time for many to Mexico, it can be an entry level place to get a taste for Mexican food. Some good ideas are trying tacos at El Fogon, taking a food tour in Playa Del Carmen or a cooking class

11. Where are the best areas to stay in Playa?

Where you stay will have a big impact on your vacation. Not only the quality of hotel or resort, but the distances and walkability to visit other things. Be sure to read our detailed article about what are the best areas to stay in for Playa Del Carmen. We wrote this because there some areas of Playa Del Carmen that are not that touristic and offer much less of a good experience than other areas. 

In general, guests like staying in the center of Playa Del Carmen because it is walkable, and you do not need a car to get around. The area from Juarez Avenue to 46th Street and from the beach to 30th Avenue is the main area where people stay. Our favorite area is in the middle which is about Constituyentes Avenue. This area gives you easy walking to both lower and upper 5th Avenue and is close to most things. 

Conclusion

These questions cover a range of topics that are crucial for travelers to consider when planning their visit to Playa del Carmen, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable experience in this beautiful Mexican destination. If you have any other questions about visiting Playa Del Carmen, be sure to use the search box on our website. We have hundreds of articles for you to consider for your next visit to the area. You can also post your comments below and we will be sure to get back to you. 

seaweed
Mamitas Beach in Playa Del Carmen. One of the favorite beaches of locals and visitors.

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