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Playa del Carmen is a trendy resort with a European vibe, where tourists and expats gather to see and be seen. It’s quieter and smaller than neighbouring resort Cancun, but this only adds to its air of exclusivity. The resort is the perfect place to relax, with breathtakingly luxurious hotels, white sand beaches and crystal clear waters. It’s also a stunning place to scuba dive, and there are countless dive centres offering lessons.

Things to Do

Playa del Carmen has beautiful reefs populated with bright fish, sea turtles and coral, so it’s a spectacular location to go snorkelling or scuba diving. Visitors can also go on dolphin-spotting trips, or take a boat to the beautiful beaches of Cozumel Island. A trip to a Mexican cenote is a must; these holes in the ground are created when limestone falls in on itself, and reveal groundwater pools that you can swim in.


The Riviera Maya has some of the world’s most scenic beaches, and Playa del Carmen is no different. The coast is lined with stretches of white sand and palm trees, and in high season you can expect 11 hours of sunshine a day! Central Playa del Carmen is the most family friendly portion of the beach, with shallow water and a watersports centre, while the north end has beach clubs and DJ sets.


Playa del Carmen’s nightlife centres around Fifth Avenue, the resort’s main street that is a shopping heaven by day but at night transforms into a party district, with even the restaurants often transforming into clubs. The streets are usually brought to life by street performers and food vans, which give the resort an authentic Mexican feel. There are also many bars along the seafront, and the beach clubs tend to party around the clock.

Location of Playa del Carmen

Key Facts

  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: Mexican Peso
  • Time Difference from UK: -6
  • Flight time: 10 hours
  • When to go: November - May