With its bars, boutiques and beaches, Playa del Carmen is the Yucatán Peninsula’s trend-setting hotspot. In contrast to Cancún – its bigger, bolder neighbour – Playa is cool, calm and collected. The seas are ideal for snorkelling or diving and just down the coast are the picturesque Mayan ruins of Tulum.

Hip, laid-back, yet still on the up, Playa del Carmen is Mexico’s Riviera Maya.  

Things to do


As well as Playa’s own beautiful beach, the area has numerous other attractions. Just off the coast is Isla Cozumel, a 40km island with windswept beaches and amazing reefs. And to the north is Playa Norte with powder-fine sands and gorgeous clear waters.


Just a short drive from Playa will bring you to Tulum, one of the most breathtaking of all the Mayan sites. Framed by the azure Carribean Sea, Tulum was once an important trading port, dating back to the 12th century. Another short drive takes you to Xel-Ha, a natural aquatic theme park with creeks, lagoons, wells and ancient caves. 


As the sun sets, Playa del Carmen’s bars come to life. The beach is lined with trendy places to grab a cocktail and relax with the sand between your toes. Or head for 5th Avenue (Quinta Avenida) where you’ll find everything from reggae and salsa, to chill and electro. 

Charter a boat for Akumai Bay to snorkel and swim with loggerhead sea turtles.

Top tip from SLH

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