Making the Most of Playa del Carmen


Making the Most of Playa del Carmen 


Picture it: you’re backpacking across Mexico, you’ve visited dozens of small villages, you’ve gone on a jungle expedition to see Maya temples, and you’ve taken dozens of photos of mountains, cenotes, and underground rock formations. After all that, you arrive at a place where you can relax, where you can rest your head on more pillows than you've ever seen in a hotel room, crank up the air conditioning, take a hot shower, and then go for a walk on the beach, sit on a restaurant terrace, and enjoy a good margarita and ceviche in the finest Mexican tradition. But then it's time to pay the bill; that’s a disaster!


That’s what it’s like in Playa del Carmen. A tourist’s paradise, with every possible comfort combined with the area’s traditional culture. All of that comes at a price, but it’s worth it. Playa del Carmen is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. So, here’s what you need to know to make the most of Playa del Carmen.


For a long time, it was a small fishing village that served as a gateway to the nearby island of Cozumel, where people worshipped the Maya moon goddess Ixchel. In the late 20th century, the rise of tourism in Cancun boosted the number of visitors to the region, and Playa del Carmen became a popular seaside resort. Today, the city is divided into three main areas: the residential area, where wealthy Mexicans and many Americans have second homes and secure access; the urban area, where Playa del Carmen’s year-round residents live; and the tourist area, centered around the lively Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue). This is where you’ll find most of the stores, restaurants, and clubs. In addition to Spring Break with its throngs of American students, the city attracts even more people than usual when it hosts the BPM Festival (for electronic music) in January and the Jazz Festival in November.


But no matter what time of year it is, you're sure to find ways to relax and have fun there. With scuba diving, windsurfing, kitesurfing, visits to the seabed, and even just lounging on the beach, no seaside activity has been overlooked.