Playa Del Carmen is a town in the Riviera Maya located some 40 miles south of Cancun.
It offers a very different Mexico to the hustle and bustle of Cancun. Playa is more laid back and definitely less Americanized. It’s a nice contrast and definitely worth a day out of your normal schedule to visit. You can take an organized tour from Cancun or go there yourself on the bus easily.
The beaches at Playa del Carmen are long and wide, and consist of a more granular white sand than the powder white sand you’ll find in Cancun. On the beach you can rent sailboats and hire fishing, diving or snorkel trips.
Unlike Cancun, there are many bars and restaurants right on the beach itself and you are never more than 50 meters away from the nearest refreshment stop. After midnight the nightclubs located on the beach come alive.
5th Avenue is the famous shopping street packed with restaurants of all flavors, bars and shops selling everything from the ubiquitous souvenirs to fine arts and Luis Vuitton travel accessories.
Playa del Carmen’s 5th avenue runs parallel to the beach some 500 meters inland, side streets lined with small hotels, condos bars and restaurants lead down to the beach at frequent intervals.
To get there by yourself there are several options, probably the cheapest is to go via bus from the bus station in downtown Cancun.
Buses leave every 20 minutes or so and the price is around $5.00. The bus station in Playa Del Carmen is right in the heart of the town and located on the famous 5th Avenue.
Alternatively rent a car in Cancun and set your own itinerary, stop on the way or head onwards a little further to explore other Riviera Maya attractions such as Xcaret Xel Ha and Tulum.
Playa Del Carmen is a also a great transportation hub with buses leaving to destinations all over Mexico from the central bus station. The ferry to Cozumel is located here too.
The crossing to Cozumel from Playa Del Carmen takes about an hour so you have plenty of time to go over to Cozumel and back if you start your day early enough.