The list of amazing things to do in Playa del Carmen and throughout the surrounding Riviera Maya region will blow your mind, so it can be hard to sort through the many incredible options to decide what’s best for you and your family. Here are seven of our favorite Playa del Carmen excursions to suit most travelers and give you a nice overview of what Mexico’s Riviera Maya has to offer!
Fun Playa del Carmen Activities and Tours
This chic public beach club in the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen is definitely a must-do! Rent some lounge chairs and umbrellas, then prepare to relax in serious style. You can also rent a jet ski, go parasailing or book a ride in a sailboat and explore the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean Sea. We love the excellent DJs, ultra-clean beach, the upbeat yet always laid-back atmosphere and the incredible hospitality at Mamitas Beach Club, which also offers free WiFi, showers and a delicious full menu.
This series of caves and underground rivers showcases some of the Riviera Maya’s most incredible natural beauty! The cave system was recently discovered less than 10 years ago and has pristine turquoise water, with countless stalactites and stalagmites. As the longest-known sunken cave in the Yucatan region, expect to swim and snorkel through some tight spaces and feel like you’ve just discovered a breathtaking secret!
After all of the adventuring you’re bound to have worked up an appetite, so head over to this atmospheric, colorfully-lit restaurant located inside a 10,000-year-old cave! Named after Mexican spirits believed to protect the country’s most beautiful natural places, Alux is an upscale restaurant in downtown Playa del Carmen that specializes in fresh seafood, serving up a scintillating array of exotic Mayan-inspired cocktails and cuisine.
Situated just off the coast of downtown Playa del Carmen, Cozumel is a small island in the Mexican Caribbean Sea. It has gained an international reputation as the world’s best diving and snorkeling destination, with the world’s second-largest barrier reef just offshore, not to mention some of the best beaches in the world. It’s easy to visit Cozumel via a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa, making this a perfect day trip excursion, and visitors can also rent a scooter to explore the island, including the ruins at San Gervasio and the Punta Sur Beach Park.
Don’t let the unassuming facade fool you - this onetime favorite place to dine among local taxi drivers is also a popular restaurant in Playa del Carmen among expats and visitors from around the world. Serving delicious tacos al pastor (slow roasted pork) and giant margaritas, this downtown Playa del Carmen staple actually has three locations, but we prefer the original at Avenida 30 and Calle 32, which is further from touristy areas.
Even if you don’t happen to be a regular yoga practitioner, this studio offering morning sessions overlooking the Mexican Caribbean Sea is pretty fantastic! Followed by a swim in the ocean and a fresh fruit breakfast, classes vary from hatha and vinyansa to yin, restorative and beginners. Planning to stay a while in Playa and put down some roots in Mexico’s Riviera Maya? There’s also a teacher training option and ongoing class packages for locals.
Animals lovers may want to consider volunteering at SOS el Arca. This local animal shelter in downtown Playa del Carmen that focuses on rescue, rehabilitation and finding homes for street dogs and owner surrenders. It’s an active, non-profit, no-kill animal shelter that relies on volunteers to help with walking and washing its adorable four-legged residents and - of course - with cleaning and maintaining the shelter.
Do you have questions about vacationing in Playa del Carmen, Mexico? Post them in the comments!
Want to know more about Mexico’s Riviera Maya? Read 5 Exciting Off-Resort Activities in the Riviera Maya and Near Downtown Playa del Carmen!