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A Journey Into Paradise

Best Mexico Vacations: Downtown Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun

26 August, 2017

Best Mexico Vacations: Downtown Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun

Ever wondered about what the differences are between Cancun and downtown Playa del Carmen? Situated about one hour apart along the Mexican Caribbean Sea, the two cities have a number of similarities as well as differences and are known for having some of the best beachfront real estate in the world.

“Both Cancun and Playa (as it’s known by the locals) have a healthy party atmosphere, are soaked in English speakers and tons of tourists, boast gorgeous beaches, and offer access to natural excursions and plenty of day trips,” wrote Oyster.com. “In their category of travel, you can’t go wrong with either destination, but in case you have some deal-breakers when choosing your ideal vacation spot, read on to find out which is better for you”.

Location, Location, Location

One of the best things about the Mexican Caribbean is the easy access it provides to the Cancun International Airport from the entire Riviera Maya region. This 80-mile stretch of coastline is home to Playa, Tulum and Puerto Aventuras, along with a handful of other charming beach towns. Be sure to browse the many vacation homes and other amazing Playa del Carmen real estate for rent, including luxury condos and villas, as well as the typical big-box resorts and a wide variety of boutique hotels. Throughout the entire area, the opportunities are virtually endless, so don’t settle for less than your ideal vacation.

Best Mexico Vacations: Downtown Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun

“The Hotel Zone is a mere 20-to-25-minute cab ride from Cancun International Airport, meaning you can catch the early flight and be on the beach within a few hours,” wrote Oyster.com. “Once in Playa, you can walk to most places in the main tourist area. To walk from one end to the other takes about 25 minutes at most”.

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Best Beaches in the World

The entire Mexican Caribbean is known for having the best beaches in the world, with crystal clear turquoise water, soft white sand and warm temps year-round. In Cancun, the beaches are all public as well as wider and nicely equipped, but they are mostly fronted by large hotels. In Playa del Carmen, most of the beaches are also public, but not all stretches of sand are fully equipped with beds, umbrellas, bars, lifeguards and bathrooms.

“There are several beach clubs around Playa, all with different costs, but you can also find a beach bed at a bar like Señor Frogs at the southern edge of 5th Avenue,” wrote Oyster.com. “For reference, the beach is wider at the southern end, and there tends to be less seaweed there as well”.

Best Mexico Vacations: Downtown Playa del Carmen vs. Cancun

Get the Facts About Safety in Mexico

Mexico’s Riviera Maya and Cancun to the north are historically some of the safest places to vacation and actually are much safer than many U.S. cities. Obviously, visitors need to exercise caution – similar to what would be required anywhere – but both of these tourist towns are definitely on the safe side.

“There is no current travel advisory for either area,” wrote Oyster.com. “Both are tourist-heavy destinations that favor fun and sun. Expect to hear a lot more English than Spanish and to be surrounded by lots of folks from the U.S.”

Playa’s vibe is a bit more cosmopolitan, but depending on when you visit, there is likely to be a mix of spring breakers, adventure travelers, singles, couples, families with kids and well-established expats in both locales. 

Which Mexican Caribbean vacation destination do you think would be best for you? Let us know in the comments below! 

Would you like to know more about what life is really like in Playa del Carmen? Click the following link to read Downtown Playa del Carmen: Modern Luxe Meets Old World Style. 

Topics: Playa del Carmen Travel Cancun