Playa del Carmen is an expat-friendly beach town situated on prime real estate along the Caribbean Sea just south of the Cancun International Airport and just north of Tulum in the heart of the Riviera Maya, which remains Mexico’s most popular destination for tourism year after year.
Living in Playa del Carmen
“This town is easy and affordable to get to and it has become genuinely international – lots of digital nomads have figured this out and are making Playa del Carmen their base,” wrote Coastal Living. “And with good reason: The beaches along this stretch of coast are gorgeous – from Playa del Carmen all the way south to Tulum.”
There is also modern infrastructure in Playa del Carmen and throughout Mexico’s Riviera Maya, as well as excellent medical care with world-class hospitals and every type of standard “American” luxury you could imagine just 45 minutes to the north in Cancun, making downtown Playa del Carmen a far cry from any remote vacation destination. Here’s the inside scoop on the best places to eat, drink, play and stay in Playa del Carmen.
Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen
Of course, you’ll want to spend plenty of time exploring the beaches in and around Playa del Carmen, which is home to a variety of stunningly beautiful heart-stopping Caribbean shorelines, especially if you drive just 25 minutes north to Maroma Beach. Here, you’ll find a few luxury resorts on this prime stretch of real estate in Playa del Carmen.
Also, be sure to explore the stalagmites and stalactites of Rio Secreto near Playa del Carmen and take a guided tour of the Riviera Maya’s most popular “secret river,” which winds through part of a vast network of caves and cenotes.
“Xcaret is a combination eco-reserve, cultural center, and adventure park where you can swim or walk through caves, explore ruins and a living-history village in the jungle, meet local wildlife, and immerse in Mayan culture and lore at an evening dinner show,” wrote Coastal Living.
Of course, exploring the sights in Playa del Carmen would never be complete without spending time on Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), which is the city’s ever-popular expat and tourism center. On Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen, you can expect to find plenty of nightlife, shopping and dining options, as well as some of the world’s best people watching.
Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Trying to decide where to eat in Playa del Carmen can be a bit overwhelming, whether you are an expat living here full time, or a tourist on your first visit. Either way, it’s a good problem to have and the dining options in Playa del Carmen are seemingly endless, from inventive, sophisticated international cuisine to local eateries that make the best of Mayan and Mexican specialties.
“Less a cave than a freeform casa surrounded by jungle, La Cueva del Chango doesn’t monkey around when it comes to local food: Come here to discover how familiar tacos, mole chicken and flan are supposed to taste,” wrote Coastal Living. “The sleek and service-oriented Oh Lala provides a break from Mexican cuisine (as tasty as it is) with colorfully-presented salads and curries, and mains like filet mignon, New Zealand lamb and tuna steaks.”
Best Resorts, Hotels and Condo Rentals in Playa del Carmen
No top-notch vacation is ever complete without the perfect place to stay, and Playa del Carmen offers a variety of excellent options for travelers of all ages and groups of all sizes. Whether you are looking for a world-class resort, a chic boutique hotel, or a private condo residence that offers a more spacious, personalized experience, Playa del Carmen has accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs.
“The magnificently modern Rosewood Mayakoba Riviera Maya resort has luxury guest rooms crafted from indigenous materials and capped with rooftop sun decks; the 1,600-acre property includes a Greg Norman golf course, El Camaleón, protected beaches and rainforest, and a spa where you can experience the traditional Temezcal steam bath,” wrote Coastal Living.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for something upscale downtown, the Royal Playa del Carmen is within easy reach of the shopping, dining and nightlife of Fifth Avenue, as well as the city’s ever popular main beachfront.
Have you ever been to Playa del Carmen? Share your travel experiences in the comments section below!
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