Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen

Situated along the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya Caribbean shoreline, Playa Del Carmen offers visitors sandy beaches, spectacular ancient ruins, outdoor adventures, and so much more. When you’re not relaxing on the palm-lined beach or marveling at the Chichen Itza pyramid, explore the wide array of things to do in Playa del Carmen. Let the vacation rental specialists at Casago be your guide as you experience Playa del Carmen’s vibrant nightlife scene, fantastic restaurants featuring fresh seafood and local cuisine, watersport activities, and more!

Playa del Carmen Excursions

Those with an interest in history and archeology will definitely want to book an excursion to some of the nearby ancient Mayan sites, like Tulum or Muyil. Other popular Playa Del Carmen excursions will take you to natural aquariums and eco-parks. Below are a few of the most popular locations tourists love to visit:

  • Tulum: Tulum was one of the last cities that the Mayans built and lived in — it dates back to 564 AD. Tulum is situated on 39-foot cliffs along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula, on the Caribbean sea. Tulum is truly a sight to behold; walking along the ancient ruins where kings once resided, and glancing over at the Caribbean waters in the background make for a truly unique experience.
  • Chichen Itza: This site is one of the most visited archaeological sites in Mexico. Chichen Itza was once one of the largest Mayan cities, and dates back to 600 AD. Some popular Chichen Itza sites to visit are the Ik Kil lake ruins, the pyramid-shaped Mayan temple of El Castillo, the El Caracol observatory, and the sacred cenote. Ideal times to visit are between December and April.
  • Rio Secreto: Trips to the Rio Secreto bring visitors into underground caves, to find hidden cenotes and rivers. During tours through the Rio Secreto, guides explain the history of the caves and waters, along with how the Maya used them thousands of years ago. Many who visit the Rio Secreto find that it was the highlight of their trip to Playa Del Carmen!
  • Xel-Ha: This natural aquarium is centered on a natural inlet and lagoon that is open for any visitor to swim and snorkel through. While in the waters of Xel-Ha you will come across schools of tropical fish, dolphins, and even turtles! All of Xel-Ha’s exhibits are natural. Some popular activities in Xel-Ha are zip-lining, water tours, cliff jumping, and jungle trails.
  • Xcaret: Xcaret is similar to Xel-Ha, but it features more organized and manmade attractions. It is considered to be the eco “Disneyland” of Playa Del Carmen. Inside Xcaret, you will find an aviary, a dolphin aquarium, a turtle sanctuary and a beach perfect for swimming, diving or snorkeling. At Xcaret, you can take part in dolphin interactions, stingray encounters, shark swims, scuba tours and speedboat rides.

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Playa Del Carmen Beaches

Playa Del Carmen beaches offer something for everyone. There are some that are less crowded and more quiet, and there are also beaches that are more populated and have more things to do. Here are some of Playa Del Carmen’s top beaches:

  • North of 48th St., next to the Canibal Royal: This beach is a bit more secluded then the other popular beaches of Playa Del Carmen. If you are looking for a nice, quiet day on the sand, or to snorkel in calm waters, this beach is perfect for you. Because of the secluded nature of this beach, it is best to pack snacks and food, because there are no restaurants or vendors on this beach.
  • Mamitas located at Calle 28: One of the most popular beaches in Playa Del Carmen. Come here for the lively atmosphere, and activities such as banana boats, parasailing, catamarans, and jet ski rentals. Beach clubs Kool and Mamitas keep the party going all day and all night.

Popular Activities in Playa del Carmen

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Playa del Carmen Restaurants

Playa del Carmen’s vibrant food scene features creative menus ranging from traditional Mexican cuisine to fresh takes on international fare. Here are Playa del Carmen restaurants you won’t want to miss: El Fogon: Known by many as Playa Del Carmen’s best taco restaurant. Food here is very affordable, averaging about $0.80 a taco. Try the wildly popular tacos “Al Pastor,” with thin slices of marinated, crisp pork shoulder. El Fogon has three locations on 30th Ave. El Sangha Rito: This spot is famous for its guacamole. There are many other items on the menu that are worth exploring, such as the dorados with chicken — you will not be disappointed! Alux: For a unforgettable dining experience head to Alux, located inside a cave that is more than 10,000 years old. The seating area is large, accommodating more than 250 people. If you want a more exclusive experience, you can head into one of the private vaults for your dinner. Reservations are required here, so try to book a few days in advance. If you want to try something truly exotic, Alux features many different authentic Mayan specialties.

Playa del Carmen Nightlife

Playa del Carmen nightlife is legendary for its exciting atmosphere, fun nightclubs, and Vegas-style shows. Here are some of the most popular places to go:

  • Mandala Night Club: If you are looking for a popular, jumping place to party, you’ve found the spot. The Mandala Night Club is always busy and is one of the most famous nightclubs in Playa Del Carmen. Mandala Night Club offers bottle service. This club is located on Blvd. Kukulcan.
  • Salsanera: This Latin-style dance club is perfect if you want a break from the electronic music. Salsanera DJs play salsa, merengue, bachata and more. This club is across from the Coco Bongo on 12th St.
  • Thompson Hotel Roof: What is cooler than a chic party overlooking the city of Playa del Carmen? The Thompson Hotel Roof features nightly parties with a rotating roster of top DJs. The entrance for the Thompson hotel is on 12th St., between 5th and 10th ave.

Playa Del Carmen Shopping

If you are looking to shop for souvenirs, mementos, and other regional items, La Quinta Avenida is where you want to go. La Quinta Avenida is Playa Del Carmen’s main street; it runs parallel to the shore and is a popular walkway for travelers and locals. Here you will find plenty of souvenir shops, boutiques, artisan vendors, and jewelry shops.

Steve Schwab Founder, CEO

Get your Playa del Carmen Trip Started

Casago can assist you in getting your trip to Playa Del Carmen started today! Our local experts have over 20 years of experience in making clients’ dream trips in Mexico happen. Our representatives can be reached 24/7 by phone or email. For more insider information on the best things to do in Playa del Carmen, or to book your beachside vacation rental, call us today!

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