Playa del Carmen, Mexico is one of the country’s most beautiful getaways for a vacation along the Caribbean Sea. The coastal town offers vacation rentals, luxurious hotels, and a wealth of places to visit beyond just the beach. Sightseeing in Playa del Carmen will offer tourists the opportunity to explore this exotic area of the Mayan Riviera.
While the beaches certainly are worthy of attention, this coastal destination offers additional places for sightseeing, including eco-tourism, famous monuments, and cultural sites linked to the ancient Mayan civilization. You will quickly realize that this is not a destination for just any beach trip. Playa del Carmen is a place where you can become intimately acquainted with the fusion of culture, history, and the environment all in one convenient package.
If not on the beach or out exploring the cenotes, the city’s downtown area features several important landmarks. Quinta Avenida is the main downtown avenue that offers a variety of shops, restaurants and bars. A few blocks away from Quinta Avenida, you can find the quaint Catholic chapel of Nuestra Señora del Carmen, which can be appreciated for its simple white architecture that looks spectacular illuminated at night.
In addition to Quinta Avenida and the chapel, Playa del Carmen also offers mural and urban artwork tours as well as explorations of the Mayan ruins. The Zona Arqueológica lies in the south of the city and can easily be reached via public transportation. If interested in a deeper expeditions into the Mayan ruins, tours can be organized to visit Tulum, situated about an hour drive south, and Chichen Itza, approximately a three hour drive to the west.
Of course, it’s important to mention the beautiful coastlines of the Mayan Riviera when talking about sightseeing tours. Bathed with sun and a warm climate year-round, the beaches feature pristine sand and crystalline waters. Some of the most popular beaches to visit are Xpu-Ha, Playa Mamitas, and Playa Akumal. While it’s a spectacular sight to admire the coastline of the Mayan Riviera, a lot of the sightseeing opportunities actually take place in the water.
If willing to go out on a kayak, you will presented with the chance to observe marine life in its natural habitat. In the waters of Playa Akumal, which in ancient Mayan translates to “the land of the turtles,” you can observe sea turtles swimming freely. They come here to nest, spawn in the late spring, and during the early summer months masses of baby turtles can be seen riding the currents underneath the sun’s rays. It’s also possible to take a boat trip excursion to Cozumel, a small island off the coast that offers more spectacular beaches, scuba tours, and opportunities to swim with dolphins and stingrays.
Ecotourism is a popular tourist attraction for sightseeing and admiring the natural geological formations in this area. Popular destinations for ecotourism are cenotes. Cenotes essentially are subterranean caves and aquifers that formed from the impact of a meteor in the Yucatan Peninsula 65 million years ago. What makes the cenotes so popular is that they can be traversed and spelunked from solid ground or in the water.
The cenotes feature vaulted, cave-like ceilings, adorned with stalagmites and stalactites. What’s more, tourists can swim in the water and the more adventurous can explore the underwater portions of these aquiferous caves with an expert tour guide. The word cenote in ancient Mayan literally means “cave with water,” but they culturally served to link the physical world with the cosmos. Cenotes are ubiquitous in this area, but a range of them can be reached via a quick twenty to thirty minute drive from the center of town.
Whether seeking sightseeing in Playa del Carmen through the city’s spectacular beaches, appreciating nature through both marine and ecological tourism, or walking about Playa del Carmen’s downtown area, there is always plenty to do and see. Take advantage of the vacation rentals in this area in order to immerse yourself in all that this town has to offer. You will instantly fall in love here and undoubtedly make plans to return soon.