Playa del Carmen Mexico has long been a favored tourist destination. Formerly a small fishing village, “Playa,” as the locals refer to it, has its touristy areas, but a growing number of retirees and expats call it home part or all of the year. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula, its white sand beaches run along the edge of the town, part of a longer stretch of land known as the Riviera Maya. When one considers that the year-round temperature hovers around a balmy 85 F with relatively little rain or humidity, the appeal of vacation rentals becomes obvious.
Traveling to Playa del Carmen Mexico is easiest by air. There are airports in nearby Cancun and Cozumel, but the latter often seems more expensive to fly into. From either, one can rent a car or take the bus. One can also drive from the US, although the trip will take an estimated 40-50 hours or more depending on your starting point. That said, the roads improve the closer you get to the Yucatan. Plan for tolls on the way. The fastest route would be to take the roads along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, bypassing Mexico City and driving through Tamaulipas, Veracruz, Tabasco and Campeche.
The population boomed in the Nineties, but unlike other Mexican resort towns, Playa del Carmen is home to a sizable expat community comprised of people from many countries. As such, English is more common here than elsewhere in the country as it serves as a de facto second language. Knowing even a little Spanish will make your journey and stay considerably less stressful. The more Spanish you know, the more the locals will respect you. It will also allow a long-term resident more opportunities to discover restaurants and shops favored by the locals.
People live here because they like the relaxed pace of life. The tourist area, located near Fifth Avenue, is surprisingly small at about 20 blocks long. Visitors typically won’t bother with much of the rest of town. Many navigate the town on foot, but as no municipal bus service exists, longer distances will require hiring a cab or going in on one of its unique “Colectivos.” These private vans serve as group taxis and are used by the locals as an economical way of getting around.
Playa del Carmen remains a unique resort town that manages to balance commercial and funky in equal measure. When considering renting or buying, consult a trusted property management company.