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30 Ultimate Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

By: Rosie Bell in Seasonal Travel / 06 Nov 2022
30 Ultimate Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

Consider this your greatest-hits list of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen.

Swinging yet serene, Playa del Carmen is the not-so-secret antidote to Cancun. The Mayan Riviera is the coast with the most and Playa del Carmen is its most eclectic destination. Combining rich Mayan culture, culinary diversity, year-round warmth, otherworldly subterranean swimming pools, and a gorgeous beach or two, this city might just blow you out of the water.

Previously known as Xaman-Ha or "waters of the north" in Maya, Playa del Carmen was named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Cancun's patron saint. Situated on the Mexican Caribbean coast, this once sleepy fishing village is now a cosmopolitan city in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo where many come to meet the world. To be able to say you've visited this Mayan Riviera gem, tick the following scintillating experiences off your list.

Explore the countless wonders that Playa del Carmen has to offer with our comprehensive list of must-see experiences. From relaxing on the turquoise beaches to immersing yourself in the lively cultural scene of La Quinta Avenida, this enchanting tropical paradise is guaranteed to amaze you at every turn. Enjoy exciting water activities, discover rich Mayan history at nearby archaeological sites, or immerse yourself in vibrant nightlife. Playa del Carmen is more than a destination, it is a captivating experience that will leave you speechless.


The weather and waters stay warm enough to welcome you 365 days a year, but the best months to visit Playa del Carmen are November through March when the heat and humidity are less punishing.

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Begin at Quinta Avenida

A street with colorful flags and palm trees

Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida) is the beating heart of Playa del Carmen, which is affectionately called "Playa" by locals. Stroll along this pedestrian-only street to take in a conglomeration of tour operators, bustling bars, restaurants, clothing shops, live comic book characters, street performers, and well-stocked tequila stores professing to be museums.

Playa del Carmen is the largest (and fastest-growing) city in the Mayan Riviera but it's still small enough to delightfully discover on foot. Quinta Avenida (or "La Quinta") is Playa's principal street paralleling the beach and a quasi baptism of fire that will get you pumped to start your trip.


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Frolic in a Rooftop Pool

A pool and buildings by the ocean

Escape to The Fives hotel's elegant rooftop pool and have an artful mixologist whip you up a cocktail to accompany your sunset while you teeter on the edge of bliss. The Reef 28's sky-caressing pool  is a place to see and be seen and Thompson Playa del Carmen's rooftop is similarly stylish. From here you can take in purple and blue sunset hues from a cabana or the ivory in-pool loungers. The party crowd loves Deck 5 Pool and Skybar on weekend afternoons while The Palm at Playa boutique hotel is popular for its poolside workshops, yoga classes, and pulsating day-to-evening parties. Over at Be Roof atop the Be Playa hotel, the atmosphere is laid-back and the bar staff always seem to have just the right music playing.

See the rest of the list of things to do in Playa del Carmen by reading the full article.

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