Are Images of palm trees swaying in the breeze and soft sandy beaches entering your mind lately?
A direct flight from many US cities, about 4 hours or less, and your wheels could be touching down on the Caribbean tarmac of Cancun, Mexico. Hail a taxi or rent a car…and get ready for some well-needed rest and relaxation and dip your toes into those sugary white sand beaches.
Once a fishing village, founded in 1937, Playa Del Carmen is now a top vacation getaway, a cosmopolitan beach town, and a top diving destination. Located about 53 minutes from the Cancun airport you’ll find a daily average temperature of 83 degrees and your laid-back lifestyle just waiting for you.
Playa del Carmen is known for everything from kid friendly activities to art exhibits, to culture, and Mayan history. If shopping is your thing, then you can’t miss 5th Avenue.
5th Avenue or Quinta Avenida as it’s well known is the center of the city and about a 5-mile long pedestrian street. It’s lined with shops, bars, and restaurants busy night and day. You’ll find vendors excited to show off their arts and crafts. Plans for remodeling 5th Avenue and Park Fundadores are currently taking place, but it’s definitely something you don’t want to miss on your visit.
- Dining in Playa del Carmen is quite the experience. Known for its gastronomy, it could take you months to sample all the restaurants and local establishments. Open-air ambiance with a lush tropical garden setting like Cueva Del Chango on 38th street and 1st avenue or cave dining with a cenote.
Alux Restaurante & Lounge features a magical setting with a cenote and brilliantly colored lights to enhance a 10,000-year-old cavern. Tantalize your tastebuds with Mexican contemporary, Seafood, and International cuisine. Alux is great for private parties, product launches, or to bring out the romance between two people.
Bakeries that seduce people’s palates, chocolate cafes for that sweet tooth, fresh lobster dishes, Italian cuisine, French, Mediterranean, Mexican, and everything else that you can dream up is along 5th Avenue or off the beaten path.
If you dine on the 5th avenue pedestrian pathway it’s a little more expensive, but off the beaten path, you’ll find a truly local experience with a lower price tag.
- Accommodations in Playa del Carmen vary from budget-friendly to luxurious. Downtown Playa has an assortment of resorts, boutique hotels, and air-b-n-b condos for rent. All-inclusive resorts flank the beaches. The southern part of Playa del Carmen on the way to Tulum offers a more natural serene lifestyle. North of Playa del Carmen is home to luxurious resorts with golf courses and beach clubs.
- Cenotes are natural sinkholes resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock exposing groundwater underneath. Much of this groundwater is transported under the jungle. Google “cenote” images and you’ll see a variety of large open water pools with vibrant colors pop up. Some you can dive in and others are perfect for snorkeling or floating. Mayans used cenotes for sacrificial purposes.
Rio Secreto Cenote where environmentalism and tourism merge was recently designated as an alluring nature reserve. Rio Secreto Wild offers a tour that takes you deep into the Maya jungle to explore caves and immerse you in the underworld.
Cenote Choj Ha– is a “one of a kind experience” discovered by a local farmer. It actually means dripping water. Bring a waterproof flashlight for full underwater viewing. You’ll be mesmerized by this cave with a roof of stalactites & stalagmites and natural columns. Not too many people know it’s there and it might be harder to get to, but well worth it. Although the water is a little cold, the colors are brilliant and this cenote will capture your heart.
Deciding on which cenotes to visit might be your biggest decision since there’s no shortage of them in this region. Just consider if you want a tour or some seclusion. Do you want something easy to get to or one you might have to trek to? It’s all available to you within miles of Playa del Carmen.
How adventurous are you?
- Theme parks are heaven for kids.
With Xel Ha, Xcaret, and Xplor kids can immerse themselves in land and water activities among nature and culture. Imagine unlimited snorkeling among cenotes, vibrant colored fish, and other marine animals. Try out the power snorkel experience or Zipline above the canopy of the trees in a hammock.
Learn about the Mayan’s sacred bee, the Melipona, known for its healing properties. Watch as they collect honey and maintain the hives.
Do you have that overwhelming urge to drive an amphibious vehicle through the jungle? This is one place getting muddy all over is fun.
Celebrate Mexico’s past as you experience the traditions, culture, and folklore at these theme parks.
- Mayan Ruins are within a short driving distance.
Approximately 30 min south of Playa you can venture around the Tulum Ruins that face the Caribbean Sea. Built originally to be a fortress, these ruins are the only pyramids on the cliff overlooking the Caribbean ocean. You can enjoy the beach on a visit to these pyramids.
The Coba Ruins are one of the main attractions of the ancient pyramids where you could climb the 130 steps prior to COVID-19 pandemic. It’s just a short distance from Tulum and Playa del Carmen. Coba is in the middle of the jungle, so a little off the beaten path and is 50 times bigger than Tulum. Rent a bike to get to the different structures in this archaeological site.
- The White Sand Beaches of the Riviera Maya draw tourists from all over the world.
Formed by minute particles of the coral reef, you’ll find you don’t have to hop from one spot on the sand to the next to avoid burned feet. The temperature of the sand doesn’t get as hot as other beaches you might have been to.
Since private beaches don’t exist in Mexico, you have a choice with your beach experience…like 255 miles of beach from Cancun south. A secluded beach like Coco Reef is one of the best snorkel areas. If you’re looking for some action, consider Mamitas or Kool beach. Beach clubs are perfect when you want bathrooms, drinks, chairs, and more of a “club” atmosphere. It’s all up to you and what you want with your beach day.
- It’s Raining…We all know that vacationers flock to the beaches in the Riviera Maya…but what if it’s raining?
One interactive entertainment is to become a part of the “art” in Playa del Carmen. Visit the 3D Museum of Wonders perfect for people of all ages. Imagine those 3D movies, well this artwork tricks your eye and makes you question reality versus illusion.
With so many activities available in Playa del Carmen, it’s no wonder it’s a tourist Mecca drawing people who want to escape the cold weather or who have a chance to work remotely.
Water Transportation is available with the Ultramar Ferry to transport you to Cozumel or Isla Mujeres. The ferry is faster than the regular ferry so within 20 minutes you can be on Cozumel.
We’ve just touched on a few things that people have come to experience in the jungles or the sea here in the Riviera Maya.
Playa del Carmen continues to be known for its lavish accommodations, restaurants, and shopping. Europeans, Americans, and Mexicans are drawn to the laid-back lifestyle, pristine beaches, and cultural experiences. Many are finding they want to own a piece of paradise by purchasing a second home or investing in property for passive income.
Now that you know about this tourist Mecca, how would you like to be a player in global real estate investing? Or how about finding your second dream home? If this interests you, reach out to us for more information.