Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Things to do in  Playa del Carmen

Welcome to Playa del Carmen

With vibrant reefs and laid-back Caribbean cool, Playa del Carmen is a favored diving destination offering plenty of ways to enjoy the coast along the Yucatán Peninsula. See what’s beneath the waves on a dive or snorkeling trip, explore fresh-water cenotes, or visit a family-friendly nature park. The walkable town center is packed with boutiques, cafes, and lively nightclubs, and there are ancient Maya ruins and a thick jungle close enough for an afternoon excursion. With a central location on the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen makes the perfect home base for visiting resort towns, villages, golf courses, and picture-perfect beaches up and down the coast.

Top 15 attractions in Playa del Carmen

Chichen Itza

One of the New 7 Wonders of the World, Chichén Itzá is among Mexico's most visited and iconic archaeological sites. Known for its main central pyramid, this impressive Maya site—once the ceremonial center of the Yucatán—also features temples, ball courts, and a cenote (freshwater sinkhole).More

Rio Secreto Nature Reserve

Rio Secreto, or the “Secret River,” is a series of caves carved out by the flow of an ancient underground river in Mexico. While the reserve is most famous for its large half-sunken cavern—a popular diving spot—you can also explore eerie passageways, swim in the river, and admire dripping stalactites, stalagmites, and colorful mineral formations.More

Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres (the “Island of Women”) is known for its rich marine life and pristine beaches. Here you can snorkel at Manchones Reef, scuba dive in the Cave of Sleeping Sharks, or stretch out on the white sands of North Beach (Playa Norte). On land you’ll find bustling nightlife, with oceanside bars and restaurants serving fresh seafood.More


Tulum, the site of a Pre-Columbian Maya walled city and a port for Coba, is one of the best preserved coastal Mayan cities in the Yucatan, in tandem with Chichen Itza and Ek Balam. Highlights of this archaeological site include the Temple of the Frescoes, which has spectacular figurines of the 'diving god.'More

CoCo Bongo Playa del Carmen

From circus performers swinging from the ceiling and dancers crowding the floor, to celebrity impersonators and Broadway-style musicals, Coco Bongo is a nightclub unlike any other. At the Playa del Carmen location, you’ll find extravagant stages, multiple bars, VIP table service, and a dance floor known to rock through the wee hours.More


Akumal is a small beach town located between Playa del Carmen and Tulum on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Meaning “land of the turtles” in the Mayan language, Akumal is famous for its plentiful sea turtle population. Its secluded white-sand beaches and peaceful bays are also ideal for those seeking a more private experience.More

Mayan Ruins of Coba (Zona Arqueológica de Cobá)

In the heart of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula lie the ruins of Coba (Zona Arqueológica de Cobá), an ancient Maya city considered to be one of the most important settlements in Mesoamerican history. During its peak between AD 500 and 900, Coba housed 50,000 residents and was the central terminus for the complex Maya system of roadways. The jungle site is still being excavated, but visitors can experience the already discovered remains of thesesacbes, or stone causeways, as well as a number of engraved and sculpted monuments.More

Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida)

The pedestrian-only Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida) runs parallel to the ocean in downtown Playa del Carmen. This bustling tourist strip provides easy beach access and is within walking distance of shops, restaurants, bars, and clubs. Lining Fifth Avenue are shops aplenty, including those selling artisan crafts, fine jewelry, and cigars.More


With unparalleled access to the Caribbean Sea and all of its bounty, a visit to the Xcaret eco-archaeological park is a must when on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Snorkeling, ziplining, river rafting, exploring underwater rivers, and hiking tropical trails through jungle ruins are all options within this natural adventure park, which gives fast access to many of Cancun’s greatest attractions.More

Quintana Roo

One of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, Quintana Roo is the gateway to the Mexican Caribbean. Palm-lined beaches, Mayan ruins, and family-friendly nature parks characterize this east coast state where you can snorkel coral reefs, cool off in ancient cenotes, and party in the nightclubs of Cancún and Playa del Carmen.More

Cenote Chaak Tun

At Cenote Chaak Tun, outside Playa del Carmen, venture inside hidden subterranean caves that the ancient Maya believed were sacred portals to the underworld. Follow the beam of your headlamp into an enormous cenote, where centuries-old stalactites drip from above, and swim and snorkel in its fresh water rivers and pools.More


Named after a Mayan word meaning “the place where the waters are born,” the Xel-Ha aquatic park encompasses 14 acres (5.7 hectares) of jungle and ocean just south of Playa del Carmen. A must-visit family-friendly attraction, Xel-Ha is home to cenotes, a lazy river, fish-filled lagoons, and other natural attractions.More

Kantun Chi Ecopark

Built around the cenotes and jungle of the Riviera Maya, the Kantun Chi Ecopark is a subterranean playground of cenotes, underground caves, and grottoes. Filled with stalactites, stalagmites, and ancient columns, it offers a unique way to explore the dramatic natural scenery and learn about the region’s long Maya history.More

3D Museum of Wonders

Jump into the art at Playa del Carmen’s 3D Museum of Wonders. Created by a visionary American artist, this interactive museum is truly in a genre and mind-bending class of its own. It doesn’t take long for reality to blend with illusion, and pretty soon you’re splashing beneath a waterfall, surfing a wave, or trapped inside a bubble.More

Fundadores Park (El Zócalo)

Located just off the ferry dock, Fundadores Park (El Zócalo) is the center of Playa del Carmen. This beachside park sits along Playa del Carmen’s famous Fifth Avenue, and it’s the main square from which the rest of the tourist area branches out. From El Zócalo you’ll have a gorgeous view of the ocean and easy access to the beaches.More

Top activities in Playa del Carmen

Jungle Buggy Tour from Playa del Carmen Including Cenote Swim
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Tulum Guided Tour, Magical Cenote, Lagoon Snorkeling and Beachside Lunch
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Playa del Carmen Buggy Tour with Cenote Swim and Mayan Village Visit
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Magical Cenote and Paradise Lagoon Snorkeling Adventure
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Best ATV Tour, Ziplines and Cenote Swim with Lunch and Transport Included
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VIP Chichen Itza Private Tour
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VIP Chichen Itza Private Tour

Luxury Sunset Sailing Cruise in the Riviera Maya with Light Dinner and Open Bar
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ATV COMBO CHALLENGE (reef snorkel, atv, ziplines, cenote, lunch and transport)
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Amazing Romantic Dinner on a Galeon around the lagoon in Cancun with sax music
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All about Playa del Carmen


A local’s pocket guide to Playa del Carmen

Fairuz Maggio

Fairuz is a frequent visitor to Playa del Carmen, where she fell in love with its Caribbean beaches and easygoing lifestyle. Though she is currently based in Europe, she finds herself being pulled back to the area yearly.

The first thing you should do in Playa del Carmen is...

pitch up at one of the many beach clubs. Coralina Daylight Club, Mamita’s Beach Club, and Inti Beach are just a few of the clubs where you can order good food and drinks while you soak up the sun.

A perfect Saturday in Playa del Carmen...

starts off with a Mexican breakfast (Que Huevos is a favorite) before relaxing on the white-sand beaches. End your Saturday with drinks and dancing at one of Fifth Avenue's many bars and clubs.

One touristy thing that lives up to the hype is...

a night at Coco Bongo. This high-octane show features live performances, confetti, drinks, and non-stop partying for the ultimate night out in Playa del Carmen.

To discover the "real" Playa del Carmen...

you need to get beyond Fifth Avenue. Head towards the Colosio neighborhood and Tenth Avenue for a variety of eateries and a more local vibe.

For the best view of the city...

head to one of the many rooftop bars. A few favorites include Clandestino, the rooftop of the Thompson Hotel, and The Palm at Playa.

One thing people get wrong ...

is not leaving their all-inclusive resort in Playa del Carmen. While the resorts are top-notch, the city has a vibrant nightlife and plenty of local eateries that will add spice to your vacation.

People Also Ask

What is Playa del Carmen known for?

Playa del Carmen is known for its soft Caribbean beaches and its dining and nightlife scene. It’s also a great base for visiting the nearby island of Cozumel and for exploring some of most popular attractions on the Riviera Maya, from jungle cenotes to the Xcaret family of theme parks.

What is there to do in Playa del Carmen during the day?

Playa del Carmen offers tons of daytime activities, from hanging out at the local white-sand beach to checking out the shops along 5th Avenue, the city's main drag. Playa del Carmen is also a great place for snorkeling, with plenty of half-day cruise options for those who want to get out to sea.

What is the best month to go to Playa del Carmen?

April is arguably the best month to visit Playa del Carmen, when the chances of rainfall are low and the temperatures are hot, but not unbearably so. April is at the tail-end of the tourist season so it tends not to get too many crowds, except during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter).

Are the beaches in Playa del Carmen nice?

Yes, the beaches in Playa del Carmen are quite nice indeed, offering all the typical features one would expect from the Caribbean. You can expect white-sand expanses flanked by palm trees, turquoise-hued waters, and plenty of spots to stop for a drink or a seafood dinner right by the shore.

What do locals do in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen locals enjoy many of the same things tourists do, from hanging out at the beaches to enjoying meals with family and friends. You'll also find plenty of locals hanging out at shopping malls such as Centro Maya or watching films at one of the city’s many movie theaters.

Is Playa del Carmen a party town?

Playa del Carmen is certainly a party town, with tons of lively restaurants and nightclubs right in the heart of the tourist district. Many stay open well into the wee hours of the night, making this city a popular destination for spring break revelers from the US.

Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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