About Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen on the Yucatán Peninsula is the perfect mix of white-sand beaches and bustling city. You can pump up the adrenaline with water sports or scuba diving in the Caribbean Sea or settle down at a laid-back beach bar to taste some of Mexico's famous mezcal (agave spirit). There's more to see in the surrounding area, from UNESCO-listed Mayan ruins to coral reefs and ecological parks. Whether you're here for the history, nature or nightlife, this slice of the Riviera Maya just about has it all.
Hostels in Playa del Carmen make the most of the relaxed, social side of the city. You can stay in places that have on-site bars, so a cold beer is never far away, or hostels that host daily happy hours. Prefer to keep it low key? Choose a Playa del Carmen hostel with an outdoor Jacuzzi or pool. You'll also find that lots of Playa del Carmen hostels have free Wi-Fi, plus communal spaces where you can meet your fellow travellers over a board game.
Downtown Playa del Carmen has plenty of shops selling souvenirs and beach supplies, and there are lots of authentic, locally owned restaurants alongside them. Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian street where you'll find market stalls and the liveliest bars and clubs. A little further out, Playacar is a neighbourhood with upmarket restaurants, hotels and a beach popular for swimming and water sports. Just off the shore (45 minutes by ferry) is the island of Cozumel, famous for its reefs and top-class scuba diving.
Make the most of the Caribbean sun and head for Playa del Carmen's beaches to sunbathe, kitesurf or snorkel. For a break from the beach, you can go inland for a dip in one of the Yucatán's famous cenotes, natural freshwater swimming holes. For a dose of culture, watch the dramatic Danza de los Voladores de Papantla ritual, performed by swinging around a high pole, or visit the Frida Kahlo Museum. There are also dozens of Mayan ruins in the area such as Tulum, just under an hour away, where you can go swimming in the sea after exploring the site.
The nearest airport is Cancun International Airport, and ADO buses run regularly from there to downtown Playa del Carmen. The ADO bus terminal is also where you'll arrive by bus from other cities around Mexico. The town's easy to get around on foot or by bike (ask your hostel about renting one).