Playa del Carmen – Travel Guide

Mexico fascinates the world with its iconic, colorful, and vibrant culture. It is also known for its festive drinks, spicy dishes, and some of the most beautiful beaches the world has ever known. Playa del Carmen is one of the great places in Mexico that serves as home to some of the most enchanting beaches around the world.

Despite being smaller in size compared to its sister city Cancun, it is a tourist destination that has been able to preserve the authentic Mexican touch. It is also far less hectic and crowded than Cancun. Playa del Carmen also has newer hotels and resorts. The foods are delicious, and the nightlife is superb. Playa del Carmen has everything that Cancun has to offer, but in a more relaxed environment and genuine Mexican surroundings and feel.   

Geographic Location

On the Caribbean coast of Mexico lies Playa del Carmen in the area of Riviera Maya. Even though the Playa is located on the Yucatan Peninsula, it is a part of the state of Quintana Roo in the municipality of Solidaridad. 

Playa del Carmen is Latin America’s fastest-growing city. It is conveniently nestled between Tulum and Cancun, about 37 miles (60km) away from both places. Being in the heart of Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen has grown and developed into one of Mexico’s trendiest destinations in recent years. Playa del Carmen has managed to maintain its small-town charm despite its development. The locals simply call their place Playa and aim to preserve their city’s cleanliness, orderliness, and tranquility. In recent times, Playa del Carmen has become famous for being a chic destination.

Climate/Weather

Locals and visitors can enjoy the pleasant tropical climate of Playa del Carmen all year round. People who prefer tropical climates may feel like they are in paradise when they come to visit or live in the Playa. Those who are planning to visit Playa del Carmen to have a taste of paradise on earth should take into account the distinct seasons when planning a vacation.

Playa del Carmen is one of the great places in Mexico that serve as home to some of the most enchanting beaches around the world.

Between February and May, the skies in the Playa are generally clear and sunny. The rain falls infrequently, and there’s relatively low humidity. The water temperatures are between 79 and 81 degrees Fahrenheit. During this time of the year, expect flat, calm conditions of the seas.

Between July and August, summer in Playa del Carmen means having deep blue skies and higher temperatures. Rain becomes more frequent and typically downpours in the evening or afternoon. The temperatures of water are usually between 80 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit, which are especially warm.   

Between September and October, the rainy season in Playa del Carmen brings higher humidity and cloudier skies. Expect storms to roll over the city and alternate with gleaming sunshine all through the day. The very warm temperatures of water are usually between 80 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Smaller crowds usually gather around this time on land and water. The rainy season means a quiet period in the tourism industry of Playa del Carmen.

Between November and January, winter finally comes in Playa del Carmen. The locals call it winter but in truth, the weather around this time of year is considered beautiful based on almost any standard. The breezy conditions and less frequent rain create slightly choppy seas. Locals and visitors experience mostly sunny skies. The water temperatures are usually between 78 and 84 degrees Fahrenheit. The north wind blows occasionally and compels tour operators to wait for a day or two before they can set sail again.  

Take note and consider the following facts about the climate and weather in Playa del Carmen to get the desired travel experience.

– The hot period in Playa del Carmen typically occurs between the later part of April and mid-part of September. The average high temperature during the period is 88 degrees Fahrenheit and above. The hottest month is July with an average high of 90 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

– The cool period is between late November and mid-February. The average temperature is below 83 degrees Fahrenheit. January is usually the coldest month in Playa del Carmen, with an average high of 82 degrees Fahrenheit and a low of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

– There are more wet days in September than in any other month.

– Locals and visitors may experience a drier period between early November and late May.

Best Time to Visit 

Playa del Carmen has varying weather all year round. Knowing the weather condition of a certain place at a certain time of year can help plan for a nice vacation.

The dry period in Playa del Carmen runs from December to April. Visitors usually experience more pleasant, cooler temperatures during such times. 

The hurricane period takes place between June and November, with a higher possibility of experiencing storms between August and October. Even though it is called the hurricane period, hurricanes are rare to come. To be precise, Playa del Carmen has had only 2 actual hurricanes in the past 3 decades. You may still find this period as a decent time to visit the Playa if you have no issues dealing with periodic rain showers all through the day.

It is especially wet from May to October and may tend to get hotter than the dry period. Most visitors avoid visiting the Playa during this period, but some may find it more economical to do so. Many hotels offer cheaper rates and there are discounted airfares.

Playa del Carmen has three distinct travel seasons: shoulder season, low season, and high season.

Playa del Carmen’s Shoulder Season

The months of December, November, May, and April make up the shoulder season for travel in Playa del Carmen. Shoulder season is a term used in travel to distinguish the time between the low season and high season. During shoulder season, there are lesser crowds in the Playa and milder weather conditions. The rates are delightfully reasonable. Many people consider going to Playa del Carmen during the said months.

Playa del Carmen’s Low Season 

The low season is between May and October, which is the rainy season in Mexico. During this season, the days are sweltering, sticky, and extremely hot. The weather is quite unpredictable and there are frequent downpours. The hurricane period in Playa del Carmen is also within the same time range.  

Even though the period is the rainy season in Mexico, you may not experience rain within the duration of your entire vacation. The rain usually occurs in short bursts, a downpour within a couple or more days, and then sunny skies will come next. 

In the months of summer, seaweeds tend to gather on Mexico’s shorelines. Resorts and hotels are busy clearing the shorelines of seaweeds that almost double in amount during the low season. Many tourists choose to avoid visiting Playa del Carmen during such time of the year, but it is the best time to take advantage of the cheap hotel deals. Other perks include better hospitality, discounted airfare, and crowd-free beaches.

Playa del Carmen’s High Season

The high season is between late December and April, which is actually the peak season in major parts of the world. From the Christmas season onward, Playa del Carmen is always very busy along with the rest of Mexico. Expect to see flocks of tourists covering the pristine white sands of the Playa.

Due to the increase of tourists, expect a spike in hotel rates, air tickets, and resort costs. It is especially high during spring break, New Year, and Christmas. 

Different folks have different preferences. Given the different seasons, periods, climate, and weather, you may choose the best time for you to visit Playa del Carmen. However, many people prefer the shoulder months to visit the Playa. There are lesser crowds and milder weather conditions during such times.

If you want cheaper fares and accommodations, you can try going to Playa del Carmen near the end of November or early December. The weather is also near-perfect within the given period. If you want perfect weather without minding larger crowds, you can go to Playa del Carmen between December and April.

Overall, you may visit the Playa at any given time and enjoy a nice vacation. However, if you are looking for a particular weather condition, climate, or season, you may want to consider the abovementioned information.   

Things to Do and Places to Visit

Playa Del Carmen offers many things to make your vacation a memorable one.

  1. Go scuba diving. One of the world’s largest barrier reef systems is near Playa del Carmen. This makes the Playa one of the best places to go scuba diving. Playa del Carmen is one of the ideal places to get a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification.
  2. Get to see a panoramic view while relaxing at the rooftop pools. Some of Mexico’s most exquisite rooftop hotel pools are located at Playa del Carmen. There’s no need to register a room in the hotel to access the rooftop pool. Visitors or tourists only need to buy a day pass to access a particular hotel’s rooftop pool.
  3. Go scuba diving. One of the world’s largest barrier reef systems is near Playa del Carmen. This makes the Playa one of the best places to go scuba diving. Playa del Carmen is one of the ideal places to get a PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) certification.
  4. Visit the theme parks. Playa del Carmen also has something to offer to someone who is not a beach person. One particular theme park, the Xcaret, showcases the Mayan culture and heritage of the Playa del Carmen region. The Xcaret has more than 50 cultural and natural attractions that offer various environments that include underground rivers, beaches, and jungles. Other theme parks to visit include Xplor Park, Xenses Park, Xel-Ha, Xenotes, Bel Air Animal Park, and Rio Secreto. 
  5. La Quinta Avenida The visit to Playa del Carmen won’t be complete without checking out La Quinta Avenida or 5th Avenue. It’s good to take a break to shop, dine, and feel the liveliness of La Quinta Avenida even after the sun goes down. It is easy to go back to the beach from 5th Avenue since you only need to walk a few minutes to reach it.

There are other things to see and do in Playa del Carmen. Anyone will always find something fun to do at every turn. See the enchanting Mayan Ruins, get a chance to swim with the turtles, and try to join a cooking class and take home an unforgettable Mexican experience.

Where to Stay 

A home away from home in the Playa is easy to find. Playa del Carmen offers many types of accommodations to make your stay as comfortable as possible. You may choose among hostels, small guesthouses, private villas, fancy hotels, or resorts.

The best areas in Playa del Carmen that tourists can stay in are North Riviera Maya, South Riviera Maya, Mayakoba, North Playa del Carmen, and Downtown. Visitors may choose the type of accommodations that they prefer and will surely find one. Every place in Playa del Carmen is a good area to stay, but it all depends on the type of accommodations and other requirements that the visitors may have. 

If you have children and prefer a quiet place to stay, you may want to consider the Playacar area. However, you need to be ready to pay a bit more than usual. Playacar has all the things that can make your stay more comfortable and enjoyable – satisfaction guaranteed.

Dining

Playa del Carmen has a lot of dining options to offer. Here are some of them:

  1. La Brocherie offers a gastronomic fusion of Argentine, French, and Mexican flavors. If you are looking for something other than tacos and enchiladas, La Brocherie is worth trying.
  2. PapaCharly – When exploring downtown and getting tired from all the excitement in 5th Avenue, you got to try Papa Charly to replenish your energy. This restaurant offers surprisingly cheap but quality food.
  3. El Fogon When visiting Playa del Carmen, it is a must to try the tacos at El Fogon. It is known for its classic, succulent tacos, which are topped with juicy, sweet pineapple chunks. You have an option to go “con todo” for added chopped onion and cilantro.

Playa del Carmen is never short of dining places to satisfy the taste buds of the visitors and locals, including the pickiest eaters. 

How to Get There

Most tourists fly to Cancun International Airport when visiting Playa del Carmen. You may hail a taxi, ride a bus, or rent a car to get to the Playa. The resort or hotel that you have booked may come to pick you up as part of their all-inclusive deal. You may book airport transportation in advance once you have verified that the hotel or resort where you will be staying does not include a shuttle service.

Playa del Carmen is a fantastic destination for couples, groups, family, of someone who wants to escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Savor the taste of paradise on earth at the Playa. 

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