"Now THIS is the life!" Top 5 Page for this destination Playa del Carmen by whitneyone

Playa del Carmen Travel Guide: 861 reviews and 2,028 photos

Life (or at least a vacation) on the Playa!

Updated Feb 2005.
Playa is growing at an alarming rate.
If you have been to Cancun, you will still find this "laid back". LOL. The restaurants are just as good...the time share sellers are no more aggressive, it just that the car traffic in and out is getting crazy. Once you are on foot, you're fine. This really is no longer a sleepy little fishing village, you will find ANYTHING and everything you need or want. I still opt for staying at Xaman Ha so that you can be away from all the insanity of 5th street. This is not a slam at 5th, I look forward to it every night, but I still like to get away from it and the hotel crowds to hang at a beach that looks like this even in high season!

We just got back from yet ANOTHER trip to Playa. It was a short one. Just four short days, which is still better than nothing.
Below is my original text. I've added a bunch of new things..mostly under "off the beaten path" because that is the funnest place to go!

Wow. When friends told me that we must join them in Playa Del Carmen I was a bit skeptical. Knowing that it was only 45 minutes from Cancun sent up a red flag. I had been to Cancun and was not a fan, although I have enjoyed every other part of Mexico that I have visited. Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallerta, Rosarito, Ensenada all have their charms. Cancun was just too much like Las Vegas, albiet without the gambling.

What a SURPRISE Playa del Carmen was! Not overbuilt (yet), world class food, good night life, amazing ruins within driving and sometimes, walking distance, endless beaches, incredible snorkeling, wonderful parks, friendly people and so much more!

As I feared, Playa Del Carmen is growing rapidly. There is now a TGI Fridays, Carlos and Charlies and two McDonalds, although they are all confined to the 5th street area. We stayed, again, at Xaman-Ha Condos, on the beach, an easy stroll to town, but removed from the growing crazIness of the exploding tourism.

The night we arrived the entire main street was ripped up to install underground utilites..we were sure our vacation was shot..but they had almost finished within days! They will probably be putting smooth stone over the asphalt and the street is going to look beautiful. Lots of growth in a very high end direction on the north end of town....less authentic feeling, but very nice to hang out around..and far fewer Time share hawkers.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Sunny and warm. As mellow or as wild as you'd like it to be!
  • Cons:I honestly can't think of any
  • In a nutshell:10 days is not enough!
  • Last visit to Playa del Carmen: Feb 2005
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (78)

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Comments (27)

  • Jim_Eliason's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    great page

  • Sep 8, 2009 at 3:28 PM

    SIAN KAN is accessible by land. You need to drive about 15 miles south of Tulum on 307.

  • toemayn's Profile Photo
    Mar 29, 2008 at 8:05 AM

    Going to PDC next week for the 1st time. My wife loves lobster so your restaurant tips about places to get'em have been very helpful. Thanks,TOE

  • Vulindlela's Profile Photo
    Apr 11, 2007 at 2:20 PM

    Great photos and tips! I love PDC.

  • LiliCanada's Profile Photo
    Nov 24, 2006 at 6:12 PM

    I'll be in PDC in 3 weeks, it was great reading all your pages...awww, the monkey is so cute. And I'm going to the club in the cave...kewl. Lili

  • tashka's Profile Photo
    Sep 19, 2006 at 12:02 AM

    Very helpful nightlife tips! Hope to be in Playa del Carmen soon!

  • JocelynR's Profile Photo
    May 2, 2006 at 8:17 AM

    Off to Playacar later this year. Enjoyed reading your tips etc

  • melanieinkorea's Profile Photo
    May 1, 2006 at 11:59 AM

    I'm convinced and your travel pages did it - I'm going to Playa Del Carmen.

  • ROCKARIA's Profile Photo
    Feb 11, 2005 at 1:13 PM

    Hi Whitney....looks like a fantastic beach and a great place to visit...thanks for your info..Joseph : )

  • Jill2002's Profile Photo
    Nov 30, 2004 at 3:26 PM

    Hi, we're going to Playacar at Christmas 04. Thanks for your tips.


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