"Yucatan" Playa del Carmen by trvlrtom

Playa del Carmen Travel Guide: 811 reviews and 1,876 photos

Beach, History, recreation and some studying

My wife Liz and I spent three weeks in Playa del Carmen in 2006, and made a shorter return trip in 2010. Each weekday on our first trip we had four hours of Spanish language class at International House Riviera Maya. The rest of the time was free for exploring the region. On the more recent return trip we had a chance to visit some of our favorite places, including some restaurants that were happily still open.

Snorkeling - in a Cenote or the sea

The Hidden Worlds excursion took us to this cenote and another, which was narrow and serpentine. The narrow one had a few tight spots with but a few inches to spare between your head and belly as you swam along.

The best open water snorkeling we experienced in the region was at Puerto Morelos, midway between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Here we saw the most amazing schools of fish and all kinds of coral. It's a natural preserve, and the coral is great, at a distance of between 4 and 12 feet. The guy who took us out was friendly and helpful. It's much more low key than Cozumel or Playa.

Another day we went to the lagoon at Akumal, between Playa and Tulum. This is also a preserve, and you can swim out to the coral at the mouth to the lagoon. It was impressive and fun, if not as brilliant as Puerto Morelos.

Chichen Itza

To enjoy the site at its best, consider spending the night nearby and getting an early start the next morning. There are good places to stay in Vallodolid at reasonable prices. Arriving in the morning lets you beat the tour bus crowds and the midday heat.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It's not Cancun: less hype and development. Easy to make excursions to Coba and Chichen Itza.
  • Cons:If you don't get away from the popular Ave. Quinta, all you'll experience is tourism.
  • Last visit to Playa del Carmen: Apr 2010
  • Intro Updated Apr 18, 2010
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Reviews (10)

Comments (4)

  • scottishvisitor's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2008 at 3:25 PM

    Just beautiful off the beaten path!

  • Minashka's Profile Photo
    May 22, 2007 at 10:15 AM

    Hi :) Thanks for visiting my pages. Glad I got the opportunity to see yours! You've been to so many cool places. Actually there is no uncool place in this world! Cheers and stay cool in this hot summer ;-)

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 6, 2007 at 10:44 AM

    Thanks for the tip on Puerto Morelos, will have to remember that for our next trip :-)

  • karenincalifornia's Profile Photo
    Aug 17, 2006 at 1:22 PM

    We snorkled at Puerto Morelos and agree that is the place to go. We had a guide all to ourselves. Did you climb to the top of the pyramid at Chichen Itza? Scary!

trvlrtom

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