Playa del Carmen Things To Do
Perched at the tip of Mexico’s Quintana Roo province, Playa del Carmen is a favorite resort destination for those who love clear waters, teeming reefs, and fun eco-parks.
Hit the Beach and Snorkel
Travelers come here for many reasons. For many, the main attraction are the beaches. The long white sands fringe the shore, and the waters are clean and turquoise in the light. The main beach can get a bit crowded so come early to reserve a seat. If you want something a little less crowded, head north to the Playa Norte. Another area that tends to get less traffic is Coco Beach. This beach makes an ideal place to go snorkeling. There’s a reef a short distance offshore with lots of colorful fish. For more snorkeling choices, hire a boat to bring you to Puerto Morelos. This is a natural preserve where you can swim with turtles and stingrays. There’s also Xei Ha, a park specifically for snorkeling adventures. Closer to the town, there’s a manmade beach right in front of the La Tortuga restaurant. This is the perfect place to bring small children who need only have floaties to enjoy seeing and feeding the large schools of fish in the shallow waters.
For a look at the region’s ancient pre-Columbian culture, and more beaches, hit Tulum. A short drive from the center of the city, Tulum is the remains of an old Mayan fort. Admire the ruins and then hit the beach. The area is home to huge iguanas. In the waters, you’ll find lots of underwater caves known as cenotes. These are waters fed by a spring and often much cooler than the local ocean. Hire a guide so you can go swimming in one or head underwater for unique SCUBA diving.
For an all day trip a short taxi ride away from the center of town, head for Xcaret. This ecopark combines a water park with Mayan culture demonstrations and lots of land activities. It’s a favorite side trip for cruise ships so come here early in the day. See a real life bat cave, admire the butterflies in the butterfly gardens, watch jaguars on their island, or head for the aquarium and the manatees. There’s a swim with dolphins program for even more wildlife encounters. For water lovers, there’s a underground floating river with a current, a beach with white sands and lagoon for snorkeling. Children have their own play area. Adults and kids can visit an orchid greenhouse and see Mayan ruins. Later in the day, there’s a night show with Mayan dancing, football games and lots of music and dancing.
Editor’s note: The information contained on this page was compiled using real traveler reviews about things to do in Playa del Carmen.