Playa Del Carmen – Home

The Complete Playa Del Carmen Information Resource

…Written By a REAL Person Who Lives Here…

I knew, from the moment that I arrived in Playa Del Carmen…There was something different about this city.

It had both character and class. Most cities in Mexico don’t.

I started writing about it.

I started taking photographs.

I couldn’t stop.

There were so many amazing things to see and do.

Absolutely unbelievable. I was completely blown away!

This website was born out of a deep lust to explore this city and share all that I have learned with you.

I’m not a travel agent. Nor do I work for a travel agency. I wasn’t paid to write the information you will find in these pages.

I’m a real person with a real life here in Playa Del Carmen.

Some of the things that are covered throughout this website are the following:

If you want to get really excited about your trip here, I strongly suggest that you watch the video below.

Of all the Playa Del Carmen videos floating around YouTube, it is by far my favorite.

I’ve probably watched the video a hundred times myself as I was planning for my move here. It is professionally made, captures the essence of this city, and will likely answer some of the questions that you have about your vacation.

Moreover, it’s just fun!

The SAFEST Place To Stay In Playa Del Carmen – Villa Del Mar Vacation Home

Yesterday I stopped by Alive Bar, a cool little hangout that’s become popular with expats who visit here. The place was pretty busy, and I happened to bump in to my good friend, Lisa.

Lisa is a really fun person who I met through another friend around six months ago. In addition to embodying the perfect carefree Caribbean mindset, she lives in one of the most beautiful houses that I’ve ever seen in my life.

If you know anything about Playa Del Carmen, you probably know that Playacar is the most “soho” area in all the city. It is to Playa Del Carmen what Beverly Hills is to Hollywood.

Well, Lisa’s house is located ON THE BEACH in Playacar. Needless to say, it’s a multi-million dollar property.

Thus, when she mentioned she is now offering her house as a vacation rental, my ears perked up. However, when she told me the price–my jaw nearly dropped to the floor.

You’re renting your multi-million dollar beachfront mansion for only $950/night? Are you crazy?” I asked. (GOOD NEWS: I talked her into letting my visitors get this place for only $750/night through April!!! Read below!)

She smiled and casually said, I need the money.

Not surprisingly, I get a lot of questions every day from visitors asking about where to stay, so I thought I would post her property here. I still think she’s lost her mind, but this vacation rental is a really great deal on an amazing house (at Lisa’s expense).

Most people want the following:

  • A safe place to stay
  • Good price
  • Conveniently located near downtown
  • Beach proximity

Well, my dear readers, this vacation rental includes all of the above with flying colors. I’m going to tell you a little bit about it:

Introducing – Villa Del Mar

  • Fully secure, gated neighborhood w/24-hour security
  • 3 Bedrooms
  • Central AC (most places here only have mini-split AC’s)
  • Sleeps 6 comfortably
  • Located in Playacar – Phase 1 (the most coveted and exclusive area of all Playa Del Carmen)
  • ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BEACH IN THE AREA! (Not close to the beach; ON the beach! – SEE MAP HERE)
  • 10 minutes walk to 5th Ave/Downtown
  • $950/night normally, BUT now only $750/night for readers of this website (price valid only through April 2018)

The pictures you see below don’t do this place justice, but take a look at them anyways.

If you’re interested in renting it, fill out the form below and Lisa will get back to you ASAP.


I Get the Same Question, Over and Over: Rufus, what Playa Del Carmen activities do you most strongly recommend?

I decided to include the answer here on my front page because I get this question so often via email, comments, in-person, etc. No matter how many times I answer this question, I always give the same response:

“It really depends on how much time and money you have to spend here.”

Despite the fact that I know many of you are traveling on different dates and staying for different durations, the truth is that you have hundreds (or even thousands) of options to choose from. You need to plan BEFORE you arrive. If you don’t have a plan, you’re going to waste your time at tour seller offices negotiating package discounts and hearing boring stories about activities you’re likely not interested in. Unless you’re an impoverished street beggar, spending two hours of your absolutely precious vacation time at offices is not only ludicrous – it’s insane.

  • Don’t forget this: Vacation time is 26x more valuable than free time back home. (52 weeks in a year. 50 weeks working. 2 weeks vacation = Use your vacation time wisely = PLAN AHEAD!!)

Luckily, and for all practical purposes – nearly all the activities here are quite fun!

BUT – and this is important – most activities you can do here can also be done in Miami, the Bahamas, the Philippines, and other parts of the world. Like most tourist destinations, some activities here are very unique; others are not. My point is this: you really need to take advantage of the activities that are UNIQUE TO THIS PARTICULAR AREA before thinking about anything else.

Thus, the real question you should be asking is, “What can I do in the Riviera Maya that I may never have the opportunity to do anywhere else again?”

This really narrows things down a lot and gets to the essence of why you chose Playa Del Carmen in the first place. So, instead of trying to answer the first question, let me take a shot at the second.

The BETTER question to ask: What activities are most unique to Playa Del Carmen and the Riviera Maya?

There are four things in Playa Del Carmen and the surrounding area that you will likely never see again: Cenotes, Mayan Ruins, Underground Rivers/Cave Systems, and the X-Parks. Here is a very brief introduction to each of them:

  • Cenotes Cenotes are sinkholes where the ground has given way and the water below is exposed and accessible.  They are cool, refreshing, and usually surrounded by lush jungle, large rocks, and lots of wildlife. They look like something out of a Tarzan movie set with clear emerald or blue water. They are very sacred to the Mayan people. The Mayans considered them portals to the underworld due to their physical connection to the underground cave and watershed system. Seeing and swimming in at least one cenote during your trip here is an absolute must do.
  • Mayan Ruins Playa Del Carmen and the surrounding Riviera Maya hosts some of the most coveted ancient Mayan structures in the western hemisphere. Moreover, while the intact structures are amazing, the history behind them is even more intriguing. Witnessing at least one of the major Mayan ruins during your trip here is a must do for all travelers.
  • Underground Pools/Cave Systems Although the area surrounding Playa Del Carmen is covered with jungle, there is a rich and diverse underground cave system here that is invisible from above ground. The caverns and underground pools are not only breathtaking, but host stalactite and stalagmite structures that are hundreds of thousands of years old. Experiencing at least one of these large, well-lit caverns is a must do while visiting the area.
  • X-Parks The X-Parks (as they are commonly called here) are a chain of eco-friendly theme parks designed to host modern and fun activities while still leaving as much of the natural habitat still intact. From zip-lining to outdoor zoos to gigantic natural aquariums, they are very unique to the area and a must do for all visitors. Visiting at least one of the X-Parks is a must do for all Riviera Maya travelers.

Only AFTER you have explored these, should you look for other activities.

The Best Activities and Why I Chose Them

Below is a list of the essentials to get you started on planning your trip here. They mirror my sentiment from above about activity priorities. However, they were also chosen for several other distinct reasons:

  • They are all conducted by reputable tour/activity providers
  • They all had high ratings by users
  • They all include transportation
  • They are all reasonably priced

Without more ado, here is my list of activities that you absolutely must not miss during your vacation here:


Best Cenote Activity In Playa Del Carmen

Cenote Visit via JUNGLE BUGGIES

  • ⏰ Duration: 3 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Round trip-transportation from hotel/resort
  • 🍗 Food: Chips
  • 🍹 Drinks: Bottled water
  • 💰 Price: starting at $85 USD

Take a ride through the jungle in buggies before visiting a remote and beautiful cenote. There is a lot to see during this trip, so make sure you bring your camera and  … More info >



Best Mayan Ruins Tour – Option 1

Chichen Itza, Hubiku, & Ek Balam In One Day

  • ⏰ Duration: 12 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • 🍗 Food: Breakfast and lunch included
  • 🍹 Drinks: Free drinks (non-alcoholic)
  • 💰 Price: starting at $110 USD

Explore one of the most majestic and fascinating sites in Mayan history: Chichen Itza. Then visit two other lesser-known ruins that are equally interesting … More info >


Best Mayan Ruins Tour – Option 2

Coba Ruins, Tulum Ruins, & Cenote Swim To Cool Off After

  • ⏰ Duration: 12 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • 🍗 Food: Breakfast and lunch included
  • 🍹 Drinks: Free drinks (non-alcoholic)
  • 💰 Price: starting at $110 USD

Coba is one of the top three most visited Maya Ruin sites on the Yucatan Peninsula. You don’t want to miss it. In addition, this tour takes you to the picturesque Tulum Ruins as well as a nice swimming hole afterwards … More info >



Once In A Lifetime Cavern & Underground River Exploration Tour

Secret River Guided Tour

  • ⏰ Duration: 6 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • 🍗 Food: Light lunch
  • 🍹 Drinks: Limited non-alcoholic drinks included
  • 💰 Price: starting at $109 USD

Take a tour through an underground cavern and aqueous system that dates back hundreds of thousands of years. The ancient Mayan people considered these cave systems a path to the sacred underworld. Come find out why and … More info >



Most Popular Riviera Maya Theme Park

Xcaret – Eco-Friendly Park 

  • ⏰ Duration: 15 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Hotel pick-up and drop off
  • 🍗 Food: Buffet/Restaurants purchased separately
  • 🍹 Drinks: Drinks purchased separately
  • 💰 Price: starting at $129.99 USD

Be sure to start this tour with an empty stomach, as you will stop at 8 different restaurants around 5th Avenue – and beyond. It lasts 2 1/2 hours and will leave you an expert on authentic Mexican dishes … More info >


Xel-Ha is the second most popular of the X-Parks. Xel-Ha is the world’s largest natural aquarium – and believe me, IT’S HUGE!!! At Xel-Ha there are many, many things to do, from simple snorkeling to over-water zip lines. You can swim, eat, drink, visit lagoons, and even swim in cenotes. All of this takes place in breathtaking blue water that pictures just can’t replicate.

Highly recommended!!!

World’s Largest Natural Aquarium

Xel-Ha – Swim, Snorkel, Zipline, and Relax At Xel-Ha Natural Aquarium (w/Roundtrip Transportation)

  • ⏰ Duration: 11 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Round trip-transportation from hotel/resort OR pickup points
  • 🍗 Food: All-access buffet
  • 🍹 Drinks: Beer, National alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, etc…
  • 💰 Price: starting at $129.99 USD

Be sure to start this tour with an empty stomach, as you will stop at 8 different restaurants around 5th Avenue – and beyond. It lasts 2 1/2 hours and will leave you an expert on authentic Mexican dishes … More info >


Popular Adventure Theme Park

Xplor – Massive Adventure Park Full Admission (w/Roundtrip Transportation)

  • ⏰ Duration: 10 hours
  • 🚐 Transportation: Round trip-transportation from hotel/resort
  • 🍗 Food: Energetic lunch buffet included
  • 🍹 Drinks: Unlimited natural beverages
  • 💰 Price: starting at $149.99 USD

Xplor is the third most popular of the X-Parks. Xplor includes a number of zip lines, underground cave paddling, and following others around a trail in a small dune buggy. Xplor also offers an interesting night experience that is worth visiting if that’s  … More info >


Other Minor Suggestions

Of course the list above is not comprehensive and definitely doesn’t take personal tastes, phobias, etc into consideration.

However, I think it’s a great place to start.

Obviously there are some other things you simply cannot pass up as well:

  • The beach
  • 5th Avenue
  • Good restaurants
  • Bars
  • Clubs
  • Etc

I hope the list helped!!!

“So, Why Am I Hearing So Much BUZZ About This Website?” – A BIG FAT THANK YOU!

I received several emails from visitors over the last few months.

However, these were not normal emails.

They were emails telling me that that they heard about this website through a friend.

They mentioned how much they liked it.

Finally, they asked me WHY there is so much buzz surrounding this website.

I believe people from all around the world are banging on about this website for several reasons:

  • Playa Del Carmen is a kick ass place to spend a vacation/holiday
  • This website provides accurate and honest information about the city (NO BULLSH*T; NO BOWING TO “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”)
  • When people find solid information, they talk about it
  • I poured my heart and soul into this website’s creation LONG before it was launched

Those are the real reasons this site is getting the attention it has received!

Take a look at some of the recent comments I have received from visitors:

So I just want to take a moment and say THANK YOU!

  • Thank you for visiting this site.
  • Thank you for the comments, questions, and inquiries.
  • I really enjoy hearing from every one of you!!!




Don’t Make The Same Mistake That I Did!

Playa Del Carmen is close to Cancun and easily accessible via the Cancun International Airport.

There are flights here from every major hub in the US/Canada/Europe, so getting here without too much time at airports is usually not a problem.


IMPORTANT: Look for Cancun International Airport when pricing tickets.

The Airport Code is CUN. (And be very careful with the spelling!)

You will NOT fly into the Playa Del Carmen airport.

It’s too small.

airport transfer van graphicYou will first fly into Cancun and then take a 45-minute ground transfer to Playa Del Carmen.

Many first-time, inexperienced visitors are confused by this.

How do I know this? Because I was one of them! (i.e. “Where the hell is the Playa Del Carmen airport code in this list?”)

Did the same thing happen to you? So, what is the solution? – A CHEAP, BUT PRIVATE AIRPORT TRANSFER!!!

The Cheapest Cancun to Playa Del Carmen Airport Transfers

I’ve scoured the entire area to find you the cheapest Cancun to Playa Del Carmen airport transfers on this planet. Here they are:

  • Private Transfer
  • From Cancun Airport to the steps of your hotel/resort
  • Great service
  • Best price in the area

Here is the full price list, and I strongly suggest you compare the prices here to other service providers.

You will see that these are the best prices in the area.

Full Price List:


  • $50 USD – 1-4 People, Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen
  • $65 USD – 5-8 People, Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen


  • $90 USD – 1-4 People, Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen + Playa Del Carmen to Cancun
  • $120 USD – 5-8 People, Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen + Playa Del Carmen to Cancun


With that said, fill out the form below and Oscar, my airport transfer guy, will get back to you as soon as possible.

Navigating This Site

I have tried to make this site as easy to navigate as possible.

The menu near the top provides access to the most important pages.

In  addition, I have included as many pictures of Playa Del Carmen as possible.

I can still remember the day that I started investigating this city.

The first thing that I looked for was images that captured the general atmosphere of the city.

Next, I wanted to find information about the most popular activities here – not only information, but photographs of those activities as well.

Although there were many pictures of Playa Del Carmen out there, there didn’t exist one single site that satisfied my curiosity.

Consequently, on every page of this website you will find LOTS and LOTS of pictures of Playa Del Carmen!

PLEASE NOTE: Most of the pictures on this website are enlargeable. Try clicking on any of the photographs in this column to see what I mean.

I tried to make them large enough so that you could see the detail, but I also had to keep them at a reasonable size to accommodate all of the various browser resolutions and screen sizes that exist today.

I hope you enjoy them, and as importantly, I hope you share some of your own photos as well!

Playa Del Carmen Event Calendar

Believe me when I say you will have no problem whatsoever finding things to do around town.

In fact, most people here are overwhelmed by the choices.

Many groups divide themselves up during parts of their trip. For example, the men go fishing while the women go shopping.

Despite this, I put together a Playa Del Carmen Events Calendar that lists a few of the daily/weekly/yearly events visitors enjoy.

Although there is no way that I could list everything that happens on the Event Calendar, take a look at it to see if there are some things that look fun.

For every event, I have tried to include as much information as possible, including the following:

  • Map/Location of event
  • Venue contact information
  • Date/Time of event
  • Short description of the event

Also, if you are a restaurant/bar/club that offers a popular recurring activity that visitors rave about, please let me know and maybe I can add your event.

Event Calendar Graphic

Explore this site, but more importantly – COME AND EXPLORE THIS CITY!!!

Playa Del Carmen is difficult to describe in words – even when you have pictures to help you out.

The best way to experience the city is to come and visit it yourself.

I can remember walking the beaches for the first time.

It wasn’t so long ago that I was a tourist strolling along Fifth Avenue looking for souvenirs.

Since that time, I’ve fallen in love with Playa Del Carmen.

Trust me when I say that it offers more than most destinations.

With a touch of history, baby blue waters that splash along white sand beaches, and a nightlife that is extraordinary but not overwhelming, you simply can’t go wrong.

Like me, you may not want to leave at the end of your vacation!!!

I hope to see you soon, and I hope Playa Del Carmen has the same effect on you as it did me!

Lots of love…


Rufus signature