Best Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen

…at some point you will simply have to choose…

The most obvious recommendations for what to do in Playa Del Carmen are, naturally, Fifth Avenue and the beach.

In addition to being the most happening places in the area, they can also be exactly what you make of them.

From the most inexpensive – a walk along the beach or window shopping are free, after all – to the most lavish, both places can satisfy any kind of visitor.

So naturally those are the two main draws in this town.

However, there’s no need to stick to these options in some sort of cliche i’m-in-the-Carribean sort of way. Heck, if you want to be a real rebel, you could even get a tattoo in Playa Del Carmen.

But when someone asks me what the best things to do in Playa are, I assume they mean besides these two options, which I figure everyone will do anyway.

As far as choosing between everything else, there are many ways to evaluate the options.

For me, the “best” things to do are those which offer something unique, preferably which speaks to my youthful sense of adventure.

I also like activities which get you out and closer to the natural surroundings of an area.

Yet to balance that, I don’t like having to put in a lot of time and money for training and certificates and the other nonsense that is sometimes required.

So that helped me cut this list down to three top choices (although it really could have been a lot longer).

So with those general criteria in mind, here’s what I think anyone who visits Playa Del Carmen absolutely must do!

Reef Quest Divers

It’s very rare that I endorse specific companies or agencies, especially when jut giving advice about cool things to do in Playa Del Carmen.

But I’ll just come right out and suggest scuba diving adventure with Reef Quest Divers.

In addition to being probably the most popular scuba diving company in the area, it also just covers all of your bases.

It caters to both first-timers and the most experienced divers, offering different dives depending on your level.

Depending on your preference, they offer reef dives, cenote dives, and always a healthy dose of fun and enthusiasm.

(The staff at Reef Quest are really top notch and passionate about what they do.)

The price is also hard to beat.

At just $50 per person, you’re practically guaranteed an awesome experience with all equipment and costs included.

Plus, Playa Del Carmen has some of the verifiably best scuba diving in the world.

So it’s kind of a no-brainer that it makes the “best of” list in one way or another.


Playa Del Carmen boasts of some three or four eco-parks, all of which include cenotes and lots of wildlife native to the area.

Each has its own character, and all feature some pretty impressive cenotes.

Some of the eco parks are man-made and some are natural formations.

But of all, I really recommend that you check out Xel-Ha.

It’s actually the largest natural aquarium in the world and opens out to the sea through an impressively-sized lagoon.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can swim with dolphins and go kayaking and snorkeling in the water.

On land, you can also go walking through the natural jungle surroundings and see exotic birds, lizards and lots of fish.

All you need is your walking, swimming and snorkeling gear, and you’re ready for an afternoon of natural exploration and playing around.

For less than $100 a day, you can spend as many hours as you like at Xel-Ha (between 8:30am and 6pm), including food, drinks and transportation to and from the park.

And if you do stay all day, look for one of the hammocks that are strategically placed for a short nap.

Xaman-Ha Mayan Ruins

And finally, I think if you’re going to come aprovechar (take advantage of, enjoy) another country’s delights, you should also learn a little about the place and its story.

Luckily, the history of this area including the Aztec and Maya civilizations, is actually pretty colorful and interesting, complete with human sacrifices and ancient cities.

And on top of all that, it’s within reach and just minutes from the bustling touristy areas of Playa Del Carmen.

To view the most accessible ruins and pyramids with a guided tour, I recommend Xaman-Ha.

They are admittedly not as magnificent as some of the other ruins farther out from Playa.

But they are well-preserved can be reached by car within a few minutes.

Or you can take a 20 minute stroll if you have a little extra time.

I recommend going at night, when everything gets lit up with colorful lights.

After reading my personal choices for the best things to do in Playa Del Carmen, I hope you come away with the feeling that there is a lot to do here beyond just relaxing on the beach or shopping and dining around Fifth Avenue.

This place has no shortage of options for getting down and dirty and experiencing nature at its best.

I promise, you will love almost everything here!

Lots of love,


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