Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
…the real reason this city exists… Ever since arriving in Playa Del Carmen I’ve been fascinated by its history.
Don’t think I just sit on the beach drinking tequila all day!
When I speak to the locals, they all tell me different stories – some more historic, and others grandly embellished.
Except they all tell a different story about the same thing.
It’s like Chinese whispers – they don’t have a clue.
But one thing they do agree on is the Playa Del Carmen ferry dock.
FACT: WITHOUT THIS FERRY DOCK, PLAYA DEL CARMEN WOULDN’T EXIST.
Map of the Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
Here is a map that shows the exact location of the ferry dock. Leave this page open in your smart phone while you are walking around town so that you don’t get lost on your way to Cozumel.
Remember: you can move the map in any direction by swiping your finger (or with your mouse on your computer).
For your convenience, I’ve also Included the location of the Cozumel ferry dock. Thus you can use this same map for getting back to Playa Del Carmen.
Please use it!
History Of The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
The first tourists that came to Playa Del Carmen weren’t even coming here.
“How does that work?”
Well, Playa Del Carmen was simply where they built the ferry dock.
The dock had one sole purpose: to simplify the connecting points between Cancun and Cozumel.
It was too expensive to travel the entire distance by water, so tourists from Cancun would begin in a bus or car, make a stop here in Playa, and finally board the ferry to Cozumel.
That was in the 70s.
But some of them obviously had good taste, because they started hanging around in Playa Del Carmen rather than go to Cozumel Island.
Without this ferry dock nobody would have come here in the first place.
Location Of The Main Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
There are actually two ferry docks.
But the important one is just south of Playa Del Carmen’s center.
Just follow 5th Avenue to the end and where it reaches Calle 1 Sur.
There is another dock in Playa Del Carmen, but no boats arrive here; actually, it’s not really a dock, but more like a pier.
The Ferry Dock has a strategic location, as it divides Playa Del Carmen from the exclusive tourist resort area of Playacar.
It’s impossible not to find it.
You can also just walk along the beach to the south side of town and you’ll see it.
The concrete looks quite hideous when contrasted with the beauty of the beach.
It’s from this ferry dock that you take the passenger ferry to Cozumel.
Read more about this passenger ferry here.
I also wrote an article about the confusing ferry schedule which you can read here.
Which Boats Use The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock?
Three ferry companies use the main Playa Del Carmen ferry dock:
- UltraMar – The yellow and blue boats that you see everywhere. Usually considered the best of the three options.
- Mexico Waterjets – The orange, blue, green, and white ferries. The service/condition of these ferries is acceptable. However it is still not quite in the same class as the UltraMar ferries.
- Barcos Caribe – This pink and purple ferry service is the newest. Unfortunately, it’s also the lowest quality. In fact they don’t even have an English translation of their website – despite the fact that there are massive amounts of English-speaking tourists in this city. How ungrateful. Piss on them. Don’t use this company.
If you have a conflict of scheduling, take the one that saves you the most time or whichever one is most convenient.
You’ll probably spend most of your time staring off into the ocean and distance anyways.
Depending on the season (and the time of day), several of these ferries host a live band either on the deck or in the cabin!
Where To Buy Tickets For The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
When going to the dock, my best advice is to buy your tickets at the dock itself.
Why? Read on….
At the end of the dock, you’ll find three different booths.
There is one booth for each of the three companies mentioned above.
FOUR FOR IDIOT’S
Don’t purchase a ferry ticket until you know what time you want to leave.
One of the ferries may be leaving very close to your desired departure time – the others may not.
Consequently, if you go to the ferries and want to leave at that moment, you may find yourself waiting at the docks for some time if you don’t choose the ferry that is departing the soonest.
The best tactic is this:
- Wait until you get to the dock.
- Find out which boat is waiting to depart.
- Go to the booth selling THOSE tickets.
REMEMBER: a ticket for one ferry company CANNOT be transferred and used on another ferry.
Doing it this way means you won’t ending up waiting forever for a boat.
What To Do At The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock?
The ferry dock is a pretty lively place.
A Mexican louse or two will probably approach you offering you tickets to some tour, so the best tactic is to ignore them. and give them a mean, “LEAVE ME ALONE” kind of look.
That’s right, glare at them.
I know, you may feel bad doing it, but these people are true parasites.
FOUR FOR IDIOT’S
All throughout your trip – and in any tourist destination in Mexico – you’re going to get bothered by salespeople.
They cheat. They lie. They steal.
And they will tell you anything in order to get you to buy their souvenirs, tickets, tours, tequila, drugs, or anything else that they might be selling.
They are thorough-going cockroaches.
I have heard this again and again: the constant pressure from street salespeople is THE MOST ANNOYING THING about Playa Del Carmen.
It normally goes something like this,
- “I absolutely love Playa Del Carmen. The only thing I really hated was the sellers [street vendors] who were constantly trying to sell us things – no matter where we went in the city.”
- “Our vacation was great – except when some salesperson was trying to sell our 14-year-old drugs. That was my only complaint.”
- “I wish we could have taken off our resort bracelets when we went shopping on Fifth Avenue. The street vendors knew exactly where we were from and seemed to target us even when there were other large groups of tourists around.”
Do you remember when you used to get all kinds of junk mail in your in mailbox – every single day? How much time you wasted sorting through it? Do you know how much paper that wastes? How annoying it is?
Do you remember when e-mail first came out and there was no SPAM protection? It was the US government that stepped in and started prosecuting spammers that led to a decline in SPAM.
The big tech companies got smart, too. They started blocking junk email and made it harder for SPAM to get to your inbox.
Needless to say, it was a royal pain in the ass. It was SPAM that almost destroyed the utility of both mail and email.
Well, these tour salespeople are exactly the same – THEY’RE SPAMMERS.
They are destroying this city by annoying the hell out of its visitors.
Worst of all, they don’t care. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds,” the adage goes. Well, they’re biting it.
Honestly, it’s not exactly their fault. Mexico is to blame. The state of Mexico should regulate their behavior but has done absolutely nothing.
Every single time a tourist buys a souvenir, a ticket, a tour, an excursion, or an activity, you are feeding these parasites.
ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BUY ANYTHING FROM THESE PEOPLE.
If people stop buying from them, they will disappear.
Believe me, this city would be much better off without them!
So, after you get through the street sellers and their pitches, you can buy a beer or cocktail here while you wait for your ferry.
If you’re not quite yet ready for a beer, just people watch.
It’s always fun in this kind of environment.
You will see people from everywhere with an outward expression of all sorts of beliefs and principles (tattoos, piercings, sports caps, skimpy bikinis, etc.).
If you’re lucky you might see an old local fisherman. These people have been around for a long time so they are always fun to chat with.
You’ll also find a few souvenir stalls that will keep you entertained briefly.
Just take my advice and avoid the street sellers.
Anything Else About The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Dock
Some people look at the ferry dock and think it’s so ugly compared to elsewhere in Playa Del Carmen.
Just remember, the ferry dock came first – NO FERRY DOCK, NO PLAYA DEL CARMEN.
So that just shows how Playa Del Carmen has improved its taste.
You’ll have to come here if you want to visit Cozumel.
But if you don’t, it’s worth having a little look at just for the sake of history – both your own and Playa’s!
I’m sure I will see you on the dock sometime in the future, waiting for the ferry to pick you up…
Lots of love,
Now you’ve got the mic! Tell us about your experiences at the ferry dock in the comments section below!