Playa Del Carmen Travel Tips

…a few things that will make your life easier…

The other week I arrived back in Playa Del Carmen, and everything seemed so easy.

I was like, “See you later Mr. Grumpy customs man, I’ll be in Playa Del Carmen by happy hour.”

Six hours later I was half-drunk, and some tourists from my flight walked into the bar.

They looked frustrated, annoyed, sweaty, and pissed off.

In fact they looked like their football team had just lost the Superbowl to a shocking referee decision.

“What had gone wrong?” I asked them.

Only every standard Playa Del Carmen tourist mistake you could make!

I felt bad for them.

I explained some basic Playa Del Carmen travel tips to them.

Then I thought I really should write it all down so everybody can get straight from the plane to the best bars.

I’ve set it all out in chronological order.

So download this to your smart phone and follow Rufus’s Playa Del Carmen travel tips!

Arriving At Cancun Airport

Firstly, make sure you’ve filled in your tourism permit card (FMM) before you land.

It saves you time at the airport.

Don’t get tempted by any of the souvenirs at the airport.

Everything, including all the booze, is a lot cheaper once you reach Playa Del Carmen.

When you exit the airport you’ll have to run the gauntlet of the timeshare scammers.

They all look like airport officials and promise loads of goodies if you go to a timeshare sales pitch.


It’s all a scam.

The free tours they offer don’t exist, you’ll lose 3 hours of your vacation listening to some dickhead do a hard sell, and they’ll probably wiggle some $$$ out of you.


Transport From Cancun Airport – The Most Important Playa Del Carmen Travel Tip

If you look unsure about how to get to Playa Del Carmen then the human lice will see it.

They’ll approach you with different taxi deals and try taking your baggage and generally be annoying.

It’s not a relaxing way to start your vacation.

Some hotels and resorts offer a shuttle service that’s included in the price of your accommodation.

If they do, then bingo!

The driver will be waiting with a big sign – either with the resort name, your name, or both.

The easiest way to get from Cancun Airport to Playa Del Carmen is by bus.

There is a way that is slightly cheaper called colectivo, but it’s mainly for locals, and if you want to use it, you’d better be good at Spanish.

Just follow the signs at the airport to the bus stop.

I really recommend taking the bus.

It’s sooooooo much cheaper than a private shuttle.

Once you arrive in Playa Del Carmen it will only cost a couple of $$ to get a local taxi to your hotel.

If you want private transport, then the next best option is a Playa Del Carmen shuttle service.

Because they take different passengers the price is less than a private taxi.

Checking Into Your Hotel In Playa Del Carmen

I used to just check into a hotel without thinking.

But in Playa Del Carmen a good travel tip is to try and get an upgrade.

The first thing is to greet the receptionist or manager very politely.

Then say the following words – “This hotel looks fantastic.
Are you on Tripadvisor?…I will definitely be leaving a review.”

That normally gets them excited and treating you like kings.

It’s always worth asking for an upgrade, especially if you’re here out of peak season when there is lots of empty space – especially in the more expensive rooms.

All hotels get commissions for selling tours and trips.

So ask if they have any special deals or discounts.

Most hotels can offer a deal if you are planning to visit a few different attractions.

Finally, make sure you like your room.

If you don’t like it, and something isn’t right, then you must say so immediately.

Otherwise you’ll find it hard to change later.

Playa Del Carmen Travel Tips – Going Out On The Town

If you’re staying a bit out of town, then your hotel might offer a shuttle service to 5th Ave.

Why not use it?

If they don’t, they usually have the taxi price posted on the wall near reception.

You can walk down the road and flag a taxi.

I prefer to sit in the hotel bar and get them to call one for me.

“Who do you call a taxi for me, please?”

Playa Del Carmen is very safe, but when you’re completely wasted and wandering around alone at 3am, then there might be opportunists looking for you.

So always take a taxi back to your hotel if you’re not in a group.

When it’s dark, you’re drunk, and alone, then it’s good to stick to the tourist areas.

While everywhere is generally safe, the safest parts are the areas where there are always tourists.

What Happens If You Get Lucky On A Night Out?

This is the Playa Del Carmen travel tip that most people are hoping they’ll have to use!

If you get lucky with one of the locals or another tourist, then you usually have to pay extra to bring them back to your room.

I think it’s a good system.

In Europe most hotels don’t let you bring anyone back.

In Mexico, they make a bit of money, and you get to spend a night of passion (or falling asleep and finding your camera has been stolen…).

No matter how drunk you are, don’t forget to be respectful.

Don’t go making loads of noise in the hallways or generally being an ignorant wanker.

Especially don’t walk through the hotel at 3am shouting, “Hey Rufus, SHUT UP, people are trying to SLEEP!”

What Happens If Something Bad Happens?

Two simple travel tips:

  1. Dial 066 for emergency services
  2. If you lose your passport or wallet then report it immediately and get a signed statement from the police

Any Other Playa Del Carmen Travel Tips?

Of course you’ll probably want some souvenirs from your vacation.

My tip is to wait until the end of your vacation.

Don’t jump in two-footed at the first souvenir shop.

They’ll see that you don’t have a clue and charge an inflated price.

Besides, you know when the best time to learn how to negotiate is?


It may be necessary by the end of your trip if you’re not careful with your money.

Silver is good value in Playa Del Carmen.

And I always recommend buying a hammock.

Owning a hammock somehow makes you feel better about life.

When you go back to the airport, then the cheapest way is to take the bus.

It’s only ~$10 USD a person.

However, the plane won’t wait, so make sure you check the bus timetable in advance and give yourself extra time in case of mishaps.

Otherwise, organize a taxi.

The cheapest taxis are actually from local guys.

Whenever you take a taxi to downtown during your trip, ask about the driver’s “airport prices” – that way you can cut out the middle man at the end of your vacation.

I hope these Playa Del Carmen travel tips have helped, and you’re ready for Playa Del Carmen.

Happy hour is usually 4-8pm by the way…see you there!….

Lots of love,


Rufus signature

It’s your turn. Do you have any amazing travel tips for this city? Please leave them in the comments section below!

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