What To Do in Playa Del Carmen
…decisions, decisions, decisions…
The question of “what to do in Playa Del Carmen” is not the easiest one to answer.
It´s not that I´m hard-pressed to put together a decent list of things to do and places to go.
It’s just that the list would end up being the size of a small book.
And if you wanted to read a book, I´m pretty sure you´d be doing that right now instead of researching your next awesome vacation.
(Am I right?)
I did the best I could to keep this from being an exhausting list of the best things to do in and around Playa.
But I also made sure to include everything that’s really worth doing and seeing.
I trust my readers will find more information about what strikes your fancy and make the tough decisions of what makes it onto your final to-do lists.
So without further ado, here’s that perfect list of the best things to do in Playa Del Carmen that you were looking for.
All the cool kids are doing it.
You might be surprised to know that the Yucatan Peninsula is actually one of the best places to learn how to kite board.
The reason is that the water just off the coast is relatively shallow and flat – not with tons of waves for surfing, and with a slow gradient getting deeper.
This is one of my all time favorite things to do.
But if you’d like a similar speed sport without the water part, I can also highly recommend zip lining as a must-do in Playa.
Playa Del Carmen, and the Riviera Maya in general, is known for having some of the best scuba diving in the world.
The area’s under-water regions are just teeming with life, and provide one of the four distinct ecosystems in Playa: its system of gorgeous coral reefs.
It would be difficult for me to understand why someone would come all the way here and then not scuba dive, or at least snorkel (more on that in a bit).
I know, to each his own and all that.
But sometimes you just have to draw the line.
And my line is scuba diving in Playa.
It’s a must-do for sure.
If you’re not adventurous enough to go completely under and possibly make the acquaintances of some large sea mammals with teeth, no worries.
You could always go snorkeling and still take advantage of the crystal clear waters and brightly colored variety of sea life in these parts.
There are tours offered by a number of different companies, and most cater to first-timers.
Another must-see are the famous cenotes.
Some are incorporated into your snorkel expeditions, others are a trip unto themselves.
This is a list within a list, so I’ll just get right down to business.
Fusion is a restaurant right on the beach and offers one of the best drink menus in Playa.
It comes highly recommended by anyone who’s been there.
Café Andrade also comes highly recommended for its Mexican breakfast and brunch.
Casa Adela is a traditional Mexican restaurant and art gallery in one.
Casa Mediterranea, right on Fifth Avenue, is an excellent choice for Northern Italian fare.
Not too far away, on First Avenue, is Diablito Cha Cha Cha, which is a super trendy fusion restaurant offering a spectacular array of fresh seafood choices.
These are only a few of the many, many places to get more than a bite to eat in Playa.
This could have been another list within a list, but I felt obligated to instead recommend the single best thing ever.
And that is Playacrawl.
For anyone who’s ever done the pub crawl or bar crawl thing – or who wants to try it – Playa Del Carmen actually makes a tour out of it, with chaperone and all.
As a frequenter of this tour, I must endorse.
Not only do you hit up the vast majority of the best bars and clubs in town, but the guide actually picks you up and it’s all you can drink for one price.
They take you to the hottest spots and others that are hidden gems – most with VIP entrance and tables.
And the tour guides are the best in town.
These are the kind of people you want to party with, at the best places to party at.
Alternatively, you could also do a bit of research for individual clubs and bars to check out.
The Playa Del Carmen area boasts of some world famous golf courses designed by famous types and frequented by equally famous tournaments and players.
Golfing is one of those luxuries that not necessarily everyone is interested in – or can appreciate.
But if it’s your thing, I highly recommend playing at least a round here in one of Playa’s amazing courses.
Visit The Pyramids
It’s easy to forget that international travel involves going to another country with a different culture, history, etc.
And it’s sometimes easy to forget that Mexico is not just the southern part of Texas or Arizona (guilty as charged).
But it is a completely different culture with a completely different history and related offerings.
If you’re willing to travel outside of Playa Del Carmen, you have several options for viewing pyramids and other Mayan ruins.
If you’d prefer to stay inside the city, you still have a cultural expedition waiting for you.
Take A Stroll Down Fifth Avenue
I’m going to go ahead and list this one with the free activities, because it can be if you want it to.
True, Fifth Avenue is here it’s at in terms of bars, clubs, shopping, tattoo studios, etc.
But it’s totally possible to just walk around, window shop and enjoy the cultural experience of street sellers almost stepping on each other to get you into their store.
I don’t know, maybe it just seems like even though you’re here to partake of the town’s offerings, it’s also good to just hang out for a short while and take it all in.
Walking around to people watch and window shop is a good way to do that.
And if you do it in Playa Del Carmen, you’re most certainly better off doing it on Fifth Avenue.
Walk Along The Beach
The other free activity that everyone really should do, at least once or twice, is just go for a walk along the beach.
It’s there, it’s beautiful, it’s free and it’s waiting for you.
Lounging on a chair is not the only way to soak in the sun, hear the waves or relax in your new tropical setting.
Besides, a five or ten minute walk never did anyone any harm.
If you’re willing to spend a minimum amount of money to get some maximum benefits, you could use one of the several beach clubs in Playa Del Carmen.
These are where you’ll find the social scene during the day, and they give you access to a nice beach space with full service (drinks, lounge chairs, lunch, etc.)
Just about everyone will tell you Mamitas is the best beach club in Playa, which I would have to agree with.
Around $10 gets you in with a chair, umbrella, and beer. That’s hard to beat.
And if you still can’t find anything to do once you arrive, send me an e-mail, and we will go out for a few drinks!
See you here soon…
Lots of love,
Now it’s your turn. Do you have any unique ideas for fun activities that you like to do here? Please leave them in the comments section below!
My name is Suzette Molina and I am from New Jersey. I found your site to be amazing and extremely helpful. It pretty much covers it all, you did a great job! I have a question and was wondering if you could help me out. I am traveling March 22nd to Playa del Carmen. I would like to know if you recommend me booking my excursions before I arrive or when I am there. Any insight would be greatly appreciated thank so much!
Thanks for the comments. I’m glad you are finding the site helpful. I made it for people just like you.
In regard to your question about activities here, there are several things to keep in mind:
First, I would strongly recommend that you investigate, plan, and be thoroughly prepared so that you know what types of activities and things you want to do BEFORE you arrive here. HAVE A PLAN!
Don’t ever forget this: vacation time is worth 20x what non-vacation time is worth. Your time here is scarce, so don’t waste it. If you think of it this way, you will force yourself to fully prepare and make decisions before you get here, which is good for both your peace of mind and your wallet.
In regard to the best purchase time for your activities, there are several schools of thought. First of all, a lot will depend on how many activities you want to engage in. If you are only planning on one or two activities, you can make a quick purchase before you arrive and be done with it. If you’re planning on doing a whole bunch of excursions, it is often best to hold off until you arrive. Why? Because you can get some really good deals if you buy everything at once in a package. If you do it this way, you can often get discounts on everything – or even get some free stuff thrown in.
If you would like, I can send your email to my friend, Caesar. He is a tour operator, has participated in nearly all the tours in the area, and is good at cutting deals if you tell him exactly what you want. He also owns some jungle land here and is planning to build a serene retreat on it eventually. He knows everybody in town.
I hope this helps, Suzette…
Lots of love,
Thank you for the response. I would like if you gave my email to Ceasar to discuss tours. Thank you for the tips and advice.
I sent your email address to Caesar. He should contact you very soon. If for some reason he does not respond or misses your email, please let me know.
I hope you enjoy your trip here, Suzette.
Let me know if you need anything else.