Nestled on the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, you’ll find what once was a little fishing village. With cobblestone avenues, handmade artistry, and street tacos worth writing home about, this once little town is now a growing destination for backpackers, resort stayers, and beach lovers alike. This charming town, just south of the ever popular Cancun, offers more than just a stop for spring breakers—this town, with its striking aquamarine views, nearby Mayan ruins, eco-archeological parks, and world renown scuba diving, offers a blend of restoration and adventure for anyone who decides to stop and bury their feet in its white sandy beaches for a while. Yes, darling explorer, it’s time to mark your map again. And this time, we’re going to Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
When embarking upon any coastal travels south of the border, visions of warm sand, sun-kissed skin, and melodies of dancing waves linger as swimsuits are packed and sunscreen applied. It is said,
“The cure for anything is saltwater—sweat, tears, or the sea” -Isak Dinesen
Perhaps that is why Playa del Carmen offers a sense of restoration for its travelers. With sea bound exploration, Playa’s Caribbean ocean provides solace, reflection, and a place for discovery. Here are a few places to get waterlogged and sea salt hair during your stay in Playa:
Where cool fresh water from the river meets the warm salty sea, this eco-archeological park delights explorers with snorkeling, zip-lines, jungle paths, and senotes. Restaurants in the park are all you can eat, and hammocks line the bay—the ideal place to swim among tropical fish, devour chilequiles, and swing between two palm trees for awhile.
Cozumel & Isla Mujeres
Hop on a ferry and cross over to Cozumel where some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in all of Mexico can be found. Rent a motor scooter for the day and venture around the perimeter of the island, making stops at untouched beaches and local eateries. Keep a lookout for the ecological sanctuaries where crocodiles, sea turtles, and coastal birds take refuge.
Fifth Avenue & Local Beaches
Playa del Carmen’s well known street, Fifth Avenue, is filled with international cuisine, charming store fronts, handmade goods, mariachi bands, boutique hotels, and photo ops. Whether explored at night or day, the cobblestone avenue—a local gem full of life and true flavors of Yucatan Mexico—is the place to be. After lounging on the beach and floating on waves in Playa’s aqua sea, Fifth Avenue is the perfect side trip to enjoy a meal, meander through shops, and grab an iced banana mocha coffee at Java Joe’s to take back to your beachside relaxing.
Mayan ruins are scattered all throughout Mexico’s landscape—and nearby Playa you will find coastal ruins atop seaside cliffs overlooking the beauty of the sea—Tulum is its name, and its worth marking on your map. Stairs carved out in the seaside cliffs lead those more daring down to beaches below. Can you just imagine Mayans lounging and swimming on these very same coastlines? Yes, Tulum is a must!
Whether you need a reason to brush up on your Spanish or soak up the rays, culture, and sea of a city down south, Playa del Carmen may be your next ideal destination.