It can be challenging to choose from all of the amazing things to do in Playa del Carmen. To help you make the most of your visit to this stunning town on Mexico’s Mayan Riviera, I’ve put together this list of the 21 absolute greatest things to do in Playa del Carmen.
I’ve got you covered with an interesting range of things to see in Playa del Carmen, from the greatest day tours to the hidden beach areas to the best places to eat distinctive local cuisine. Without a doubt, this is among the top tourist destinations in Mexico.
Here are the 15 Best Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen-
1. Visit Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza is, without a doubt, the most visited Mayan site in Mexico. Those travelling to Playa del Carmen really must stop by this UNESCO world historic site! El Castillo, the site’s principal temple, is the archaeological site’s most well-known feature.
The best thing to do in Playa del Carmen is to go to Chichen Itza.
It truly demonstrates the Mayan peoples’ understanding of the earth and the planets.
The Great Ball Court is located at Chichen Itza, nevertheless. It is 168 by 70 meters, making it the biggest in Mesoamerica (551 by 230 feet.) Pitz was the name of the game played there. It’s a must-do activity while visiting Playa del Carmen and one of the best places I’ve ever been.
2. Explore the Best Cenotes
Speaking of the Mayan underworld, it’s not necessary to go spelunking to experience the enchanted realm that exists below the surface of the Earth.
Numerous of these hundreds of miles of rivers have rocky ceiling holes that let in natural light. The Yucatan Peninsula is home to thousands of cenotes, which are these natural sinkholes.
The best thing to do in Playa del Carmen, out of all the things to do, is to go to and spend time at one of the cenotes there.
They are fascinating and are created when limestone collapses, exposing the river to the sky. Visitors can spend the day swimming, snorkelling, or even scuba diving its depths in the various cenotes that are accessible to the general public to explore this almost limitless underwater environment.
There are plenty to pick from in and around Playa del Carmen, but Cenote Chaak Tun is still a favourite among visitors. An underground paradise with crystal-clear water and ancient rock formations that appear quite otherworldly when illuminated by the natural sunshine that trickles in from above, this lovely, natural setting abounds with beauty. Be ready for breathtaking hues and the opportunity to just be in nature.
In Playa del Carmen, some of the most well-known cenotes to explore are:
2.1. Cenote Azul
One of our favourite cenotes in Playa del Carmen is the sizable open-air Cenote Azul, with its shallow waters and entertaining cliff jump. Two bathing spots in the primary cenote are divided by a wooden boardwalk. Families frequently visit the shallow side of the cenote, where younger children can paddle in the crystal-clear waters. A cliff positioned over the deeper pool makes for a fantastic place to leap into the cenote. On this side, snorkelling is also very popular.
2.2. Cenote Zacil-Ha
Visit Cenote Zacil Ha and Cenote Carwash if you are considering a vacation to nearby Tulum, and you should most definitely do so.
The waters at Cenote Zacil-Ha are incredibly clear, and it is a modest, lovely open-air cenote. Many options exist for jumping from the sides or even zipping over and entering the cenote from above! Hammocks and standard swimming pools with lounging areas are additional highlights!
2.3. Gran Cenote
Outside of Tulum, there lies a sizable and well-known cenote called Gran Cenote. It consists of a group of tunnels, caves, and an outdoor cenote. It is among the Yucatan Peninsula’s top cenotes for diving. The waters are so clear that it is frequently possible to see turtles swimming in them because they are so clear. Gran Cenote is a fantastic place to go snorkelling. Swimming and snorkelling inside the caverns for a breathtaking view of the light beams striking the water through the cave opening and exploring the rock formations is quite simple.
3. Xplor Adventure Park
In Cancun and the Riviera Maya, thrill-seekers congregate at Xplor Adventure Park, which is a must-do activity. Xplor, which is conveniently located next to Xcaret EcoPark just a few kilometres south of Playa del Carmen, offers visitors a day’s worth of thrilling activities or an evening’s worth of thrills for those who dare to brave the darkness in Xplor Fuego. If you dare to take on the trials this park has in store for you, enter.
One of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen is the Xplor Adventure Park, which guarantees a fantastic time.
Xplor may be a little different from the other theme parks in Riviera Maya in that it has fewer options, but it still provides a full day’s worth of activities which includes :
At Xplor, the ziplines are the major draw. The tallest line in Cancun and the Riviera Maya is 49 yards (45 meters) high, making it the tallest structure in either destination. In total, the 14 lines in the two circuits cover more than 2 miles of flight distance. You’ll soar over the jungle on some of the ziplines before splashing through a waterfall or landing in a cenote.
3.2. AMphibious Vehicles:
Three people may ride as passengers in an amphibious vehicle while one person operates it over two circuits that include crossing streams, tunnels, and a rainforest. Three miles separate each circle.
3.3. Underground Rivers:
The Yucatan Peninsula’s limestone substrate is home to numerous caves, caverns, and underground rivers. Swim through one of these tunnels to get to know them.
3.4. Underground Rafts:
In the breathtaking tunnels and caves of Xplor, navigate your raft among stalactites and stalagmites along underground rivers while being surrounded by ancient rock formations.
3.5. Hammock Splash:
Rather than using a harness, ride a brief zip line that drops you into a cool cenote while seated in a hammock.
Your entry to Xplor includes access to the buffet, which is accessible from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are lots of dining options, including Mexican and foreign cuisine, fresh fruit and salads, and fruit drinks, despite the absence of alcoholic beverages.
4. Check out The Frida Kahlo Museum
If you’re visiting Mexico City as a culture enthusiast, you must visit the Frida Kahlo Museum.
Colonia Del Carmen, one of Mexico City’s most picturesque and traditional districts, is home to the historic house museum. It is part of the Municipality of Coyoacan. The Museum is a few blocks from Coyoacan’s city centre.
The Blue House, as it is often known, is the former residence of the well-known Mexican artist and her husband, Diego Rivera. It now houses original works, exhibitions, collections, and personal items.
Visit here the next time you’re in the city to gain an intriguing understanding of one of Mexico’s most well-known artists.
5. Go Shopping!
Shopping is one of the nicest things to do in Playa del Carmen. Fifth Avenue is dotted with stores, markets, and boutiques where you can buy anything from designer clothing to trinkets.
There are numerous locations to eat, drink, and observe people. Visit the Playa del Carmen Flea Market for some inexpensive shopping; you can buy everything from handmade jewellery to retro clothing.
One of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen among all things to do in Playa Del Carmen is to go shopping.
It’s the ideal location to get inexpensive gifts and typical regional crafts. Go grocery shopping at Quinta Alegra Shopping Mall if you’d rather treat yourself. Here, a wide variety of shops can be found, including Pandora and American Eagle Outfitters.
In Playa del Carmen, it is impossible to turn without finding a place to shop. You won’t go home empty-handed because it’s a shoppers’ paradise!
6. Visit Playa Del Carmen’s Top Beaches
Playa del Carmen has some of Mexico’s top beaches. When you’re in town, you must spend a day lounging on a beach chair or a towel and enjoying the sunshine.
In Playa del Carmen, the top 4 beaches are:
6.1. Mamitas Beach
Visit Mamitas Beach in the centre of Playa del Carmen to get a flavour of the local scene. There is a ton of people, sand, and sun here! If you are hungry or thirsty, there are many local restaurants and pubs as well as lots of beach umbrellas and sun loungers for you to unwind on.
If you want a nice, peaceful beach experience, you might want to stay away from Mamitas because it is frequently highly busy and noisy.
6.2. Playacar Beach
You should visit Playacar Beach if you’re staying close to the Playacar Resort. Playacar extends down to Puerto Aventuras from Playa del Carmen’s south ferry dock.
Playacar Beach is worth a visit, even if it might not be as well-known as some of the other beaches on this list. There are lots of beach umbrellas, sun loungers, and palapas (thatched roofs) to unwind under, and the sea is very blue.
Compared to Mamitas Beach, this beach is a little more private and less busy. Additionally, it’s convenient because the resorts are right nearby. The beach is surrounded by palm trees, giving it the ideal area to unwind and get away from Playa del Carmen’s bustle.
6.3. Parque Fundadores Beach
A public beach called Parque Fundadores may be found right in the middle of the city. There are always a lot of locals and visitors alike enjoying the sun and sand at this beach, making it the perfect place to people-watch. The widest beach in Playa is Parque Fundadores, so there is plenty of space to spread out.
Due to the often calm water at this beach, swimming is also a great activity. Additionally, there is a full-sized volleyball court on the beach, which is ideal for a game with friends or with young children. Parque Fundadores doesn’t have any beach clubs like most of the other Playa del Carmen beaches, so you may have a true beach day experience while lying out on the sand.
6.4. Calle Beach 10
The primary thoroughfare through the centre of Playa del Carmen is Calle 10. Many bars, restaurants, and stores can be found on this street. But Calle 10’s proximity to the seaside makes it so unique.
Calle 10 is the ideal location if you want to spend the day at the beach without having to worry about finding a space on the sand. Choose a beach club, then have fun!
Avoid the beach clubs and go to Calle 10’s public beach for a more relaxed atmosphere. Due to Calle 10’s profusion of beach clubs, the real beach is frequently quiet and deserted.
7. Rio Secreto
You might not be aware that the entire Yucatan Peninsula is laced with miles and miles of underground rivers. The porous limestone that makes up the continent on which Playa del Carmen and the neighbouring areas are located is home to countless miles of vast underground caverns.
Among all the things to do in Playa del Carmen, swimming among freshwater pools of breathtaking clarity is one of the most well-liked things to do in Playa Del Carmen.
These tunnels and caves were considered gates to the underworld by the Mayan people who had lived in this region of Mexico for thousands of years. More are found every year, and many of them are now accessible to the public as educational facilities and adventure parks.
Rio Secreto, a breathtaking underground fantasy realm that looks like it belongs in a sci-fi movie, is one of the most well-known in Playa del Carmen.
Put on a wetsuit and get ready to be amazed by one of the largest networks of underground caves in the world. Take a step back in time as you navigate stalactites and stalagmites, swim through freshwater pools of stunning clarity, and find the underworld’s entrance.
8. Mayan Ruins
Did you know there are dozens of other Mayan ruin sites close to Playa del Carmen and on the Yucatan Peninsula? Chichen Itza, a masterfully constructed Mayan city complex, is one of the World’s Seven Wonders.
One of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen, among all things to do in Playa Del Carmen, is to explore the Mayan ruins.
Chichen Itza is fantastic, but the trip there from Playa del Carmen takes around three hours. Instead, why not visit two more outstanding archaeological sites ideal for half-day excursions?
The first is Tulum, a port city perched on a cliff with a view of the emerald-blue ocean. The majority of people are familiar with Tulum as the stylish, bohemian beach town famous for its upscale boutique hotels and amazing dining options.
But the archaeological site is what makes this place famous. According to the earliest records, these ruins date to roughly the year 564 C.E.
They are currently the most recognizable structures on this stretch of the Mexican coastline. Coba, another Mayan city that was previously mostly unknown, is located further inland.
Coba, one of the major archaeological sites in this region of Mexico, was founded around 600 C.E. and is made up of a series of buildings that are divided by lakes.
It is well-known for its network of roadways made of limestone, some of which extend for more than 50 kilometres.
The Castillo pyramid and the Nohoch Mul pyramid are two of Coba’s most well-known buildings. One of the last places in Mexico where you can still ascend the temple stairs is Coba.
9. Day Trip to Cozumel
It’s simple (and worthwhile) to take a day trip across to the island of Cozumel, even if you came for Playa del Carmen.
In reality, the Playa del Carmen shoreline offers a clear view of the Cozumel skyline. After a 30-minute boat ride across the water from the ferry station in town, you will be in the centre of one of the most renowned cruise ports in the entire world.
But what makes Cozumel so unique is the gem that lies outside the cruise port. Hire a taxi or rent a scooter and travel from the busy downtown to the island’s eastern shore. There, visitors will find a string of beach restaurants where it’s simple to get a fresh plate of fish, a lounge chair, an unobstructed view of the ocean, and powdery beach after powdery beach.
10. Scuba Diving
Did you know that Playa del Carmen is close to one of the world’s largest systems of barrier reefs? Between Isla Contoy at the point of the Yucatan Peninsula and Honduras, the Mesoamerican Reef System runs for more than 600 kilometres. Playa del Carmen is, therefore, among the top destinations to visit if you’re interested in scuba diving.
Pared Verde Ledge and Tortugas, which are both close to Playa del Carmen proper, are two of the more well-known reefs. If you’re interested in swimming farther from Playa del Carmen, there are many stunning dive sites off the coast of the island of Cozumel.
An excellent place to earn your PADI certification is Playa. Travellers can choose from a wide variety of diving schools and shops in the area.
11. At Akumal Beach, Go Turtle Swimming
One of the best sites in Mexico to go swimming with turtles is Akumal Beach. You don’t even have to travel far to witness these kinds of critters swimming near the shore.
Akumal, which is midway between Playa del Carmen and Tulum, is a wonderful area to unwind and take in the turquoise-coloured waves.
Swimming with sea turtles is a common “bucket list” experience. Prepare to check it off in Playa del Carmen if it’s on your list. Along with restaurants and bars, there are several beach umbrellas and sun loungers for rent.
Akumal is a peaceful beach community with shallow waters that are home to every shade of blue and green, located about 30 minutes south of the city. Three different species of sea turtles, including Green, Hawksbill, and Loggerhead, can be seen here. The nicest part is that it’s free to do.
Akumal Bay is a great place to see sea turtles. In Akumal, tourists can hire snorkels, fins, and masks. For instance, the entire inventory is rented through the Akumal Dive Center.
12. Rooftop Pools
Sometimes it’s just too much for someone to deal with being coated in sand, battling choppy waves, and dodging that annoying seaweed. You yearn for a pleasant, serene, spotless area where you can take in the entire beach vista without any hassle.
Swimming in the rooftop pools is one of the most popular things to do in Playa del Carmen out of all the other things to do in Playa Del Carmen.
Rooftop swimming pools will soon become your new best friend. Rooftop pools frequently have incredible chefs, the most breathtaking views, wonderful music, and distinctive décor.
What’s best? They are plentiful in Playa del Carmen.
Playa offers the rooftop pool for you whether you’re searching for an eco-friendly, tranquil setting, an ultramodern party scene, a cheap local hangout, or the height of luxury.
Not sure where to look for the ideal location? No issue. You’ll be making a splash in no time if you read my guide to Playa del Carmen’s most stunning rooftop pools.
13. Eat Authentic Tacos
If you visit Playa del Carmen, you must have some of the mouthwatering tacos! You won’t have any trouble locating a place to savour a delectable lunch because there are so many taco vendors and restaurants in the area. If you want to have a real experience, visit one of the street vendors offering canasta tacos (basket tacos).
Fresh, hand-made tortillas are used to make these tacos, which are often stuffed with chicken, potatoes, and refried beans. At El Fogon, try the tacos al pastor for something a bit different. With fresh onion and cilantro on top, these tacos are fashioned with marinated pork and pineapple. Wonderfully yummy!
Eating tacos in Playa Del Carmen is one of the most popular things to do in Playa del Carmen out of all the other things to do in Playa Del Carmen.
Even though there seems to be a long line, El Fogon is well worth the wait. El Fogon is a famous taco stand with a few locations in the city that is renowned for its delicious and traditional tacos.
Pineapple slices that are sweet and juicy are placed on top of the tacos. For a garnish of chopped onion and cilantro, order “con todo.” If you’re in the mood for it, you can even add cheese to your tacos. Quesadillas with a side of grilled green onions are other popular menu items.
We can understand why Birria de la 30 is one of Playa del Carmen’s busiest taco-eating spots. The modest eatery Birria de la 30 on 30 Avenida is known for its birria tacos.
Traditional Mexican cuisine, known as birria, features slow-cooked beef and a mouthwatering broth for dipping. The tacos at Birria are sure to please and come with a choice of toppings, including onions, cilantro, and salsa.
14. Parque Los Fundadores ( Founders Park )
The ideal place to unwind and get away from Playa del Carmen’s bustle is this park. The “Founding Fathers Park,” also known as Parque Los Fundadores, is a sizable, lush park in the middle of the city that is home to a variety of trees and plants. You can easily discover it from Quinta Avenida because it is situated right outside the ADO bus terminal on Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue!
There is plenty of green area for picnics and strolls, and you can rent bikes to get a more active view of the park. The park is a great place to spend a day with the family because it has a playground for kids.
Visit the Parque Los Fundadores to spend some time in the shade of the trees if you want to avoid the heat of the midday sun.
15. Swim with Whale Sharks
You usually hear about the Yucatan’s incredible nightlife, pristine oceans, white-sand beaches, and of course, excellent margaritas when you vacation there. But have you ever heard of whale shark swimming?
Of the many things to do in Playa del Carmen, whale watching is among the top things.
Did you know that whale sharks are the biggest fish in the world and not truly sharks? The fact that many people consider swimming with these MASSIVE fish to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience should therefore come as no surprise, and the greatest part is that you can do it from Playa del Carmen!
Unfortunately, you will need to use a boat to get to these stunning creatures because they don’t swim in front of Playa del Carmen Beach. Therefore, the only way to experience this journey is on tour!
We truly hope you liked reading about the interesting, entertaining, and unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen.
Playa Del Carmen is home to several amazing tourist attractions and rich historical details. Fantastic opportunities can be found in Playa Del Carmen’s beaches, museums, and other places. Start making travel arrangements to Playa Del Caren as soon as you can!