Long before either of us arrived on the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen was a small fishing village. Its main attraction used to be the ferry terminal to Cozumel. We can’t say that we remember the good ol’ days before the tourists arrived. We enjoyed riding the wave and watching the town grow up during the last 5 years. Even during that time, it has changed a lot. For a few years, it was our home base to explore the Riviera Maya. It was also where we met. We created a few good memories.
We have a special place in our hearts for Playa. There are many things to love (and loathe) about Playa del Carmen. We never looked at it as a destination, as it was our home base. As a result, many of the pictures we took during our time aren’t of the beaches or the other attractions. It’s usually taco stands or pretty things we see while passing by. Looking through these pictures, Playa del Carmen will always be underrepresented in our photography collection.
We can however tell you some of the best places to get tacos or ceviche, and where to get a cocktail on the beach. Playa del Carmen can be a lot of fun and there are many reasons why it has become one of the most popular cities on the Riviera Maya.
What makes Playa del Carmen so amazing?
Beachside town? Legendary nightlife? Beaches? Central to many other nearby attractions?
Playa del Carmen may be past its prime as an undiscovered destination, but there is a lot to enjoy. While it has grown up quickly, it has retained some of it’s best qualities. It continues on like the “fun uncle” that never settled down. Playa del Carmen was once a small beachfront fishing village and in the past 10-15 years it has been transformed into a cosmopolitan city.
What we loved about Playa del Carmen was how central you were. There are many attractions located just outside of the city, which means you are less than hour away from Mayan Ruins, secluded beaches, theme parks, shopping or cenotes. Playa del Carmen is a bit of a party town, but thanks to it’s size it’s easy to walk a few blocks and get away from the crowds.
What we really loved about Playa del Carmen was the food. People from across Mexico have arrived on the Riviera Maya with recipes from their home states. We found some of the best taco stands and restaurants scattered throughout the town, and we used to visit regularly just to eat.
Where is Playa del Carmen and how do you get there?
Playa del Carmen is located almost directly between Cancun and Tulum. In many ways this is both literal and spiritual. It is almost exactly an hour from both spots, traveling up and down highway 307.
There are many things to do along the way, and the best way to accomplish this would be with a car. There are many other ways to get around, including the colletivos (small van/busses) or taxi drivers, who you can hire for the day with a bit of negotiation.
Cancun is the Riviera Maya’s international airport, and it has connections around the world. It is the second busiest airport in Mexico, trailing only behind Mexico City. Getting to Playa del Carmen is easy. Leaving is another story altogether…