Known by locals as "Playa", this impressive Maya Riviera town is a waterfront gem that marks the half-way point between Cancun and historic Tulum. It looks out to the island of Cozumel, and is a popular location for its relaxed atmosphere, European-style, and upscale accommodations that includes Isle Blue luxury villas.
Whether you arrive in Playa del Carmen by private car from the Cancun International Airport, or you land in Cozumel and enjoy a ferry ride to the city, you will immediately see the appeal of this well-designed town. A pedestrian's dream, it is laid out in a classic grid with a town square sitting close to the beach. It is easy to get your bearings here, and starting from "El Zocalo" (the town square), a visitor can enjoy some of the best boutique shopping imaginable.
Just south of the town is the Playacar, a world famous golf resort and private residence where many opt to stay and make pleasant day trips into town. The traffic situation is relaxed and safe as well, so many travelers enjoy cycling into town and around the area, and there are several bicycle paths offering amazing scenery and pleasant hours of exercise.
Because it is in the heart of the Maya Riviera, the town is surrounded by some of the region's best eco parks such as Xcaret and Xel Ha. These are reserves and protected areas designated by the government and set aside for permanent protection. They are inland and waterfront areas, and even include areas in the sea waters where you can snorkel in order to see the sights!
Located about an hour south, Tulum is a major attraction with it’s renowned and well preserved beachside ruins of an ancient Mayan city.
You can easily spend an entire holiday enjoying tours to the different parks in the area. The Isle Blue personalized concierge services are available to help you choose and book the right tours for your wishes.
Scuba and snorkeling are two of the most common activities here, but you must book tours as the sites are all offshore. Most of the hotels offer dive shops, but many visitors in Playa del Carmen actually book their scuba experiences in Cozumel. Close by and easy to reach, the island is known for providing some of the best diving experiences in the world.
Fishing is also one of the popular activities enjoyed by locals and travelers alike. To get the very best experience, though, head just 10km south to the Puerto Aventuras area where the most appealing marina in the region is found. Private boats will ensure your experience is unforgettable and your catch worth any extra effort or expense.
Beachgoers can access a large variety of public spaces or fee-based beach clubs. Some of the best have full services, including wait staff and food or drinks. The northernmost beaches are often described as the most European with music and full-service clubs. You may also find your villa offering a private beach option, and this may be a reason to book a waterfront location.
If you would rather spend your time hitting the shops in town, you can easily do so since they are all contained within a cobblestone paved region of roughly 20 downtown blocks. Enjoy some local cuisine and delicious snacks at the many cafes and restaurants here as well, and return at night to enjoy the area's hotspots and clubs.
There are more than 70 dining establishments in the small town, and they range from "street food" vendors to five star establishments. Some of the top rated include Oh Lala, which serves European cuisine, NAU which specializes in seafood, and Kaapa Factory which offers a truly unique style of Latin cuisine. La Senda is also very authentic and has some vegetarian and gluten free options.
You can also hit local markets for fresh ingredients and experiment with them yourself or book a chef to prepare them to perfection!
Easy to reach by air or sea, Playa del Carmen provides the nicest mix of activities and leisure. It will quickly become one of your preferred holiday locations.