Things To Do In Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is situated along the municipality of Quintana Roo in Mexico and widely recognized as one of the top diving and snorkeling sites on the planet. Credit goes all the way to its lively ocean life and astonishing submerged caves. There are a great variety of things to do and enjoy from both land and sea. If you stroll along the shoreline, you will have the opportunity to mingle with the locals and explore what the fishing villages can offer.
Coba is a majestic Mayan city in the jungle facing the coastline of Playa del Carmen. In three hours, you can view all of the visible Maya buildings. When you look around you can also discover its rich selection of animal wildlife in Mexico. You will meet the colorful toucan, a variety of tamed snakes and other striking birds that are endemic to this island. The view from the 42 meter high Maya building is nice and wearing good shoes will make your walking tour convenient. If you have a bad leg, they've got plenty of bicycle taxis or you can rent a bike for faster mobility. It is a very interesting trip and you can feel that the caretakers are doing their best to keep everything as authentic as possible. It is good to climb it up and coming down is quite a good workout for the legs, but it is all worth it for the stunning view of Playa del Carmen at the top!
When To Go:
The ideal time to go around the Playa del Carmen is in the middle of April and the last week of May. It is during this time when there are fewer individuals along the shore. The daily temperatures during these months range from 80 to 90° F which drops to a range of 70° F towards nighttime. From October to March, the atmosphere is for the most part dry and somewhat warm.
Summer days and evenings have a tendency to offer humid temperature and dry air. The rainy/storm season endures from June until the cold month of September and when travelling or spending time in Playa del Carmen is not strongly suggested. For more accurate and latest weather results, check the online climate forecast and sea tempest warnings before booking your outing to Playa del Carmen.
To have an awesome time and meaningful holiday, these are the top things to do while in the enchanting city of Playa del Carmen:
Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church
If you stroll along the 5th Avenue, you will arrive in front of this delightful and very small parish church painted in all white and has a round dome Greek style. It is right in front of the sea and this makes it romantic and a favorite church for wedding events. The Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church is a mandatory first stop once you arrive in Playa del Carmen.
It is built in a particular form and decorated in beautiful white color and with shells as lights that makes it even more fascinating. Construction of this Roman Catholic began in 1960 as a protector of fishermen when Playa del Carmen did not yet exist. In 2008, it has been completely rebuilt with its present look equipped with a bell tower and a lush garden. Its main feature is the huge glass behind the altar that allows you to see the Caribbean Sea. It is an interesting church near the bus station and the all-white impression contrasts greatly with the nearby turquoise colored ocean.
Coba Mayan Village
The Coba Mayan Village is a gorgeous looking 42 meter pyramid with highly scalable stairs leading all the way to the top. Inside it is recommended to rent a bicycle to visit the site (cost is 40 pesos for the whole day) than going on foot. The entrance fee as of January 2015 is 64 pesos. After biking around its pristine nature, the climb is very steep but you will get to admire the breathtaking views of Playa del Carmen. There are lots of archaeological sites in Mexico, but this is among the most beautiful and exciting. It is quite wide and definitely worth the climb to admire the view from above. Beware of some parts that are covered with corals because it is quite sharp. The rented bikes are quiet because they are fundamental to see everything as much as possible. You must visit the site early in the morning to avoid the scorching heat of the sun and the presence of too many visitors.
Do not miss this stage because it is spectacular. Along the way there are hundreds of exhibits and you can go all the way up above the pyramid. It is not the biggest and the highest pyramid here in Mexico but it will not be easy to assault the peak in midst of tropical heat and humidity, but it's worth it because when you look out there in the horizon you will discover the panoramic vista of the "green sea". Travel tip; always bring a couple of bottles of drinking water (there are no stalls there). The village looks like it came from a documentary, the people are beautiful, simple and smiling as they sell their locally made handicrafts and delicacies. The special feature of this site is that it is completely surrounded by greenery and it is very extensive.
Cenote Chaak Tun
The Cenote Chaak Tun provides a fantastic experience that will make your stay in Playa del Carmen memorable. You can find this gem just outside the playa where for 360 pesos you can get a two hour tour of two underground cenotes which also includes the use of snorkeling equipment. On this adventure, you can swim through the caves, see stalagmites, stalactites and do some fishing on its crystal clear water. The experience is really beautiful and best done with a tour operator and accompanied by a guide. You can also do this with a jungle trip or quad bike tour which is also a must.
If you have nothing against tight spaces or you’re not claustrophobic, then try this adventure. It is an exciting tour with lots of information about the cenotes and the Mayan culture. The guide explains everything in detail and allows their guest to spend a lot of time to snorkel or just float in the water as long as they want. It is highly recommended and not far away from the bustling city. Include this on your planned to- do list about Playa del Carmen.
Cenote Chikin Ha
The Cenote Chikin Ha is a small cenote in Playa del Carmen that is close to Jungle Place. You can have fun there with an organized tour of a small group consisting of ten people. There are lots of small fish and freshwater turtles to see. The water is so clear and very encouraging to take a deep dive for the more adventurous. It is a tourist site that is not to be missed and must be arranged with a local tour operator where you can be assured of a whole day full of surprises.
This is the best Cenote among the three prominent underwater caves in Playa del Carmen. And the best part is that it is not full as the Dos Ojos or the Gran Cenote and you can have an almost mystical experience swimming in this place because you can swim alone. The admission fee is cheap (150 pesos) and the place has a small restaurant where you will meet an old Mayan making empanadas (very good). And it's easy to get there, just walk down the Collectivo in front of the Barceló Hotel and after walking about 1km on a dirt road you will arrive on this cenote.
Xcaret Eco Theme Park
The Xcaret Eco Theme Park is a nature trail park that is partly recreated to make it accessible to all. The park supports several projects about preserving the natural environment of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. There are several species of marine life that are conserved within the park and live until their reproduction before being freed to become independent again, such as sea turtles. The park is very extensive and some attractions such as the undersea walk comes with a separate entrance fee.
You can have a sumptuous lunch at the international restaurant which is filled with great choices and moderately good Mexican food including drinks. Do not miss a visit to the museum with wonderful artifacts and the evening show on Mexican history that highlight the traditions of the different regions. Basically the entrance fee allows you to see parrots, flamingos, a tapir, a panther, a greenhouse butterfly and an easy access to the beach area. The aquarium is nothing special and you can see a few turtles, rays, and baby sharks. One of the best adventures is the walk or descent into the underground river. The Xcaret Eco Theme Park is a perfect getaway place for families with children that is very educational and entertaining at the same time.
The Quinta Avenida is the heart of Playa del Carmen that is full of shops and trendy restaurants. Some of these restaurants closes their kitchen by midnight to make way for the discos. Also known as the 5th Avenue, it is a good place to buy the typical souvenirs or enjoy a good bottle of ice cold Corona in one hand. After a hike around the town, you can choose to take a terrace with a cozy atmosphere and have lunch or evening meal with a view of the ocean.
This street is very interesting, brings together trade for all tastes and pockets, as well as restaurants, bars and charming and hip pubs. Among the shade of trees life pulsates in this seaside avenue. Walking, at all times in this way, it is worth and always surprising to discover shops that carry local and international brands. When you’re here, let yourself be carried away by the charm of Fifth Avenue.
Santa Rosa Wall (Cozumel)
For great diving adventures you may go to the Santa Rosa Wall in Cozumel, an island right that is located right across Playa del Carmen. Sometimes, the current has much speed, but you can dive from here, there and hunt for marine wildlife that hide behind the corals. Take the time to look at the nature and do not get distracted by the "fly" on the stream. Do not go over the reef to descend, but take the tunnels if you're not too claustrophobic.
It is a magnificent diving spot that is not to be missed while in Cozumel. You will see a great variety of turtles, beautiful coral, rays, puffer fish, barracuda and sharks. The people here are incredibly kind and very friendly. The deepest point of the dive is 23 meters and the water is so transparent you can see the corals even with your naked eye. The rich marine life, the walls and mini caves of Santa Rosa is what makes it an exciting dive. There are also many species of fish, mollusks, and multicolored corals on this side of Cozumel. If you like diving, it’s a great option.
At the port of Playa del Carmen, you can buy tickets to cross the island of Cozumel. You can pick a boat with a glass bottom and pay extra for the snorkeling tour on the barrier of Palancar Reef. The bottom of the boat measures 40 x 80 x 15 cm and the people who snorkel practically have it done behind the cruise ships anchored in the harbor at about 10 m from the shore. This is also the area where you can feed the fish and take some photos.
It is a lovely beach that is surrounded by nature, with all the amenities such as a restaurant, lounge chairs, and umbrellas. It has crystal clear water and a few shades where you can relax under the sun. There are a few people and an opportunity to snorkel with a rented gear and equipment. There is also the possibility of walking along the coast, while immersed in the wilderness where you can easily encounter wildlife such as iguanas of considerable size.
Discover Mexico Cozumel Park
The entrance fee of the Discover Mexico Cozumel Park is a bit expensive, but it is worth it because it is accompanied by a guide. The park is divided essentially into two parts. Immediately after the entrance there is a museum in which they display fine Mexican handicrafts that are really beautiful. Past the "museum", you embark on an outdoor adventure along which there are scale models of many monuments in the ancient Mayan city made with great skill.
The route continues through the models of the most beautiful Baroque cathedrals of Mexico and ends with a model of the Plaza de la Constitución in Mexico City. You will be very impressed by the visit, also because the guide is very knowledgeable and show expectations for competence, professionalism, and courtesy. The guide walks you through the park and talk about the traditions and history of Mexico, since the Mayan to the modern. Here you can taste the national Mexican fast food, taste real tequila Kahlua or buy souvenirs.
The Chankanaab Park can be reached by taxi from the parking lot of cruises, the entrance fee is $ 21 per person. You can also have the opportunity to swim with dolphins in the group for a fee. The sandy beach is small, mainly down stairs to the rocky shore. You can hire a mask and flippers to look at the coral and fish. Also in the park there is a small museum of Mayan structures.
It is also perfect for fans of extreme sports - attraction "Troll". The dolphin show lasts for about an hour and the entertaining spectacle conveys a lot of positive emotions. They are great and there is an additional charge for photo opportunities with them. The admission price includes lunch. After the dolphin show you can do a little sunbathing. The park is equipped with a small beach and a swimming pool. But what is worth to go to Chankanaab Park, is the chance to interact with these amazing animals.
The Columbia Reef is a great snorkeling location because it has a visibility of 40 meters where you can see all the variety of sea life. Everywhere you plunge in Cozumel shows a lot of current, even so the view is still beautiful with all the Caribbean fame that it well deserves. Along with the Santa Rosa Wall, both places are great for snorkeling and diving. It is an ideal place to see reef fish as well as sharks and sandpaper streak cheetahs. This reef is equipped with a magnificent marine life and fantastic visibility, a visit here is a must while in the island of Cozumel.
If you are a great diving and snorkeling enthusiast, Playa del Carmen and a little side trip to its neighboring island of Cozumel is one of the best travel options you can enjoy along the city of Quintana Roo. A great tour will show you the many faces, colors, sights and sounds of Playa del Carmen and the Yucatan Peninsula.
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