A popular tourist destination on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, Playa Del Carmen is a fun resort town well-known for its picturesque beaches, excellent scuba diving sites, and pits of sinkholes also known as cenotes. This coastal town is located just a short drive from the international airport in Cancun, making it one of the most popular holiday destinations in the region.
Whether you wish to chill on palm-lined beaches and enjoy water activities like snorkeling and swimming, explore unique museums, or experience the town’s vibrant nightlife by visiting places like Kool Beach Club and Coco Bongo, there are plenty of activities in this fabulous coastal town to keep you entertained for at least a couple of weeks. Here is our list of the best things to do in Playa Del Carmen.
1. Mamita’s Beach Club
One of the most popular spots in Playa Del Carmen, Mamita’s Beach Club is an awesome place to chill in the sun and enjoy spectacular ocean views. Expect to find everything from beach chairs, umbrellas, and beach beds to free Wi-Fi, VIP pool, and waiter service. Mamita’s Beach Club is also a great spot for swimming in Playa Del Carmen and has a nice clubhouse with a restaurant, outdoor showers, and bathrooms. Some of the most popular water activities here include parasailing and jet skiing.
2. Los Fundadores Park
Located just a short walk from the fifth avenue in Playa Del Carmen, Los Fundadores Park attracts large crowds of visitors who come here to see the ancient Voladores de Papantla ritual which includes climbing on a pole, song, and dance. Make sure to check out the park’s beachfront and its Portal Maya bronze sculpture. Designed by a local artist Arturo Tavarez, this fabulous sculpture celebrates the Mayan calendar.
3. 3D Museum of Wonders
If you are visiting the town with the little ones, the 3D Museum of Wonders should definitely be included in your list of places to visit in Playa Del Carmen. This superb gallery is home to over 50 painted 3-dimensional illusions that make travelers question everything they see. These visual illusions are extremely popular with children and allow visitors to view paintings that look like surfboards and much more.
4. Museo Frida Kahlo Playa Del Carmen
Opened in 2017, Museo Frida Kahlo Playa Del Carmen is one of the town’s most famous museums. From a bunch of multimedia displays and interactive exhibits that tell the story of Frida’s life to collages and diagrams, there is plenty to look forward to when visiting this fascinating museum. Although you won’t see any original works of art here, it’s still a great place to learn more about Frida’s art through colorful photos and videos.
5. Xcaret Park
A Mayan-themed entertainment park, Xcaret Park is located just an hour’s drive from the center of Playa del Carmen. Popular with both adults and kids, this eco-adventure park boasts a wide range of attractions including underwater caves, stunning rock formations, snorkeling, jungle trails, and much more. It is also an animal park with animals such as sea cows and jaguars. If you are on a holiday with your family, Xcaret Park is one of the must-visit places in Playa Del Carmen.
6. Rio Secreto
Imagine a picturesque cave system with crystal-clear waters, stalactites, and stalagmite. Welcome to Rio Secreto, one of Yucatan Peninsula’s best-kept secrets. Whether you wish to climb through the caves, swim in the river, or just admire the natural beauty of these series of caves and underground rivers, a visit to Rio Secreto is an experience unlike any other. The only downside is that it’s not allowed to bring your cameras and take photos at Rio Secreto.
7. Quinta Avenida
Looking for the best Playa Del Carmen shopping options? Make your way to Fifth Avenue’s Quinta Avenida, a 3-mile-long pedestrian street where travelers will find everything from cafes and souvenir shops to restaurants, hotels, and shopping outlets. Whether you wish to score trinkets at a flea market-style souvenir stall or you want to visit shopping malls like Paseo del Carmen and Quinta Alegria that offer popular US brands, Quinta Avenida is a shopaholic’s paradise. Since this area attracts large crowds of tourists, restaurants and bars in Quinta Avenida are a bit on the expensive side.
8. Cenote Chaak Tun
One of the best cenotes in the area, Chaak Tun is a great place to visit while exploring the natural beauty of Playa Del Carmen. Thanks to its clear waters, the flooded pit offers ideal conditions for swimming and guided tours. It is also home to some of the most beautiful stalactites hanging from the ceilings in the area and has an impressive chamber and dozens of tunnels just waiting to be explored. Keep in mind that during the guided tour, you will need to put on a life jacket.
9. Kool Beach Club
Opened 25 years ago, Kool Beach Club is one of Playa del Carmen’s best beach clubs. Offering an authentic and vibrant atmosphere with incredible ocean views, this stylish beach club has all the amenities and facilities that you need for an unforgettable summer beach vacation. It is located right on the popular Mamita’s Beach, making it an ideal place for vacationers who wish to be close to all the action.
10. Chikin Ha
A lovely natural park and a popular diving spot, Chikin Ha is home to three impressive cenotes where vacationers can enjoy water activities like snorkeling and swimming in an open-air cavern. Expect to see a variety of coral formations and marine life. Keep in mind that in order to explore the cavern’s deepest parts, you’ll need to have advanced cave diving qualifications. Apart from visiting cenotes, travelers can enjoy other activities at Chikin Ha such as rock climbing, attending a traditional Mayan ceremony, going on a bike tour, and zip-lining over the cenotes.
11. Dolphinaris Riviera Maya Park
A visit to the Dolphinaris Riviera Maya Park promises to be an exciting experience for the entire family. This park facility is a great place to enjoy activities such as learning how to train dolphins, going on a 30-minute speed ride with these lovely creatures, and attending a 2-hour long program that includes everything from playing and hugging to riding and swimming with dolphins. If you are looking for one-on-one encounters with dolphins, this extraordinary park facility is a must-visit place.
12. Chichen Itza
A visit to Chichen Itza makes for a great day trip from Playa Del Carmen. Located a 3-hour drive from the city, this huge Mayan pyramid is one of the best places to visit for history buffs. Apart from the main pyramid, travelers will have a chance to see dozens of small pyramids and ruins. To beat large crowds of tourists and to snap some cool photos of the pyramids, we recommend paying a visit to Chichen Itza early in the morning.
13. Xpu Ha
Thanks to the pleasant Playa Del Carmen climate, visiting Xpu Ha is one of the must-have experiences while exploring Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. Located just a short drive from the city, this secluded beach takes you away from the hordes of fellow tourists and allows you to enjoy some peace and quiet. Famed for its stretch of beautiful white sand with clear waters and casual beach bars and restaurants, Xpu Ha is ideal for water activities such as kayaking, swimming, and snorkeling. The beach entry is cheap and you can rent umbrellas and beach chairs.
14. Coco Bongo
Coco Bongo is one of the main reasons why Playa Del Carmen boasts a vibrant nightlife scene. The fabulous nightclub offers everything from rotating acts like flying acrobats and Star Wars-themed performances to a full open bar where you can order a variety of drinks including cocktails, beers, wine, and much more. Of course, a ticket that includes all of the above will set you back around $80 per person, but it’s definitely worth it.
15. Martina Beach Club
One of the newest additions to the Playa del Carmen’s vibrant nightlife scene, Martina Beach Club is located on the north end of Playa and is less crowded than other similar beach clubs in the area. Parking in front is plentiful compared to Mamita’s, while music genres range from funk and chill tunes to deep house. If you are looking for a tranquil vibe on the beach without loud music blasting from the speakers, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit to Martina Beach Club.
16. Kantun Chi
An amazing ecological park with 5 different cenotes and a variety of flora and fauna, Kantun Chi is also home to a picturesque underground river that offers ideal conditions for swimming. The tranquility of this place is amazing. Go on a self-guided tour or join one of the guided cave tours to discover the charming Mayan underworld, admire various formations of natural wells, and go for a dip in crystal-clear waters of the underground river.