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Referred to by locals simply as “Playa”, Playa del Carmen is all about beautiful beaches, buzzy nightlife, and lush landscapes. Situated on the strip of Mexico’s Yucatán peninsula known as the Riviera Maya, overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Playa del Carmen has a reputation as a stylish destination. No wonder, as its compact downtown full of shops, bars, and restaurants make this town the ideal choice for a memorable vacation. Playa’s cobbled main street, Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, is the epicenter of life in the town both day and night and is a great spot for people-watching.
Playa del Carmen is easily accessible from either Cancun Airport, which is approximately 45 minutes away by car, or from the much smaller Cozumel Airport, which is a 45-minute journey by ferry from the island of Cozumel. Visitors to Playa del Carmen can expect pleasant temperatures all year round, but the town is at its best in late spring, when the beaches are quietest. Hurricane season lasts from June to September, so if you’re planning to travel during this period be sure to check the forecast.
Although Chichen Itza is a two-hour drive inland from Playa del Carmen, it is well worth the trip to see the remains of what was once one of the greatest Mayan cities on the Yucatan peninsula. Archaeologists believe that the rise of Chichen Itza as a major power started around 600 A.D. and continued until the 13th century when the Maya revolted against the rulers of Chichen Itza. Fortunately, the site has been very well preserved and provides an excellent insight into how the Mayan and Toltec people saw the world. The major monuments include the Pyramid of Kukulkan, known as El Castillo, which is a temple dedicated to the feathered serpent god Kukulkan; the Interior Temple, which is home to King Kukulkan’s jaguar throne, and the Great Ballcourt, which is one of the largest, most impressive, and best-preserved courts for playing the Mesoamerican ballgame in the whole of Central America.
Of course, the beach is a major draw for visitors to Playa del Carmen, but there is another option for anyone looking for a special spot to swim, snorkel, or dive. Cenotes – which are natural sinkholes in the limestone bedrock – are found all over the Yucatan peninsula, and while some are very small, others have become very popular with locals and tourists who come to enjoy the clear, bright-blue waters. Just 20 minutes’ drive from Playa del Carmen, you’ll find Cenote Jardin del Eden, one of the prettiest in the region, which is surrounded by lush greenery and huge rocks which are perfect for sunbathing or diving.
Though Cozumel is only 12 miles or so off the coast of Playa del Carmen, and reachable by ferry in just 45 minutes, the island has a distinctly Caribbean feel and a unique energy that make it well worth a visit. The main draw for many visitors to Cozumel is the island’s fantastic beaches and the opportunities for snorkeling and scuba diving. Palancar Beach is a particularly popular spot, thanks to the reef located just offshore, which provides excellent diving conditions for beginner and more experienced divers alike. Cozumel is also home to some smaller – but nonetheless interesting – Mayan ruins, including El Cedral, which was once a fertility temple, and still holds religious significance for locals, and San Gervasio, which is thought to have been the location of the sanctuary of the Mayan goddess Ixchel. The best (and most fun) way to explore Cozumel is to hire a scooter in the main town of San Miguel, but it is also possible to get around by taxi.
Make your trip to Playa del Carmen even more special with a stay in one of our luxury vacation rentals.
If you’re looking for the ideal destination for a very important vacation, why not let us help you to plan the perfect honeymoon in Playa del Carmen ? You’ll spend your days relaxing in the sunshine on tropical beaches, exploring Mayan ruins, and swimming in cenotes, while by night you can enjoy Playa’s excellent bars and restaurants. If you prefer bold, contemporary architecture, you’ll love our homes with clean, minimalist interiors. For those with more traditional tastes, our selection of villas at the Viceroy Riviera Maya might be just the ticket. Described as a “sexy, eco-conscious hideaway” by Travel + Leisure magazine, villas here feature amenities such as private plunge pools, outdoor showers, and hammocks strung under shady palm trees.
To really make the most of your trip to the Yucatan Peninsula, book one of ourbeachfront vacation rentals in Playa del Carmen . With views of white sandy beaches and the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea, you and your fellow guests are guaranteed a relaxing and memorable vacation. For smaller groups, we have homes that will accommodate up to eight guests and would be ideal for families and smaller groups, while other properties have space for 20 and would be ideal for larger gatherings and special events.