Is Playa del Carmen Open for Travel Right Now? [Updated Jan. 2021]

posted by Shelley | last updated January 11, 2021

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Wondering Is Playa del Carmen open for travel?

You’re in luck, because it sure is… and this article will tell you everything you need to know about safe travel to Playa del Carmen, Mexico during the pandemic.

Located in Quintana Roo state in the Yucatan Peninsula, the winter months are technically high season in Playa (as it’s known by locals), because many head to this Mexican Caribbean beach town to escape the cold. The same is true of travel to Playa del Carmen during Covid — a lot of people are heading there for sun and fun in one of the best Mexico beach towns.

Keep reading to get answers to all the most-asked Mexico Travel FAQs, find out how to travel to Playa right now, where to stay, eat and drink, and the best things to do in Playa del Carmen — from cenotes to Mayan pyramids, beach clubs to a Cozumel Island day trip from Playa del Carmen!



🇲🇽 #Mexico is one of the only countries open to U.S. travelers right now (w/o #travel restrictions). Been considering a trip to #PlayaDelCarmen? Here’s everything you need to know 🏝☀️

Playa del Carmen Travel FAQ

Do I need a negative Covid test to travel to Mexico?

You do not need to arrive in Mexico with a negative Covid test. However, once you arrive, authorities in the airport will likely take your temperature and not let you enter the country with an elevated temperature. After leaving the airport, masks and temperature checks are still required to enter the majority of indoor spaces.

Will I be quarantined if I travel to Mexico?

There is no required quarantine period upon arrival in Mexico. It is one of only a handful of countries that don’t require a two-week quarantine period.

Can Americans travel to Mexico?

As you can see above, there are no virtually no travel restrictions for Americans traveling to Mexico right now. Because of this, many Americans are flocking to Mexico for a respite in these tough times — as for many, travel is a coping mechanism of how to fight COVID fatigue.

Do Americans need a visa to visit Mexico?

No, U.S. Passport holders don’t need a visa to travel to Mexico, which includes Playa del Carmen and any city in Mexico. The no-visa-necessary rule is another reason why Mexico is one of the best travel destinations from the U.S.

When you arrive in Mexico and go through the Customs and Immigration line, you’ll receive a 180-day (6 month) FMM tourist visa. This is a small piece of paper that you need to hold on to so you can give it back to Immigration at the airport when you leave the country. There is no charge for the FMM, but if you lose yours, there is a charge of about $600 pesos ($30) to replace it.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now?

This answer depends on who you ask! The World Travel & Tourism Council’s global travel safety program, Safe Travels, has certified all of Mexico’s big travel destinations, including Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta, as safe for travel. To qualify for this program, countries must follow rigorous cleaning and hygiene protocols. However, the U.S. State Department and the CDC say to reconsider travel to Mexico.

Do I need to wear a mask in Playa del Carmen?

In Mexico, masks are legally* required in all public spaces. In fact, you’ll want to have one in your purse or carry-on so you can put it on when you exit the plane at the airport. (*Remember that legality and enforcement are two different things.)

For visitors, Playa del Carmen and Quintana Roo state don’t seem to not be enforcing masks outdoors; however, service industry workers must wear masks. In the main areas, like Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), on the beaches and at outdoor restaurants, many people seem to be walking around mask-free. As this is technically illegal, you might consider keeping a mask in your bag at all times, should you need to quickly put one on.

Are things open in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen, Mexico, began their reopening process back in June 2020. Now nearly fully reopened and operational, this Yucatan beach destination has found their stride with welcoming visitors. Some popular places and things to do in Playa del Carmen are operating at limited capacity, but by and large, most things are open in Playa del Carmen right now.

Tulum Mexico Travel Disclaimer!

Before continuing… the responsible thing to do it issue a Covid travel disclaimer. For those in the U.S. with Covid fatigue, Zoom fatigue, and all the (valid) fatigues, and just a handful of countries allowing you entry, Mexico is one of the best countries for travel right now.

Legally, yes; Playa del Carmen is open to travelers. Ethically… well that’s a question for each individual person. Travel is a privilege, and for those traveling to Tulum, please do so respectfully, safely and responsibly.

With that out of the way, let’s keep discussing everything you need to know about how to travel to Playa del Carmen, Mexico during the Covid-19 pandemic.

🌴🏠 Wondering where to stay in Playa del Carmen?!

Discover the best Playa del Carmen Airbnbs! All choices are owned by Super Hosts, located within two blocks of the beaches, and on/around La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), the main street in Playa del Carmen.

Is Playa del Carmen safe?

Short answer: Yes!

Longer answer: Safety is a tricky subject — not just in Playa del Carmen, but everywhere — and that’s because safety is a feeling, not a fact, and no place on Earth is 100% safe. Though the main areas of Playa are considered safe for visitors, this is also a Mexico party destination, and of course, safety changes drastically when alcohol is involved.

However, as a general rule, Playa del Carmen and the Yucatan Peninsula are considered quite safe; some say this part of Mexico is as safe as Europe! You’ll want to, of course, follow the 10 General Travel Safety Tips below… you know, the same ones you would follow when traveling anywhere on Earth.

10 General Travel Safety Tips
  1. When walking home alone at night stick to 5th Avenue, the main street in Playa del Carmen, as it’s well-lit and monitored by police.
  2. Always listen to your intuition because your intuition is always right.
  3. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, get away from that person or place asap. Don’t worry about making a kind, nice or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away fast.
  4. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket.
  5. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, save this infographic as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  6. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe/bar neighbor to watch your things. This is annoying, for sure, but it works to not get your stuff stolen.
  7. Speaking of bar neighbors, don’t take drinks from strangers and/or leave your drink unattended with one.
  8. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  9. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
  10. This should be a no brainer since you’re traveling during a pandemic, but get Travel Insurance!
Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the free STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate — which happens to be the Consular Agency in Playa del Carmen.

After you’ve registered, a U.S. Embassy or Consulate can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home in the event of an emergency while abroad.

Mexico Travel Insurance

Need an added level of security and peace of mind during these strange travel times? Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling.

I’ll be honest, when I first started traveling solo, I wasn’t insured. However, after years of solo travel, I wised up… now, I even have a whole page of this website dedicated to travel insurance, because it’s just that important! If Playa del Carmen travel safety and Mexico travel insurance in Covid times is on your mind, get your free quote below from World Nomads, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

Best Time to Visit Playa del Carmen

Best time of year to visit Playa del Carmen

The best time is subjective, as it depends on each person’s travel preferences.

Weather-wise, fall/winter is the best time to visit Playa del Carmen. It is technically the high season, though because of Covid, you’ll be able to get some great deals on flights and accommodations. Located in the tropics, the weather is hot year-round, however, there’s much less humidity from November-March. You’ll also have less (if any) rain, and hurricane season will be over.

  • Playa del Carmen Rainy Season: June-October
  • Playa del Carmen Hurricane Season: June 1-November 30
  • Playa del Carmen Tourism Season: December, March-April

In March/April, springs breakers head to Playa del Carmen in droves. The weather is still nice, but the vibe becomes much more about the party versus say the beautiful nature, cenotes, and Mayan pyramids around Playa del Carmen. However, if you’re looking to party in Playa, this is a fun time.

🥵 Pro tip: Because of humidity, temperatures can feel 10°F higher. Make sure you’re staying hydrated with a reusable LifeStraw Water Bottle — which also adds an extra layer of water filtration — so you don’t get sick in Mexico on your Playa del Carmen vacation.

Weather in Playa del Carmen

April88°71°Possibly rainy
May90°78°Possibly rainy
October85°77°Possibly rainy
Playa del Carmen weather by month | Source: Accuweather Playa del Carmen

What do I pack for Playa del Carmen?

As far as how to dress in Playa del Carmen, think flowy, tropical, breathable, cotton, and light-colored clothing; bonus points for anything that doesn’t show sweat. Besides beach attire, you may want a light cardigan at night, and some comfy sweats to sleep in, but this is really the place for your warm-weather wardrobe and bathing suits.

The Yucatan Peninsula has a tropical (hot/humid) climate, as you can see by the average yearly Playa del Carmen weather chart above, so don’t forget the reef-safe sunscreen, eco-friendly mosquito spray and reusable water bottle.

FREE Printable Packing List for Mexico

Wondering exactly what to pack for Playa del Carmen, Mexico? Download your FREE Printable Packing List for Mexico below — it covers both Mexico beach vacation packing and Mexico city packing. This multi-page Mexico packing checklist covers everything you’ll want to bring, and more importantly, what not to bring to Mexico.

Traveling to Playa del Carmen

Where is Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is located in Quintana Roo state, in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula on the southeastern side of the country. It is about 42 miles south of Cancun, 8 miles north of Riviera Maya, and 40 miles north of Tulum.

Some of the best places to see in Yucatan Peninsula are also quite close, and easily accessible by rental car. These include Bacalar Lagoon, the “Maldives of Mexico,” located 170 miles south of Playa del Carmen, the pueblo magico (magic town) of Valladolid, located 100 miles east, and the beautiful Colonial city of Merida, 178 miles east of Playa.

Playa del Carmen Map

Closest airport to Playa del Carmen?

To travel to Playa del Carmen, Mexico, you’ll fly into Cancun International Airport (code: CUN), located about 35-miles north of Playa. Traveling from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen is easy by bus, rental car, private transportation and shuttle service. Keep in mind that there’s no Uber in Quintana Roo state, so you can not take an Uber from Cancun to Playa del Carmen.

How do I get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen?

Cancun to Playa del Carmen Private Transportation

Bus from Cancun to Playa del Carmen

ADO, Mexico’s largest bus company, is the cheapest way to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. If you’re considering the bus, know this is a luxury class bus, not a “chicken bus,” which are common throughout much of Latin America. Mexico’s buses are efficient, inexpensive and comfy with big reclining seats, AC and electric outlets for your gadgets.

You can take a bus straight from Cancun Airport to the main ADO bus terminal in Playa del Carmen on 5th Avenue. Prices will of course vary, but figure about $250 pesos ($13) for a one-way ticket, which you may want to consider buying online. From the bus terminal, just walk outside and grab a taxi to go to your accommodation.

Highway 307/Carretera Cancun-Chetumal, goes from the Cancun Airport to Tulum
You’ll take this road, Highway 307/Carretera Cancun-Chetumal, from the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen.

Cancun Airport Car Rental

The easiest, most convenient way to travel from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? A rental car, of course.

While Playa del Carmen is safe, there are things to be aware of, like rental Playa del Carmen car companies. They don’t have the best reputation, and often advertise prices without all the hidden fees. If you want a rental car in Playa del Carmen, rent from a reputable company like Discover Cars, and make it easy on yourself by just picking it up when you arrive in Cancun.

This drive is about 45-minutes, and you just take Highway 307/Carretera Cancun-Chetumal south. This road will bring you right to Playa del Carmen, as you can see in Cancun to Playa del Carmen map below.

Is it safe to drive in Mexico?

Short answer: Yes!

Longer answer: As a general rule, driving in Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula is considered safe, and the drive from Cancun to Playa del Carmen is also safe. However, there’s the obvious caveat to that…

Since you will be driving in another country, you should take the time to familiarize yourself with Mexico driving laws, or ask the agent at your car rental company for advice. 🚗💨 Head to this article for 12 practical Mexico Driving Tips that will help you with how to drive in Mexico.

Is there Uber in Playa del Carmen?

Wondering if you can take Uber from Cancun to Playa del Carmen? Unfortunately, no, at this time Uber is not legal anywhere in Quintana Roo state. This also means there’s no Uber Playa del Carmen, though there are plenty of taxis.

🚕💨 Pro Tip: In Mexico, you must negotiate and agree on the fare before entering the taxi.

podcast cover-woman on a colorful street

Related podcast:

Ep. #08 | Alex’s 35 Tips for Traveling to Mexico

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Rated 5 Stars on Apple Podcasts! Dream To Destination is podcast about solo travel, Mexico travel, and solo travel in Mexico.

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen

Best places to stay in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has some of the best beaches in Mexico, so staying close to the beach is part of what makes for an amazing trip. The main street in Playa del Carmen is called Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue.

This street runs north-south from the Muelle Playa del Carmen (ferry dock) on Calle 1 Norte (1st St. North), where you’d take the ferry to Cozumel Island, until about Calle 48 Norte (48th St. North). Beyond here, it’s mostly residential neighborhoods and there’s not much to see or do. In the main areas, there’s numerous restaurants, bars, shops, access to the beach, and more. It is a very lively street, both day and night.

Best Airbnbs in Playa del Carmen

🌴🏠 Ready to book your Playa del Carmen Airbnb?!

Discover the best Playa del Carmen Airbnbs, all owned by Super Hosts, located within two blocks of the beaches, and on/around Avenida Quinta (5th Avenue), the main street in Playa del Carmen.

Best Resorts in Playa del Carmen

Prefer a Playa del Carmen all inclusive resort or a hotel to an Airbnb?!

This Mexican Caribbean beach town has some amazing resorts along one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico.

Some of the most popular choices are highlighted below, though there’s no shortage of amazing and unique Playa del Carmen hotels, both all inclusive resorts and boutique hotels.

Hilton Playa del Carmen All Inclusive: Formerly known as The Royal Playa del Carmen, and now owned by Hilton, this adults only mega-resort is the gold standard for a lush Playa beach vacation. Enjoy an elegant atmosphere, all-suite accommodations, a spa and endless on-site dining options. ☀️🏝Book your stay

Paradisus Playa del Carmen: Enjoy luxurious seafront accommodations at this gorgeous resort. Paradisus La Esmeralda Playa Del Carmen is surrounded by a lush tropical mangrove with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea and Cozumel Island. ☀️🏝Book your stay

Grand Hyatt Playa del Carmen: With three oceanfront outdoor pools, a spa, and architecture designed to resemble a cenote, the Grand Hyatt, located in Mamita’s Beach provides the tropical getaway of your dreams. ☀️🏝 Book your stay
cenote ik-kil with blue water and vine going into the water - day trips from Merida

Top 10 Things to Do In Playa del Carmen

Take the Ferry to Cozumel Island

No visit to Playa del Carmen is complete without taking the 30-minute ferry ride to Cozumel Island for some snorkeling. Cozumel’s reefs are part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, the world’s second largest coral reef system, behind the Great Barrier Reef.

At world famous Palancar Reef, just off the coast of Cozumel, you’re sure to spot all kinds of sea life, including colorful tropical fish, rays, and even sea turtles!

Need more suggestions of things to do in Cozumel? Check out the podcast below👇🎧

Practice Sustainable Travel in Mexico: Only use eco-friendly reef-safe sunscreen to help preserve this natural ecosystem 🐠🐟🐡🐬

🐠 Planning to visit Cozumel, Mexico? This is the podcast for you!

Best Beach Clubs in Playa del Carmen

There’s no shortage of Playa del Carmen beach clubs and beach bars, from the chill to the upscale. Below are the three most visited and well-known beach clubs to spend the day, and sometimes even the night, enjoying on your Playa del Carmen trip.

Lido’s Beach Club: Head to Lido’s for food, music and good vibes. This chill beach club has a down to earth, locals feel, and plenty of beach beds to lay on during the day. Address: Avenida 1 Norte Bis., Mz. 22, Lote 3, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Mamita’s Beach Club: One of the more upscale Playa del Carmen beach clubs, head to Mamita’s to see and be seen with the trendiest crowd in town. Address: Mza 10, Lote 8, Calle 28 Norte, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Zenzi Beach Club: One of the best beachfront places to eat, dance and listen to live music in Playa del Carmen after the sun goes down. During the day, Zenzi Beach Club has beds you can lay in as long as you’re ordering food/drinks. Address: Calle 10 y la Playa, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Of all the best ruins in Playa del Carmen, the pyramids at Coba are the only ones you can climb!

Mayan Ruins Near Playa del Carmen

In total, there are about 100 public Mayan archeological sites in the Yucatan Peninsula. While most people don’t make it to all of them, there are some noteworthy Playa del Carmen Mayan ruins located less than 2.5 hours away from the city. Below are the three most visited and must see Mayan pyramids near Playa del Carmen.

Chichen Itza: Does Chichen Itza need an introduction? As one of the Seven Wonders of the World, seeing Chichen Itza is high atop many travel bucket lists. Located just under 2.5 hours from Playa del Carmen, you can drive there with your rental car, take the ADO bus from Downtown Tulum, or opt for an Airbnb Experience group tour. Pro tip: You can not climb the pyramids at Chichen Itza.

Coba: Coba Ruins is more like a whole Mayan city, versus a Mayan pyramid site. It is located deep in the jungle, about two hours from Playa del Carmen. If you’re having to choose Chichen Itza vs Coba, opt for Coba to avoid the Chichen Itza crowds, and because you can climb the Coba pyramids. Pro tip: When visiting Coba, don’t forget your eco-friendly bug spray 🦟

Tulum Ruins: Tulum Ruins is a smaller site conveniently located on the Tulum Beach Road, one of Tulum’s main roads. These beautiful ruins overlook the Caribbean Sea, and make the perfect stop on a Playa del Carmen to Tulum day trip.

🏝 Wondering Is Tulum open for travel? It sure is — and this article will tell you everything you need to know about Tulum travel right now.

Take A Mayan Ruins Tour

The easiest way to see all of Tulum’s Maya sites and pyramids? On an Airbnb Experience tour, of course.

Never heard of Airbnb Experience? You’re not alone! While most people have heard of Airbnb for home/apartment rentals, Airbnb Experiences are newer and lesser-known — but just as awesome. In fact, for solo travelers, Airbnb Experiences provide an easy way to meet other travelers!

Basically, these are small group tours led by Playa del Carmen locals, which you can instantly book online right now, so you won’t have to spend your precious travel time finding a tour company! Like with an Airbnb stay, the guide gets rated at the end, which motivates them to do a great job.

See the Voladores at Founders Park

Parque los Fundadores (Founder’s Park) is home to the iconic Portal Maya statue, as well as the flying Voladores performers. During this ancient ritual from the state of Veracruz, four men swing from ropes down a 100-foot-tall pole, as the the fifth member stays on top, playing a drum and flute.

They perform the ritual throughout the day for donations and tips.

🚢 Founder’s Park is located next to the dock for the Cozumel Island ferry.

Portal Maya sculpture in Playa del Carmen at Founder’s Park.

Stroll La Quinta Avenida (5th Ave.)

Avenida Quinta AKA Fifth Avenue in Playa del Carmen, is the city’s main street. On this the walkable, pedestrian-only thoroughfare, you’ll find everything from bars, restaurants and cafes, to shops, massage spas and even a few museums — one of them is the Tequila Museum, but still 🤣

Day and night, 5th Ave. is the best place for people watching, whether you’re enjoying brunch at an outdoor cafe, or on a bench in beautiful Parque los Fundadores, there’s always something going on on Fifth Ave.

Best Shopping in Playa del Carmen

Fifth Avenue Playa del Carmen is where you’ll find little shops and boutique stores to pick up all the souvenirs you want to bring home with you. Need a larger mall? Head to Quinta Alegria Shopping Mall on 5th Ave. and Ave. Constituyentes, or Paseo del Carmen Shopping Mall, located on the south end the 5th Ave., near the posh Playacar neighborhood.

☀️🌴What is Playacar? The Playacar town, located just south of Playa del Carmen, is known for its all-inclusive resorts, luxurious residences, and golf clubs. The clear waters and white sands of Playacar Beach draw both locals and visitors for everything from kitesurfing to snorkeling. There’s also a small Playacar Mayan ruins site called Xaman-Ha Ruins.

Swim in the Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen

What is a cenote?

Cenotes (pronounced sen-no-tays) are underwater sinkholes containing crystal-clear, warm, freshwater.

These unique swimmin’ holes are only found in a few places on Earth, with about 6,000 cenotes in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, the largest concentration anywhere.

We can see and swim in them because the limestone once on top of the water has collapsed and/or eroded to expose the water beneath.

Depending on how much limestone has collapsed, some cenotes are above ground, and some are in underground caves, like Cenote Suytun!

cenote swimming hole with vines hanging down into it - day trips from Merida
Cenote Ik-Kil is located about 2.5 hours from Playa del Carmen, near the “magic town” of Valladolid and Chichen Itza pyramids.

Best Cenotes Near Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has many cenotes to see within a short drive of town. As they are scattered throughout the Yucatan Peninsula, the easiest way to see them is by driving your rental car, or taking a Playa del Carmen cenote tour. 🧜‍♀️Never visited a cenote? Check out this Cenote FAQ so you know what yo expect from this unique, natural experience.

Cenote Azul: The “blue cenote” has many different pools to swim around in, and is sizable enough to make for a great Playa del Carmen day trip. There’s a platform for adventurous visitors to jump into one of the deeper pools, which makes for a fun photo.

Gran Cenote: One of the most Instagram worthy cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula! Gran Cenote, meaning “big cenote,” is a larger site with several cenotes that meander along the jungle floor, connected to one another by wooden walkways.

Cenote Calavera: Meaning “skull cenote,” the Calavera Cenote has three hole you jump in to access the water below. This Instagrammable cenote is super popular, and also somewhat small, so try and arrive early to beat the crowds.

Cenote Dos Ojos: The name dos ojos means “two eyes” in Spanish, a reference to the two large cenotes connected by a 1,300-foot/400m long cavern. The Two Eyes Cenote, known for great snorkeling visibility underwater in the caverns, is also considered as one of the best diving cenotes.

Cenote Ik-Kil: Located not far from Chichen Itza and the pueblo magico (magic town) of Valladolid, you’ll find Ik-Kil Cenote, perhaps the most photographed cenote in all of Mexico. With its hanging vines and semi-open dome top, it looks like a blue lagoon paradise. Pro tip: Arrive by 9am if you’re hoping to get travel photos without the crowds.

Cenote Azul in Tulum
Cenote Azul, one of the best cenotes near Playa del Carmen.

Take A Cenotes Tour

The best way to see some of Playa del Carmen’s off the beaten path cenotes? On an Airbnb Experience tour, of course. Since these tours are led by Playa locals, they know better than the internet to guide you to the all the coolest cenotes — the ones that won’t show up in Google searches.

To those looking for the most Instagram worthy cenotes near Playa del Carmen, know that for the most part, they are all gorgeous with the same crystal-clear water. The one thing that might make one more photogenic than another is getting those coveted shots without people in them! For this reason, you’ll want to venture to the hidden gem cenotes.

Visit the Frida Kahlo Museum

Head to one of the most popular things to do in Playa del Carmen, and one of the town’s only museums.

The stylish Frida Kahlo Riviera Maya Museum is located on Quinta Avenida (5th Ave.), and features interactive exhibits dedicated to the life of Mexico’s most beloved artist.

👩‍🎨 Pro tip: They don’t always have her actual artworks on display.

Open daily, 9am-11pm. Admission is $300 pesos ($15). Address: Calle 8, entre Quinta Avenida y La Playa, Gonzalo Guerrero, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77720

🎨 Love art? Book the Playa del Carmen Street Art Tour, led by a local, and see all the beautiful murals and paintings located throughout the city.

Dine & Drink in Playa del Carmen

Dine with a view at Zenzi, an oceanfront restaurant in Playa del Carmen by day, and bar/club by night. | Photo by Zenzi

Best Restaurants in Playa del Carmen

Playa del carmen has a nice mix of upscale dining, and authentic Mexican food street eats. While tacos and Mexico go together like milk and cookies, tacos aren’t actually a Yucatan food — though don’t worry — there are tacos in Playa del Carmen! While in Playa, do make sure you sample some traditional Yucatcan cuisine, like cochinita pibil (slow cooked pork), ceviche (citrus marinated seafood), and lechon (pork with crispy skin).

Porfirio’s: Located on 5th Avenue, this upscale restaurant is the place for surf and turf and a nice bottle of wine as you people-watch the crowds walking by. Address: Quinta Avenida, Esqunia Calle 12, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Alux: Feel as though you’ve left Playa del Carmen behind and descend into this spectacular underground cave restaurant. The colorfully-lit Alux Playa del Carmen is well known as one of the best restaurants in town for its grilled meats and fresh seafood dishes. Address: Avenida Benito Juárez Mz 217 Lt 2, Ejidal, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

🍷🍽 Pro tip: You’ll want to make a reservation to eat at Alux Playa del Carmen.

Cheap Eats in Playa del Carmen

El Fogon: While not authentic to the Yucatan, tacos al pastor are the most famous tacos in Mexico. Try them at El Fogon, a popular place known for having the best tacos in Playa del Carmen. Address: Avenida Constituyentes, Quintas del Carmen, Gonzalo Guerrero, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77720

La Cochi-Loka: Open both day and late night, La Cochi-Loka is a true Playa del Carmen hidden gem. Head there to sample the most famous food of all Yucatan cuisine, cochinita pibil. They have both tacos and panuchos, but opt for a panucho to eat it like the locals do. Address: Calle 10 Norte 27, Calle Quinta Avenida 5A, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Las Hijas de la Tostada: The perfect low-key-yet-chic place for seafood tostadas and tacos, guacamole, ice cold beer and micheladas on famous 5th Avenue. Address: Avenida Quinta con Calle 2 Norte, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77720

Marquesitas: These crepes, eaten with toppings such as chocolate and cheese, are a favorite nighttime sweet treat throughout the Yucatan. You can find marquesitas in Playa del Carmen from street vendors along Avenida Quinta (5th avenue) after the sun goes down.

man cutting meat for a taco

Best Bars in Playa del Carmen

Zenzi: A beach club by day, Zenzi is the place for live music and salsa dancing in Playa del Carmen after the sun goes down. Address: Calle 10 y la Playa, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Cantina La No. 20: One of the best cocktail bars in Playa del Carmen! This chic restaurant/mixology bar is the place to see and be seen when getting your Playa del Carmen nightlife fix. Address: Calle Quinta Avenida 310, Gonzalo Guerrero, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77720

Bar Ranita/La Rana Cansada: This local’s favorite feels more down to Earth than most Playa del Carmen bars. Enjoy beers and mezcal, then head next door to La Cochi-Loka for late night tacos and panuchos. Address: Calle 10 Nte Bis 132, Calle Quinta Avenida 5A, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

Coco Bongo Playa del Carmen: One of the most famous Cancun bars, Coco Bongo also has a Playa del Carmen location. This complete nightlife experience is part club, part Moulin Rouge-style cabaret show, and part Cirque du Soleil. It is one of the most unique things to do in Playa del Carmen; though it does comes with a steep $80 entry cost. Address: Calle 12 Norte, Esquina con Avenida 10 Norte, Gonzalo Guerrero, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Mexico 77710

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Cantina La No. 20 is the place for fancy cocktails in Playa del Carmen. | Photo from Cantina La No. 20

Have any tips for a traveling to Playa del Carmen, Mexico?

Mention them in the comments down below and let other travelers know!

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👋 I’m Shelley, a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world! I started this blog & podcast to help women like you cross Solo travel & Mexico travel off your bucket list…


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