Playa del Carmen
If you're looking for a bit more of an upscale tropical island vacation experience, Playa del Carmen is perfect for you. Just 15 years ago, Playa del Carmen was a small fishing village. As it began to attract tourists' attention, the city passed an ordinance prohibiting the erection of a building taller than four stories. The result is a quaint, magical town void of eye-sore high-rises. Playa del Carmen has a lot to offer for about everyone.
The city can be accessed by flying into Cancun and taking a one hour bus (~$10) or taxi (~$60) ride south down the Riveria Maya. It is also possible to fly into Cozumel and then take a 45 minute ferry ride off of the island to mainland Yucatan where Playa awaits.
A major part of the appeal of Playa del Carmen is the upscale shopping and dining. The city attracts a more elegant crowd who leaves behind the wild partiers in Cancun. There are dozens of fantastic, locally-owned hotels in Playa del Carmen many available at a great rate. Playa del Carmen is most famous for its Fifth Avenue which is closed off to vehicular traffic and boasts some of the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in the Caribbean.
Just a stone's throw from Fifth Avenue is a gorgeous white sandy beach with clear blue water. The island of Cozumel has a dampening effect on the tide making for generally calm waters at the shore of Playa del Carmen. There are dozens of fantastic snorkeling and scuba diving hot spots in the area. In minutes, you can be swimming with the turtles around the coral reef.
You'll find more than just Mexican food in Playa del Carmen. A large influx of immigrants from all over the world have created a truly multi-cultural city with several amazing dining options. Visit La Tarraya for some delicious and affordable seafood right on the beach!
If nightlife is your thing, Playa del Carmen is the place to be. Famed 12th Street is home to some of the best dance clubs in the Caribbean. Bring your energy because the club-goers in Playa del Carmen like to party all night and go to the beach to watch the sunrise.