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Playa del Carmen The exotic side of Caribbean

About Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, or just "Playa" as it is also commonly referred to by locals, is a coastal resort town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Approximately 70 km south of Cancún (around 50 min driving), 20 km west of Cozumel, and 65 km from Tulum (around 45 min), it is at the center of the Mayan Riviera and offers a more relaxed atmosphere.

The main bus station is at 5a Av & Av Benito Juarez near the shore, in the center of town. The other is an "alternate" and newer bus station further away from the center along Av 20a Norte y Calle 12a Norte. The bus to airport leaves from the main terminal in the center of town and they also have a stop at the newer alternate terminal while bus to Chetumal and Chiapas stop into the alternate terminal. The buses run every 30 minutes. At the airport the stop is in the parking lot next to the domestic arrivals (llegadas nacionales) doors at Terminal 2. Come out go out 200m to the right, to the furthest row from the building in the parking lot. From international arrivals at Terminal 2 turn right and go to the other side, past the building to the bus parking lot.

At Terminal 3 the bus stop is in the parking lot, past the 'Air Margaritaville' bar (in a hut) to the right when coming out of the doors. In both locations there's an attendant at an 'ADO' podium in front of the stall to buy the tickets from. The buses from the airport to Playa del Carmen do not stop along the highway between the airport and Playa. So the next best thing is to take the bus down to Playa and transfer to a Mayab bus going back up towards Cancun and get off where you need to get off or a bus up from the airport to Cancun and a Mayab bus going back down towards Playa or point further south of Playa.

Because the layout of downtown Playa is a rectangular grid, getting around is very easy. The main east-west street, Avenida Juárez, connects Highway 307 with the town square, El Zócalo, near the beach. As it does so, it crosses several numbered north-south avenues that run parallel to the beach, all of which, interestingly enough, are multiples of five. Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), the closest to the beach, is closed to traffic from the Zócalo to Calle 6 (and some blocks beyond, in the evening).

Almost the entire town is north and west of the town square, El Zócalo. The east-west streets parallel to Avenida Juárez are numbered Calle, with even numbers to the north of Juárez and odd numbers to the south. The other main east-west street Avenida Constituyentes is located where you would expect to find Calle 18.

To the south of the downtown is "Playacar" a golf-course development of private residences and a dozen resort hotels There is something for everyone in Playa del Carmen whether adventurous or relaxing. There is natural and adventure parks like Xcaret, Xplor and Xel ha. You can either get to them by public transportation, which leaves you on the side of the highway only a few steps away from each park's private transportation or hired them as a tour online or on any tour provider which comes with private transportation. Playa as the locals call it also has a great variety of beach clubs from relaxing and live music like Zenzi to more of day high-end party scene like Coralina. You can walk down the beach and find the beach club that best fits your vibe.

As mentioned before you also have the Mayan ruins Tulum, Coba, Muyil, Chichen itza and others. Sailing, fishing and yachting adventures in this area is also a big thing with so many different species of fish to catch and with its growing fishing tournament each year, more and more boats keep adding up to this area. From Luxury Yachts for private charter to small fishing boats to choose from.

Playa del Carmen, as you may know, does not have rivers but rather underground cave systems which are rivers of crystal clear water where people swim, snorkel and even scuba in. Next, to the Mayan ruins, Cenotes are one of the most unique attractions in this area.

Quinta Avenida, also referred to in English as 5th Avenue, is the main tourist thoroughfare in Playa. It is a pedestrian only, cobblestone lined street that spans from Av. Benito Juarez to 50th Street and beyond. Along 5th Ave. you will find a variety of restaurants, bars, clubs, shopping opportunities and various services. In Playa, nearly everything starts from this street.