Playa del Carmen Vacation Guide

Playa del Carmen is a city located along the Caribbean Sea, within the Riviera Maya, which it runs from south of Cancun to Tulum. It is in the state of Quintana Roo, on the northeast side. This beautiful Caribbean beach town has grown enormously during last decade. The closest airport to Playa del Carmen is the Cancun International Airport, approximately 70 km south about 40 minutes away. Playa del Carmen is a fantastic place to spend your vacations or even spend a season there. Now a day, you can find a large variety of hotels of all categories, restaurants with different types of cuisine, bars, nightclubs and plenty of different activities, like diving, snorkeling, visiting beautiful places like Xcaret or even adventurous tours like parasailing and ATV jungle expeditions.

Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) is called Playa del Carmen's main street. It runs parallel to the beach and it is just two blocks away from the ocean, besides, there are many sports from this street where you can still see the ocean. La Quinta, how is it known to the people that lives there, is lined with shops, bars, restaurants; also, you can find internet cafes, money exchangers and other interesting establishments.

If you are looking for a relaxing or a fun vacation, Playa del Carmen is the right place. Spending your day at the beach or doing a great excursion, having delicious dinner in beautiful restaurants, walking 5th Avenue or even enjoying great parties. Therefore, Playa del Carmen is for you.

Arriving Airport

If your last destination is Playa del Carmen, you will likely land at Cancun International Airport. Upon your arrival to the airport you will pass through Immigration, present the required documents such as tourist card, passport, visa, etc. The documents you need to fill out will be given by your airline and will be available at the reception area as well. If you are not sure of having all the documents required or special papers to enter the country, you can contact your nearest Mexican Consulate. After you checked-in Immigration, you will go to the luggage claim area, where you will be able to pick up your bags. Every claim has a screen available with the information of your flight; if you have any trouble finding it, there will be airport representatives at any time to help you find it.

Once you have all your luggage with you, you will proceed through customs to declare any goods and give the officer your declaration form. Your luggage will pass through a scanner and right after this, you will press a button on a light resembling a traffic signal. Green light means that you are free to keep going and red light means that your luggage will be inspected.

After passing customs, you can proceed to exit the arrival gate. Discovery Mundo's representative will be waiting for you just right out the arrival gate holding a sign with your name and/or the company logo.

Once you are with our representative, he will take you where you will be uploaded to the vehicle.

Notice that we will monitor your flight so, if it is delayed you do not have to worry about notifying us, we will know this information. In case that your flight is cancelled or you take another flight, make sure we receive all the new flight information required so we can re-schedule your pick up transfer.


How do I know at what time will be my departure pick up and where?

All departures pick ups are at the hotel where you are hosted. After you book your departure transfer with Discovery Mundo, you will automatically receive an email with all this information. In addition, if you book this on your arrival at the airport with Discovery Mundo, our representative will give you personally a ticket with all the information required for you to know about departure pick up transportation.

If you booked a roundtrip transfer, one of our representatives will meet you at your hotel in the following days to give you the ticket.

In an international flight you must be at the airport at least two hours before your flight departure time. Cancun airport is about 30-45 minutes away from Playa del Carmen, sometimes this can change, it depends on the season, weather, hours and sometimes traffic flow. Therefore, your departure pick up must be at least 2:30 or 3 hours before your flight time.

A Discovery Mundo representative will be in the main lobby waiting for you at the time marked on the ticket given.

Note: If you decide to do any changes for your pick-up time or location, make sure it is done 24 hrs before; and backed up with a confirmation from our main office, so there won’t be any misunderstandings.


Playa del Carmen has a sub-tropical climate, which means it's almost always warm or even very hot. The average temperature is about 27°C or 80°F during the year, humidity most of the time is very high, often around 90 per cent. Weather is nice most of the time of the year, however, when it comes to weather, there can always be exceptions. Even if days are not sunny, Playa del Carmen is still nice with lots of things to do. Here is a guideline of the weather of every season of the year.

Spring (March to June): Great time of the year, temperature starts to rise. Ocean gets warmer and calmer. Nights in March can still be a little bit cooler, but the other months weather is much better. Maybe a sweater could be required for those nights.

Summer (June to September): This season is very hot, also very high humidity. Ocean temperature is very warm, so you can be there for hours, it is also the season when the ocean is the calmest. Rainfall can be seen usually during some afternoons, however, sun is almost always there or thunder storms that last for few hours where sun can hide for a certain time but it goes out soon. In this season, nights are much better, very warm, not cold at all.

Fall (September to December): Weather is almost always warm, even though this is season of tropical storms and hurricanes, it does not mean there will be one for sure, in fact there have been years where Playa del Carmen does not get any hurricane, but there can be windy and rainy days.

Winter (December to March): This season is the coolest, still very nice warm weather, although there might be rainy days. Winter nights can be very chilly, maybe temperatures as 12°C, however with sun is pretty warm.

Things to do

Playa del Carmen can be as relaxing or fun as you want it to be. The principal attraction of this place is the beautiful beach. It's long stretch of fine and white sandy beach never gets hot regardless the time of the day, so you will not burn your feet. The clear turquoise sea colors and its warm temperature makes sure your enjoyment. The ocean in Playa del Carmen is very calm, you will rarely see waves.

The 5th Avenue
A long walking street where you can find restaurants, bars, ice cream places, souvenir shops, art and crafts galleries, internet cafes, money exchangers, extensive variety of shops and other interesting establishments.

Most of these establishments open before noon until night, just some restaurants and bars open at evening. Fifth Avenue is beautiful during the day, however the weather at this time can be very hot, so as a recommendation use sunscreen, hat or sunglasses; during evening and night it gets cooler. This avenue at night comes alive with music and lots of people walking around. You can find fantastic restaurants with many different cuisines, from typical mayan and mexican dishes till international and gourmet.

There is much more to this area than just beach and sun. Cenotes are located all over the Yucatan Peninsula, they are huge systems with underground rivers. There are many places where the roof has collapsed leaving a hole open to the sky and creating a freshwater swimming place. Also, in some of them, this holes have become the entrance. Cenotes are truly fantastic, unique natural places where you can take a relaxing dip or dive.

In Playa del Carmen and surroundings, you can find cenotes where you can enter for just a small fee (between $5 and $15 uds) for admission. Some of them are: Cenote Dos Ojos, Cenote Azul, Cenote Escondido (near Tulum), etc. You can also visit other beautiful cenotes available in tours and packages including transportation, buffet, etc. Some of them are Secret River, Mayan Jungle, Mayan Cenote, among others.

Mayan Ruins
Mayan ruins and sites featuring the Mayan fantastic ancient civilization and culture. These are located in many places in Central America, mainly in the Yucatan Peninsula.

In Playa del Carmen some Mayan ruins can be found, however not as amazing as the ones in Chichen Itza, Coba or Tulum.

Exploring these fantastic cities makes an exciting and memorable adventure, a great way of discovering and learning more about the rich Mayan culture and history.

More Fun Activities
The nature of this zone is extremely rich, therefore you can find plenty of activities to do. There are several natural parks where you can spend the day, that offer a large list of activities inside them like snorkeling, swimming, biking, canopying, etc. Some of these parks are Xcaret, Xel Ha, Xplor, Secret River, Wet’n Wild, etc. If you love animals, you cannot miss the opportunity of swimming with dolphins, were you will kiss, sing, hug and play with this friendly animals. If you are looking for a more extreme adventure: extreme canopy, ATV jungle expeditions, or even diving are some of the activities that can be for you. These tours are not exactly in Playa del Carmen, however they are very near.

Discovery Mundo can take you there, giving you the option of choosing the package that best fits your desires.


There is a large variety of things to do in Playa del Carmen at night. You can spend a relax night having a good time, enjoying a good drink or a nice dinner at the Fifth Avenue or even at the beach. Also, you can party as much as you want! You can find nightclubs or even good bars with different types of music. Notice that you will not find the wild Spring break party in Playa del Carmen as you could at Cancun.

At Fifth Avenue
Along the Fifth Avenue you will find a big diversity of bars and restaurants. Bars at Fifth Avenue are very nice. You can sit, have your drink and watch the people walking down the street. Some of these bars have live music, shows, sports, etc. Also, restaurants offer a large variety of types of cuisine. You can find from typical mexican food to gourmet and fancy international restaurants; it depends on what you are looking for.

At the beach
You can find restaurants and bars down the beach. Some of them offer a variety of live music, nightly fire shows, and/or sometimes different activities. These restaurants/bars are very nice, specially at night. You can have a great view of the ocean, while enjoying your companion and great music.

Also, there are dance clubs at the beach that features DJ or live music, great atmosphere, nice people, etc. If you want to dance in the moonlight and have a pleasant night, these restaurants bars or dance clubs are perfect for you.

In Playa del Carmen you can find many night clubs. The main street where you can find most of them is the “Twelve Street”. All of these nightclubs have very different kinds of music, atmosphere, etc. Most of them open around 11pm, and start getting crowded at midnight; these establishments start closing around 3 am, some of them do after parties, so they close around seven in the morning. The types of music of all of these nightclubs is varied, you can find from pop, hip hop even reggaeton to techno or electro. The good thing about Playa del Carmen's nightlife is that if you do not like the nightclub you went in, you can go out, walk these street see the other establishments from outside, take a look of the ambience and find the one for you. Most of nightclubs offer open bar, if you are interested you can only ask.

Playa del Carmen's nightlife is fantastic, it’s guaranteed you will find what you are looking for to have a great night.

Where to stay

Playa del Carmen has a large variety of places where you can stay. You can find from nice small rustic hotels to big exclusive resorts; depending on where you want to stay. The small hotels are located downtown, these ones are very nice if you like to walk out the hotel and be close to The Fifth Avenue where you can find restaurants and stores. As well, there are many hotels at the beach, very nice but not that big as the ones you will find in Playacar. However, these ones are near downtown, you can walk to Fifth Avenue, about three blocks away.

Playacar is where the Hotel Zone is located along with many residentials. Here is where most of the hotels exclusive and All Inclusive hotel are. Playacar is very nice although it is about 15 minutes away from downtown. It is not far at all but sometimes it gets necessary to take a taxi.

Tips for travelers

What to wear
We usually recommend to use cotton or other natural fibers clothes which are very comfortable in this kind of weather, warm sometimes very hot, and very humidity. Try not to wear clothes made with polyester or nylon. A hat and sunglasses are always worth carrying, specially on spring and summer when the sun is powerful. You should bring a sweater/jacket in your luggage just in case the day gets cooler or rainy. Jeans just if you are planning your trip for the winter and maybe fall; you will not use them during the day, but maybe at night will be needed. As well, you will want shoes that cover your feet. During the day, most of the year shorts, t-shirts and flip flops/sandals will be what you will want to use.

Notice: do not forget to take with you some comfortable footwear in case you want to visit ruins or if you are doing a tour that requires them.

In addition, you will not need a suit and tie, or a cocktail dress, Playa del Carmen is very casual. You really do not have to worry with what you are going to wear.

It is very important to carry at every moment your sunscreen. The sun in Playa del Carmen is powerful, it is very easy to get sunburned, even when it's cloudy. Notice that biodegradable sunblock is the only type of sunscreen allowed on any snorkeling tour, scuba diving trip, or other water activity inside protected marine parks as in Xcaret, Xel-ha, etc. Biodegradable is environmentally friendly sunscreen that lacks the harmful ingredients that are destroying the world's coral reefs. This is why it is important to carry this type of sunscreen.

Waterproof camera
It is recommended to bring a waterproof camera. In many places as it is in parks, it will help you a lot since most of the time you are doing activities related to water. This way you will not miss nice moments, and will have the opportunity of taking great shots of nature landscapes. Notice that you can find disposable waterproof cameras in Playa del Carmen grocery stores, malls and almost in every park.

Carry passport or copy
It is important to carry your passport (or a copy of it) with you all the time. In many establishment they ask for it, especially in money exchanges.

Montserrat Lopez's Photo
Montserrat Lopez Destination Expert