Known to the locals as simply ‘Playa’, Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. Lying approximately 70 km (~43 mi) south of Cancun and 20 km (~12 mi) west of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen is situated at the centre of Riviera Maya, and is the third largest city in this area.
Cruise ships make daily trips to dock at the nearby Calica quarry docks, just 10 km (~6 mi) to the south of the city. The only roadway that passes near to Playa del Carmen is Highway 307.
Playa del Carmen was until recently only known as the place to catch a ferry to Cozumel, a world famous scuba diving destination. However, Playa has seen an intensive programme of development, making itself a tourist destination in its own right.
For the more athletic visitors, Playa del Carmen offers many water sport activities, including kayaking, sky-diving, fishing and sailing. Scuba diving and snorkelling are available, but as the reefs are offshore, you’ll need a boat to access them. Cenote cave and cavern diving is available in the wider area. An excursion to the Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, around an hour outside Playa, includes a boat journey through the mangroves with an experienced guide to educate you on local flora and fauna.
For those visitors wanting to learn more about Playa del Carmen’s cultural heritage, 6.5 km (4 mi) to the south, there is Xcaret Eco Park, described as a Mexican-themed ‘eco-archaeological park’. The attractions here include a replica of a Mayan village, an open theatre and church. There are also opportunities in Playa to swim with dolphins, observe jaguars on their own private island and butterfly and bird pavilions.