5 Fun Things to Do in Playa del Carmen

If you’re planning to visit Mexico’s Riviera Maya, there are so many activities to choose from that it can be a bit overwhelming, so we put together this list of five fun things to do in Playa del Carmen to provide a nice overview of what the region has to offer! Situated just south of the Cancun International Airport on Mexico’s only Caribbean coast, Playa (as the locals often call it) is smaller and less “touristy” than its larger northern neighbor, making it a popular destination for travelers and expats from around the world who are interested in having more authentic travel experiences than what you will find in the typical all-inclusive resorts.

1. Take a Stroll on La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue)

As one of the world’s longest pedestrian-only thoroughfares, La Quinta Avenida is definitely one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen! The street is home to a dizzying variety of restaurants, bars, hotels, condos, shops and entertainment, including everything from street performers to night clubs, making it a must-see for visitors. Fifth Avenue runs parallel to the beach, making it easy to check out a few beach clubs while you explore. At the end near the Cozumel Island ferry, the street is intersected by Avenida Benito Juarez, where you can find a bustling commercial district equipped with banks, grocery stores and gas stations. 

A vendor setting up their tables for the day

2. Enjoy the Beaches

Playa del Carmen is home to many gorgeous beaches that offer a nice variety of different amenities, whether you are looking for the excitement of a DJ and dance club, or prefer a more laid-back luxury beach club experience, you can definitely find it here! The best beaches in Playa del Carmen will often have a little bit of both, with beach clubs offering delicious food, yoga and massages overlooking the Caribbean Sea, handcrafted cocktails, great music and easy access to a wide variety of activities the whole family can enjoy. 

3. Visit Cozumel Island

This small sliver of paradise lies just offshore from downtown Playa del Carmen and is known for its stunning beaches, snorkeling and scuba diving. The walk-on ferry ride takes about 45 minutes and only costs about $15 USD. When you get to Cozumel, consider renting a scooter or golf cart to explore the island, which also offers ample restaurants and shops.

We rented a dune buggy on one of our trips to Cozumel and had the best time exploring the island

Also Read:

10 Best Places to Visit in Mexico

Living in the Riviera Maya, Mexico

Best Cities for Foodies in Mexico

4. Explore Rio Secreto

Situated about 20 minutes outside of downtown Playa, Rio Secreto is a complex that includes five breathtaking caverns, complete with underground rivers and springs. Visitors can rent a wetsuit and take a small guided tour through the magical caverns – it is definitely an experience you can’t have anywhere else and will make memories to last a lifetime!

One of the stunning caverns at Rio Secreto

5. Take a Day Trip to Xpu Ha Beach

Although it’s not technically “in” downtown Playa del Carmen, the secluded Xpu Ha beach is well worth the short, 25-minute taxi or bus ride to get there! Even if you don’t leave Playa for the rest of your trip, the beach at Xpu Ha will blow your mind with its many wide-open stretches of pristine white sand, framed by the mesmerizing cerulean blue waves of the crystal-clear Mexican Caribbean Sea.

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