Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town in Mexico, along the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip of Caribbean shoreline. In the state of Quintana Roo, it’s known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs. Its Quinta Avenida pedestrian thoroughfare runs parallel to the beach, with blocks of shops, restaurants and nightspots ranging from laid-back bars to dance clubs.
Popular snorkeling and scuba diving spots are the Great Maya Reef and natural limestone sinkholes called cenotes. Beach activities include sunbathing, swimming, banana boating, tubing and jet skiing. A marina at nearby Puerto Aventuras offers fishing and boating. The area’s golf courses include Playacar Golf Club and the Jack Nicklaus-designed El Manglar Golf Club. The huge Xcaret eco-archaeological park offers hiking, horseback riding, traditional entertainment and interactions with wildlife. The adjacent Xplor park has zip lining and a swimmable underground river.
WHEN TO VISIT
The climate is warm and tropical year-round. Popular travel times include winter (Dec–Jan), Apr–May and Jul–Aug, when temperatures are particularly hot. Rainfall is most likely Sep–Oct. DJ’s play electronic music at nightclubs and open-air venues around the resort during the BPM Festival (Jan). Carnival (dates vary, Feb/Mar) is celebrated with street parades. The bill at the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (Nov) includes Mexican and international acts.
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