Playa del Carmen Neighborhoods & Towns
Playa del Carmen is a relatively small city compared to Cancún, and there are strict building requirements preventing the construction of the high-rises that are so popular in other tropical beach getaways. Encouraging its small town feel, the city consists of a series of avenues, or avenidas. The main street in the area is Avenida Juárez, which provides access from Highway 307. Juárez dissects several other avenues that run parallel to the beach and go up in multiples of five.
La Quinta Avenida
The closest avenue to the beach and the most prominent area of Playa, La Quinta Avenida, is a 20-block pedestrian-only street with the best restaurants and nightlife opportunities. And while the nighttime scene isn't as energetic as Cancún's, Frommer's says that "it seems as if everyone in town is out strolling along 'La Quinta' until midnight; there's pleasant browsing, dining and drinking available at the many establishments on the street." Most of the city's hotels lie within the city center, usually between La Quinta and 10th Avenue and around El Zócalo, the town square.
Playa del Carmen's beach lies parallel to La Quinta and is one long stretch of sand that is divided by northern, central and southern sections. In the north section, small tranquil shores and beach clubs allow access to snorkeling and watersports.
Many of the area's vacationers don't actually stay in Playa del Carmen but in a planned community known as Playacar. Just south of Playa del Carmen, this area is a cluster of vacation homes, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts. Some of the area's newest activities are located here, including the Xaman-Ha Aviary and the Playacar Golf Club.
Playa del Carmen has avoided the drug and gang violence afflicting other parts of Mexico, and the city also has a police force dedicated to assisting and protecting tourists.
Your main safety concern while in Playa will likely involve eating and drinking. Do not drink the tap water, and wash produce thoroughly with bottled water before consuming. When at a restaurant, kindly ask your server for bottled water.