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Best Things To Do in Playa del Carmen

Most activities revolve around Playa del Carmen's renowned beaches, a handful of which are located just minutes from the main thoroughfare, La Quinta Avenida. At the nearby marina, you can charter either a fishing boat or a diving boat and explore nearby Cozumel and the Caribbean Sea. Just a few miles south, the popular Xcaret eco-park showcases the Mayan Riviera's animals and marine life. And throughout town, you'll find some appealing golf courses. If you're interested in sampling Playa's nightlife, check out the Coralina Daylight Club.

How we rank Things to Do.

#1
Beaches Free

#1 in Playa del Carmen

Free
Your hotel or resort will likely occupy a stretch of pristine white sand, but if you feel like venturing off the property to explore more of Playa's shore, you'll find a bevy of alluring beaches.
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Beaches Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Beaches
Your hotel or resort will likely occupy a stretch of pristine white sand, but if you feel like venturing off the property to explore more of Playa's shore, you'll find a bevy of alluring beaches.
... more

#2

#2 in Playa del Carmen

Free
Playa del Carmen's main street, La Quinta Avenida, runs parallel to the shore and serves as a pedestrian walkway for travelers and locals. The avenue is lined with an assortment of street performers, restaurants, hotels, hostels, condominiums and bars, making it one of the best nightlife spots in the city. There are plenty of souvenir shops as well selling trinkets and mementos. Some visitors do caution that street vendors can be aggressive hawking their goods along the avenue. Simply ignore their sales pitches and continue on your way and they'll get the message. 
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Shopping Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
La Quinta Avenida
Playa del Carmen's main street, La Quinta Avenida, runs parallel to the shore and serves as a pedestrian walkway for travelers and locals. The avenue is lined with an assortment of street performers, restaurants, hotels, hostels, condominiums and bars, making it one of the best nightlife spots in the city. There are plenty of souvenir shops as well selling trinkets and mementos. Some visitors do caution that street vendors can be aggressive hawking their goods along the avenue. Simply ignore their sales pitches and continue on your way and they'll get the message. 
... more

#3

#3 in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen offers access to some of the best diving spots in the Western Hemisphere, especially just offshore near Cozumel. Travelers say you can't come to Playa del Carmen without taking a dip under the sea to explore its colorful population of fish. Many diving companies have set up shop in Playa: One of the most popular is the Playa-based Reef Quest Divers, which caters to amateurs and experts alike. Reef Quest has a variety of dive charters including reef dives and local cenote dives. Playa Scuba Dive Center is another well-reviewed company that organizes scuba tours. The variety of options and staff members at both companies received praise from previous divers. Meanwhile, those looking to snorkel can borrow equipment from their hotel, buy equipment in town or try an excursion with Reef Quest, The Snorkel Shop or Playa del Carmen Tours.
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Sports Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Playa del Carmen offers access to some of the best diving spots in the Western Hemisphere, especially just offshore near Cozumel. Travelers say you can't come to Playa del Carmen without taking a dip under the sea to explore its colorful population of fish. Many diving companies have set up shop in Playa: One of the most popular is the Playa-based Reef Quest Divers, which caters to amateurs and experts alike. Reef Quest has a variety of dive charters including reef dives and local cenote dives. Playa Scuba Dive Center is another well-reviewed company that organizes scuba tours. The variety of options and staff members at both companies received praise from previous divers. Meanwhile, those looking to snorkel can borrow equipment from their hotel, buy equipment in town or try an excursion with Reef Quest, The Snorkel Shop or Playa del Carmen Tours.
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#4

#4 in Playa del Carmen

Often lauded as one of the best-kept secrets on the Yucatan Peninsula, Rio Secreto (or Secret River) is an underground river and collection of caves. The bright turquoise water contrasts with the caramel- and mocha-colored rock formations within the caves, which include stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can swim in the river, climb through the caves and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
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Natural Wonders Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
Rio Secreto
Often lauded as one of the best-kept secrets on the Yucatan Peninsula, Rio Secreto (or Secret River) is an underground river and collection of caves. The bright turquoise water contrasts with the caramel- and mocha-colored rock formations within the caves, which include stalactites and stalagmites. Visitors can swim in the river, climb through the caves and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
... more

#5

#5 in Playa del Carmen

Similar to Xcaret, this all-inclusive park is an outdoor playground with adventures that range from zip ling to rafting to spelunking. Among the park's offerings are two circuits of seven zip lines, amphibious vehicles, river rafting, underground river swimming, caves and caverns, and an unusual hammock ride that ends in a cenote.
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Recreation Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Xplor
Similar to Xcaret, this all-inclusive park is an outdoor playground with adventures that range from zip ling to rafting to spelunking. Among the park's offerings are two circuits of seven zip lines, amphibious vehicles, river rafting, underground river swimming, caves and caverns, and an unusual hammock ride that ends in a cenote.
... more

#6

#6 in Playa del Carmen

The area's golf courses are picturesque and challenging – in addition to drawing Playa del Carmen travelers, many Cancún vacationers venture south to play a round on the links. The most popular courses are the Hard Rock Golf Club, the Iberostar Golf Club Playa Paraiso, the Grand Coral Golf Riviera Maya and El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Club. Hard Rock is praised for all-inclusive perks and challenging course; Grand Coral wins favor with golfers thanks to its fair rates and beautiful design, though some say the greens could use a bit of improvement; and El Camaelón Mayakoba is heralded as a "gem" of a PGA course with well-manicured greens and excellent service. Meanwhile, Iberostar Golf Club Playa Paraiso is a hit with golfers for its tough fairways and attentive staff.
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Golf Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Golf
The area's golf courses are picturesque and challenging – in addition to drawing Playa del Carmen travelers, many Cancún vacationers venture south to play a round on the links. The most popular courses are the Hard Rock Golf Club, the Iberostar Golf Club Playa Paraiso, the Grand Coral Golf Riviera Maya and El Camaleón Mayakoba Golf Club. Hard Rock is praised for all-inclusive perks and challenging course; Grand Coral wins favor with golfers thanks to its fair rates and beautiful design, though some say the greens could use a bit of improvement; and El Camaelón Mayakoba is heralded as a "gem" of a PGA course with well-manicured greens and excellent service. Meanwhile, Iberostar Golf Club Playa Paraiso is a hit with golfers for its tough fairways and attentive staff.
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#7

#7 in Playa del Carmen

Both experts and travelers say that Xcaret is a sort of Yucatán-style Disneyland, a large outdoor "eco-park" filled with an aviary, a dolphin aquarium, a turtle sanctuary and a beach perfect for swimming, diving or snorkeling. The park also offers various excursions like dolphin interactions, stingray encounters, shark swims, snuba tours and speedboat rides. Stay the day at Xcaret then enjoy the evening events, which include performances exploring the area's Mayan past. Xcaret is home to a few dining venues as well.
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Beaches Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Xcaret
Both experts and travelers say that Xcaret is a sort of Yucatán-style Disneyland, a large outdoor "eco-park" filled with an aviary, a dolphin aquarium, a turtle sanctuary and a beach perfect for swimming, diving or snorkeling. The park also offers various excursions like dolphin interactions, stingray encounters, shark swims, snuba tours and speedboat rides. Stay the day at Xcaret then enjoy the evening events, which include performances exploring the area's Mayan past. Xcaret is home to a few dining venues as well.
... more

#8

#8 in Playa del Carmen

In the Mayan language, Xel-Ha means "where the water is born." So, expect a trip to Xel-Ha to include plenty of time underwater. Xel-Ha is a natural aquarium centered on an inlet and lagoon that visitors can swim and snorkel through, accompanied by schools of tropical fish, dolphins and turtles. Opinions are split on the benefits of visiting, particularly given that Playa del Carmen's Xcaret eco-park offers virtually the same experience and is closer to town. Several say your preference will probably be determined by which park you hit first. Before you pick, consider that Xcaret's exhibits are man-made, whereas Xel-Ha's are natural. Or on the flipside, keep in mind that Xel-Ha is strictly an aquatic park while Xcaret also includes an aviary and a small zoo, among other attractions. Still can't decide? There's always the option of visiting both thanks to build-your-own packages.
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Natural Wonders Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Xel-Ha
In the Mayan language, Xel-Ha means "where the water is born." So, expect a trip to Xel-Ha to include plenty of time underwater. Xel-Ha is a natural aquarium centered on an inlet and lagoon that visitors can swim and snorkel through, accompanied by schools of tropical fish, dolphins and turtles. Opinions are split on the benefits of visiting, particularly given that Playa del Carmen's Xcaret eco-park offers virtually the same experience and is closer to town. Several say your preference will probably be determined by which park you hit first. Before you pick, consider that Xcaret's exhibits are man-made, whereas Xel-Ha's are natural. Or on the flipside, keep in mind that Xel-Ha is strictly an aquatic park while Xcaret also includes an aviary and a small zoo, among other attractions. Still can't decide? There's always the option of visiting both thanks to build-your-own packages.
... more
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#9

#9 in Playa del Carmen

Drawing on inspiration from Las Vegas pool parties and Ibiza beach ragers, Coralina Daylight Club offers party-hungry travelers a chance to dance, listen to music and day drink in the heart of Playa del Carmen. Coralina features several pools, direct beach access, private cabana areas and a restaurant with seating – and it's the place to see and be seen in this resort town.
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Entertainment and Nightlife Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
Coralina Daylight Club
Drawing on inspiration from Las Vegas pool parties and Ibiza beach ragers, Coralina Daylight Club offers party-hungry travelers a chance to dance, listen to music and day drink in the heart of Playa del Carmen. Coralina features several pools, direct beach access, private cabana areas and a restaurant with seating – and it's the place to see and be seen in this resort town.
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Tours Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Museums Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

Monuments and Memorials Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
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