My Activity & Trips
With a subtropical climate, the weather in Playa del Carmen is hot all year. The most pleasant time of the year tends to be between November and January, when the temperatures are less harsh. Coinciding with Christmas holidays, it's no surprise that the prices of accommodation in the area go up substantially on those months. During the rest of the year, it is possible to enjoy hotels and B&Bs with high standards at discount prices. About $50 per night is a decent budget for a couple looking to enjoy highly rated places like Hotel Las Golondrinas or Casa Bella Vida.
Spring break is another popular time for Playa del Carmen, as students from the USA flood the budget friendly all-inclusive resorts. For those wishing to avoid young crowds and inflated hotel rates during peak times of the year, it is a good idea to plan your visit during other dates. Even if it's right before or after the high season, prices will be significantly lower.
Playa del Carmen is home to hundreds of hotels, resorts, and apartments. So, thanks to a high level of healthy competition, it is possible to come across good deals depending on the budget in mind, even during the high season. Playa's accommodations generally offer very good value for money.
Although all-inclusive resorts are very popular in Playa, they do not offer the type of vacation everyone is looking for. Apart from the various short-term rentals normally operated by hotel chains, Airbnb offers the homely and more independent experience many travelers seek.
Airbnb is a very convenient alternative to traditional hotels and tends to offer better value than conventional hotel apartments. There are several options of full apartments and small houses starting at as little as $25 a night (for 2 people). A good hotel room for double occupancy could be hard to find at that rate. Doubling that amount, one may find entire housing for a family of four, in condos with outdoor playing areas and shared swimming pools.
Renting your own Airbnb place, you may be able to cook your own meals, as full apartments usually have a kitchen. Even when renting a room in a shared house, you will commonly be invited to use the kitchen and other house facilities that may be convenient to you, such as a laundry or TV room.
Transportation, food, and general entertainment are economical in the area. Combine that with an Airbnb rental to have a very enjoyable stay without having to splurge. This type of low-cost independent stay also makes for good opportunities to blend in with the locals. Airbnb owners are local residents, so you'd normally get an invaluable chance to meet a person who knows the place well. They would normally be happy to share tips.
As the beach is one of the main attractions of Playa del Carmen, it is not difficult to foresee that the most expensive hotels are those with an ocean view. In fact, apart from the very town center, most of the coastline is taken by massive resorts dedicated to all-inclusive stays.
But considering that Playa del Carmen is not very big, no matter where you eventually find lodging, you will never be too far from the sea. Most hotels and apartments will be up to five blocks away at the most. And even though this is an easy distance to walk, that much will make a difference when it comes to different accommodation rates.
For cheap hotels in Playa del Carmen, it is best to look for lodging starting at 1 Ave. Norte inwards. You will find many options below $100/night, with positive reviews by previous travelers. For a charming and romantic stay, keep in mind ARTISAN, a B&B from The Handmade Hotel Collection. Excellent value for money can be found at places such as Hotel Plaza Playa. Offering highly recommended cheap and clean accommodations, this hotel is just a 15-minute walk to the beach.
On the plus side, being away from the shoreline typically means being in more tranquil areas. You would also be closer to amenities used mostly by local residents, like hypermarkets and regular stores selling something more than souvenirs aimed at tourists.
Activities and sightseeing options are wide and exciting for anyone visiting Playa del Carmen. Local shuttles and tourist buses can take you to visit nearby ancient Mayan ruins, like the ultra popular Chichen Itza.
Apart from day trips dedicated to history and archeology, nature lovers will find that there is plenty to do around the city. Activities are usually inexpensive as long as you avoid booking through your hotel or operators in the main touristic areas. If you purchase tickets (for boats or attractions) at the door or on the spot, you will avoid the mark-ups that businesses tend to add for their own profit.
You do not need to head to theme parks in nature such as Xcaret Eco Park. Nature is beautiful all around the area and very accessible too. Cenotes, for example, are natural swimming pools of fresh water accumulated in limestone holes. Visiting a cenote represents a great alternative to a day out at the beach. Here you can swim in tranquil waters and, in some of them, even snorkel or dive. Yet, if deep waters and marine wildlife are what you're after, then taking a ferry to the nearby Cozumel is a good idea. This island is considered one of the best diving spots in the Yucatan Peninsula.
Nightlife in Playa del Carmen offers a little bit for everyone. Apart from the over promoted mega productions mixing music, dance, and food happening in big hotels, partying by the beach is a very popular option. Restaurants, bars, and clubs take advantage of the pleasant temperatures at night, promoting fun nights of music and Mexican-inspired cocktails.
Cuisine is another factor luring visitors to Mexico, and this area of the Riviera Maya could be no exception. From street stalls selling tacos for a couple of dollars to seafood restaurants offering marvelous views of the sea, there is something to be found for all tastes and budgets in Playa del Carmen. Try to meet local people, even those working at your hotel, and ask them where they'd go for a good meal. Chances are you won't find anything more authentic than what they'd recommend.
The quaint town of Playa del Carmen is less than one hour away from the closest airport in Cancun. There are several travel companies operating shuttles. Reaching your final destination can be done in small vans, hired privately or shared. This transportation is often also used by visitors who wish to hop into neighboring Cancun for a day trip, or even at night, as Cancun is more popular when it comes to the nightlife scene.
Private taxis are also available and tend to cost three to four times more than the transfer by shuttle, but may be worth it for a party of four. Keep in mind that if you book your return with the same taxi, the trip back to the airport will cost less than the initial journey to your hotel.
For those on a budget, taking the bus operated by ADO is the best option. There is a booth inside the airport where tickets can be purchased or you can do so as well at the door of the bus. Please note the last ADO bus leaves Cancun airport at about 10:45 p.m. Renta-a-car companies are also present at the airport in Cancun, although this does not tend to be one of the preferred options by most travelers. Transportation once in Playa del Carmen is easy and affordable, not always justifying getting a vehicle of your own.
Some hotels in Playa del Carmen, namely the bigger resorts and all-inclusive hotel chains, will include the airport shuttle in their package. Make sure to coordinate with them the details of your arrival, to avoid paying for the airport shuttle twice.
By providing access to hotels, B&Bs, and Airbnb options, Hipmunk makes it easy to plan your trip to Playa del Carmen. Hipmunk also shares cheap flights in and out of Cancun, helping you travel to Mexico as well. Start planning your dream vacation today!
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© 2017 Hipmunk, Inc. Hipmunk is a trademark of Hipmunk, Inc.