Best 15 Things to do in Playa del Carmen

Are you looking for a great beach on the Caribbean? Look no further, Playa del Carmen has it all. From great beaches, to delicious restaurants, scuba diving, and jet skiing, you will love visiting Playa del Carmen. 

In the video below, I walk you through my top 15 things to do when visiting this amazing Mexico destination. Check out the best 15 Things to do in Playa del Carmen below. 

In this video, I will be sharing the top 15 things to do in Playa. As always, I am Kim, The Abundant Traveler, and if you’re new here, I put out weekly laid-back luxury travel videos inspiring you to buy that plane ticket and get out there. So, let’s get started!

Number one on the list is all about shopping. Shop until you drop on Quinta Avenida, which is the main pedestrian street throughout the central part of Playa Del Carmen. Here you can find great restaurants, tchotchkes, and all the Mexican wares you could want. The first stop has to be Quinta Avenida to go shopping.

Number two is going to 38th Street. It runs perpendicular to Fifth Avenue, and what I love about 38th Street is that it’s covered by trees and more quiet. There’s a great restaurant called Trujillo’s which has delicious food. I had a delicious octopus dish there. There are a few hotels, but it’s less crowded, less people, and feels a little bit more like Tulum.

Speaking of amazing restaurants, Playa Del Carmen is known for its international fare as well as its Mexican food. I highly recommend going out to eat every single meal. Skip the all-inclusive and check out some of my favorite restaurants like Tacos Ago Chiles. For evening restaurants, my top picks are La Perla Piscine and Achiote, which are both just off of Quinta Avenida. They are delicious. La Parla Pischen is an Oaxacan restaurant and mescalaria where you can get delicious mezcal and beautiful food, while Achiote is more of a Yucatan-style restaurant.

If you’re going to be eating all this delicious food, why not take a cooking class? I put a link in the description below for a great cooking class by Chef Alma. She will take you to her local market where you will learn to make tortillas and traditional Mayan and old-world style Mexican dishes. You’ll get the best guacamole you’ve ever had and a margarita. Another tour that would be great to take is just a food tour. Personally, I take food tours in every city as soon as I arrive in town. On the first night, I don’t know where to go or what to do, so I take a food tour. I meet some cool, interesting people, share a meal, some cocktails, and have a personal guide for the food tour that I can ask all the questions that I need to know for the rest of my trip.

Take a catamaran trip out in the Caribbean while you’re in Playa. I chose Cancun Sailing, and they had a great all-day catamaran trip with a little smidge of snorkeling, decent food, and all the cocktails that you could drink. What I recommend that you do when you get to the port for Cancun Sailing is ask to do the upgrade. That way, you’re not with 80 different people on the catamaran, you’re only with about 15 to 20 people. We had the perfect trip. It was lower season, and so we only had eight people on our gorgeous catamaran all day long. The service was phenomenal, the trip was amazing. Wouldn’t have done it any other way.

Speaking of being out on the water, the next thing you should be trying while you’re in Playa are all of the water sports. You can get water sports of any kind anywhere on the beach. You might want to try parasailing, maybe those jet packs that are attached to your feet, or maybe you just want to go out on a jet ski. But doing the water sports is definitely something to do.

Make sure to join the tribe and become a member of the community by clicking the link in the description below. Number eight has to do with being in the water as well. It’s a great place outside of Playa del Carmen to go snorkeling and to go scuba diving. So if you’re a diver, definitely make the trip and go diving, especially if you can go around Cozumel. It’s the same reef that is actually in Belize, which is world-famous. Or if you’re not a scuba diver, there’s some great snorkeling, lots of fish, great coral, and some interesting things buried in the ocean, including a beetle bug and some statues and all of that.

Number nine is to go out and get in the jungle, go ATV riding through the mud and down the dirt roads, and do a ziplining tour. In the link below, there are some great tours that will take you to possibly a cenote and then take you ziplining and take you ATV riding. It would be super fun to get out there. Make sure if you’re going to ride the ATVs and it is dusty and hot that you bring some type of bandanna for your face. It’s awfully dusty out there, but zip-lining is also cool, so pick a tour that does both of those in one.

The next item is, while in Playa and on the Yucatan Peninsula in general, you have got to go see these cenotes. A cenote is a sinkhole where water has come up and you can go swimming. Some are open, some are like caves where they just have one tiny little hole in the top. Some they have rope swings that you get to jump into. You can actually dive in cenotes as well. My suggestion is, don’t pick the cenotes that are the closest to Playa. Make sure to pick some cenotes that are maybe 30-40 minutes outside of town, so there won’t be so many people. Definitely go to more than one as well.

LAY IN THE SUN & RELAX. Guys will bring you cocktails, so you can relax, hit the beach, and go for a swim. That’s why you’re in Playa for the beach, so you have to go to the beach.

Number 13 and number 14 are night activities. Number 13 is to go to Cirque du Soleil. It’s called “Joyà” in Spanish, and it is a permanent Cirque du Soleil show at one of the resorts between Playa del Carmen and Cancun. It is a dinner theater, and the show is 80 minutes long. It is a spectacular experience. If you’ve ever seen such a show, you will know that this is definitely worth doing while you’re in Playa del Carmen.

Number 14, which is next to last, is to go to some of the rooftop bars and clubs. Yes, I said go to the clubs. If you’re in Mexico, you have to go to the clubs. One of the best rooftop bars that I recommend to you is Catch. Catch is at the top of the Thompson Hotel, which is just off Quinta Avenida. It is a beautiful restaurant, very chic. They have a gorgeous pool, so you can go up there during the day and really enjoy your time as well. As far as clubs in the evening, I’m 50, so I’m not sure I want to spend too much time at the club, but there are a couple that are a lot of fun. One is Coco Bongo, which is a very different style club. It is worth going to check out all the craziness that is happening there. Another one that I have enjoyed in the past in Playa del Carmen is called Mandala. You know it’s the typical club: cocktails, table service, and you can get an entire bottle and enjoy.

The last and number 15 is to take some day trips while you’re in Playa del Carmen. The beach is gorgeous, and the things to do in Playa are plentiful. However, some of the most unique and interesting things to do are some of the day trips. You can go to Chichen Itza, Xel-Ha, Xcaret, or Los Colorados, which is the pink lake. Definitely spend some extra time in Playa to do those day trips.

So that is my top 15 things to do when you’re in Playa del Carmen. What do you love to do when you’re in Playa? Please make sure to leave a comment below, let me know what you think. I am Kim, the Abundant Traveler, and I’ll see you on the next adventure somewhere in Mexico.

The next thing that you would like to know? Try again. Motorcycle? Amazing place. Seriously, it’s really loud.


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