The Town

Playa del Carmen is on the Mexican Riviera Maya, the name given to the beautiful white beach trimmed coast that runs south from Cancun towards Tulum. Playa del Carmen can be considered the capital of this strip of paradise. Playa, as it is known to locals, started out as a small sleepy fishing village, its only fame being the port for the ferry that passes from the mainland to the island of Cozumel 14 kilometers offshore. Nowadays it is a full fledged vacation destination in its own right, and one of the most popular resort areas in all of Mexico. There are plenty of reasons why.

 

Playa del Carmen is right on the beach. Playa actually means beach in Spanish. The sand is white and soft. The water is turquoise blue, and much of the year, it is flat and glassy. The water deepens gradually moving away from shore, making the sea seem like a big swimming pool.

The ancient Maya enjoyed Playa del Carmen's beauty centuries before the Spaniards arrived in the 15th century. They called Playa XamanHa, which means still waters. There are Mayan ruins up and down the coast, and even about a dozen ruins within the town of Playa del Carmen and the area of Playacar. Some of the most outstanding ancient Mayan ruins - Tulum, Coba and Chichen Itza - are very close to Playa.

 
Eating out and shopping in Playa del Carmen is a great opportunity to take advantage of the cosmopolitan style so prevalent here. Dining is always casual and the weather is fantastic year round. The variety of restaurants and shops is much greater in Playa than any of the All Inclusive Resorts in Playacar.  Although possibly tempting at first, the Resort's  "canned vacations" remove the options that Playa del Carmen offers the independently minded vacationer.


Don't forget about the surrounding jungle of the Yucatan! Hidden within the green canopy are numerous fresh water holes called
cenotes. They are truly unique and magical AND they provide some of the world's most amazing diving. Many of the nicest cenotes of the Yucatan are near Playa del Carmen.

Properly protected and cared for, this underground aquifer will provide the area with abundant fresh water for generations to come. They also provide us with a great reason to escape to the jungle for a refreshing dip in the crystal clear crisp water.