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If you are planning to visit Playa del Carmen and you are passionate about exploring new places, discovering fascinating cultures and living unforgettable adventures, you have come to the perfect place. In this space, we will take you by the hand through a series of tips and recommendations to make the most of your experience in the Riviera Maya.
¿What is the Riviera Maya?
The Riviera Maya is a tourist region located on the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It extends along approximately 130 kilometers of coastline, from the city of Puerto Morelos to the north, to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve to the south. The Riviera Maya is known for its beautiful white sand beaches, crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea, lush tropical jungles, and rich Mayan history and culture.
The Riviera Maya is made up of several destinations and areas of interest. Here is a description of some of the most prominent places:
Cancun: Located at the northern end of the Riviera Maya, Cancun is a famous tourist destination known for its white-sand beaches, luxury resorts, vibrant nightlife, shopping malls, and a wide range of water activities.
Playa del Carmen: Located in the center of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is a coastal city with a more relaxed and bohemian atmosphere. It has a beautiful beach, a lively Fifth Avenue full of shops, restaurants and bars, as well as access to important natural and archaeological attractions.
Tulum: To the south of Playa del Carmen is Tulum, a destination famous for its beaches with turquoise waters and its impressive Mayan archaeological zone by the sea. Tulum combines natural beauty with Mayan history and culture, offering a unique experience for visitors.
Cenotes: The region is dotted with cenotes, which are natural freshwater pools connected by underground rivers. These cenotes are ideal for swimming, snorkeling or diving, and offer a unique experience in an impressive natural environment.
Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve: South of Tulum is this biosphere reserve, declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Sian Ka’an is a wildlife sanctuary that is home to mangroves, lagoons, coral reefs and a great diversity of species.
The Riviera Maya is a versatile tourist destination that combines beautiful beaches, exuberant nature, archaeological sites, water activities, and a rich culture. It attracts tourists from all over the world looking to relax, explore and enjoy the natural and cultural treasures that this region has to offer.
¿How to get from the Cancun airport to your hotel?
Surely before starting your trip you are already thinking about how to get to your destination after leaving the airport.
Next we will offer you the alternatives that you must take into account to move to Playa del Carmen
Private transportation service: If you want comfort and reach your destination as soon as possible after several hours of flight, you can hire a private transportation service. Tours del Carmen offers you this benefit, providing our clients with a direct and personalized transfer.
Car rental: If you prefer to be independent and explore the area on your own, you can rent a car at the Cancun airport. At this point Tours del Carmen has to offer you the rental of a vehicle. Just make sure you book in advance.
Transportation by taxi: When leaving the airport, you will find taxis available. Make sure you take an official taxi and ask the price before getting in. Taxis are usually more expensive than shared shuttles, but offer more comfort and privacy.
Bus: If you are looking for a cheap option, you can take a bus from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen. Outside the airport terminal, you will find a bus stop. The buses are safe, comfortable, and the journey takes about an hour. In addition, this option is one of the cheapest.
Shared shuttle transportation: This is a cheap and convenient option. You can book a shared ride service online before your trip. The shuttles usually wait outside the airport and will take you directly to your hotel in Playa del Carmen. However, please note that there may be a wait if there are other passengers on the shuttle
Remember to plan ahead and choose the option that best suits your needs and budget.
SIM card for mobile devices
A very important point to take into account when arriving in a new country is not to be incommunicado. Either to use your GPS, WhatsApp or any other application that needs mobile data. So remember to purchase a SIM Card when you arrive at your destination or speak in advance to the company you are using or preference to activate your Roaming data.
Next we will give you one of the best alternatives in Mexico in terms of mobile phone service
Telcel is one of the main providers of mobile phone services in Mexico and offers reliable coverage in most areas, including Playa del Carmen. We recommend getting a Telcel SIM card as it is widely used and has a good quality of service.
Where can I get my Telcel SIM card?
Telcel stores: You can visit one of the official Telcel stores in Playa del Carmen. These stores are located in shopping malls, such as Plaza Las Américas, and often offer a wide range of plans and SIM card options.
Convenience stores: Another convenient option is to visit convenience stores like Oxxo or 7-Eleven. These stores usually have a counter dedicated to the sale of SIM cards from different providers, including Telcel.
Street sales stalls: In Playa del Carmen, it is common to find street stalls that offer SIM cards from different providers, including Telcel. These stalls are often located in tourist areas and may offer you options at competitive prices. However, keep in mind that the authenticity and quality of the service can vary, so it is advisable to verify the legitimacy of the position before making the purchase.
If you purchase a prepaid SIM Card, we recommend you recharge at an OXXO, 7 Eleven, SIX, Recharge with a debit/credit card by SMS or official points.
In Playa del Carmen, you will find several reliable pharmacies where you can buy medicines and other pharmaceutical products.
Here are some recommendations:
Farmacias del Ahorro: It is a well-established pharmacy chain in Mexico, with multiple branches in Playa del Carmen. They offer a wide variety of medications, personal care products, and health items. Their prices are usually competitive, and the staff are usually friendly and willing to provide advice.
Farmacia Guadalajara: Another renowned pharmacy chain in Mexico, Farmacia Guadalajara also has a presence in Playa del Carmen. In its stores, you will find an extensive selection of medicines, health care products and additional services, such as blood pressure measurement and vaccine applications.
Similar: Similar is a chain of pharmacies that specializes in generic drugs at affordable prices. They have several branches in Playa del Carmen and offer a wide range of medicines at cheaper prices than traditional brands. It is a popular option for those looking to save money on their pharmaceutical purchases.
Paris Pharmacy: This local pharmacy is renowned for its wide selection of medicines, beauty and personal care products. Their branches are usually conveniently located in different parts of Playa del Carmen, and the staff is usually attentive and helpful.
Farmacias YZA: With multiple branches in Playa del Carmen, Farmacias YZA is a reliable option to purchase medicines and health products. In addition to prescription and over-the-counter medicines, they also offer blood pressure monitoring services and pharmaceutical advice.
In the event that you need a specific medication, do not forget to bring your prescription.
It is always advisable to check the expiration date and consult a health professional before using any medication.
¿How is the typical food in Playa del Carmen?
The seasoning of the food in Playa del Carmen is characterized by being tasty, diverse and with a unique combination of flavors. These are some characteristics of the typical food in this region:
Influence of Yucatecan cuisine: The cuisine in Playa del Carmen is influenced by Yucatecan cuisine, which is characterized by using local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. Dishes such as cochinita pibil and Yucatecan tamales are examples of the Yucatecan influence in the seasoning of food in Playa del Carmen.
Combination of flavors: The cuisine in Playa del Carmen stands out for combining different flavors in a single dish. For example, in a ceviche dish you can find citrus, spicy and herbal flavors that complement each other. This combination of flavors creates a unique and delicious dining experience.
Culinary diversity: In addition to traditional Mexican flavors, in Playa del Carmen you will also find great culinary diversity due to the influence of tourists from all over the world. Therefore, you can enjoy a wide range of international cuisines, such as Italian, Argentinian, Japanese, Thai, among others.
In general, the seasoning of the food in Playa del Carmen is vibrant, tasty and full of personality. The combination of fresh ingredients, spices, seasonings and traditional cooking techniques creates a unique culinary experience that will delight your senses. Enjoy exploring the flavors of Playa del Carmen!
One of the biggest unknowns for tourists in Playa del Carmen is: What is best for me when choosing my means of mobility?
Next we will give you some alternatives that you can take into account
Colectivos: Colectivos are shared minivans or vans that function as public transportation. They follow established routes and can carry several passengers at the same time. They are an economical option to move within the city or to nearby destinations, such as Tulum, Cancun and among other destinations. You can board the buses at designated stops or signal them on the street.
Buses: The ADO bus network and other bus companies offer transportation services from Playa del Carmen to different destinations, both within the state of Quintana Roo and to other cities and states in Mexico. The buses are usually comfortable and offer flexible schedule options. You can buy the tickets at the ticket offices of the bus terminals or online.
Taxis: Taxis are a common and convenient form of transportation in Playa del Carmen. You can easily find taxis on the street or at designated ranks. Be sure to agree on a price or ask for the meter to be turned on before you start your journey. It is advisable to carry cash to pay for the service, although some taxis also accept credit cards.
Bicycles and motorcycles: If you prefer a more active form of transportation, you can rent bicycles or motorcycles in various stores and establishments in Playa del Carmen. This gives you the freedom to explore the city at your own pace and avoid traffic in the most congested areas.
Don’t forget to check the schedules, fares and transport options available before planning your trips. Also, keep in mind that transportation options may vary depending on the location and destination you are going to.
With these local transportation options in Playa del Carmen, you will be able to move conveniently and explore the different destinations in and around the city.
The taxi service in Playa del Carmen is widely used and is a convenient form of transportation in the city.
¿How is the taxi service in Playa del Carmen?
Availability: Taxis are readily available in Playa del Carmen. You can find taxi ranks in strategic places such as airports, bus stations, hotels and tourist areas. You can also hail a taxi on the street by waving or call a taxi company to request a service.
Rates: Taxi rates in Playa del Carmen are usually fixed and are based on specific zones or destinations. When boarding a taxi, it is advisable to ask the driver about the rate before starting the trip. Be sure to agree on the price or ask for the meter to be turned on to avoid confusion at the end of the trip. If you have doubts, you can request a fare receipt or ask the driver to explain the costs.
Safety: In general, taxis in Playa del Carmen are safe and reliable. However, it is advisable to take the usual precautions when using this service, such as making sure to board official and legal taxis. Legal taxis often have identification or markings on the vehicle, such as specific stickers or plates. If in doubt, you can ask for reliable taxi recommendations at your place of accommodation or from locals.
Forms of payment: Most of the taxis in Playa del Carmen accept cash as a form of payment. However, keep in mind that they may not accept credit or debit cards. Therefore, it is advisable to carry cash in local currency to pay for the service. If you want to pay by card, it is better to confirm with the driver in advance if he accepts card payments.
Customer Service: In general, customer service for taxis in Playa del Carmen is friendly and helpful. Drivers usually know the city well and can provide useful information about tourist destinations, restaurants, or other points of interest. If you have any questions or need additional help, feel free to let the driver know.
It is important to maintain safety during your taxi rides. Always make sure you travel in an official taxi, share the details of your trip with someone you trust, and keep an eye on your belongings.
In summary, the taxi service in Playa del Carmen offers a convenient and reliable option to move around the city. By following the proper precautions, you will be able to enjoy safe and efficient transportation during your stay in Playa del Carmen.
¿What is the weather like in Playa del Carmen?
The climate in Playa del Carmen is typically tropical, with warm temperatures for most of the year.
Next we will leave you a brief information on how to prepare when coming to Playa del Carmen
Temperatures: In general, the temperatures in Playa del Carmen are warm and pleasant. During the winter months (November to February), daytime temperatures typically range from 24°C to 30°C, while in summer (June to September) temperatures can reach 32°C or higher. Remember that the nights can be a bit cooler, especially during the winter months, so it is advisable to bring a light jacket.
Humidity: Humidity in Playa del Carmen can be high, especially during the summer months. Prepare light and breathable clothing, such as cotton t-shirts and shorts, to keep you cool and comfortable. In addition, it is advisable to take sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses with you to protect yourself from the intense sun.
Rainy Season: The rainy season in Playa del Carmen generally occurs from May to October. During these months, it is common to have heavy rain and gusts of wind, especially in the afternoons. We suggest you bring a compact umbrella or a waterproof jacket to protect you from sudden downpours. However, the rains are usually short-lived and most days still have plenty of sunny hours.
Water Activities: Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters. If you plan to enjoy water activities like swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving, be sure to bring swimsuits, waterproof sunscreen, and snorkel gear if you have it.
Footwear: Playa del Carmen is a city where there is a lot of walking, especially if you want to explore the city center or take excursions to the nearby Mayan ruins or cenotes. Therefore, it is advisable to wear a comfortable and breathable pair of shoes, such as sandals or sneakers, for walking long distances.
Important: Maintain security during your taxi rides. Always make sure you travel in an official taxi, share the details of your trip with someone you trust, and keep an eye on your belongings.
In summary, the taxi service in Playa del Carmen offers a convenient and reliable option to move around the city. By following the proper precautions, you will be able to enjoy safe and efficient transportation during your stay in Playa del Carmen.
¿How is the exchange rate in Playa del Carmen?
The exchange rate in Playa del Carmen, as in all of Mexico, can vary and is subject to daily fluctuations. The exchange rate refers to the relationship between the value of one currency and another. In the case of Playa del Carmen, the official currency is the Mexican peso (MXN).
It is important to note that exchange rates may be different depending on where you exchange currency. Here are some options for getting up-to-date exchange rate information:
Banks: Banks often offer competitive exchange rates and are a reliable option for exchanging currency. You can visit a bank branch in Playa del Carmen to get updated information on the exchange rate or use the ATMs to withdraw money in Mexican pesos.
Exchange houses: There are several exchange houses located in Playa del Carmen where you can exchange your foreign currency for Mexican pesos. Before making the change, be sure to compare the exchange rates offered by different sites to get the best price. Along 5th Avenue there are several exchange houses. But we recommend that you investigate a little more since on this main avenue both the costs and the exchange rate are a little higher.
Credit and debit cards: Many establishments in Playa del Carmen accept payments with credit or debit cards. When using your card, please note that an exchange rate determined by the card issuer may apply. Check with your bank or financial institution for conversion rates and any additional charges that may apply. Another point to take into account with respect to the credit or debit card that you are using, is to activate it to make payments abroad before embarking on your trip.
We recommend you to be attentive to news and economic events that may affect the exchange rate.
Also, remember that some stores and restaurants in Playa del Carmen can accept payments in US dollars, but the exchange rate offered may not be favorable. In these cases, it is preferable to pay in Mexican pesos to obtain a better value.
We suggest you check the updated exchange rate before traveling to Playa del Carmen and consider exchanging an adequate amount of money in Mexican pesos to cover your immediate needs. It is also convenient to carry a credit or debit card as a backup.
In Playa del Carmen, you will find a variety of supermarkets where you can stock up on groceries, basic products, and other items. Here is a list of some of the most popular supermarkets in the city:
Walmart: Walmart is a supermarket chain that has a branch in Playa del Carmen. It offers a wide variety of products, from fresh food to cleaning products and electronics.
Chedraui: Chedraui is another supermarket chain that has a presence in Playa del Carmen. Offers a full selection of products, including groceries, household items, clothing, and more.
Soriana: Soriana is a supermarket chain that also has branches in Playa del Carmen. Here you will find fresh food, personal care products, household items and more.
Mega Comercial Mexicana: Mega is a Mexican supermarket that offers a wide range of food products, as well as cleaning products, household items and more.
City Club: City Club is a popular choice for those looking to buy in bulk. Offer a membership to access special prices and a variety of products in bulk.
These are just a few examples of the supermarkets available in Playa del Carmen. Besides these, you can also find convenience stores like Oxxo and 7-Eleven, which are located in different parts of the city and offer a basic selection of products. These supermarkets generally accept cash and credit/debit cards. It is also possible to find local products and international products in these establishments.
Before visiting a supermarket, check their opening hours, as they can vary. It is also useful to bring a reusable bag or shopping cart, as some supermarkets may charge for plastic bags as part of their sustainability policies.
In Playa del Carmen, parking lots and parking meters are present in some areas of the city. Below we will provide you with information on how parking lots and parking meters are generally in Playa del Carmen:
Public parking lots: In the center of Playa del Carmen and in some tourist areas, you will find public parking lots managed by private companies. These parking lots usually have hourly or daily rates. Some are open air while others may have covered parking structures. Public parking lots often have security and surveillance for parked vehicles.
Parking meters: In certain areas of downtown Playa del Carmen, parking meters are used to control parking on public roads. Parking meters are machines that allow you to pay for parking time and issue a receipt that must be placed on the vehicle’s windshield as proof of payment. Parking meters generally accept coins, and in some cases, credit or debit cards as well. Parking meter rates and hours can vary, so it is important to read the instructions and signs indicating the specific parking rates and regulations in each area.
Some additional tips about parking lots and parking meters in Playa del Carmen:
Pay attention to traffic signs and parking regulations. Be sure to comply with the posted parking hours, restricted areas, and any parking-related restrictions.
If you plan to park on public roads using a meter, bring small denomination coins to facilitate payment. Some parking meters also accept credit or debit cards, but not all.
It is important to follow the instructions and parking times indicated on the voucher issued by the parking meter. Exceeding the paid parking time may result in fines or the vehicle being towed.
During high season and special events, parking demand may be high in downtown Playa del Carmen. It is advisable to arrive early or consider other transportation options, such as using public transportation or shuttle services.
Parking regulations and fees may vary in different areas of Playa del Carmen. If you have any specific questions about parking or parking meters at a particular location, I suggest contacting your local transit authorities or checking online for up-to-date information.
Road directions in vehicles
In Playa del Carmen and in Mexico in general, you drive on the right side of the road. This means that the steering wheel is located to the left of the driver and the vehicles drive in the right lane.
Stay in the right lane: During your drive in Playa del Carmen, make sure to stay in the right lane, unless you need to pass another vehicle. The left lanes are generally used for overtaking or for high-speed vehicles.
Obey Traffic Signs: Pay attention to traffic signs, traffic lights, and road signs while driving. Follow the directions of stop signs, give way, maximum speed, and other traffic signs.
Respect intersections: When approaching an intersection, follow the rules of right of way. If there are no specific traffic signals or signals, vehicles approaching from the right generally have the right-of-way.
Turns and lane changes: Use your turn signals or turn signals to signal your turns or lane changes in advance. Always check your rearview mirrors and blind spots before changing lanes.
Respect for Pedestrians: Pedestrians have the right of way at designated crosswalks. Slow down and yield to pedestrians crossing the street. It is important to be especially careful in crowded or tourist areas, where there may be a greater flow of pedestrians.
Speed limits: Respect the speed limits established on the streets and highways of Playa del Carmen. These limits may vary by area and type of road. Pay attention to posted speed limits and adjust your speed accordingly.
Always remember to drive safely and be aware of traffic and road conditions in Playa del Carmen.
Obey traffic laws and show courtesy to other drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.
It is important to note that traffic laws and regulations can change over time.
It is always advisable to check the latest regulations and familiarize yourself with local driving rules before you travel.
Cost and Type of fuel in Playa del Carmen
In Playa del Carmen, as in most of Mexico, the common types of fuel are:
Magna Gasoline (Green): It is the type of fuel most used in Mexico and is generally the most economical. It has an octane rating of 87 and is suitable for most everyday vehicles.
Premium Gasoline (Red): Also known as high octane gasoline, it has an octane number of 92 or higher. This type of fuel is intended for vehicles that require a higher quality of gasoline, such as high-performance vehicles or those with more advanced engines.
It is important to note that the exact fuel options can vary from one service station to another, so it is advisable to check the types of fuel available at the specific service station where you plan to refuel.
ANOTHER TIP: At higher speeds, cars are subject to greater air resistance. When the windows are open, a draft is created inside the vehicle, which increases aerodynamic drag and decreases fuel efficiency. So we recommend that if you drive at more than 70Km/H you use the air conditioning, since it allows you to keep the windows closed thus reducing air resistance and improving the aerodynamics of the car.
¿What is the Tren Maya?
The Mayan Train is an infrastructure project in Mexico that consists of the construction of a railway network of approximately 1,500 kilometers in length. The main objective of the Mayan Train is to promote the economic and tourist development of the southeastern region of Mexico, covering the states of Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Campeche, Tabasco and Chiapas.
The Mayan Train project is inspired by the rich history and culture of the ancient Maya, as well as the natural beauty of the region, which includes tropical rainforests, protected areas, archeological zones, and indigenous communities. It seeks to efficiently and sustainably connect tourist attractions and areas of cultural interest, facilitating the transport of people and goods.
The Mayan Train is expected to have several lines and strategic stops in cities such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Calakmul and Palenque, among others. In addition to facilitating the transport of tourists, the Mayan Train also seeks to improve regional mobility, reduce road congestion, and promote the social and economic integration of local communities.
This is the connector in Mexico, take a look to compare the differences
between your connector and the one you will find here in Playa del Carmen
This is one of the adapters that we recommend you purchase. With this adapter you can connect any of your devices without any inconvenience