If Vamos a la playa (Let’s go to the beach) playing on the radio makes you think of a beach vacation. Then maybe you are looking for an escape to a beach in Mexico. If so then check out Playa del Carmen. Located on the Mayan Riviera, about an hour’s drive from Cancún, Playa del Carmen is more laid back than Cancún. Once a small fishing village Playa del Carmen, or Playa (the beach) as the locals call it, started its transformation into a coastal resort town with the arrival of the ferry service to Cozumel. Visitors who came to dive the waters around Cozumel soon discovered the beautiful beaches of what has come to be known as the Mayan Riviera. Even thought Playa del Carmen is now a city with over 200,000 people it stills retains much of its original charm.
Deciding on accommodations, restaurants and spas
Playa del Carmen offers a complete range of accommodations. While the area is famous for its large-scale resorts you will also find boutique hotels. However, with so many choices it is a tough to decide on where to stay. Most of the Mayan Riviera resorts are all inclusive. We decided on the Mayan Palace, a large-scale 338-acre resort. We chose the Mayan Palace because of good overall reviews and the fact it offers the non-inclusive meal plan option. Finding a Mayan Riviera large-scale resort that does not require the purchase of an all inclusive meal plan is rare.
We found the Mayan Palace to be a great place, just to kick back and relax for a week. In fact it is just perfect for someone wanting the full services of a large-scale resort, otherwise you should select a boutique or smaller hotel in town. The Mayan Palace resort is right on the beach. It has luxury swimming pools, restaurants, shops, spa and much more. During our stay we checked out most of the resort’s restaurants, their Brio Spa and of course the margaritas.
In Playa del Carmen you will also find a complete range of restaurants and spas to meet all your needs. If you are looking for a very unique dining experience then you might check out Alux where you can dine in a cave. While you will find day spas in the town most of the major resorts have full service spas. However, some visitors like to check out day spas in town, which are often cheaper than at the resorts. See online sources, such as LocoGringo, Playa Info, Playadelcarmen and Riviera Maya to help you get the most of your Playa del Carmen trip.
Getting to/from Playa del Carmen
Most visitors to Playa del Carmen will arrive and depart at the Cancún International Airport. The Cancún International Airport is the second busiest in Mexico. You will have no problem getting flights to and from major North American and European cities. Car rentals, taxis and shuttle services are also easily available.
Staying safe in Playa del Carmen
Since health and safety are often concern for travelers to Mexico, do not forget to check sources that provide good information, such as Luna Blue’s PlayaZone, Tripadvisor, Virtual Tourist and USA Today. I also recommend that you check U.S. Department of State for the latest update before you travel.
We enjoyed our week in Playa del Carmen. It was a great break from our road trip. When we left Playa del Carmen we headed towards Chetumal, Quintana Roo where we crossed into Belize and onto Guatemala. I invite you to join me in my travels in search of the best in Spaswinefood, or visit my travel column at the Examiner.
© Sharon Parsons
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