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Holidays in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is situated on the palm-lined Caribbean coast of Mexico. One of the region’s most popular resorts, its tropical climate attracts sun worshippers to the stunning beaches, complete with powdery, white sand and some of the best diving on the Riviera Maya. An ideal holiday if you want a break complete with buzzing nightlife. You’ll find plenty of bars and clubs and, if you prefer things a little more laid back, some great live music venues. For shopping, the cosmopolitan Quinta Avenida is nearby and provides an exciting mix of boutiques, markets and restaurants.

Playa Del Carmen is situated on the east side of Mexico’s sun soaked Caribbean coastline. Renowned for its chilled out ambience and mellow way of life the town has become popularised by backpackers arriving at its spotless beaches to ride the Caribbean waves. It’s one of the best surf spots south of Cancun and has a vibrant fun-loving personality that appeals to families, couples, singles and group holidaymakers. Its beach location means you can enjoy days on the sun-lounger or in comfort by the pool side whilst planning your trips to the some of Mexico’s most famous cultural hotspots rich with Mayan history and stunning scenic views.

Pristine White Beaches

The beaches at Playa del Carmen are comprised of long stretches of pristine white sands, beach clubs, hotels and restaurants. It’s a tranquil area and perfect for families to relax on the beach front with the warm Caribbean waves lapping softly against the shores. Snorkelling and swimming are highly recommended and boat trips can take you further afield into the richer dive spots where you can explore the diverse marine life.

5th Avenue

The Mexican version of the stylish New York neighbourhood is in a league of its own with back to back bars, restaurants, shops, art galleries, and hotels and of course Taco vans on street corners. The strip is a true part of the Mexican personality and is one of the most famous attractions in the Playa Del Carmen region. Nearby you can also find the flea market stalls selling artefacts, handcrafts and souvenirs that can be haggled down to a good price.

Cozumel Island

The beautiful island of Cozumel is one of the world’s best diving destinations with underwater caverns and limestone’s caves filled with multi coloured marine life including angel fish, snappers and damsels. It’s no surprise that this popular snorkelling destination is considered one of the jewels of the Caribbean but that’s not all. The town square is a great place to spend an afternoon and discover some of the best kept secrets of Mayan history.

28 °C

Travel in June and July for hot and sunny beach weather.

10.5 hours

Flights from the UK to Cancun International Airport (CUN) take around 10.5 hours.

Spend sunny days on the prettiest beaches on the Riviera and experience the famous shopping and dining on Quinta Avenida when you book your Thomas Cook holiday to Playa Del Carmen.

Recommended offers in Playa del Carmen

Now Sapphire Riviera Cancún

7 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Unlimited à la carte dining
  • Explorer's Club for Kids
  • Now Spa by Pevonia®

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 7895 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service
  • Return Transfers
  • In-Flight Meals
  • Your Seat Choice*

£1060

Akumal Bay Beach & Wellness Resort

7 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Relaxing and peaceful beachfront hotel
  • Whirlpool on the balcony
  • Swim with turtles in the bay

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 4684 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 8 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service
  • Return Transfers
  • In-Flight Meals
  • Your Seat Choice*

£1110

Dreams Tulum Resort & Spa

7 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Unlimited à la carte dining
  • Explorer's Club for Kids
  • Secluded white-sand beach

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 4845 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 10 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service
  • Return Transfers
  • In-Flight Meals
  • Your Seat Choice*

£1124

Dreams Riviera Cancún Resort & Spa

4 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Unlimited à la carte dining
  • Explorers' Club for Kids
  • Dreams Spa by Pevonia®

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 6654 reviews

Thomas Cook Customer Rating
Based on 4 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service
  • Return Transfers
  • In-Flight Meals
  • Your Seat Choice*

£1150

Valentin Imperial Maya

7 Nights, All Inclusive
Hotel highlights
  • Adult only 18+
  • Unlimited gourmet dining
  • Secluded white sand beach

TripAdvisor Traveller rating

Based on 12518 reviews

What is included ?

  • 20kgs Standard Luggage Allowance
  • ATOL Protection
  • 24hr Connected Service
  • Return Transfers
  • In-Flight Meals
  • Your Seat Choice*

£1193

Playa del Carmen’s sun-soaked coast is the heart of the resort, where you can choose the perfect spot on a long stretch of silky white sand or plan a diving excursion out to sea. The water sports available are excellent, or you could charter a catamaran for a more relaxed way to experience the coast. Visitors with a sense of adventure can head out into Playa del Carmen’s lush surroundings for tours in the nearby reserves, famously home to rare species of wildlife. After dark, the buzzing Quinta Avenida becomes a nightlife zone, with an exciting choice of restaurants, bars and clubs to spend the warm evenings in.

By day, holidays to Playa del Carmen are all about the beach: a stretch of white, silky sand, almost melting into the turquoise Caribbean waters and set against a backdrop of lush palm trees. You’ll find the most popular beaches to the north, well-stocked with sun beds and umbrellas, close to some beautiful beachside bars and restaurants. Snorkelling and diving are immensely popular activities, with large, rainbow-coloured reefs to explore and the many cenotes (natural sinkholes), popular for their crystal-clear visibility. 

If you want to do some shopping, you’re in the right place. Playa del Carmen is one of the retail capitals of the Riviera, offering everything from unique handicrafts and local specialty stores to high-end boutique shops. The bustling Quinta Avenida is the best place in the town to shop; here you can pick up handmade jewellery, clothing, and folk art as well as have the chance to sample the area’s specialty tequilas. Quinta Avenida is also a hotspot for nightlife, with a range of live music bars, clubs and lounges. There are restaurants serving up fresh seafood and endless international options, and grabbing some Mexican street food during the day is not to be missed. Be sure to try the tasty and tongue-tingling poblano tacos.

Playa del Carmen is close to a national park and wildlife biosphere, full of dolphins, crocodiles and rare birds, which provide exciting wildlife-spotting trips on land, on sea and even underwater. The steamy mangroves of the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve are also home to a large jaguar population. Sailing trips are a big attraction in Playa del Carmen, from deep-sea fishing charters to dolphin-spotting trips and gentle catamaran cruises. Enjoy lunch on deck and head to the best snorkelling spots on the coast.

PLAYA DEL CARMEN IS BEST FOR...

Beach lovers: Playa del Carmen’s immaculate golden beaches are some of the finest in the Riviera, fringed with palms and a clear, blue sea that’s ideal for snorkelling and diving.

Couples: Playa del Carmen is perfect for two, spending days on the beach and evenings wandering the waterfront, cocktail in hand, to watch the spectacular sunsets together.

Adventurers: From scuba diving off the coast to excursions in the nearby biosphere, there are lots of options for those wanting to add a little shot of adrenaline to their holiday to Playa del Carmen.


FAST FACTS

Language: The official language spoken is Spanish. However, English is widely spoken, although it’s considered polite to give the local lingo a go.

Currency: The currency is the mexican peso. 

Local time: Playa del Carmen is six hours ahead of GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Cancun International Airport (CUN).

Flight time from UK: Approximately 10.5 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found at www.visitmexico.com.

Visa and health: Before you travel, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mexico for recommendations and advice on visas and health. 


WEATHER AND CLIMATE

Temperature: Average of 28 °C in summer.

Best time to visit: June and July for hot and sunny beach weather.

The weather in Playa del Carmen is typical of Mexico’s tropical climate, which enjoys warm temperatures all year round. The summers kick off as early as April, with temperatures hovering in the high 20s (°C) and creeping even higher in June and July.


GETTING AROUND

By colectivo: A colectivo is a van, operating like a shared taxi. It’s a case of hailing one down, hopping on, stating where you want to go and paying your fare. Cheaper and quicker than buses, a colectivo is a good option for longer journeys to neighbouring resorts, such as Cancun.

By taxi: Taxis are readily available in Playa del Carmen and are reasonably inexpensive, although this can depend on which zones you pass through. Playa del Carmen holiday taxis usually operate on a fixed fare, so check the price before you jump in. Most hotels will have list of rates posted outside them.

By bus: Buses tend to be used by locals, rather than tourists. Their routes rarely take in any attractions, instead taking people to or from their neighbourhood. However, if you want cheap transport to one of the local shopping malls, catching the bus is the way to go.


EVENTS

BPM festival: The BPM Festival is a huge electronic music festival held every January. It runs for ten days, showcasing big-name DJs and events, day and night, in venues across the resort. The BPM Festival is in its sixth year and has hosted dance music acts from all over the world.

Jazz festival: If dance music isn’t your thing, Playa del Carmen also hosts the annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival. This takes place on the beach over three days in November and features renowned international jazz musicians.


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