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Love golf? You'll fall in love with the exotic 18-hole golf course in Playacar. It's considered to be one of the most challenging courses in the world, so be sure to bring your best game. The fabulous fairways were designed by world-renowned golf designer Robert von Hagge; they incorporate all kinds of features like rocks, lakes, and even Mayan ruins. There's no need to bring your clubs along with you; you can rent them from the clubhouse, where you can also pick up snacks and drinks.

Playa Playacar

This Mexican-Colonial-style shopping mall is a firm favourite destination among guests staying in the main hotels in Playacar. It's the place to go to find traditional Mexican products, including locally made, handcrafted pieces. You'll also find a wealth of authentic Caribbean clothes, along with fine jewellery. Even if you don't fancy shopping, it's well worth taking a stroll through here to experience the buzzy atmosphere for yourself.

Xplor Park

After lazing around on the beach, you can pick up the pace with a trip to Xplor Park; it's only a short drive away from the hotels. You'll find yourself in a beautiful natural park, where you can ride zip-wires through the treetops, drive vehicles through underground tunnels, and swim down subterranean rivers. Not to mention raft past age-old stalactites. A fun-filled adventure awaits for all the family here, and it's one of the most popular things to do in Playacar.  

Playa del Carmen

Playacar is a gated community within the Playa del Carmen. It means you'll be within easy reach of everything the city has to offer, including the beaches and the shopping. Fifth Avenue is a great place to indulge in a little retail therapy; you can shop 'til you drop at the designer boutiques and shops selling Mexican crafts. Visit during February and March and the place is even livelier than usual as this is when the carnival comes to town.

Top attractions in Playacar

Diving

The crystal-clear waters and wealth of marine life make Playacar a magnet for keen divers and snorkellers. If you've never done it before, that's okay, too; all the hotels provide lessons and kit, so it's easy to get started. Beginners will head to the reefs close to the shore, while more experienced divers will explore the underwater caves and wrecks. If you want to see turtles swimming in their natural environment, you can take a trip over to Cozumel Island, home to the second biggest coral reef in the world.  

Duty-free shopping

There's a huge shopping centre right in the heart of Playacar, so you won't have to go far to get your retail therapy fix. There are lots of stores selling traditional Mexican crafts, like handmade textiles, silver jewellery and ornate ceramics. To top it all off, Playacar is a duty-free zone so if you want to stock up on perfume or cigars, this is the place to do it. If all this isn't enough for you, make your way to Playa del Carmen, where you'll find plenty more shopping on Fifth Avenue.

Entertainment

When it comes to entertainment, Playacar's hotels have plenty to keep everyone happy. Many have their very own theatres, where you can spend your evening watching ballroom dancing, circus acrobats, Mexican guitar bands, Mayan dancers and more. Be sure to grab a cocktail from the bar before the show starts, then you can really relax. The resort also has a casino if you fancy giving the roulette a whirl.

Water sports

If you've ever wanted to give water sports a go, this is your chance to do so. In addition to snorkelling and scuba diving, local water sports centres offer activities on top of the water, like kayaking, parasailing, bodyboarding and windsurfing. So you can take in the scenery as you ride through the glistening Caribbean Sea.  

Riviera Maya Jazz Festival

Visiting in late November or early December? Pop Riviera Maya Jazz Festival on your list of things to do. You'll find this fantastic three-day event taking place over in Playa del Carmen, with world-class jazz players doing their thing in venues all over the city. Plus, it's completely free, great if you're holidaying on a budget.

The best places to visit near Playacar

Tulum

A 45-minute drive from Playacar is Tulum. This tiny beach town has a beautiful beach and chic restaurants. But it's best-known for its Mayan ruins, which sit high up on the clifftop above the Caribbean Sea. Our top tip? Arrive in time to catch the sunrise and you'll see a once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.  

Chichen Itzá

Beyond Tulum, you'll find one of the Seven Wonders of the World: Chichen Itzá. You'll have to make your way through dense jungle to reach the ancient city, which was once the capital of Mexico's Mayan civilisation. Highlights include the 365-step pyramid (with one step for each day of the year) and a court that was used for hoop-and-ball games.

Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park is another eco-park that you can reach from Playacar. First, grab your snorkelling gear and head for the underground caves and passageways. Then, you can get stuck into the 40 other attractions dotted around in the car. Take your pick from the coral reef aquarium, the tropical jungle trail and the amazing aviary. Stay until the evening and you're in for a treat; a traditional Mexican dancing show takes place after dark.  

La Mission

If you fancy something different from your hotel restaurant, you'll discover a superb selection of restaurants over in Playa del Carmen. La Mission is one of the best places around to sample fresh-as-can-be seafood with real local flavour. The grilled lobster and coconut shrimp are well worth sampling, as are the margaritas. Plus, it's within walking distance of Playacar. Prefer fast food? BRO chetas, between 1st Avenue and Mamitas Beach, is a real gem; this family-run joint serves up mouth-watering chicken, beef and shrimp fresh from the barbecue.  

Cozumel

The idyllic island of Cozumel lies around half an hour off the coast of Playa del Carmen. If you want to escape to an unspoiled paradise, make sure this is on your list of things to do in Playacar. On top of bright, white sand, you've got the biggest coral reef system anywhere in the Americas, with around 250 species of tropical fish. Be sure to bring your camera as you'll want to remember this place forever.

2 Things to do in Playacar