The best things to do in Playa del Carmen include the resort town’s expansive palm-lined beaches with its year-long party vibe. This coastal town runs along the Riviera Maya, where divers and snorkelers can explore one of the world’s largest coral reef systems. The central part of Playa del Carmen is a vibrant avenue filled with quirky shops and restaurants, as well as a beachfront park that hosts traditional Mayan performances in the evenings.

    Many consider Playa del Carmen to be Cancun’s laidback sister, with most activities revolving around the beach. However, if excitement is what you’re seeking during your holiday, ancient Mayan ruins, adventure parks, and lush jungles are just a short drive away from the town centre. Check out our guide of things to do in Playa del Carmen.

    What are the best things to do in Playa del Carmen?

    1

    Playa del Carmen Beach

    Enjoy kitesurfing on the Caribbean Sea

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    Playa del Carmen Beach is a long expanse of sand that’s cut into sections by the town’s many beach resorts and clubs. The widest beach here is located in front of Parque Fundadores, which is marked by the whimsical Playa del Carmen Arch. It’s often packed with tourists, thanks to its close proximity to Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), and the beach is lined with plenty of beach clubs that rent out sun loungers for a few pesos. You can enjoy some fun on the full-sized volleyball court or try your hand at kitesurfing and paddleboarding on the Caribbean Sea.

    Lokasi: Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    Playa Xcalacoco

    Explore a relatively quiet beach

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    Playa Xcalacoco tends to be one of the less-visited beaches, allowing you to enjoy its natural splendour, local restaurants, and watersports without worrying about crowds. As a local favourite, this beach is typically only occupied by residents of the area. You won't even find a substantial car park, and many visitors walk here from Playa del Carmen.

    On the beach itself, you'll find plenty of space to open up a chair and relax, but swimming and snorkelling are available as well. Don't forget to check out the local restaurants, too. They may be small, but they offer incredible fresh seafood. It's all available just north of Playa del Carmen.

    Lokasi: Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    foto dari Alfonzo Buscemi (CC BY 3.0) dimodifikasi

    3

    Parque Fundadores

    Watch traditional Mayan performances in the evening

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    Parque Fundadores is a recreational park overlooking Playa del Carmen’s main beach. It’s one of the town’s most photographed locations thanks to its 16-metre-tall bronze arch, which has a whimsical design consisting of a man and a women holding hands. There’s a playground built in the shape of a pirate ship, and a stage that hosts live shows all year round. A must-see is the the Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers), which is a Mayan performance featuring acrobatic skills and traditional music.

    Lokasi: Av. Benito Juárez, Centro, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico

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    foto dari Falco Ermert (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    4

    Xel-Ha Park

    Cycle along the jungle path at this theme park

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    Xel-Ha Park is an all-inclusive aquatic theme park that sits around a natural inlet that’s home to many marine animals. You can enjoy a variety of nature activities throughout your visit, including bike rides, zip-lining, and encounters with manatees and stingrays. The Children’s World features a wading pool with waterslides and a playground with rope climbing. For expansive views of Xel-Ha Bay and the Caribbean Sea, climb to the top of Scenic Lighthouse, which is 40 metres tall.

    Lokasi: Carretera Chetumal Puerto Juárez Km 240, locales 1 & 2, módulo B, 77780 Quintana Roo, Mexico

    Buka: Daily from 8.30 am to 6.30 pm

    Telepon: +52 800 009 3542

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    foto dari Kyttzy (CC BY-SA 3.0) dimodifikasi

    5

    Rio Secreto

    Swim amid stalactites and stalagmites

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    Rio Secreto is a series of semi-sunken caves interconnected with Quintana Roo’s longest underground river. This unique cenote attracts swimmers and snorkelers with its bright turquoise waters, and it’s large enough to feel as if you have the whole place to yourself. As you swim in the 600-metre-long river, you’re bound to see thousands of stalactites and stalagmites above you. Accessible within a 20-minute drive from Playa del Carmen, you can make your way to Rio Secreto on your own or join a guided tour. Admission is free.

    Lokasi: Carretera Federal Libre Chetumal- Puerto Juárez Km. 283.5 Ejido Sur, 77712 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    foto dari PriceTravel pictures (CC BY-SA 2.0) dimodifikasi

    6

    Xplor Park

    Thrill to the attractions at an outdoor adventure park

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    Xplor Park in Playa del Carmen is an outdoor adventure park offering a wide range of exciting, thrilling, and pulse-pounding adventures for adults and kids of every age. Here you can race along high above the ground on a lightning-fast zipline. You can head for an underground spelunking expedition and go swimming in a cave among the stalactites. You can enjoy a hammock splash water attraction, go on vehicle safaris, and enjoy the ultimate bonding with the family.

    The park has an age limit of 5, so it's good for families with kids older than toddlers. It's located just 7 minutes to the north of central Riviera Maya.

    Lokasi: Carretera Chetumal, Puerto Juarez Km 282, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico

    Buka: Ddaily from 9 am to 5 pm

    Telepon: +52 998 883 3143

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    foto dari Sharon Hahn Darlin (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    7

    Xaman-Ha ruins

    See iguanas lounging on this Mayan site

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    The Xaman-Ha ruins (or Playacar ruins) are a complex of 3 stone structures dating back to AD 1200. This ancient fishing village is where Mayan women departed for Cozumel Island to honour the Goddess Ixchel. Compared to the iconic Chichen Itza and El Rey, Xaman-Ha may seem miniscule, but it’s one of the few Mayan sites that’s free to explore. This archaeological site is just a 10-minute walk from Playa del Carmen Beach, but it’s relatively quiet thanks to its jungle surroundings. Look out for iguanas lounging on the stone structures.

    Lokasi: Playacar, 77717 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    foto dari Bill McChesney (CC BY 2.0) dimodifikasi

    8

    Xcaret Park

    Take part in the local ecotourism

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    Xcaret Park is a resort and eco-oriented development offering nature-based attractions that are as fun as they are photogenic. You'll find a river that goes through a Mayan village as well as a concrete sluice underground that you're welcome to swim and snorkel in.

    When you visit this destination, you'll have easy access to nearby reefs and even opportunities to swim alongside dolphins. Make sure you waterproof your camera, and you can easily capture it all. You'll find it all available just a few miles south of Playa del Carmen.

    Lokasi: Carretera Chetúmal Puerto Juárez Kilómetro 282, Solidaridad, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico

    Buka: Daily from 8.30 am to 9 pm

    Telepon: +52 998 883 3143

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    foto dari Miguel Discart (CC BY-SA 2.0) dimodifikasi

    9

    Quinta Avenida

    Check out the souvenir shops along the beach strip

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    Quinta Avenida is a trendy avenue that runs parallel to the main beach of Playa del Carmen. This touristy street has plenty of souvenir stalls, grocery stores, and shops selling beachwear, Cuban cigars and handicrafts. It’s also a good place for checking out street performances, such as celebrity impersonators, dancers, and musicians. Come sundown, Quinta Avenida becomes a lively hub of nightclubs and mescal bars with views of the ocean.

    Lokasi: Centro, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico

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    foto dari Giorgio Galeotti (CC BY 4.0) dimodifikasi

    Penny Wong | Traveler Kompulsif

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