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All about Playa del Carmen in Mexico

Updated: April 6, 2024

Main Category: Day Trips


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Author: Tobias

Playa del Carmen is a popular beach resort on the east coast of Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo. Playa del Carmen is about 290km away from Mérida. The journey by car takes about 3h 30min from the city center of Mérida and the place is most of the time very busy.



Day Trips


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Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexiko







290km from Mérida

Travel Time:

3h 30min from Mérida


No entry fee

Price Level:



November 14, 1984

Google Rating:

average rating is null out of 5, based on 0 votes, Ratings

Opening Hours:


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Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is a city and a popular beach resort on the east coast of Mexico in the state of Quintana Roo and is located about 68 kilometers south of Cancún on the Riviera Maya.

Especially the beaches of Playa del Carmen are famous for their white sand and crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea. The main beach, Playa Mamitas and Playacar Beach are some of the most popular beaches in the area. At Playa del Carmen you will find the ferry to the island of Cozumel.

Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) is the heart of Playa del Carmen. Here you will find numerous stores, cafes, restaurants and bars. Quinta Avenida is a great place to shop for souvenirs, jewelry, handicrafts and fashion.

But you will also find some malls in town where you can find international brands. Playa del Carmen also offers an exciting nightlife with many bars, clubs and restaurants, some of which offer live music.

Pipiripau Bar in Mérida, Mexico

Playa del Carmen or Cancún?

Compared to Cancún, Playa del Carmen is a bit quieter, the hotels are less big, the place is less focused on luxury tourists and there is a bit more original atmosphere left.

As with Cancún, Playa del Carmen is a paradise for water sports enthusiasts. You can go snorkeling, diving, kayaking, windsurfing and jet skiing. The underwater world off the coast is rich in coral reefs and marine life.

In the surroundings

Playa Del Carmen is also a good base for day trips, such as visiting Mayan ruins. In about an hour's drive you can reach the Mayan ruins of Tulum, which are also located right on the coast.

Another 30 minutes by car from Tulum, the ruins of Cobá in the interior are a worthwhile destination or you can drive about 20 minutes further along the coast and visit the archaeological site of Muyil.

These archaeological sites offer insights into the history of the ancient Mayan culture and are a must on your bucket list when visiting the Yucatan Peninsula.

In the surroundings of Playa del Carmen you will also find some very beautiful cenotes and another tip is a boat trip to the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve, which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Mayan ruins of Tulum
Mayan ruins of Tulum

The world of archaeology

Some interesting figures about Mayan archaeological sites on the Yucatan Peninsula:

Figures about Mayan archaeological sites
Figures about Mayan archaeological sites

Xel-Há park

About 50km south of Playa del Carmen, just before Tulum, is the fantastic natural water park Xel-Há - not really a cheap treat, but a great experience. Xcaret Park is another water park with underground rivers and cenotes, at the Riviera Maya between Cancún and Tulum.

Playa del Carmen in Mexico
Xel-ha Park

Image Source (main picture): ©Dennis Sylvester Hurd, flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link

The picture was modified (resized, image improvements)


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Best Mérida Day Trips

If you would like to explore the Yucatan Peninsula and Mérida with a guided tour, there are wonderful experiences from Viator. We have selected the three best tours for you.

You save time and nerves, get all the insider tips you need from an expert tour guide and can join up with others if you wish. And it's also safer to travel in a group.

Chichen Itza, Private Cenote, Food Experience & the magic Izamal

My Top Recommendation (likely to sell out)

Chichen Itza, Private Cenote, Food Experience & the magic Izamal

The very best Chichén Itzá tour and free cancellation. It starts from US-$97

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Mérida Day Trips

Another very special experience

Tour to Cenote of Santa Barbara and Acanceh area from Merida

This! Super beautiful cenotes! You have free cancellation. It starts from US-$114

average rating is 5 out of 5
Best Mérida Day Trips

Not either/or, but also!

Celestun Beach Mangrove Boat Ride from Merida

One more must-have. You also have free cancellation. It starts from US-$122

average rating is 4.5 out of 5
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Viator Travel Promotions

Our partner and market leader, Viator, offers a wide range of exciting Thing to do in Mérida and on the Yucatán Peninsula.


Take advantage of special offers, save up to 20% and enjoy maximum flexibility with free cancelations. The most popular tours are booked up quickly, so don't miss out.

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