Things To Do In Playa del Carmen


There are so many incredible things to do in Playa del Carmen that it can be hard to sort through the options.

Well, I’m here to help. After living here for two years, I’ve had plenty of time to try out many of the awesome activities in Playa del Carmen: and I’ve come up with this list of the absolute best things to do in Playa del Carmen in order to help you make the most of your trip to this beautiful town in the Mayan Riviera.

From the secret beach spots, to where to find unique local dishes, to the best day trips, I’ve got you covered with an exciting array of things to see in Playa del Carmen. This is one of the best area of Mexico for sure.


1. Take a Dip in a Cenote (one of the top things to do in Playa del Carmen)


Believe it or not, the best places to swim in Playa del Carmen are not in the ocean. Ask any local or long term resident, “where to go and you are certain to get the same answer… Visit a cenote.

What’s a cenote?

Cenotes are essentially underground rivers and caves where limestone bedrock gives way to underground springs. There are thousands of them in the Yucatan peninsula and visiting one should be at the top of any list of things to do in Playa del Carmen.

There are many cenotes to choose from, but my favorite is Cenote Azul. You can visit on your own by taking the “collectivos” that leave for Tulum on Calle 2, you can rent a car to get there or you can join up as part of a tour. Oh, and if you’re certified, you can even go Scuba diving in many of the cenotes!

2. Explore Chichen Itza

Named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, the Mayab Ruins at Chichen Itza (Pronounced Chicken Pizza) are an amazing site to behold.

One of the most important archaeological sites in all of Mexico, Chichen Itza is located deep in the jungle, and a bit of a challenge to reach. You can rent a car and make the two-hour drive yourself, or check out any of the tours that leave from Playa del Carmen.


3. Take a Day Trip to Xpu Ha

There are many incredible beaches just a short ride away from Playa del Carmen, but my favorite is the secluded beach at Xpu Ha.

You’ll need to either rent a car or take a collectivo minibus to get there, but the journey will reward you with access to a pristine white sand beach with clear water and without the crowds.

There is a 50 pesos ($2.40) entrance fee to the beach. You can get that back if you meet the minimum spend at one of the handful of beach clubs, or you can just bring your own towel and settle in on any of the many wide-open stretches of sand. A visit here is one of the best things to do near Playa del Camen.

4. Go Salsa Dancing at Zenzi

One of the most fun things to do in Playa del Carmen at night is to get your groove on. And there’s no better place to do that than Zenzi, an upbeat but not-too-crowded joint with live music and a vibrant dance floor. Thursdays and Saturdays are usually salsa nights, but check the schedule on to be sure.

Have two left feet? That’s fine, you’ll still love the fun ambiance, affordable prices, and incredible beachside location.

5. Explore the Caverns at Rio Secreto

Have you ever been swimming inside a cave before?

Well, if not, you definitely need to check out this unique thing to do in Playa del Carmen.

Located just a few minutes outside the city, RIO SECRETO is a complex of five stunning caves that are filled with underground rivers and springs.

You’ll don a wetsuit and take the guided tour through a cave that includes the incredible experience of swimming inside a pitch-black cave. It’s definitely one of the awesome things to do in Playa del Carmen.

6. Ride a Jet Ski

At at least $50 per hour, it’s not a cheap activity in Playa del Carmen, but renting a jet ski is definitely an exciting way to enjoy the water in and around Playa del Carmen.

You can find vendors renting jet skis along La Quinta Avenida, or book a package tour including jet skis in advance.

I have a great friend who rents them in Bahia Principe if you want to go to Akumal for the day I can hook you up with a rental.

7. Stroll the Shops of La Quinta

The main artery of Playa del Carmen is La Quinta (5th Street), is a vibrant pedestrian street running well over a kilometer parallel to the beach.

La Quinta is lined with hundreds of shops and vendors offering everything from designer handbags and questionable pharmaceuticals, to funky trinkets and unique artwork.

Sure, it’s more than a little touristy, but a visit to La Quinta should be on every list of things to do in Playa del Carmen.

8. Party the Night Away at Coco Bongo

k, so it may be a little cliché, but there’s no denying that Coco Bongo is the mainstay of Playa del Carmen’s throbbing nightlife scene.

At over $80 U.S. dollars for a ticket, a night at Coco Bongo doesn’t come cheap.

But your admission includes drinks, a spectacular show featuring rotating acts (this past May saw a Star Wars-themed show), and a night you won’t easily forget (or maybe you will….). Partying at Coco Bongo is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun as well.

9. Try a Marquesita

A marquesita is a local dessert that sort of resembles a crunchy hand-held crepe. The traditional version is served with Nutella and Edam cheese, which makes for quite the unique flavour combination, though you can also get them with peanut butter, cream cheese, chocolate syrup, or a variety of other toppings.

Marquesita are served up by mobile street food vendors, so you may need to keep your eyes open to find one.

The best places to look for them are on Calle 2 and Avenida Juarez around their intersections with Avenida 20. Or, where 38th meets 5th avenue.

10. Take a Ferry to Cozumel

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