Playa del Carmen Travel Guide

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Alux, bar & restaurant in a limestone cave

Alux, bar & restaurant in a limestone cave

Shares an airport with   Cancun   which is about 30 minutes away. This is what Cancun used to be before it became Miami. A nice little town with gorgeous beaches and everthing a traveler needs. Playa del Carmen is the fastest growing town in Mexico.

Do yourself a favor and stay away from the all-inclusives. Find a nice small motel in town and use the money you save to enjoy the diving, trekking, etc. Also, don't waste your money on souveneirs sold on the main street (Quinta Avenida, or 5th Ave.). You can get the same stuff on side streets for half the price.

There are a lot of attractions in Playa's neighbourhood, some of the best are the Maya ruins of   Tulum   and Cobá, the white sand beaches, snorkeling on   Cozumel   island (the ferry to Cozumel leaves from Playa) or in one of the various Cenotes.

If you prefer seaworld-ish kind of tourist parks you could visit one of the numerous parks like Xel-Ha or Xcaret.

An update to bring this to the current (August 2007) state of affairs:

PDC is not a little town anymore. It is noisy and crowded and staying in a nice small motel means you are a very long walk from a crowded and noisy beach and overpriced bars. You might not be saving any money if you enjoy eating out and drinking out. Now, these dreaded all-inclusives may offer you peace and quiet as they are located some distance from the Playa. The beaches and the diving opportunities are no worse (actually way better than in town) and if you shop for a good deal the all-inclusive will save you a lot over small motel / eating out and taking cabs combination. For a nice little town with a nice small motel there are places like Akumal or Tulum.

Included Transfers:

Vacation packages often include pre-arranged ground transportation to your resort. As you exit the baggage claim area, walk outside and look for an employee of the company carrying a sign with the name of your travel company on it (ie Discovery Mundo, Expedia, Apple Vacations, Liberty Travel, etc.). That person will have your name on a list. If you decide to use alternate transportation, it is a good idea to tell this person of your intent as they may hold a bus for you. Most companies use small vans, not large tour buses, so you won't be subjected to many stops along the way.

Private Transportation: If you prefer, you may book ground transportation in advance from companies such as:

Their representative greets passengers upon exiting the airport, holding a sign with your name on it or wearing a pre-described uniform and take you directly to your transport or, ask your hotel when making a reservation.  The majority of hotels can arrange transportation for you, leaving you more free time to decide what to pack on your trip!

New Requirements for Travelers Between the United States and Mexico: Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI):

Effective January 8, 2007, all U.S. citizens traveling by air to and from Mexico are required to have a valid passport to enter the United States.  As early as January 1, 2008, U.S. citizens traveling between the United States and Mexico by land or sea (including ferries), may be required to present a valid U.S. passport or other documents as determined by the Department of Homeland Security. 

For more information on travel requirements, contact the U.S. embassies of the countries you're visiting. A complete list of U.S. embassies worldwide can be found at the  Department of State Web site.


June 18, 2013 change by andresl (1 point)

June 20, 2006 change by dubstar

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