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Located on the northeastern shore of the Yucatan Peninsula, the city of Playa del Carmen, in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, lies on the stretch of Caribbean coastline known as the Riviera Maya. The main attraction in Playa del Carmen, or Playa as it is commonly known, is the crystalline blue waters and soft white sands of its beaches. In Playa, apartments and condos are popular accommodations that in many cases come with desirable facilities such as private hot tubs and swimming pools, satellite television, washing machines and grills for outdoor barbecuing. Parking is often included, a bonus for those folks who have rented a car.
The reefs in the Riviera Maya area are teeming with marine life, and the transparent sea water allows for particularly good viewing of the different varieties of fish, manta rays, turtles and even small sharks.Cenotes
A cenote is a sinkhole exposing an underground river. These are found all over the Yucatan Peninsula, and swimming in one is a unique experience. Exploring one of these caverns is usually done in the company of a professional guide who typically also explains the significance of cenotes in ancient Mayan rituals.
The principal tourist hub in Playa del Carmen is Quinta Avenida, or 5th Avenue, which also happens to be where many excellent restaurants, bars and shops are located. Everything from large chain stores to small family-run businesses can be found on this street which runs parallel to the beach. Dining choices include Mexican, Mayan, Italian and German.
There are several developed parks in the Playa area which combine the natural wonders of the region, such as water caves and jungles filled with mangroves, with archaeological sites and man-made attractions like ziplines and scenic observation towers. Adventure activities, aquatic fun and cultural enrichment are the focus of the following parks:
There are five golf courses in Playa del Carmen. Golfers can enjoy a round against a lush jungle or Caribbean sea backdrop and possibly spot wildlife such as iguanas while playing.
Quinta Avenida in Playa is renowned for its dance clubs, karaoke bars and streets filled with live music and street performers. Tequila tastings, salsa dancing, live jazz, classic rock—there's something for everyone after dark.
Many people first consider weather conditions when planning a trip, but in the case of Playa, there is no bad season. The region enjoys a balmy, sub-tropical climate year-round. Summer temperatures tend to be hotter, and there is a greater chance of rain than at other times of year. Crowds at hotels and beaches are larger during the holidays, most especially during Holy Week when many Mexican nationals enjoy vacation time. Those who enjoy jazz music or international films should plan to visit in November or April, respectively; Playa del Carmen hosts events related to both the annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival and Film Festival.
Playa del Carmen doesn't have its own international airport, but it is serviced by two nearby airports, Cancun International Airport and Cozumel International Airport, which receive flights on major airlines. Since Cozumel is an island, travelers need to get from the airport to the ferry dock via a shared shuttle or exclusive airport taxi. Regular taxis are not allowed at this airport, but they can be found at taxi stands just off the property exit. The ferry crossing to Playa del Carmen takes about 30 minutes. There are more choices for getting from Cancun to Playa del Carmen; rental cars are available at Cancun airport, and there is also bus service aboard the ADO buses located just outside the airport exit. Pre-booked private transfers are another option, as are shared shuttle rides and authorized airport taxi cabs.