Discovering the Riviera Maya: 5 Days in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico
Updated: Aug 3, 2022
Follow me on this 5-day, medium paced itinerary through Playa del Carmen, Mexico--filled with history, adventure, and relaxation.
The best way to describe Playa Del Carmen is that it's a place where you can let loose. From the vibrant colors of the buildings, to the lively people dancing in bars and restaurants, there's always something going on. With its rich culture and history, this city has a lot for travelers looking for an adventure. Get ready because we're about to explore 5 days in Playa Del Carmen!
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Day 1: Arrive in Cancun
We arrived at Cancun International Airport in the afternoon at around 3:00 pm. From there, we took a taxi, which was approximately $60 USD. The car ride from CUN airport to Playa Del Carmen was approximately 1 hour.
Accommodations in Playa:
We stayed in an AirBnb, which was a building of condominiums right off of 25 Avenida Norte 30. Our location was amazingly convenient, close to restaurants, and only about a 10 minute taxi to Quinta Avenida, one of the most lively and energetic areas of Playa del Carmen. After relaxing for a bit in our AirBnb, we stopped at a near-by market within walking distance to grab some essentials like breakfast foods and water.
The Thompson Hotel:
For the evening, we headed to one of the best rooftop bars in the heart of Quinta Avenida, The Thompson of Playa del Carmen. Arrive early enough to see great views of the beach before it gets dark! We enjoyed amazing cocktails, absolutely wonderful entrees, and delicious desserts before returning back to our AirBnb for the night.
Day 2: Coba
After making breakfast in our condo, we headed to the pick-up location for our guided tour of the Coba archaeological ruins. Coba is one of the largest Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. Prior to our trip, we had already visited more popular ruins such as Chichen Itza, but wanted to venture to this less visited site. We were in for a real treat. We toured with Paradise Adventours for their Express Coba Tour for ~$60.00 USD per person. The tour promises a 5-6 hour tour which includes lunch. Although the tour ran long, we had a great time riding bikes into the entrance and visiting the impressive Nohoch Mul.
After a day at Coba, we made dinner reservations at Zenzi Beach Club. Zenzi features a beach bar, beach club, and restaurant that turns into salsa club vibes after hours. We had an incredible meal by the beach! From casual quesadillas to a more upscale "Surf & Turf," Zenzi offers food selections for all palates.
Looking for our recommendations on more AMAZING TOURS near Playa del Carmen? CLICK HERE.
Day 3: Xplor
By day 3, we were ready for more XTREME adventures. We decided to explore one of the most popular adventure parks in Mexico and in the world, Xplor. Xplor is a member of the Xcaret family, which offers a wide variety of adventure and water parks across Mexico. From 9 am to 5 pm, we did ziplining, ATV tours, water rafting, and swimming. We even got a chance to experience the park’s very own cenote and waterfall. In addition to a full adventure itinerary, the park also offers a restaurant with full buffet that you can access at any time (included in ticket cost) and roundtrip transportation (for an additional price) from designated pick-up locations near many hotels and AirBnbs.
Day 4: Martina Beach Club and Quinta Avenida
Day 4 was a late start. After waking up most days around 7-9 am, we decided to take Day 4 at a slower pace. After eating breakfast at a local restaurant, we headed to Martina Beach, one of Playa del Carmen’s beach clubs. Beach clubs are really popular in Playa del Carmen, and the city offers a wide selection to choose from. We chose Martina because of its convenient location, which was a relatively short taxi ride from our AirBnb. It also offered a pool, DJ, beach chairs with umbrellas, food/beverage service for purchase, and of course….gorgeous views of the ocean.
Later that evening, we decided to venture back to Quinta Avenida. After a couple hours of bar hopping, we found our favorite restaurant from the trip, Aldea Corazon. The ambience at the location was beautiful. We chose to sit in their patio area outside, which resembled a restaurant experience in the middle of the rainforest. Not only do you get your fill of food and drinks, but you also have the opportunity to visit one of their private cenotes just steps from the restaurant seating area. Highly recommend!
Day 5: Departure
We caught a taxi back to CUN airport!
Pro-Tip: Be sure to download WhatsApp before your trip. There is a WhatsApp Taxi number +52 984 197 0814 which will direct you to a taxi service in Playa del Carmen. Simply message the number with your location and where you wish to go, and they will send a taxi to your location! We used this service very frequently in Playa del Carmen since we did not have a rental car.
Ready to explore MORE ACTIVITIES near Playa del Carmen? CLICK HERE.
Playa del Carmen is certainly a Mexican City worth visiting. With easy access to beaches, restaurants, adventure parks, and Mayan ruins, Playa del Carmen has everything you need for a memorable vacation. If you are looking for a slower pace, away from the glitz and glamor of Cancun, Playa del Carmen is definitely for you!
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