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Playa del Carmen
 Page updated on 03.10.2015
 
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The Riviera Maya stretches on 200 km (124 miles) of beaches along the most beautiful ocean in the world. It is a true paradise for the amateurs of farniente : blue sky, turquoise water, fine white sand beaches and golden sun. In addition to these essential four elements, the shore has other unsuspected interests to discover and enjoy : the Mayan world first. You can discover many vestiges, hidden in the tropical jungle. Their origin dates from the distant past, one or two thousand years ago. From these old stones polished by the millenniums, emerge the soul of the Mayas. The descendants of these people, at the origin of the whole Meso-America civilization, are still living there.
The Mayan World is also the world of the jungle, their natural habitat, thick tropical vegetation with a surprising variety of animal species. There is also the Sian Ka'an reserve the largest natural reserve in Mexico with an area of 530 000 ha. It is hard to get in but fascinating when you get there.
And there is also the miracle of the "cenotes". These small and big lakes, shimmering under the opulent foliage of the jungle, supplied by a large underground river net, are the hot spots for diving in caves. All level divers can enjoy the ocean, particularly the Arrecife Maya, the divers’ El Dorado.

There is a long band of beaches and coves between the ocean and the jungle.

Playa del Carmen

An enviable geographical location, large beaches, a sea paradise of divers : here is Playa del Carmen, key of Riviera Maya. The old fishermen village, a modest seaport for the ferry to Cozumel, after years of quiet life along the immutably blue sea, has been converted into an international sea resort able to welcome 400,000 tourists in high season. It is a lively place with every service a demanding tourist expects. Playa del Carmen, "playa" for the regulars, Xaman Há in Maya, is located 52 km (32miles) from Cancun airport and from the Mayan city Tulum.
The maximum hotel capacity is still not reached so Playa del Carmen is still a good choice. But, for how long ?
Playa del Carmen is an ideal base to share your time between the sea and the country : the surroundings offer many possibilities of excursions, walking or horse riding. You can also go further : air conditioned bus tours leave the city to the whole Riviera Maya through Federal Road 307. There are also many beaches, coves and lagoons, as well as a wonderful coral reef, close by. At the north, Coco Beach is one of the nicest beaches in the area offering, less than 50m (164feet) from the coast, a coral reef. The best diving spots are "Tortuga" and "Barracuda" reefs.


In Playa del Carmen, several diving centers offer beginners and advanced, equipment rental and scuba or snorkel expeditions.
Here is the website of a friendly and effective center : (eng,span,german,dutch).

There is also an interesting golf course.


sunset in Playa del CarmenAfter a sunny day, Playa del Carmen offers a long stroll. Quinta Avenida, mainly walking street, is really busy with relaxing people. You can find any kind of lodging, from the most luxurious ones to the simplest, and restaurants that can suit all taste and purses in Playa del Carmen. There are also many beach clubs “in” with night activities, cafés and music bars. The avenues are parallel to the sea and the streets perpendicular. The other important axis is Avenue Juárez, perpendicular to the sea, lined with banks, traditional shops and cheap restaurants.

     Right picture : sunset in Playa del Carmen

Be aware that many hotels don’t have a beach anymore. Check, not with the travel agency that will tell you that everything is fine, but with the hotel and ask for a picture of its beach.
The problem of no beach is worst every year either because of the cyclones, or because of the real estate developers !

 

close to Playa del CarmenWe recommend small scale hotels. They are many in Playa, and they are more charming than the "all inclusive" resorts.

The Hotels Association of the Riviera Maya (AHRM) publishes a list of hotels and resorts :

 

Left picture : close to Playa del Carmen

 

 

 

Diving in Playa del Carmen

Nice 4 minute video about the seabed of the Riviera Maya

Map of the state :


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