wher eto stay in playa del carmen mexico

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen Mexico: Best Areas and Hotels

Wondering where to stay in Playa del Carmen for Couples, Families, Budget, All-Inclusive? We’ll help you find the best areas and neighborhoods to stay in Playa Del Carmen in this guide.

Playa del Carmen is a tourist resort on the Caribbean Coast of Mexico. Its growth has been boosted by visits from the PGA Golf Tour and it being selected as a location for a series of television programs. 

Even the average low temperature in mid-winter rarely falls below 20C with temperatures over 30C for month after month. Such figures are ideal for enjoying a beach holiday and the tourist infrastructure has grown as visitor numbers have increased.

The small fishing town has long gone. Today sees a city with a population of quarter of a million with high rise developments, all-inclusive and boutique hotels, plenty of bars and restaurants, beach and golf. Tourists require little more. 

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen: Tips & Info

The obvious attraction of Playa del Carmen begins with the beautiful beaches and warm sea for the majority of the year. Each of the five areas mentioned offer that attraction with good quality accommodation readily available. 

Some tourists want all-inclusive resorts but others want the opposite; the chance to get out of the resort to sample local restaurants. The appeal of Mayakoba is the setting itself with luxury for those wishing to pay a little extra.

While the north is closest to the airport in Cancun, the south is closest to Tulum for history enthusiasts. Downtown still offers lovely beaches but also the chance to experience local life and a well-developed infrastructure.

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen Mexico – 5 Best Area & Neighborhood

Playa del Carmen is in the heart of almost 75 miles of coastline, effectively the ‘’capital of the Mayan Riviera.’’ This region on the Yucatan Peninsula was the former home of the Mayan Empire.  Those just wanting sun, sand, water sports and good nightlife will find it all here.

The history and culture of the Peninsula also attracts people wanting a little more from their holiday.  Read on to get some ideas of the best areas to investigate. Singles may be looking for different areas from families, partygoers from those wanting a quiet time

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen map

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen map
Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen Map

To see more detail oncwhere to stay in Playa del Carmen map, go to Google Map

1. Downtown, Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen for Singles, Families, Couples

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen: Downtown
Downtown Playa del Carmen @daryl_mitchell

Downtown comprises a few districts that added together provide everything a tourist might want, whether singles, couples or families. El Centro is exactly that with Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) named after the famous thoroughfare in Manhattan, New York. Just as in the USA, Quinta Avenida is a place with plenty of shops, restaurants and nightlife in general.

Playacar has a gated resort that is certainly family friendly and the beach of more than 4 miles completes Downtown. Hotels range from adult-only to all inclusives, some on the beach and others within the City itself. Budget travelers will also find cheap accommodation readily available


  • You want a good choice of accommodation
  • You are a single traveler on a budget
  • Whenever you go on holiday you want to shop
  • You need to know there is plenty for the kids to do
  • You enjoy good restaurants and a well-developed nightlife

2. North Playa, Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen for All-Inclusive Hotels

This area of Playa del Carmen offers real quality. That includes luxury hotels, often all-inclusive, the best of restaurants and residences available for rent providing independence to the occupants.

The Xcalacoco Beach with its lovely white sand.  sits in front of many of the restaurants. Behind, this area is quieter than Downtown, both day and night but is close enough for those wanting a change of scene from days of relaxing on the beach.


  • You want to avoid crowded areas for most of your holiday
  • You are looking for real quality, both in accommodation and cuisine
  • You enjoy good beachside facilities

3. Mayakoba, Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen for Water Sports

luxury area to stay in Playa del carmen: Mayakoba
Mayakoba @Noticaribe

The most luxurious area in Playa del Carmen is set in a wonderful natural setting to the north east of North Playa. Water taxis and footpaths take guests to the lovely white sand but what is different in Mayakoba is the proximity of the jungle, mangrove forest and lovely lagoons none of which have been harmed by tourist development.

Exotic fauna include monkeys, iguanas and a range of colorful tropical birds. Those interested in an active holiday have plenty to occupy their time. There are many trails with bikes for hire, a championship golf course, yacht charters, water sports as well as a dive center.

However, if all you want to do is relax, then that is no problem either. More leisure activities include visiting the farmers market or attending a cookery class. 


  • You are interested in plenty of daytime activities
  • The immediate environment is important to you
  • You do not mind paying for luxury

4. North Riviera Maya, Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen for Quiet Holiday

This area north of Playa del Carmen on the road to the resort of Cancun and the international airport is where you will find big all-inclusive resorts. There are smaller resorts as well, and each is distant from the two small towns within the area. The result is that the beaches will only be used by those staying in the resorts themselves.

If you want to experience local life, head to Punta Maroma or better still Puerto Morelos where there are beautiful botanical gardens, a crocodile conservation center and a zoo.


  • You want an all-inclusive holiday
  • You are not especially interested in a ‘’Mexican flavor’’ to you holiday
  • You prefer relatively quiet beaches 

5. South Riviera Maya, Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen for Snorkeling

This southern area heads towards the Mayan settlement of Tulum which is definitely worth a visit. It has many all-inclusive resorts but it is also a great natural area with jungle in the interior and the Island of Cozumel offshore.

There are once again lovely beaches and warm water to enjoy with many visitors to the area staying in all-inclusive hotels. Puerto Aventuras is the major town here with the Dolphin Park a daytime attraction. By night, sample the excellent restaurants.

Visitors enjoy snorkeling, exploring caves with underground waterways or just swimming. Kids will love the adventure parks


  • You like experiencing an interesting local environment
  • You enjoy snorkeling in crystal clear waters
  • You are traveling as a family with kids enjoying adventure parks

Is it Safe to Stay in Playa Del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is generally very safe with limited petty crime. Such crime exists everywhere in the world and travelers simply need to show common sense.

Those in all-inclusive resorts are certain to avoid any issues at all. If you are in places like Downtown, you will be interacting with locals. Petty crime especially in poor areas where tourists are perceived to have wealth is an issue everywhere but you would be unlucky to suffer from it in Playa del Carmen. 

As long as you do not wander into strange areas after dark, you will be fine. Mexico as a whole has a poor reputation for crime but the major problems only exist hundreds of miles away from Playa del Carmen.

Is It Better to Stay in Playa del Carmen or Cancun?

Cancun began as a small village and was the first resort in Yucatan. It is also the home of the airport that serves Playa del Carmen. As a result, tourists flying in will be at their resort quicker than those needing to head the 40 miles south to Playa del Carmen.

Cancun is probably more lively than Playa del Carmen but beyond that it holds no advantages over the latter. Playa del Carmen has accommodation for every budget, long stretches of beach and all the water sports that any tourist would wish to enjoy. Those wishing to explore the natural environment will certainly find plenty to interest them in Playa del Carmen.

How Many Days Do You Need in Playa Del Carmen?

A week in Playa del Carmen is sufficient to get a suntan and reinvigorate yourself but if you enjoy sun and sand, just a week will fly by. Many visitors head here from North America while for Europeans, they will need a long haul flight.

The result is that surely two weeks is better especially with so much to see and do if you want more than just days on the beach?

What Is the Best Month to Go to Playa Del Carmen?

While hot weather may appeal to those who live in countries with a poor climate, temperatures in the height of summer do make it difficult to enjoy any activities away from the beach.

If you are visiting local historical sites or playing golf, just as examples, both are a far more enjoyable experience in spring, April perhaps, and autumn, September and October.

Families are certainly restricted by school holidays but those facing no such restrictions can suit themselves.

Where Should I Stay in Playa Del Carmen?

There is plenty of choice in Playa del Carmen. Single travelers and those on a budget should look at Downtown first of all. Those seeking absolute top quality are advised to look at Mayakoba which combines luxury with a lovely natural setting.

Each of the areas described has access to lovely beaches, warm seas and water sports. If you want more than that, the south with its caves and the closest to Tulum is perhaps the best choice. In contrast, the north with two typically Mexican towns offers a different view of the region.

What Is the Rainy Season in Playa Del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen has limited rainfall. What does fall is likely to come between June and September. However, September as the rainiest month is unlikely to have more than 3 days of rain throughout the month.

Realistically, the rainy season is not really a factor in deciding when to visit Playa del Carmen.

How far Is Playa Del Carmen from Cancun Airport?

Cancun is just 40 miles to the north of Playa del Carmen so the transfer by bus, taxi or rental car does not take any more than an hour. Even after a long flight, an hour down the lovely Caribbean coastline is a pleasure.

Best Place to Stay in Playa Del Carmen for Couples 

Each of the different areas of Playa del Carmen has something for couples. They may want to enjoy the facilities of Downtown. If history and culture is an important part of their holiday then the South with Tulum not too far would be a good choice. 

If luxury and a stunning natural environment is a priority then Mayakoba is the first place to investigate.

For a romantic break, Mayakoba is probably an area to look at closely for the same reasons; comfort and luxury in a lovely setting.

Best Places to Stay in Playa Del Carmen All Inclusive?

All-inclusive accommodation has become a popular concept for holidaymakers wanting everything at hand. There is the added advantage of allowing tourists to budget in advance, knowing that meals and accommodation is paid for before arrival. 

North Playa has a number of all-inclusive hotels so it is probably where you should begin your research. Other than Downtown, it will be something that you will find throughout Playa del Carmen. 


The decision on where to stay in Playa del Carmen depends on your interests. It goes without saying that you are looking for a beach holiday if you pick this stretch of Mexico’s Caribbean coastline.. All-inclusive accommodation is readily available for those wanting not too concerned with much more.

Perhaps you just want to relax and there is no problem in that. Water sports are readily available while the caves in the south are interesting. Tourists have the opportunity to experience the history and culture of the region if they so wish without having to travel too far.

Downtown is the best place to find budget accommodation while the luxury of Mayakoba is at the other end of the spectrum. 

About Author

I'm Linda Smith. I'm passionate about traveling and I'm here to share with you all my travel experiences and tips. I hope all these things will make your travel easier.

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