My itinerary: Where to stay and activities in Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Swimming pool La Tortuga Hotel & Spa

There are great lodging options in Playa del Carmen, we chose Las Tortugas Hotel & Spa for several reasons. We had a couple of tours planned and decided to sacrifice location and breakfast (although it is actually located less than a 10 minute walk from 5th avenue and has a shared kitchen, so you could prepare your own breakfast). This is an Airbnb-type accommodation, where the hosts (a Belgian couple) have taken it upon themselves to write down all the recommendations you can imagine about restaurants, stores and nearby beaches. The facilities are simple but cozy, you even have access to a small pool at the back of the house. They were very kind, they allowed us to leave our bags before check in and after check out. The name of this lodging is Berry House – Caribbean Style and we paid 25 dollars a night between the two of us. You can get to this hotel using a Cancun to Playa del Carmen Shuttle.

Taking advantage of the fact that I visited Playa del Carmen a few years ago and stayed at an all-inclusive resort, I will tell you a little about that experience. On that occasion, I stayed at the Hard Rock Riviera Maya – Heaven Section. It is an all-inclusive hotel. In the best rock & roll style, guests have access to 4 restaurants, 4 bars and a disco with a pool, all rooms have whirlpool tubs. In addition to a private beach and a spectacular pool with a bar in the middle. It’s really amazing, yet who would want to leave the hotel? That’s the problem. If the plan is to rest and stay in the hotel, this is definitely the best option, but if you want to really get to know Playa del Carmen I suggest not staying in an all-inclusive hotel.

What to do in Playa del Carmen?

Walk along the fifth avenue

A pedestrian street parallel to the sea, very colorful and full of life. There you will find stores, restaurants, bars, discos and tourist attractions. It is pleasant to walk along. Perfect to find a place to eat or have a beer, to shop or just to walk and have fun. You should visit it at least one afternoon.

Diving with bull sharks

Many of us love to dive, every chance you get you do a couple of dives. The highlight of this experience is that you saw bull sharks during the dive, the biggest of 2.5 meters. The first day we explored the possible dive schools that offer excursions in the area, the first one that caught his attention was Phantom Divers, the excursions they offer are striking and the price is similar to the rest of the schools, there are dives near Playa del Carmen but they also offer diving in Cozumel departing from Playa del Carmen. If you like to dive we share with you the insights from our perspective:

Good visibility

Interesting marine life (although not guaranteed, it is usual to find bull sharks).

Despite being the second largest barrier reef, not many live corals are seen on this excursion (it is worth mentioning that from the beginning it was explained to us that the Cozumel expedition focuses its attraction on corals, so if you prefer the colorful corals you could explore that option)

Medium/shallow depth

Try some adrenaline at Xcaret’s Xplor park

Amphibious car at Xplor Park

We loved this park. We wanted to visit one of the parks in the Xcaret complex and after doing some research we decided on Xplor Fuego, the night experience, it is a little cheaper and you will feel more adrenaline. As a Playa del Carmen, if you want to go to other destinations you can use a Cancun or a Tulum Shutlle.

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