Green palms, turquoise waters and white sands – Mexico’s Playa del Carmen is a riot of tropical colours. The coastal town is situated on the Riviera Maya and skirted by the Caribbean Sea, promising plenty of underwater activities, sun-soaked shores and unforgettable nightlife.
With ‘playa’ meaning ‘beach’ in Spanish, it’s no surprise that Playa del Carmen’s biggest draw is its beaches. The most popular among these is Mamitas, abuzz with DJs belting out electronic music at beach clubs like Kool and Mamita’s. For a more peaceful setting, you can head to Playa Punta Esmeralda, a unique beach featuring a cenote – a natural sinkhole where you can swim in the freshwater. There are also several shores perfect for snorkelling and scuba diving amidst the Caribbean’s colourful marine life. After a day in the water, you can unwind with a stroll along Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) – a lively pedestrian street which runs parallel to the beach and is lined with shops, bars and restaurants.
Playa del Carmen is home to an assortment of theme parks sure to delight adults and children alike. For a taste of the ancient Mayan civilisation, check out Xcaret Park – an eco-archaeological park nestled in a jungle – featuring underground rivers, cenotes, natural sanctuaries and cultural shows. A few steps away is Xplor, an adventure park where you can go zip lining, drive an amphibious vehicle and swim through caves. If you’re travelling with kids, the beachside Parque Los Fundadores offers a playground, bronze sculptures and traditional performances.