The Riviera Maya is an incredible place known worldwide for its diverse culture, history, fauna, and flora. It’s a place so huge you could spend years living there and still not have experienced everything that this fantastic location has to offer to visitors. Even trying to figure out where to start can be a difficult task, and that’s why we want to help by showing you some activities in Playa del Carmen.
Whether you are a seasoned traveler visiting the region for the hundredth time or you are a first-timer, we have the complete guide of activities, events, and excursions to make for a memorable vacation. During the next getaway, travelers need to explore off of the resort and discover all of the hidden wonders waiting for them. So, keep reading and learn about all of the must-do activities in Playa del Carmen and the surrounding area.
The History of One of the Top Tourist Destinations in Mexico
Before we get started, let’s learn a bit about the destination we will be visiting and exploring! Playa del Carmen traces its roots back to the age of the Mayan civilization. At the time, this area was known as Xaman-Ha (Waters of the North). Xaman-Ha was one of the most essential stops for those who would travel to the Island of Cozumel, at the time known as a sacred island.
Through the years and following the Spanish colonization, Playa del Carmen was considered a small fisherman village. It wasn’t until 13 years after the city of Cancun was developed into a tourist destination that this quaint fishing village started to experience more development and visitors. As we fast forward to the current day, Playa del Carmen is now considered one of the most desirable locations to visit for travelers from across the world.
Now that you’re all caught up, let’s uncover all of the different activities you should partake in during your next visit:
Cultural Tours into the Past
While Playa del Carmen is well known for its warm weather and beaches, so much culture has been passed down throughout the years. To remind visitors of the great Mayan civilization that once ruled the Yucatan Peninsula, they can witness and experience the traditions, cities, and artifacts left behind.
The Mayan Ruins in Tulum are a place of great significance in the Yucatan Peninsula. Just a short drive from Playa del Carmen, visitors can visit the great city overlooking the ocean and even witness the great El Castillo pyramid that was once used as a lighthouse.
Deep within the Riviera Maya jungle is the ancient city of Coba. This unique city is unlike any other ruins in the area due to the fact that it’s not just a single site but instead several areas that lead to one place; the Nohoch Mul pyramid. A fun treat for travelers is that this is one of the only pyramids in the Riviera Maya that people can climb.
3. Playacar Mayan Ruins
While the other two Mayan ruins sites are just a short drive away, the Playacar Mayan Ruins are located in the gated Playacar complex directly in Playa del Carmen. While these ruins aren’t as grand as others in the peninsula, it still gives travelers a unique view of the world of the Mayans.
The Mayan culture wasn’t just passed down through ancient ruins; it also passed down traditions and ceremonies such as the Temazcal. The Temazcal is known as a Mayan sweat lodge and is used to purify the body. It connects the mind, body, senses, and nature. The benefits of a Temazcal include:
- Elimination of toxins
- Combat mild depression
- Improve endurance
- Reduce chronic fatigue
- Cleanse the respiratory system
Ready. Set. Adventure
Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and the Riviera Maya boast an endless amount of opportunities for travelers to experience fun, relaxation, and of course, adventure during their holidays. The best part is that guests can do it all, embodied by the stunning nature in the area. From the Caribbean Sea to the depths of the jungle, families, couples, friends, and solo travelers can discover what they are looking for. Here are some of the must-visit theme parks in Playa del Carmen for day trips:
The famous company Xcaret is well known for having some of the most desirable parks in the entire Riviera Maya. Each park offers visitors to experience something new and unique. From cultural and relaxing to thrill and mind-boggling, guests definitely need to plan a visit to one of their many parks. Here are the parks that we most recommend:
- Xplor – For those wanting thrill and excitement, this is the park for them. In the jungle, visitors get to zipline, rock climb, swim in an underground river, and drive ATVs.
- Xel-Há – Truly connect with the aquatic life at this unique park. Guests can snorkel in an inlet, float along a river, explore cenotes and coves, and slide down one of the largest water slides they have ever seen.
- Xenses – Visitors be warned, Xenses will change reality as they know it. Through different illusions and attractions, your senses will be taken on a trip and make you think twice about everything you see inside the park.
Fun Under the Sun
To any of those who have visited the area or even just have seen a single photo, they know about the radiant Caribbean sun. During their visit, guests need to have some fun under the sun before going back to cold and rainy weather. Here are some of the best outdoor activities in Playa del Carmen.
Guests might be disappointed to find out that surfing isn’t an option when visiting the Mexican Caribbean, but we have the ideal alternative. Grab a board and a paddle out into the water, enjoying the rays and stunning turquoise waters. Here are some of our favorite activities in Playa del Carmen to try under the sun.
This activity is for those who have practiced this sport back home or during other stays. Allow for thrill and exhilaration to take over as you bear the waves of the sea!
Soar through the air like a bird during your parasailing tour! Parasailing is similar to skydiving, but instead of jumping out of a plane, the guests are securely strapped to a parachute which is connected to a boat that safely lifts you into the air, allowing you to enjoy the refreshing Caribbean breeze.
There’s nothing like getting on this aquatic vehicle and racing through the water! For guests staying at our Playa del Carmen hotels, you can securely rent a jet-ski with Scuba Libre, located on the beach at each resort.
Travelers have plenty of options to see different species of animals such as monkeys, iguanas, and birds roaming about freely! But what about the underwater flora and fauna just waiting to show you their homes? Playa del Carmen is located on the coast of the Caribbean sea and also has numerous freshwater cenotes and endless possibilities for snorkeling, free diving, and scuba diving. Check out the following blogs to know the best places to go and when to visit:
- Best Cenotes to Visit in the Riviera Maya
- Swimming with Sea Turtles
- Swim with Whale Sharks in Cancun and Playa del Carmen
Luxury Fun and Relaxation
While adventure and exploration are a definite must during their vacation, travelers can’t forget about the luxurious and exclusive side of Playa del Carmen and the different relaxing and exciting places to visit, meet new friends, enjoy delicious cocktails, and relax. Here are some of the most desirable excursions and beach clubs in Playa del Carmen:
- Catamarans and Luxury Sailing – Enjoy the sea with music and cocktails on a catamaran tour to one of the many islands in the area or indulge in exclusive amenities during a day or sunset luxury sailing cruise.
- Martina Beach Club – While this location offers amenities and services for all ages, this adult-focused beach club is ideal for those who want to escape from the stresses of everyday life and enjoy a day on the beach and/or by the pool.
- Kool Beach Club – Now who said that the entire family couldn’t have an entertaining day indulging in music, entertainment, delicious food, and drinks? Kool Beach Club is a family travelers go-to option for a day in paradise in Playa del Carmen.
- Coralina Daylight Club – Escape the crowds and focus on a day overlooking the ocean with exclusive entertainment and the best drinks in Playa del Carmen at this adult-only club in the Playa del Carmen.
A Night on the Town
Once guests have spent a day enjoying their all-inclusive amenities at Sandos Caracol or Sandos Playacar, their desire to have a night on the town is just too undeniable. While both resorts in Playa del Carmen provide endless options for dinner and nightly entertainment, it’s crucial to experience more about what makes the area so unique.
The best thing about activities in Playa del Carmen is that they welcome people from all over the country, so it leaves travelers plenty of options for delight. While guests can enjoy international delights before heading to the party, we encourage travelers to indulge in the many options of Mexican food from the best chefs in the country; these include:
- La Perla
- El Fogon
- LA Vagabonda
- Alux Restaurant and Bar
Time to Experience the Nightlife in Playa del Carmen
After indulging in the mouth-watering Mexican cuisine, it’s time to choose the place to close off the night in an amazing way. Luckily, Playa del Carmen, Mexico, offers so many distinct options for its visitors. There are very few places in the world that provide the same choices as this amazing location for a perfect night in paradise:
- Coco Bongo – An internationally known nightclub that puts on amazing shows, unbeatable service, and appetizing beverages.
- Mandala – Exclusivity at its best with high-end drinks and music/entertainment.
- Clandestino – When you are looking for a place to connect both with others from different countries and the locals, Clandestino is your place. With two areas, one offering internationally known music and one with techno, you will be able to find the right vibe.
Avoiding Harmful Activities in Playa Del Carmen
There are so many activities and excursions in the Riviera Maya to do responsibly, but there are a select few that cause damage to the incredible reputation this amazing place has. Unfortunately, some businesses exploit animals for money, and we strongly encourage travelers to avoid these harmful people.
Whether it be walking on the beach or the famous 5th avenue, you may see some animals under the care of individuals that use their unique beauty to make some extra money. Avoiding these scams and hurtful businesses will show that allowing these animals to live freely is what makes tourism in this spectacular location so desirable. Enjoy these creatures from afar, living freely and happily.
All-Inclusive Resorts in Playa del Carmen
The moment a traveler decides on Playa del Carmen as their next vacation destination, they need the full experience. That starts at Sandos Hotels & Resorts. All they need to do is choose the resort that fits their style the best!
If you looked up the perfect beach vacation in the dictionary, Sandos Playacar should pop up first. Located on a beautiful white sand beach, guests of all ages can enjoy exceptional amenities and services. Through outstanding daily and nightly activity programs, guests get nothing but the best beach vacation in Mexico.
For anyone looking to indulge in nature at the same time as all-inclusive services in Playa del Carmen, book Sandos Caracol! Located within the Riviera Maya Jungle, guests have the opportunity to swim in freshwater cenotes, snorkel in a river, witness traditional Mayan performances, interact with free-living animals, and so much more.
*Both resorts are family-friendly, with the option for adult-only getaways in Playa del Carmen. Select Club Guests at Sandos Hotels & Resorts indulge in premium cocktails, areas, rooms, and more.
Are you thinking about traveling to this wonderful location and partaking in activities in Playa del Carmen? Make sure to enjoy all of the different things and places that we have mentioned above! Sandos Hotels & Resorts is dedicated to ensuring that its guests enjoy the unbeatable services this location provides on and off the resort! Experience the must-do activities Playa del Carmen has for its visitors