Visit Cancun’s Alternative – Playa Del Carmen

Visit Cancun’s Alternative – Playa Del Carmen

Written By: Santana

When you think of Mexico, there’s often one destination that seems to be most popular -- Cancun. While I’m a huge fan of traveling to Cancun and I definitely think it’s one of the most beautiful places in the country, I do have a secret for those who want something a little different while still being similar to a destination like Cancun.

Another beautiful beach town in the Yucatán Peninsula, Playa Del Carmen is a perfect alternative to Cancun for a few reasons. It’s a little smaller than Cancun and since Cancun is so close, more visitors stay in that area leaving Playa Del Carmen quieter and more relaxing. That’s not to say that Playa Del Carmen is boring or lacking energy because actually that’s not true either. Countless resorts and hotels are located throughout Playa Del Carmen as well as entertainment and nightlife. So what makes Playa Del Carmen so much different than Cancun? Most visitors that I’ve talked to go to Cancun for that resort experience and Playa Del Carmen provides recreation and more adventurous activities rather than just lounging at the pool or hanging out beach. If you like to participate in day trips or excursions more than just lounging, Playa Del Carmen gives you the same gorgeous views and ambience, but with a little bit more activity.

Here are some of the things that Playa Del Carmen offers that might help you determine whether you want to spend your next vacation in Cancun or head to this amazing Mexican city.


If you love snorkeling or diving, Playa Del Carmen has some of the best snorkeling destinations in the world. The Yucatán is famous for underground caves called cenotes, which has some of the most bright and clearest water around -- if you want to snorkel and explore underwater, these cenotes are a must. For those who have a diving license, you can venture further into the caves with a guide. Notable cenotes include Garden of Eden and Cenote Dos Ojos.

Mayan Ruins

Of course, if you’re in the Yucatán Peninsula you definitely need to make time to go see the ancient Mayan pyramids. Located in Tulum, which is only a short drive south of Playa Del Carmen, the Mayan ruins are fascinating and full of culture and history. You can set up a day trip to the pyramids through the hotel or ask concierge for information on taxi service that takes guests to Tulum. One piece of advice however is if you’re visiting later in the afternoon it becomes much busier at the Mayan sites -- I highly recommend you get there as soon as you can so that you have the best and most peaceful atmosphere.

Check out the Nightclubs

As I mentioned, Playa Del Carmen has its own share of entertainment and nightclubs even if they’re not as busy or high-energy as Cancun. This coastal community is perfect for the traveler who wants to experience a little bit of everything during a trip to Mexico. One of the most famous nightclubs in Playa Del Carmen is known as Coco Bongo, which has a little bit of everything in it including a nightclub and show entertainment -- it’s really something that you should consider seeing at least once if you’re in Playa Del Carmen.

Enjoy the food

I might be a little biased, but Mexican food is delicious -- especially when you’re eating it in the Yucatán Peninsula. Mexican street food is tasty and inexpensive; you can easily find tacos or other authentic eats nearly everywhere in the city. One of the most popular destinations in Playa Del Carmen is the Yo Amo Tacos and El Fogon. Both of these places are very casual and feature authentic ingredients -- you aren’t going to want to leave Mexico without trying some of the street food.

Visit Cozumel

If you want to explore on a day trip, you can take a short ferry ride over to the island of Cozumel, which features scenic beaches and a fun island ambience. One of my favorite things to do is to rent a scooter and drive it around checking out the various beaches and grabbing food at all of the street spots.

Playa Del Carmen is perhaps my favorite place in the Yucatán Peninsula because there is a diverse range of things to do -- whether you plan on just relaxing on the beach or you want to explore the area, this destination has it all.

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