Your vacation in Playa del Carmen doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 10 free and low-cost ways to enjoy the spectacular Riviera Maya.
1 5th Avenue
If there is one place in Playa del Carmen that never gets boring, it’s the 5th Avenue. The eclectic pedestrian street is one of the main attractions of the city. 22 blocks of shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers.
Enter an underwater world for only $15 USD! Nature lovers will enjoy the beautifully displayed tanks, exhibiting more than 200 species. The entrance is at the Plaza Corazón, between 12th and 14th Street, just off 5th Avenue. Opening hours are daily from 11 am to 9 pm.
3 Parque Fundadores
This park between the 5th Avenue and the beach, just next to the Cozumel ferry, is a very entertaining place. Watch the famous “voladores de papantla” fly, Mayan dancers performing under the “Portal Maya” statue, or just watch the beautiful Caribbean Sea. There’s also a playground for kids, and vendors sell snacks and fruits.
4 Playacar Ruins
You don’t need to play for a tour or drive far to see Mayan ruins. In Playacar, about 20 – 30 walking minutes from Playa Palms Beach Hotel, there are 2 small Mayan structures. The ruins are close to the entrance of Phase 1 in Playacar, across the street from the Fisherman’s Village Hotel. And the best thing is, you can visit them for free!
Did you know you can go to Cancun for as little as 36 pesos one way? That’s what a colectivo charges you. They leave from 2nd Street on the corner with 20th Street and between 20th and 25th Avenue (these are called Playa Express) and leave whenever they are full, usually every 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t want to eat at an expensive restaurant, we recommend you walk further away from 5th Avenue. Between 10th and 30th Avenue you find plenty of places! Try for example Nativo on 30th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th Street.
7 Playacar Beach
Playacar has beautiful beaches, which usually are less crowded than the ones downtown. You can easily get there by taxi or walking, just pass the ferry to Cozumel.
There are also colectivos that bring you to Tulum, for about 40 pesos one way. They leave from the 2nd Street too, between 15th and 20th Street. Just listen to the guy shouting “Tulum! Tulum!”. They also take you to the ruins, if you don’t want to take a tour.
Just outside of Playa del Carmen are 3 gorgeous open cenotes next to each other: Cenote Azul, Cristalino and Jardin del Edén. Enjoy swimming in their crystal clear, cool water! Entrance fee is between 100 – 150 pesos, and they are open until 6 pm. You can take the colectivo to Tulum to get there, just let the driver know that you want to get off at Cenote Azul.
10 Laguna Yal-ku
This beautiful little lagoon in Akumal makes for a unique snorkeling adventure as well as for a relaxing afternoon in its calm waters. It’s an inlet from the ocean, where the salt and fresh water mix. Watch sea turtles, tropical fish and manta rays in their natural habitat! Entrance fee is 200 pesos (130 for kids), and they are open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.