Are you planning to spend your weekend in Playa del Carmen? You’ll find yourself in the best place on earth! With plenty of activities to do and gorgeous beaches, awesome parties, lots of culture, the most delicious food, water sports, parks… Here’s a guide to how you can get the most out of your time!
Visit one of the most unique places on the Yucatan Peninsula: the Biosphere Reserve Sian Ka’an, just south of Tulum. Spend an unforgettable time discovering hidden beaches, coral reefs, tropical forests, cenotes and exotic animals!
Sian Ka’an is Maya for “Origin of the Sky” or “The place where the sky is born”, which seems very appropriate once you get there and feel how truly magical the place is. There are many reasons why Sian Ka’an is definitely worth a visit. To begin with, it’s the region’s number one in sustainable tourism and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Covering 10% of the state of Quintana Roo and with about 120 km of coast line, Sian Ka’an is one of Mexico’s largest protected Biosphere Reserves.
Sian Ka’an has an exceptionally diverse ecosystem, ranging from cenotes (natural sinking holes), palm savannas, tropical forests, mangrove swamps, to lagoons, white sandy beaches and dunes. A special phenomenon are the “petenes”, small forested islands that emerge from the flooded marshes. Besides from this area, they are only found in Florida and Cuba. But the beauty of Sian Ka’an’s landscape not only lies in its diversity, but in the fact that the landscape remained relatively undisturbed and the well protected coastline. Its marine area protects a large part of the coral reef, with its rich marine life like sea turtles and manatees.
The diverse landscape is home to an exceptional variety of species, among them animals that are rarely found elsewhere. You’ll get to see tapirs, howler and spider monkeys, crocodiles, jaguars, pumas and pink flamingos to only name a few. Over 300 species of birds fly the sky over Sian Ka’an.
If these aren’t enough reasons to visit Sian Ka’an, it also includes 23 archaeological sites, the most famous being Muyil (also known as Cunyaxché). Muyil was one of the earliest Mayan settlements on the Caribbean Coast, being populated around 330 B.C. It’s situated close to the Muyil lagoon and visitors today can still travel through the lagoons and the ancient canal system that access the Caribbean Sea.
Want to add Sian Ka’an to your Playa del Carmen bucket list? There are several ways to get there. You can rent a car (make sure it’s a 4×4), take the 4 USD entry and explore the site on your own. If you want to be on the safe side, and make sure you’re going to see what you want to see, take a tour. There are several tour options tailored to your interests. These include general, day-long tours as well as tours dedicated to more specific interests, such as kayaking, bird watching or diving. Our staff at Playa Palms Beach Hotel is happy to help you with any arrangements!
You’ve probably already heard about the park, where you fly through the Riviera Maya skies and waterfalls on a zip line. Did you know you can visit Xplor also at night? Discover the night flying with zip lines and riding an ATV through the park that’s lighted by torches, bonfires and fireflies. Your entry also includes a buffet with unlimited BBQ ribs, snacks and beverages.
Get to know the rich Mexican culture in the most fun and romantic way possible: in Xoximilco! It was built to pay tribute to the original Xochimilco in Mexico City, which is considered a Culture World Heritage, and one of Mexico’s most iconic places. In Xoximilco Riviera Maya you will probably live your most authentic Mexican experience while floating on colorful gondola-like boats (trajineras) through the canals. On the boat you will be served a wide variety of Mexican food and drinks, listen to Mariachis play, and, after some Tequilas, you will probably even dance with them.
We can’t possibly talk about nighttime activities in Playa del Carmen without mentioning its famous 12th street, just around the corner of Playa Palms Beach Hotel. Even though you’re not a party animal, it’s worth just strolling through the street. Listen to the music blasting from the open air clubs, watch the fire-artists juggling burning cones while strutting on stilts through the 12th street, or just people-watch Playa del Carmen’s party folk. If you are in the mood of a good party, we highly recommend Coco Bongo and its amazing show.
Night of Kukulkán
Chichen Itzá is a must see in this region. Now you can also visit the archaeological site by night, with its centerpiece, the pyramid El Castillo, shining through the night, illuminated with colorful lights. After a guided tour you will watch a light show on the walls of El Castillo, telling you the fascinating story of Chichen Itzá and the Mayan Civilization. Please know that if you want to visit Chichen Itzá for the night show, you have to go on your own account, since there’s no tour providing this nighttime activity. At morning or afternoon just ask at the box office on site to sign up for the show. Our staff at Playa Palms Beach Hotel is happy to help you organize transportation.
Are you looking for a whole different scuba diving experience? Try diving at night. Experience a whole new world, since the underwater environment is completely different with nocturnal creatures starting to wake up and emerging from their hiding places. Especially during full moon a night dive is a unique, beautiful and mystique experience. One of the most amazing things to experience during a night dive, besides the calmness, is the bioluminescence. Invisible during day, the plankton seems to gently glow in the darkness, making you feel like you’re swimming through the starry sky.
While on vacation in Playa del Carmen, you should definitely hop down south and spend a day in Tulum. It’s only 66 km / 41 miles south of Playa del Carmen, about an hour by car. Here are the sites you should definitely visit there:
Are you looking for a day trip from Playa del Carmen to a close by paradise? Try Cozumel, the island just off the coast. Here are the top 5 things you should definitely when visiting Cozumel:
1 Chankanaab National Park
This unique park has it all: diving and snorkeling among the coral reef, underwater statues, nature trails, dolphins, sea lions and other animals, amazing beaches and a lagoon. One of those places where you spend all day and don’t even notice how time flies by. Chankanaab is open from Monday to Saturday, 8 am to 4 pm and has a 21 USD admission fee (14 USD for children 3 – 11 years).
2 El Cielo
Without doubt one of the most mesmerizing beaches in the world! The many starfishes you can see in the only waist-high water, gave this beach its name. It’s also a wonderful snorkeling place with sea turtles and many colorful fishes to see. El cielo is only accessible by boat, what makes it necessary to book a tour to get there. Our staff at Playa Palms Beach Hotel is happy to help you!
3 Cozumel’s Pearl Farm
Who isn’t fascinated by pearls? The Cozumel Pearl Farm is located in a naturally protected beach, only accessible by boat. This has kept the environment around the farm in pristine condition. The farm is surrounded by the turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean sea on one side and dense mangrove lagoons on the other. The cultivated pearls are available for purchase.
4 Passion Island
The most romantic getaway in the Mexican Caribbean lies just off Cozumel’s shores. The Maya considered the island a sacred place and it’s alleged that if a wedding ceremony is celebrated there, the marriage will hold for all eternity. True or not, its white sandy beaches are a beautiful place to leave everyday hassles far behind. Picture yourself sipping on a delicious cocktail (yes, those with the little umbrella), lying in a hammock hanging suspended over the ocean. Or try one of the many water activities.
5 Rent a Bike
If you’re more about adventures than relaxing, rent a Jeep, ATV or a motorbike and go explore the island! Get away from the crowds and discover hidden beaches, Mayan ruins and the town by yourself. Let the island surprise you!
The ferry to Cozumel leaves at the beginning of the 5th Avenue, about 10 walking minutes from Playa Palms Beach Hotel. There are different ferry companies, they all charge between 135 and 167 pesos each way and leave quite often. It takes roughly 45 minutes to cross. The last ferry from Cozumel back to Playa del Carmen leaves usually at 10 pm.
For further information don’t hesitate to ask our staff at the front desk or our concierge, comment below or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org