Are you planning your vacation in Playa del Carmen? There are a few things to consider. From the best time to visit, how to get from the airport to your hotel, safety and what to pack, here is some useful information and resources for planning your first trip to Playa del Carmen.
Taxis are an easy and relatively inexpensive way to get around Playa del Carmen. Here are some answers to the questions, we get asked most, like the estimated cost and what to be aware of.
Where can I get a taxi?
You can either just stop a taxi on the street, which is as simple as holding up your arm until one pulls over. Or go to a taxi stand where they are queued up for customers, but also charge a bit more.
There are several taxi stands downtown Playa del Carmen. One is just outside of Playa Palms Beach Hotel, then there is usually one outside of supermarkets. On the 5th Avenue, you find taxi stands at the corner with the 10th street, another with Constituyentes Avenue and on Juarez Avenue, just outside the ADO bus station (where you arrive if you take the bus from the airport). Also, supermarkets usually have a taxi stand out front.
Do taxi drivers speak English?
Some do. Usually, drivers from a taxi stand speak a little bit more English. We recommend that you carry a card with the address of the hotel you’re staying at to show it to the driver and make sure you always find your way back.
How much is a taxi ride?
Taxis in Playa del Carmen don’t use a meter. Instead, they have a chart based on the areas you are going to and from. that indicate a cost. As probably anywhere else in the world, they tend to overcharge tourists. It helps if you sound like you know how much to pay (see the list below for an overview of the fees). To make sure you don’t end up paying too much, ask them how much they charge before getting in, or if you know the price, just pay that amount when arriving at your destination.
Here is a list with the approximate fee from Playa Palms Beach Hotel / downtown Playa del Carmen to following places:
- to the ADO bus station: max. 50 pesos
- to the airport: 650 – 750 pesos
- to Cancun hotel zone: 700 pesos
- to downtown Cancun: 670 pesos
- to Puerto Juarez (ferry to Isla Mujeres): 750 – 800 pesos
- to Puerto Morelos: 450 pesos
- to Tulum: 670 pesos
- to Tulum hotel zone: 720 pesos
- to Akumal: 410 pesos
These fees are for up to 4 people, and be aware that at night they charge a little extra fee.
Can I pay in US dollars?
Yes, you can. Everybody in Playa del Carmen likes to see dollar bills. But be aware that the driver will probably use an exchange rate to his advantage and you will end up paying up to 50% more.
Should I tip the taxi driver?
It’s not usually done. Unless he helps you with your suitcases or gave you a really good service, then tip him 10 – 20 pesos.
Even though you are probably visiting Playa del Carmen as a tourist, you might want to avoid an all too touristy experience. Our guests at Playa Palms Beach Hotel come here to relax, enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean, and get to know the Mexican culture. If that is your idea of a perfect vacation, make sure to keep it that way by staying away from these tourist traps.
Playa del Carmen’s most famous street itself is probably the biggest tourist trap. But, let’s be honest, would you expect otherwise? Some restaurants and bars have very high prizes that are unreasonable taking their food quality in account. But of course, there are also many very recommendable places. Our concierge at Playa Palms Beach Hotel knows the best places to have dinner or a drink.
Walking along the 5th Avenue, you will pass by many souvenir shops that advertise with “special prize” or “Sale” signs, or telling that they are closing soon, making you believe that they have an extra good deal for you. Only that it’s not true, they always have the same prizes. Better look at different stores and buy your souvenirs where you find the best price after comparing.
As in probably every city around the globe, the taxi drivers here usually try to rip you off. To avoid paying three times the actual prize, ask the staff at the front desk of your hotel how much a taxi should charge you for what distance or ask them to order a taxi for you.
Guests at Playa Palms Beach Hotel can explore the city center easily by foot, since restaurants, nightlife and entertainment are within short walking distance. For more information about getting around in Playa del Carmen, read here.
Playa del Carmen is surrounded by plenty of interesting places to visit, like Chichen Itza, Tulum or Xcaret. But not all excursions are created equal and if you asked different tour vendors, you’d find out that prizes vary widely. Talk to the concierge desk at your hotel to find out which tour guides and companies offer the best value for your money. The concierge desk at Playa Palms Beach Hotel knows the highest-quality tours in the area and can make the necessary accommodations for you.
Currency and exchange
You can pay pretty much everywhere in Playa del Carmen with US dollars. Just be sure to know the actual exchange rate. While for tours, parks or accommodations the prices in pesos or dollar usually are the same, at restaurants or bars they often use an exchange rate that doesn’t benefit you at all and you end up paying more using US dollars.
We recommend to always have Mexican pesos on you too. The best way to get pesos is by using an ATM. Make sure it’s an official bank ATM, not the blue ones on the 5th Avenue, since the exchange commission rate there is about 30%. For more tips about currency exchange, read here.
When you make your reservations at Playa Palms Beach Hotel, our staff will ensure you have the exclusive Riviera Maya vacation you were dreaming of.
Should I rent a car or use taxi? How about public transportation and what’s the best way to get from the airport to my hotel? Here are some answers.
How to get from the airport to my hotel
It takes about 1 hour to get from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen. If the hotel you’re staying at doesn’t provide a transfer service, these are your options:
- The public ADO bus brings you to the bus station on the 5th Avenue, from where you can take a taxi. The bus leaves about every 30 minutes and a ticket costs 168 Pesos.
- A colectivo, a minivan, drops you off at your hotel. You pay between 400 and 600 Pesos, depending how many people are traveling. Since they drop everybody off at their hotel it might take you a while to arrive in Playa del Carmen.
- A private transfer from 1000 Pesos up.
- Rent a car from one of the several car rental companies at the airport.
The best way to explore Playa del Carmen
…is on foot. The city’s center is pedestrian friendly, with most of the activities centered around the pedestrian-only 5th Avenue.
Playa Palms Beach Hotel is located in the very center of Playa del Carmen, with everything within a short walking distance.
Taxis are abundant in Playa del Carmen and a rather inexpensive way to move around. The prices are fixed, but like probably everywhere else in the world, drivers tend to charge you more. Therefore, better ask in your hotel how much they’re supposed to charge you and agree with the driver upon a price before hopping in.
The large and comfortable ADO buses connect the major cities and towns in the area. They are all air conditioned and run on a fixed schedule which you can check on here. The two bus stops in Play del Carmen are on the 5th Avenue with Avenida Juarez, and on the 20th Avenue with 12th Street.
If you want to feel like a local use the “colectivos”, the minivans take you from Playa del Carmen to Cancun or Tulum and makes stops in between when you ask them to. Just wave them down or go to the terminal on the 2nd street.
Unless you’re planning on exploring beyond the main Playa del Carmen area, a car isn’t really necessary.
Fares are from around 30 USD upwards a day, depending on the type of the car. International companies tend to be a bit more expensive, but they also have more cars to choose from and a better insurance system. It’s advisable to take all the insurance offered. In fact, many car rental companies won’t rent you a vehicle if you don’t buy also their full insurance.
Parking in Spanish is “Estacionamiento”; hence the big E on signs. We don’t have parking at Playa Palms Beach Hotel, but you can leave your car nearby at the roadside. The sidewalks are painted to signalize the parking status. White means parking is allowed, yellow and red means it’s forbidden. There are also 2 parking lots within 3 blocks of the hotel.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- The way people drive here in Mexico is probably different than what you’re used to and maybe not everybody respects the street signs, so please drive carefully.
- Navigating within Playa del Carmen is easy thanks to the town’s grid layout, but most of the streets in the center are one way.
- There are a lot of speed bumps
- Streets get very slippery when it rains.
- It is permitted to go right on a red light.
On two wheels
Exploring the town on a bike is a lot of fun! There are several bike rental shops on the 10th Avenue. Or rent a scooter or a motorcycle to explore the area beyond Playa del Carmen.