Most people consider Playacar among the most scenic spots to stay on the Riviera Maya, and it's certainly among the most laidback. So, if you're after a relaxing holiday, this is the spot for you. Just 15 years ago it was a small fishing village, but now it's a fun cosmopolitan city that combines modern attractions with Mayan culture and a great coastline.
1. Go diving
|Hawksbill turtle in Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System - Photo by flickr/Wiborg|
It's no secret that Mexico is home to some stunning marine life, so if you're into diving, this is one of the best places to come. Playacar is particularly good because it's so close to the island of Cozumel, where you'll find the Great Mayan Reef - part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is the second-largest on the planet.
While this is perhaps the best-known spot to go diving, it's also well worth checking out the local cenotes - especially the Dos Ojos cenote, which ranks among the area's top attractions. Loads of divers flock here because it's home to a huge stretch of underwater caves and caverns, which are a real thrill to explore.
Explore more: 8 Things to Do in Mexico for the Adrenaline Seeker
|Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System|
2. Check out the local history
This area of Mexico is famous for its Mayan history, so you really can't miss discovering some of its archaeological sites during your stay. The best place to visit locally is Tulum, which is hidden in the jungle and perched on a cliff-top around 40 miles south of Playacar.
While it's not exactly within walking distance, it's well worth a visit. As well as seeing famous structures like the Temple of the Frescoes and the Temple of the Descending God, you'll come face-to-face with some pretty incredible views of the Caribbean Sea.
3. Have a night on the town
Playacar has a reputation for being a relaxed, laidback destination - but this doesn't mean it's not a lively place when the sun goes down. To be in the heart of the action, get yourself over to Quinta Avenida - which you'll likely hear locals calling La Quinta - which boasts a huge array of bars and clubs pumping out lots of different kinds of music.
What's particularly nice about Playacar is that it also regularly hosts parties on the beach, which attract DJs from around the world. This is a great option if you want to make the most of the coastal setting and let your hair down at the same time.
4. Get a taste of Mexico
|Fish cooked tikin xic-style|
Who can travel overseas and resist getting a taste of the local cuisine? As this destination is so cosmopolitan, you can get pretty much any style of cooking you can imagine here but, of course, it's likely you'll want to sample some classic Mexican food.
For a really unique experience, opt for dishes that take their inspiration from the Mayan culture. A good example is fish cooked tikin xic-style, which is a dry fish in a marinade, wrapped in banana leaves and baked.
Explore more: Visit and Taste Mexico for an Awesome Vacation
5. Hit the shops
|Shopping at Playa del Carmen|
Playa del Carmen is a great place for shopping, with one of the most popular areas for a holiday splurge being La Quinta. It's home to everything from boutiques selling clothes by local designers to galleries where you can buy regional art. Plus, it's worth keeping an eye out for wine shops, which sell some interesting local liqueurs, like xtabentun, which is made with honey and anise.
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