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Riveria Maya & Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is located in the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.  This beach town is located 30 miles south of Cancun.  Playa, as the locals call it,  is located on the coast of the Caribbean Sea. You generally fly into Cancun airport then transfer to Playa. 

Playa boasts miles of sandy, palm lined beaches, bordered by the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean. Dozens of varied restaurants and hotels are available to meet any budget or taste, and a tranquil and serene atmosphere and attitude that you won't find in tourist meccas like Cancun or Cozumel. Hit the beach and enjoy many watersports from windsurfing to scuba diving, jetskiing to peaceful snorkeling. Lie on the beach and tan, or boogie the night away to live music at a local hotspot. Take a short daytrip and visit Mayan ruins nestled in the jungle at Coba, or overlooking the Caribbean at Tulum. Visit the natural aquariums, water parks & adventure parks at: Rio Secreto, XPLOR, Xel-Ha, or Xcaret.

5th Avenue [Quinta Avenida] (shown below) is the main street in Playa that runs parallel to the ocean. It's around 500 meters from the water. In between the water and 5th are hotels, Bed & Breakfasts, Inns, Rentals, Timeshares, and restaurants. It is commonly referred to as, "Playa del Carmen's Pedestrian Walkway".

Along 5th Avenue you will find numerous stores selling interesting items as well as restaurants, dive shops and hotels. It is a vibrant atmosphere reminiscent of a carnival.

Some of the writeups we've liked which give a good overview of the area are:


Cozumel Island is 40 minute ferry ride from Playa Del Carmen, with daily trips almost every hour.  Known as the Island of Swallows, was a Mayan holy ground dedicated to Ixchel the fertility goddess. Later in history, it was visited by pirates who hid their treasures. Nowadays, Cozumel is a divers paradise discovered by Jaques Cousteau.   Going to Cozumel makes for a great day for fun as there are some interesting Mayan ruins sites, lots of shopping and amazing snorkeling.

Map of Riveria Maya

This map shows many of the cities, towns, resorts, etc that make up the riveria maya.

Map of Playa Del Carmen

There are a number of brochures you can pick up on 5th Ave. in Playa that have maps in them, but this one is handy to have so you know the general direction of things.

Click the image to open a larger version in a new window.