How to Spend 48 Hours in Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen | © Robert Brands / Flickr
Mónica Ramírez López

Playa del Carmen is a beautiful destination on the Mayan Riviera. Once a little town, it is now a well-developed small city with the best attractions and is connected to the best resort towns. Theme parks, cenotes, archaeological zones, marinas, stunning beaches, golf courses, 5th Avenue: the tourist activities and places to visit are so many that two days doesn’t seem like long enough. Here we’ve prepared a guide to remove the hassle and get the best from Playa del Carmen in only 48 hours.

Day 1

Check in to a nice hotel: you don’t need to spend much money as you will be mostly outdoors. If you want something fancy with a good price, stay at Fashion Hotel & Spa, a contemporary hotel near the beach and close to the bustle of 5th Avenue.

5th Avenue, Playa del Carmen

If you’re on a budget but don’t want to compromise too much on quality, try Apart Hotel Casaejido, situated 10 minutes from the beach and near the main avenue. Once you leave your luggage, the first thing you should do is have a traditional breakfast in a restaurant on 5th Avenue. Try a traditional huevos rancheros (scrambled eggs in a very Mexican style) and drink a freshly squeezed orange, carrot and beetroot juice, and you’ll be ready for the day.

Next, there will be a decision to make: hit the beach in Playa del Carmen, or take a bus to Akumal, a coastal resort only 32 minutes away with a dazzling coral reef where you can snorkel among turtles under the turquoise waters. On your way to Akumal you will pass by Puerto Aventuras where you can see the dolphins and manatees in the marina. However, if you decide to stay in town, go directly to Playa Mamitas, the most popular beach with the best ambience – there are great bars, and sun loungers where you can relax and soak up the sun.

Akumal Beach

After spending the morning at the beach, relax in Playa del Carmen (or just Playa, as the locals call it). Freshen up in your hotel, and grab a bite for lunch on 5th Avenue, then make your way to Parque Fundadores, a park and a pier full of life, sculptures and traditional Mayan dance. Drink a Negra Modelo beer and enjoy the music of the mariachi band and the spectacle of the Voladores de Papantla – a dance troupe who fly around a pole. After watching the sunset, continue your way through this popular must-visit avenue that hosts the best of restaurants, bars and nightclubs. Take some drinks in Señor Frogs, and then look for Cocobongo and La Vaquita, you can’t miss them.

Parque Fundadores

Day 2

On your second day you have the chance to visit the area’s many tourist attractions, so, here is a hard decision to make: whether to visit Xcaret or Tulum. Xcaret is a park that has Mayan ruins, an underground river, dolphins to swim with, a beach, restaurants with international dishes, and so many other things in one park. On the other hand, Tulum is an archaeological zone on the coast, and with a beach that is considered the most stunning in the Mayan Riviera. You can take a boat trip and snorkel in the crystal waters, all only 50 minutes from Playa. Both spots have great restaurants for lunch. Whatever your decision is, you’ll be back in Playa in the afternoon.


After an intense morning of thrilling activities, have a relaxing massage and cool down in the swimming pool at your hotel, then get ready to hit 5th Avenue to do some sightseeing and shop for souvenirs. Then, celebrate your last night with a fancy dinner in Alux, a restaurant and lounge in a unique natural cavern; delight in the taste of the high cuisine served in one of the most impressive settings in Mexico, perhaps even the world. If you prefer something a little cheaper, stay on 5th Avenue, take some dinner and then go to Don Mezcal Bar, they have delicious one-liter drinks and a fun ambience. But the night is still young, so hit the nightclubs and enjoy your last night.

The 5th Avenue,Playa del Carmen, México
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