Playa del Carmen stands out for the landscapes of its pristine beaches, its cenotes, and its jungle, and even underground, in its caves and rivers. Check out our list of places with the most beautiful panoramic views in this vibrant city.
Just 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen, there’s a stunning beach free of crowds. Its white sands blending with the calm, crystal turquoise waters with a backdrop with vibrant green vegetation make for a serene and romantic view. As the shore of the beach is only 30 cm deep, it is the perfect setting for fashion photo shoots and artistic landscape photography. There’s a rocky area at the north, and a cove that connects with a dazzling cenote (natural pool) inside the mangroves.
Xel-Ha is a natural aquarium with cenotes, and a river flowing into the sea. This natural theme park has the most beautiful natural landscapes. From the lighthouse, you can appreciate a divine view of the whole park from a height of 30 meters. Every one of the areas is conserved in the most natural way possible. In addition to the Caribbean touch of the stunning turquoise colors, the Mayan Wall and Cave add and an enigmatic atmosphere, while the bay and the jungle, gardens, and mangroves make an exotic set of tropical colors.
Xcalacoco means twin coconuts, and it is a beach with a calm atmosphere and white sands. Around the beach, there are vestiges of the ancient Mayan civilization. Located just one kilometer away from Playa del Carmen, you can get there walking along the shore of the beach. The dazzling views of the crystal waters are complemented by a pier from where you can admire the breathtaking view. Walk around and be amazed by the wild mangroves – explore it by water in a kayak and capture the exotic wildlife hiding in between the vegetation. You’ll also find a Mayan River, a temazcal (sweat lodge), an organic garden and cenotes.
This is a well-known beach of astonishing beauty, where all those looking for a place to escape from the spring breakers go. Ideal for a relaxing time, the color of the ocean at Xaman Ha is a beautiful green turquoise hue. Some meters away, there’s an archaeological zone right in the hearth of Playacar, with vestiges from the past recalling the history of the ancient civilization. Next to Sr. Frogs, besides the pier, there’s a public entrance to Xaman Ha, which even though it is close to downtown and thus a touristy spot, is still different and clean, with an excellent view of the Mexican Caribbean.
The panoramic views in Playa del Carmen are also underground, and that’s the case of the stunning cenotes, which are sinkholes of the underground river system that form natural pools. All of them have special and unique breathtaking views. This cenote has two caves – the first one is dark, but lit by artificial light, which lets you shoot your photos and enjoy the view of stalactites and stalagmites. The second one is even better: you have to enter through a small, narrow space and then, suddenly you see a enormous closed cavern with a hole in the middle where the sunshine lights it softly, lighting up an old tree called “La Playa,” because it’s in the middle of the space, surrounded by water and thus giving it a green hue.
Every area of this park has different environments. Xcaret has a lagoon placed between the jungle and the beach, and its islets are home to exotic birds flying above the caves. The natural pools and the beach reflect an idyllic feeling of relaxation that invites you to be part of the setting, while the park is brightened by the vibrant toucans and flamingos that bring spots of color to the green areas. In addition to the natural areas, you’ll also find important vestiges of one of the main ceremonial centers of Mayan culture, as well as caves and underground rivers.
This is the sort of panoramic view that evokes the magic of local folklore. Parque Fundadores is a place at the shore of the beach, visited by locals and tourists alike. Kids, teenagers, and adults all come to this spot to spend an afternoon, far from technology and the hectic rush of day-to-day life. The view is full of colors and traditions, and there are all kind of candies and local foods around, and as part of the entertainment, there’s a traditional performance by the “Voladores de Papantla” (Papantla’s flyers), a unique religious ceremony. There is a lovely monument under which traditional dances take place, and passengers come and go on the ferry from Cozumel. This panoramic view is special – to one side you have the lively local life and to the other, a view across the sea to the island.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
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