Playa del Carmen is a charming, beachfront town on Mexico’s Riviera Maya. Here you’ll find plenty of restaurants, bars, hotels and of course white sandy beaches.
While there are plenty of all-inclusive resorts in the area, they are spread out and it’s not possible to walk into town from most of these resorts. But to me, travel is about exploring. Meeting locals. Dining at local restaurants. Seeing new places.
And that’s why I love staying in Playa del Carmem. This town has it all, from boutique hotels, to great bars and restaurants.
And getting around Playa del Carmen is easy.
Getting From the Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen
First of all, you have to get from the international airport in Cancun to Playa del Carmen. This is about a 45-minute drive. There is one main highway, the 307, stretching from the International airport in Cancun, to Playa del Carmen, and continuing on all the way down to Tulum and beyond.
This road is in very good condition and is easy to navigate which makes renting a car a viable option. But consider what exactly you’re going to want to do in Playa.
If you plan on staying in Playa you may not need a car. It’s easier not to have one anyway. No need to deal with driving in traffic or finding parking, which is at a premium.
So, if you’re not interested in renting a car, opt instead to hire a transfer company to get you from the airport down to Playa.
I loved working with Transfers USA. A nice guy holding a sign with our name on it met us at the airport, and we were quickly swept away and headed towards our hotel.
When working with Transfers USA on our Playa del Carmen transfers, I confirmed everything via email the night before and heard back promptly. This company is organized, on time, and flexible. When we needed to make changes they were happy to do so.
Working with a transfer company is clearly your best option when transferring from the airport in Cancun to a hotel in Playa del Carmen for an easy and stress-free start to your vacation.
Exploring the City of Playa del Carmen on Foot
Walking is the best way to get around Playa del Carmen. This city is extremely pedestrian friendly, in fact one street, 5th Avenue, has been blocked off as a pedestrian-only street.
From mid-day until late night you’ll find swarms of people walking by the bars, restaurants, hotels and gift shops. But try to venture out early in the morning for another side of this famous street. You’ll see runners, locals on their way to work and a much more relaxed atmosphere overall.
Of course the beaches are also pedestrian only, and walking from 5th Ave then heading down a few blocks to the beach is a nice loop to explore.
Exploring side streets will yield a number of excellent bars and restaurants, and as you head further away from the beach you’ll find amazing street tacos, yoga studios and other services for the locals.
Get out and explore on foot, you’ll be glad you did!
Playa del Carmen Bike Rentals Are a Great Way to Explore
There are a number of companies who offer bike rentals in Playa del Carmen. companies. I like Hola Bike who offer fun cruiser bikes, 26”single speed rental bikes at $30 for three days.
You’ll see plenty of these blue bikes around town. If you want to head around town to catch a yoga class, go to the grocery store or simply explore more, this is a great option. Please note that bikes are not allowed on 5th Avenue.
Here is a fantastic map of Playa del Carmen showing suggested roads for biking in the area.
While there aren’t many rules of the road, just be safe. Follow traffic signs and rules. There are police officers manually running the stop lights at major intersections during peak times, but keep your head up and watch in all directions for cars anyway.
There is a LOT of construction right now in Playa del Carmen. We were walking around town and saw a huge rock fall off a dump truck right on to the road. This could have been a bad situation if anyone was riding or walking there. Lots of construction means more congestion than usual, so be sure to be aware of your surroundings and be safe!
Taxis Are Also a Good Option for Getting Around Playa del Carmen
We took a taxi from a resort into Playa del Carmen, and the experience was safe, friendly and inexpensive.
As in most countries around the world, always negotiate and settle on the fare before you get in the cab. Here is a super helpful taxi fare guide for getting around Playa del Carmen.
There are of course public transportation options as well, though I’ve not personally traveled in this area using public transportation.
Hopefully this guide is helpful as you plan your vacation. As you can see there are lots of great options for getting around Playa del Carmen.
Happy travels to Playa del Carmen, one of my favorite places on earth!
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