Cancún means the high density, the buzz and the next margarita , while Playa del Carmen vacation suggests chill and eco friendly experience.Playa del Carmen is located just down the road from commercialized spring-break cornerstone of Cancún , but it’s a different universe.

It is the largest and most cosmopolitan spot of Riviera Maya . Riviera Maya region spans a 100-mile stretch along the Caribbean Sea, from Cancún south to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. It is a stretch of blue-green Caribbean and bleached white sand that stretches south to Tulum and delivering beauty without the excesses of Cancún.

There’s a thriving eco-tourism market on the Riviera Maya, and lots of opportunities to swim with dolphins, go cave diving or explore the mangrove swamps. The restaurant’s menu is modern, with meals described as “Mexiterranean.”

Some travelers swing through to catch the 40 -minute ferry to Cozumel. Still, the town is really becoming known for its happening night life and urban diversions. There’s high-end shopping, a range of clubs and restaurants (including some fast-food chains) and even a bustling Fifth Avenue, otherwise known as Quinta Avenida.

Some very distinctive features of this charming town :

  • horizontal (resorts can’t be more than four stories)
  • low density (developers can build on only 5 percent of their land)
  • environmental sustainability 

Avenida Quinta

Playa del Carmen Vacation most popular street

Playa del Carmen’s pedestrian Avenida Quinta, a block from the beach.5th Avenue Playa Del Carmen or “Quinta Avenida” as it is called by’s not exactly a “must see” on Playa del Carmen , this is what you are going to see for sure if you are visiting .

You will find you can find quality crafts that have been made in locations around Mexico mixed with china imported souvenirs ..The galleries open their doors and offer visitors the chance to talk with local artists.

Craft shops , galleries, boutiques, craft shops, restaurants, cafes , coffee shops and a mix of renovated residences , boutique hotels , massage parlors and fast food chains . 

Be prepared to get harassed aggressive food and souvenir vendors, if you are staying in Playa del Carment for a week and walk the 5th street daily , by the end of your stay you will find yourself taking the back roads to avoid it . Sure , there are somewhat pushy vendors at every tourist town but they just seem to be taking it to a new level in Playa del Carmen , and if you read some of Quinta Avenida’s google reviews , you will see a huge amount of people talking particularly about the annoying street vendors .

Tip : along with “ brother where are you from , look my shop , $1 only” you will find that the authentic Cuban cigars are sold everywhere , at some unbelievable prices too.

They are all fake .

The only place you will find the authentic Cuban cigars isLa Casa del Habano at $15 for each Montecristo No. 4


There are so many restaurants on Quinta Avenida , one might just get lost . Surprisingly , they are all pretty descent ! With attractive interiors and fresh , authentic food .

Here are some local favorites you shouldn’t miss though :

Taqueria El Fogon Calle 6 and Av. 30 –

Best tacos in Playa del Carmen and the local’s favorite

Tacos as pastor $1 each a well-seasoned skirt steak, illed with pork cooked on a spit

La Tarraya  Calle 2 Norte 

Located right at the beach , right by the ferry dock . It is fisherman owned , and is the place to go to is you want to try the best seafood 

octopus tentacles in chipotle sauce ($7) 

frosty micheladas ($3)

Nativo Calle 22 & 30th Avenue

Best smoothies in town are only $2 

Playa del Carmen Beaches

There’s an appealing beach, of course, and great diving; a major barrier reef sits off the coast.

Parque Fundadores

Located right by 5th avenue , when the gigantic ‘Playa del Carmen Arch’ , the most famous. An the busiest .

Playacar Beach

Located in the residential area it is very quiet, clean . The water seems to be more pristine and the crowds consists of very few locals . That is in front of Phase 1.

This super white sand is just amazing

Playa Mamitas and Playa Calle 10

These beaches are busy and hip . Mamitas Beach Club is a large facility just behind the beach. If you like the party and the crowd , this is definitely your kind of spot .

Generally the beaches consist of perfectly white sand , but beware of the low tide rocks.

When to go :

Off-peak – from mid-May through June, and September through October – can be much less expensive but also unrelentingly hot and humid.

Hurricane season is also not the time to go, as tempting as the discounts may be.