Playa del Carmen
One of the top five destinations in the world, Playa del Carmen is Mexico’s European chic city of beaches, blue sky, and cultural diversity. Located in the Yucatan’s region of Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town known for its beautiful beaches, incredibly lush jungles, and its trendy attractions. Close to Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum, Playa is the perfect destination for a vacation abroad with plenty of options for any schedule or itinerary.
Experiencing Playa del Carmen’s uniquely European atmosphere is best done in town, rather than along the resort strips on the beach. Head to Quinta Avenida, perhaps the area’s most trendy avenue, where you can find all of the most sophisticated shopping, delicious dining, and amazing souvenirs to take home. La Nueva Quinta, otherwise known as La Zona Italiana, is unique for its abundance of Italian businesses stretching ten blocks. Stop here for an authentic Italian dinner while traveling through Mexico.
Playa del Carmen, as it is situated deep within the Yucatan, is rife with gorgeous and ornate natural landscapes. Take advantage of the natural surroundings and visit places found nowhere else in the world like the limestone sinkholes known as cenotes, or the many eco-parks in the area. Cenote Chikin Ita is a spectacular beauty filled with wildlife and surrounded by draperies of foliage, set deep in the jungle where you can swim with fish and other animals. Xcaret Eco Theme Park is one of Playa’s most famous attractions and has been called the ecological Disneyland for its number of eco-friendly attractions. With an aviary, a dolphin aquarium, turtle sanctuary, and a beach for swimming, it’s impossible to be bored. If you prefer a natural eco-park, head straight to Xel-Ha, a natural aquarium set in an inlet and lagoon, filled with native species of fish, dolphins, and sea turtles. You can even swim with the animals through the natural lagoon or snorkel with the fishes.
The Yucatan, and Playa by extension, has a full and ripe history of Mayan culture. A visit to the Coba Mayan Village is recommended to gain insight into this ancient civilization that spanned continents. At the Mayan Village, you can tour the massive and impressively intact Mayan pyramid and the many surrounding archaeological features.