If you are interested in some of the best diving in Mexico, exploring cenotes, or just spending time on the beach, Playa Del Carmen has it all.
Although many travelers know Playa Del Carmen as a stop between Cancun and Tulum that is great for partying and some shopping, this place has enough activities to keep you busy for at least a few days. And the best part is that Playa Del Carmen is not as busy as Cancun and is a lot cheaper than Tulum.
Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen
There are thousands of hotels in Plays Del Carmen, from simple hostels tucked into city streets to luxury all-inclusive resorts with private beaches and tons of amenities.
If you are trying to find a reasonable place to stay, scrolling through hundreds and thousands of hotels in Playa Del Carmen can be overwhelming simply because of the sheer number of options.
But worry not, you’ve come to the right place!
This article breaks up the best hotels in Playa Del Carmen by categories based on their reviews, so no matter what your travel style is, you will be able to find a good accommodation that matches your needs and budget.
All hotels that you find in this guide have been carefully vetted and they offer high ratings and good reviews from many fellow travelers.
How to get to Playa Del Carmen from Cancun
Planning to visit Playa Del Carmen after arriving in Cancun? There are a couple of transportation options.
Private transportation from Cancun to Playa Del Carman
If you want to save time and money and don’t feel like catching a bus, book private transportation from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen ahead of your trip. This way, you will not need to check the bus schedule, buy tickets, wait in line, and walk to your hotel after a long flight. A driver will pick you up at the airport and drive you straight to your hotel.
And Since Playa Del Carmen is less than 30 minutes away from Cancun, the price for private transportation is very reasonable
Renting a car for a trip from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
If you plan to spend a couple of days in Playa Del Carmen and visit other destinations in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, rent a car. This will allow you to travel at your own pace, without having to rely on public transportation, and visit some of the best places in the region where few other tourists go.
I recommend City Car Rental, a local company that offers great inventory and has an office less than 5 minutes away from Cancun Airport.
ADO bus from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
Catching a bus to Playa Del Carmen at one of the bus terminals at Cancun Airport is a perfect option for budget travelers. Buses to Playa Del Carmen depart regularly, so you will not have to wait a long time. You can check the bus schedule at ado mx ahead of your trip.
Taxi from Cancun to Playa Del Carmen
If time is short and you want to get to your hotel quickly, get a taxi. Make sure to negotiate a price ahead of the ride and have cash, because credit cards are generally not accepted. Taxis at Cancun Airport charge the highest prices, so try to haggle a little bit before agreeing on the rate.
Speaking Spanish could be very helpful in situations like this, that’s why I recommend learning at least some basic Spanish ahead of your trip to Mexico.
PRO TIP: Want to learn other helpful tips for your Mexico trip? Take a look at my complete guide that will help you save money and avoid the worst mistakes while traveling to this country.
Best budget hotels in Playa Del Carmen
If you are traveling on a budget, you’ve come to the right place:
Playa Del Carmen has hundreds of budget-friendly accommodations that are perfect for a busy traveler on the go. Budget-friendly hotels in Playa Del Carmen tend to be on a modest side as they offer only basic amenities and sometimes have free parking and bicycles for rent.
Papagayo Hotel Boutique
Located in the middle of Playa Del Carmen, Papagayo is a great budget-friendly hotel just a few blocks from 5th Avenue.
Papagayo Hotel Boutique works great for travelers who need to spend a few days in Playa Del Carmen before moving to other destinations. The property offers nice cozy rooms, wi-fi, and a small on-site restaurant. Private parking is available nearby.
Located a few blocks away from the busy 5th Avenue, Hotel Nautilus is a good option if you want a more quiet setting and a short distance to restaurants and stores. There’s a small pool on-site and a free parking area.
Apart Hotel Casa Ejido
A great and inexpensive stay off the beaten track, Apart Hotel Casa Ejido offers the best value. This small family-owned hotel is located away from the busy area of Playa Del Carmen in a quiet area, which makes it a great place to relax.
The property has single, double, and family rooms with wi-fi. Guests enjoy a nice swimming pool, free parking, free breakfast, and bicycle rental.
Best mid-budget hotels in Playa Del Carmen
If you have more money to spend, consider choosing one of the mid-budget hotels in Playa Del Carmen. These properties offer better amenities and more comfort as they often have free continental breakfast, a swimming pool, and other on-site facilities.
Suites Cielo y Mar
Hands down one of the best hotels in Playa Del Carmen, Suites Cielo y Mar offers great value for the money. Cielo y Mar is a smaller property within 5 minutes by bicycle from the center of Playa Del Carmen.
If you are looking for a quiet place away from the noise and partying, look no further. Cielo y Mar has big rooms with balconies, welcoming staff, and a great quiet atmosphere that is perfect for work and relaxation.
The property is also a few minutes away from the beach and offers free bicycles and continental breakfast to its guests.
A chic adult-only property, Be Playa is a boutique hotel with a beautiful rooftop pool, a nice terrace, and a simple and stylish design. Guests can choose from a variety of stylish suites (divided into Standard Suites, Junior Suites, and Master Suites) some of which come with jacuzzi and private balconies.
Amenities include a pool, fitness center, Jacuzzi, and minibars in select suites.
The on-site restaurant offers free breakfast, as well as options for lunch and dinner for additional pay. The restaurant puts a great emphasis on healthy eating and there are plenty of vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu. The beach is about five minutes away from the hotel.
BRIC Hotel and Spa
If you need a wonderful getaway with fantastic spa services, consider staying at Bric. This small boutique-style hotel off 5th Avenue offers cozy rooms, free breakfast, and a swimming pool. Hotel staff can also arrange diving and snorkeling services for you.
Guests leave great reviews for spa and massage services available at the property.
Best luxury hotels in Playa Del Carmen
Luxury hotels in Playa Del Carmen offer a combination of amenities, location, and beautiful design. Although you might think that luxury hotels tend to be all-inclusive, it’s not accurate. Playa Del Carmen also has many luxury boutique hotels that offer a smaller space and a more quiet setting compared to huge resorts.
Palmaïa – The House of AïA Wellness Enclave All Inclusive
If you are a vegan traveler in search of a great all-inclusive resort in Playa Del Carmen, look no further!
A sustainable resort Palmaia feels like a secluded sanctuary with a jungle spa, plunge pools, a big pool, and an incredible serene atmosphere. The property also has a quiet beach section where you can relax and enjoy the sun. Vegan travelers particularly like this resort because an on-site restaurant offers a great selection of plant-based dishes.
Petit Lafitte Beach Front Hotel & Bungalows
Petit Lafitte is a gorgeous rustic property in one of the busiest destinations in Mexico that feels like a true getaway!
Located on Xcalacoco Beach, this little slice of paradise in the Caribbean offers great privacy and a quiet relaxing atmosphere. Guests can choose from a combination of cozy cabins with hammocks surrounded by the jungle or spacious rooms that offer top comfort.
Also available to guests are traditional Temazcal ceremonies – an ancient Mayan ritual that helps participants to relax and clear their minds; yoga and meditation sessions; wellness treatments and massages.
An on-site bar and restaurant offer a great combination of food and drinks.
Thompson Beach House
One of the most popular luxury stays in the heart of Playa Del Carmen, Thompson Beach House has everything: amazing food, chic contemporary decor, friendly staff, and a big infinity pool.
The property also has a great on-site restaurant and a nice bar where you can go for drinks and a social atmosphere in the evening. Unlike some luxury hotels located away from the center of Playa Del Carmen, Thompson Beach House sits right on La Quinta Avenida, so you are very close to the center of the action!
Thompson Beach House gets great ratings from its guests, so I recommend you check it out as well!
Best boutique hotels in Playa Del Carmen
If you want to stay in one of the best hotels in Playa Del Carmen, but don’t feel like spending a ton of money for a couple of nights in a luxury resort, consider boutique hotels in Playa Del Carmen. They are smaller, less busy, and offer just the right amount of amenities for a nice and relaxing stay.
The Yucatan Resort
An adults-only hotel, the Yucatan Resort is a boutique property with a neat design and a quiet setting – despite its location along La Quinta Avenida. The hotel offers a snack bar, an on-site restaurant, and a rooftop pool with great views of the Caribbean Sea.
Mvngata Boutique Hotel
One of the most beautiful boutique hotels in Playa Del Carmen, Mvngata Boutique Hotel is a hidden jewel of Rivera Maya. Although it is not as famous as other luxury accommodations in the area, this hotel gets great reviews from customers who love its amenities, friendly staff, and gorgeous beach setting. The rooftop restaurant offers delicious food at reasonable prices and postcard views of the Caribbean.
Soho Playa Hotel
An urban chic hotel, Soho Playa is a stone’s throw from Mamitas Beach and a few blocks from La Quinta Avenida. The property has a nice rooftop pool and free parking. Soho Playa is one of the best value hotels in Playa Del Carmen as it offers a central location and great amenities at reasonable prices.
Breakfast is included.
Best resorts in Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is well known for its resorts and luxury stays with private beaches and stunning views of the Caribbean. With so many high-end hotels in the area, it can be challenging to narrow down your options, let alone choose one hotel. After doing some research, I put together a list of the three resorts in Playa Del Carmen that get the best reviews from travelers.
Fairmont Mayakoba Rivera Maya
One of the most eco-friendly luxury resorts in Playa Del Carmen, Mayakoba offers a paradise-like environment with rooms set away from the beach to minimize the impact on local wildlife.
The property offers nature walks as well as boat tours along the nearby lagoon that is home to many birds and reptiles. Guests can also book snorkeling and driving tours on the Great Mesoamerican Reef – the second largest barrier reef in the world.
Viceroy Rivera Maya
If you want to enjoy a luxury vacation in a gorgeous tropical villa with sprawling views of the Caribbean, look no further than Viceroy Rivera Maya.
One of Playa Del Carmen’s top resorts, Viceroy offers top-notch service and great location and gets top reviews from its guests. Viceroy also has spa services and uses only local ingredients for many dishes in its restaurants as well as wellness ceremonies, as part of its effort to adhere to sustainable practices.
EL Dorado Maroma
El Dorado Maroma is one of the most popular places for romantic getaways in Playa Del Carmen. This beachfront property boasts a nice quiet atmosphere directly on the Maroma beach. The central area has beautiful overwater bungalows and there are many fun activities that hotel guests can participate in.
Best Hostels in Playa Del Carmen
With a great variety of luxury resorts and all-inclusive hotels in Playa Del Carmen, this place doesn’t seem like a typical backpacker destination where you can find a good bargain.
This is not the case, because Playa Del Carmen has a decent variety of hostels at reasonable prices where you can meet fellow travelers from all over the world, and participate in fun social events and activities.
To find best hostels in Playa Del Carmen, check HostelWorld.com, where you can find dozens of hostels in the area.
When you do a quick search, you will quickly see that there are tons and tons of hostels in Playa Del Carmen. While this place has a good variety of hostels, not all of them are good.
Here are a couple of options that get great reviews from fellow travelers.
Selina Playa Del Carmen
Many travelers call Selina one of the best hostels in Playa Del Carmen because of its relaxing atmosphere and great amenities. Selina has a more quiet setting than traditional party hotels, and also offers yoga and meditation classes for additional pay. The property offers shared and private rooms, and a small bar.
Breakfast is included
Che Playa Hostel
If you are looking for a more typical hostel with a good social atmosphere and parties, Che Playa is one of the best places to stay in Playa Del Carmen. The property has nice basic rooms, but its reputation is based mostly around social events, daily events, and activities, as well as free tours to some of the best places to visit in the area.
Best eco-hotels in Playa Del Carmen
If you are a conscious traveler looking to visit Playa Del Carmen, you might want to know that there are many hotels here that strive to minimize their impact on the environment and conserve the incredible flora and fauna of this region.
The Green Village Eco Boutique Hotel
Part hotel, part hostel, Green Village is a nice budget stay in downtown Playa Del Carmen with a nice roof-top terrace, a swimming pool, and a small garden. The property also has a nice on-site restaurant with vegetarian dishes and a shared kitchen where you can cook your food.
Guests particularly like the hotel’s friendly staff and central location a few minutes away from La Quinta Avenida.
El Dorado Royale
A luxury resort, El Dorado Royale takes sustainability seriously as every suite here is equipped with energy-saving air conditioners that help to reduce electricity consumption. Also on-site, there’s a water recycling facility and a greenhouse that produces most vegetables that are served at the restaurant in this resort. The property also participates in the turtle conservation program.
El Dorado Royale was also rated as one of the 100 hotels in the world by Conde Nast Traveler readers.
If you are looking for more simple, yet conscious accommodation, consider Itaka Glamping where you canasta in one of the cabanas in the middle of the lush garden. Visitors particularly like bubble tents that come with transparent roofs allowing you to see the night sky. And, if you don’t want to sleep outside, you can also choose one of the indoor apartments.
The property offers free bicycles, a nice swimming pool, and a shared kitchen. The beach is less than five minutes away.
Where is the best area to stay in Playa Del Carmen
Let’s take a look at several areas of Playa Del Carmen. While most travelers are familiar with La Quinta Avenida (or the 5th Avenue) – the main thoroughfare where you can shop, dine and enjoy the atmosphere, Playa Del Carmen has several areas where you can find hotels for your stay.
La Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue)
The main area of Playa Del Carmen, La Quinta Avenida (or Fifth Avenue) is the most fun part of the city where you can shop, dine and participate in events and activities. It can get a little bit loud at times, but it offers a great atmosphere and tons of fun. If you are looking to experience Playa Del Carmen at its best, consider staying nearby, but keep in mind that it’s not the quietest part of the city with parties going on well after midnight.
North La Quinta Avenida
Looking for a quiet stay with less noise and distractions? Head north on La Quinta Avenida where you can find many condos and smaller boutique hotels away from the hustle and bustle of the busy downtown Playa Del Carmen. It takes about 15-20 minutes to get here from the central part, but many hotels offer bicycles to their guests which means your commute is more like 10 minutes by pedaling.
Playacar is a residential area of Playa Del Carmen where you will see more locals than tourists. This area is split into two sections, one of which is more “local” and quiet and another one with a more “touristy” vibe thanks to a shopping mall and several hotels.
Luxury travelers who prefer staying in big all-inclusive resorts, often choose this area that is located to the north of Playa Del Carmen. This is a beautiful stretch along the Caribbean, however, if you want to spend your vacation here you will need a rental car or taxi when you want to get out of the resort.
Is Playa Del Carmen safe to visit?
Playa Del Carmen is generally safe, and as you walk the city streets, you will tons of tourists from all over the world which will most likely feel you safer. That, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t keep your guard up. Tourists are generally not targeted by serious criminals, however, petty crime can occur here.
There’s been an uptick in drug gangs battling over the territory in this region, however, Playa Del Carmen still ranks on a safer side, and Quintana Roo State is considered fairly safe. Unless you purposely get involved in some illicit activity, you should be on the safe side. Still, if a serious incident occurs in the area, it could also affect you, that’s why you should always be cautious.
Here are a couple of tips to stay safe while staying in Playa Del Carmen
- Always keep an eye on your belongings – don’t leave your belongings unattended on the beach and lock up your valuables in a safe while you are in a hotel
- Be aware of your surroundings – I know this sounds obvious but when you go out and have fun, you tend to lose your focus. Whether you re going to grab some food at a restaurant or going out on a Friday night, always scan the area to check if something doesn’t look right
- Avoid side streets and dark alleys – especially at night, and ESPECIALLY if you travel by yourself. If you are coming back to your hotel choose brightly lit streets with more people. Empty alleys and side streets are perfect grounds for criminals and you don’t want to be there.
- Stay in areas with other tourists – Stay away from deserted areas that look sketchy. If you don’t see many tourists around you and the place doesn’t feel right, it’s time to get out. If you are headed somewhere outside of the general tourist zone, research that area first.
- Dress down – in general, you don’t want to dress in expensive designer brands while walking around. This could get the attention of the wrong people.
Playa Del Carmen or Cozumel?
Many travelers who come to Playa Del Carmen also visit Cozumel, the largest island in Mexico’s Caribbean that can be accessed by a quick boat ride from the main boat terminal in Playa Del Carmen.
If you want to dive, explore incredible pristine beaches and enjoy a more relaxed atmosphere, Cozumel is the perfect place. Plus, the marine life here is incredible. Playa Del Carmen is more known for its party scene, restaurants, and shopping. It’s also a quick drive away from some of the best cenotes and Mayan ruins in Yucatan.
I recommend visiting both of these places during your stay in Mexico.
What’s the best time to visit Playa Del Carmen?
When you plan your trip to Playa Del Carmen, you should be aware of seasonal changes such as the hurricane season that lasts from September through early November in this region of Mexico. During this time, you will see more rain and clouds than usual, so if you plan a classic beach getaway, it is definitely something to consider.
The winter season (January through early April) is the busiest time not only in Playa Del Carmen but in all of Mexico’s Rivera Maya when many visitors from colder climates of North America come here to escape winter, and prices on accommodations around this time tend to be higher.
The best time to visit Playa Del Carmen is November. The hurricane season is over, the weather is not extremely hot, and hotel prices in Tulum are great during this time! Another good time is April and May before the beginning of the hurricane season.
I hope you were able to get some inspiration for your Tulum itinerary and will have a great time when you visit this stunning part of Mexico’s Caribbean Coast.
Final thoughts on finding the best hotels in Playa Del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen is a fun place and one of the most destinations in Mexico’s Caribbean. It boasts a strategic location along the coast and provides access to many cool places in the Yucatan Peninsula. Whether you want to stay here just a few days or weeks, there are plenty of accommodations to choose from! I hope this article was able to provide you with some helpful information and answered most of your questions.
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