PLAYA DEL CARMEN - Tripadvisor


PLAYA DEL CARMENFALL & WINTER GUIDE 2011 – 2012The best places to eat, sleep and playin Playa del Carmen this fall and winterWith more than 50 million reviews and opinions, TripAdvisor makes travelplanning a snap for the 50 million travelers visiting our site each month.Think before you print. And if you do print, print double-sided.

INTRODUCTIONTripAdvisor, the most trusted source for where to eat, sleep and play in thousands of destinations aroundthe world, has collected the best insider tips from its 50 million monthly visitors to produce a uniqueseries of travel guides. In addition to the best hotels, restaurants and attractions for every type of traveler,you’ll get great advice about what to pack, how to get around and where to find the best views. Be sureto check out the guides at’ll find reviews for more than520,000 hotels, 125,000 vacation rentals,155,000 attractions and 715,000 restaurants Learn from other travelerswhat to expect before you make your plans.PLAYA DEL CARMENThere are places you go to get away from it all, and then there’sPlaya del Carmen, where you can get away from it all right in themiddle of it all. And in this case, “it” is casual, beautiful and fun.PACKING TIPS1. “Pack your bathing suit in your carry-on! Ifyour luggage gets waylaid, you can still go inthe pool.” And don’t just bring one: “Pack twoswimsuits so one can dry. Otherwise you’reputting on a damp suit every morning.”—TripAdvisor Member, United States2. To keep your drink cool and sand-free onthe beach, “take an insulated mug with aplastic lid, not a metal lid, as it will burn yourmouth from the heat of the sun.”—TripAdvisorMember, Halifax, Nova Scotia3. “What to pack? Long pants for men forrestaurants, flip-flops, sunscreen, Imodium, justin case, and a good attitude!”—TripAdvisorMember, New Jersey4. “I suggest to have a light sweater or jacketfor the evening. You may not need it, but it canget to that temperature when it’s nice to havea sweater over the shoulders.”—TripAdvisorMember, MinnesotaPlaya, as the locals call it, is located on Mexico’s YucatanPeninsula—about 40 miles south of Cancun—on the Caribbeancoast. This once-sleepy fishing village has been discovered bythose who crave white beaches, gentle surf and outdoor activities(including fishing, of course). But even with its “discovery,” Playahas retained its small-town charms. Buildings are low-rise and theatmosphere is still authentic and non-touristy.The weather ranges between warm and hot in Playa, so beprepared to cool off at the beach all year long. September andOctober may bring storms or hurricanes, and November throughJanuary sees more precipitation. But rain is never constant, andthe temperature rarely drops below 65ºF.In Playa, restaurants and accommodations are varied and plentiful.And when the sun goes down, the temperature goes up—barsget into full swing around midnight and Avenida Quinta (FifthAvenue) transforms from a family-friendly pedestrian way to ahappening hot spot.tripadvisor.com2

WheretoPLAYFAMILIESFun for the whole family, DolphinDiscovery lets you get up and close withthe dolphins. “The dolphins will do tricksfor you and you will have the opportunity toshare a kiss and ‘hug’ with the dolphin. Theactivity is suitable for children over the ageof three or four.”—TripAdvisor Member,United StatesDolphin Discovery, Mz 23 Plano 1 Lote11, Centro Comercial Marina, PuertoAventuras, 998 193 3360“There is one word to describe The JunglePlace: WOW! This is an amazing experienceand probably a once-in-a-lifetime chance.How many people can say that they’vegone to a monkey sanctuary where you canplay with monkeys? The people that runthe sanctuary were very nice and definitelykeep the monkeys well treated. Absolutelyamazing.”—TripAdvisor Member, TexasAt Xcaret, “we loved cruising aroundand getting lost. You always end up seeingmore, which adds to the fun. One of thehighlights of the day was swimming in theunderground river. Mother Nature hasdone some unbelievable work there.”—TripAdvisor Member, Rabat, MoroccoXcaret, Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 9.5, HotelZone, Cancun, 998 883 0470The Jungle Place, 30 minutes south of PlayaDel Carmen, 984 116 9777TripAdvisor members have posted morethan 8,000,000 traveler photos on thesite. The good, the bad and the verycandid. It’s almost like being there!ROMANCE“For our 20th wedding anniversary, mywife and I treated ourselves to a couplesmassage at Veronica’s. Without a doubt,this was a highlight of our trip. Neverbefore had either one of us had massagesso wonderful. Absolutely fantastic!”—TripAdvisor Member, Chicago, Ill.Relax or play on the white sand beach atRancho Punta Venado, “where thereis horseback riding, snorkeling or ATVriding.”—TripAdvisor Member, Playa delCarmenRancho Punta Venado, located betweenCalica and Paamul, 998 887 1191Veronica’s Massage, 5th Ave. andConstituyentes, 984 155 1242“We went to Coco Bongo and absolutelyLOVED it! The shows were amazing andentertaining. We had a waiter that broughtus drinks all night. A new drink came as soonas the last one was almost empty!! Therewere so many people there, but we never feltcrowded. I’d go back again in a heartbeat!”—TripAdvisor Member, Nova ScotiaCoco Bongo, Av. 10 M31 L5 221, 984 803 3232“Absolutely fantastic!”BUDGETThere’s free admission at CEDAM. Thisshipwreck museum is “definitely wortha visit. Those early divers in the Yucatanwere either really brave or totally crazy!” —TripAdvisor Member, Minneapolis, Minn.CEDAM Museum, Centro Comercial Marina,Puerto Aventuras“Would you like something to let youremember how nice it was spending yourtime in Playa? Then Avenida 5 is the rightplace for you. You can find everythingabout Mexico here, and it’s a really colorfulplace.”—TripAdvisor Member, Padua, Italy5th Avenue (Avenida 5)A short trip from Playa del Carmen,Yal-ku Lagoon is worth the side trip. Foronly seven dollars, “you feel like you areswimming in an aquarium with fish of everysize and color. The walk leads you to a glassy,aqua pond jutted with rock abutmentsadorned with sculptures of mermaids.”—TripAdvisor Member, New JerseyYal-ku Lagoon, Akumal“ adorned withsculptures of mermaids”Call an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 3

WheretoPLAYADVENTURE“Rio Secreto is nature at its finest andpossibly unlike any other place in the world.Our family had previously visited caves,however this was unique and quite different.The formations inside are unbelievable.”—TripAdvisor Member, Folsom, Calif.Rio Secreto Reserva Natural, CarreteraFederal Cancun, Tulum 307 en Km.282, 984 877 2377In Discovery Jungle Park,“you feel likeTarzan, or better yet, Jane. The game ofthe day is going from one tree to another,using a network of platforms and cables. Itall begins with a fairly easy balance bridge,but it gets tougher and tougher, endingwith the longest zipline I’ve ever been on.Very exhilarating.”—TripAdvisor Member,Mechelen, BelgiumDiscovery Jungle Park, 984 206 2484With Dressel Divers: “For a first-time diver,I could not have felt more comfortable andsecure.”—TripAdvisor Member, StevensPoint, Wis.Dressel Divers, at Iberostar Paraiso Del Mar,“You feel like Tarzan, orbetter yet, Jane!”EDUCATIONAL/HISTORICALDrive south to the Maya ruins of Tulumfor a “fascinating glimpse of an ancientculture.”—TripAdvisor Member, MarylandMaya Ruins, Carretera Cancun-Tulum, Km. 133“ fascinating glimpseof an ancient culture”Visit Xel-Ha, an “AMAZING natural park”just south of Playa, for water activities, aswell as educational tours on the region’snatural history and Maya culture. It’s“wonderful—the water, the fish, theorganization. Everything is just perfect!”—TripAdvisor Member, Aveiro, PortugalTake a drive north to Cancun, where youcan immerse yourself in Mexico’s cultureand history, from the Museo INAH to aMexican rodeo.Museo INAH, Retorno del Rey, Cancun,998 883 0305Xel-Ha, Carretera Chetumal-Cancun, Km 240,998 884 7165TOP 10 Attractions6. Xcaret Eco Theme Park, Blvd. Kukulcan, Km. 9.5, Hotel Zone, 998 883 04701. Rancho Baaxal, Maroma Beach, 984 145 89622. Epicurean Chef Services, 984 144 47537. Playacar Golf Club, Paseo Xaman-Ha, s/n Mz. 26, 984 873 49903. The Jungle Place, One hour south of Cancun, 984 116 97778. Boca Paila, Yucatan Peninsula, 998 892 12004. Sabai Spa, Hotel Jardin de Marieta, 5th Avenue, 984 155 12415. Veronica’s Massage, 5th Avenue and Constituyentes, 984 155 12429. Coco Bongo Playa del Carmen, Avenida 10, M31, 984 803 323210. 5th Avenue (Avenida 5)RELAXATION“Grab a cab and take yourselves to thetiny town of Puerto Morelos! It’s southof Cancun about 17 miles or so. GREATtown, really laid-back, cobblestone streets,beautiful old architecture, small cafes andgreat restaurants.”—TripAdvisor Member,Connecticut“If you’re interested in horseback riding andwant horses that are well taken care of andknowledgeable staff that cares about theenvironment, Rancho Baaxal is the place.What a gorgeous, peaceful ride through thejungle and along the most amazing beach. Iwould love to do this again!”—TripAdvisorMember, San Pedro, BelizeThe course at the Golf Club of Playacar is“fairly long, nicely manicured and pretty tight,with jungle lining the sides of most holes.”—TripAdvisor Member, Anahuac, TexasGolf Club at Playacar, Paseo Xaman-Ha,s/n, Mz. 26, Lote 1, FraccionamientoPlayacar, 984 873 4990Rancho Baaxal, Maroma Beach, 984 145 8962Call an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 4

What’stheTOURHow to Get Around“There are shuttle buses at the airport. I would not rent a car simplybecause Playa del Carmen is a pretty small town. I took cabs when Iwent a bit out of town.”—TripAdvisor Member, Montreal, QuebecIf you do rent a car, “driving is not difficult, but make sure to learn thewords for the traffic signs.”—TripAdvisor Member, Bellingham, Mass.With the Jungle Maya Expedition, you’ll “kayak off the beach to alovely lagoon, then have a small snack.” Then you’ll be driven “acrossrough terrain, into a small underground river or cenote.” You’ll take a“short hike to a larger cenote that has a small but lovely cave system,then eat lunch. Lastly, you’ll stop to drop off your snorkel gear andwill be thanked with a shot of tequila.”—TripAdvisor Member, BritishColumbia, CanadaJungle Maya Expedition, Sea Monkey Business, 984 803 0809WHEREtoeatWant more information on Playa delCarmen? offers freeweekly e-mail updates filled with new deals,reviews and articles for Playa del Carmenor any other destination you choose.FAMILIESLa Vagabunda “featured a very nicebreakfast. One breakfast, appropriatelycalled the ‘Kiddo,’ was just the right sizefor my daughter and included deliciouschocolate milk.”—TripAdvisor Member,Gladstone“Ah Cacao is a chocoholics dream. Richspicy Mexican chocolate in pastries, icecream and drinks. Try the Chocolate Maya,the chocolate equivalent of espresso. Andthe brownies—to die for!”—TripAdvisorMember, Playa del CarmenFor an unusual dining experience, eat atCueva del Chango, “the Cave of theMonkey. Worth seeing if just for the junglegarden setting. How many restaurants havea restroom with a waterfall for a sink?” —TripAdvisor Member, Playa del CarmenLa Vagabunda, Avenida Quinta betweenCalles 24 y 26, 984 873 3753Ah Cacao, Avenida Quinta andConstituyentes, 984 803 5748Cueva del Chango, Calle 38 at AvenidaQuinta, 984 147 0271“ could be the bestrestaurant ever!”ROMANCEByblos is “so romantic! This adorableFrench bistro is decorated all in white,with little white lights and candlelight.The food was amazing, and our waiterwas very attentive but not intrusive. Theprices were consistent with the quality offood and service.”—TripAdvisor Member,ConnecticutByblos, Calle 14 entre 5 y 10 Avenida,984 803 1790Mosquito Blue “could be the bestrestaurant ever! Very upscale in ambianceand menu selection, yet the prices wereunbelievably low. The setting is pristinewhite, with the most elegant touches. Wecould not have asked for a better place todine.”—TripAdvisor MemberMosquito Blue, Avenida Cinquo,984 873 1245Call an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 3716“The food, the service and the ambianceat Cocina 38 were wonderful. The menuwas top quality and varied, and the dessertswere so good I had two of them! It’s offthe beaten path in Playa, but well worthit.”—TripAdvisor Member, Guatamala City,GuatamalaCocina 38, 5th Avenue and 38th St.,984 873 0655tripadvisor.com5

WHEREtoeatBUDGETEl Oasis Mariscos is “generally regarded bymany locals as having simply the best shrimptacos in town!”—TripAdvisor Member,Playa del CarmenEl Oasis Mariscos, Calle 12 betweenAvenidas 5 and 10, 984 803 4451For the freshest seafood, eat right at thebeach! Tarraya “is a quiet place and thefish/seafood is fresh. Beer’s cold and great,scenery’s great, guacamole’s great, salsa’shot.and great and the prices are veryreasonable.”—TripAdvisor MemberTarraya Restaurant and Bar, Calle 2 Norte,984 873 2040“For Mexican food,” try Carboncitos. “Thepastor tacos—wooow! And the differentsalsas with chips, and the cheese cake,and the guacamole. You need to try thisplace!”—TripAdvisor Member, Madrid,SpainCarboncitos, Calle 4 between Avenidas5 and 10, 984 873 1382“Beer’s cold. salsa’s hot”HEALTH-CONSCIOUSTry the vegetarian dishes and salads at thelocal chain 100% Natural, where you caneat in the rainforest garden patio. The foodis “really fresh, top quality and healthy.”—TripAdvisor Member, Lynn, Mass.100% Natural, Avenida Quinta near Calle 10,998 873 2242Meat-free dishes and salads temptvegetarians at Babe’s Noodles and Bar,although fish and meat are also served. It’s“one of the most popular restaurants in Playa,featuring Thai food with a Swedish influence,e.g., red curry shrimp poured over mashedpotatoes! Try the Swedish Meatballs and thegigantic blueberry margaritas for a real treat.”—TripAdvisor Member, Playa del CarmenAjua!Maya is “a popular restaurantthat serves local Maya dishes. Greatatmosphere—the wait staff is veryentertaining, and there’s live musicnightly. High-quality food and service.”—TripAdvisor MemberAjua!Maya, Calle 4 entre 5 Av. y 10 Av.,984 873 2523Babe’s Noodle Bar, 10th St. betweenAvenidas 5 and 10, 984 120 2592“Bring a big appetite.”HIDDEN GEMS“If you want to support a true localrestaurant and enjoy delicious food, LaBamba Jarocha is the place to go:succulent, tasty ceviche, wonderfullyfresh fish and the staff was so friendly!”—TripAdvisor Member, Chicago, Ill.La Bamba Jarocha, Calle 36“Stray from the main square and you’ll findPiccolina’s, where you’ll be rewarded withextremely tasty and authentic Mexicanfood at a fraction of the cost you’d spendin the touristy places. Everything we triedthere was delicious. This is the type of placewhere locals go and where you’ll experienceyour best meal in Mexico.”—TripAdvisorMember, Chicago, Ill.“Not your traditional tourist spot, El Fogónis where hungry locals eat. This is a grillfeaturing steaks, sausage pork chops andchicken. They are famous for their el pastortacos. Bring a big appetite. Cheap andgood.”—TripAdvisor MemberEl Fogón, Three locations: 30th Ave. nearCalle 4, 30th Ave. near Calle 32 andConstituyentes near 30th Ave.Piccolina’s, Ave. Rojo Gomez, PuertoMorelosCall an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 6

WheretoSTAYFAMILIES“The Gran Porto Real was the perfectresort for my family. The kids’ activitycenter was amazing. The staff who workthere were fabulous.”—TripAdvisorMember, Cleveland, OhioGran Porto Real Resort and Spa,Constituyentes No. 1, 984 873 4000“If you’ve booked Iberostar ParaisoLindo, congratulations! If not, you should.”This 2008 TripAdvisor Travelers’ ChoiceAward winner is “superb and faultless.”—TripAdvisor Member, Northumberland, U.K.Iberostar Paraiso Lindo, Km. 309, PlayaParaiso, 984 877 2800Iberostar Paraiso del Mar was the “bestfamily vacation. My daughter, aged 10, wentto the kids’ club and had a great time.”—TripAdvisor Member, Swansea, Mass.Iberostar Paraiso del Mar, Km. 309, PlayaParaiso, 984 877 2800Have questions about Playa delCarmen? Get insider advice from localexperts in our forums. The majority ofquestions are answered within 24 hours.ROMANCE“Petit Lafitte is a quiet and very beautifulplace. It has its own private beach as well asa very nice pool where you can relax. Thefood is excellent and all the staff incrediblyhelpful and friendly.”—TripAdvisor Member,Milan, ItalyPetit Lafitte, Carretera Cancun - Chetumal,Km. 296, Xcalacoco, 984 877 4000“We just returned from a stay at Maromain celebration of our anniversary, andwe could not imagine a more perfect,peaceful way to escape from the real world.Everything is first class from the momentthey meet you at the airport.”—TripAdvisorAdvisor, Brooklyn, N.Y.“The Banyan Tree is great if you’re lookingfor a romantic getaway that entails realprivacy. The villa had two spacious andluxuriously appointed bedrooms. Our suitehad its own private pool, overlooking asmall river. Really fantastic.”—TripAdvisorMember, New York City, N.Y.Maroma Resort & Spa, Carretera CancunTulum, Km. 51, Solidaridad, 998 872 8200Banyan Tree Mayakoba, Carretera FederalChetumal-Puerto Juárez, Km. 298,984 877 3688“The room at Hotel Cielo was extremelycomfortable and surprisingly quiet. It hadbig windows and comfortable beds, wasspacious and very clean. You can evensee the sea from the balcony. Lovely!”—TripAdvisor Member, Tampere, Finland“Playa Del Karma is a charming and quietplace in the heart of the area. The roomsare clean and the multi-lingual staff madeour stay very peaceful.”—TripAdvisorMember, Warsaw, PolandBUDGETAt the “peaceful” Luna Blue Hotel, thestandard room was “small but well worththe cost. The courtyard setting is beautifuland very relaxing.”—TripAdvisor Member,BelizeLuna Blue Hotel & Garden, Calle 26,Avenidas 5 and 10, 984 873 0990Hotel Cielo, Calle 4, entre 5ta y 10 Av.,984 873 1227Playa Del Karma, Av. 15 Norte Lte. 9 entreCalle 12 y 14, 984 803 0272“Why did we have to leave?”LUXURYCombining British colonial ambiance andMexican-Caribbean style, Royal HideawayPlayacar & Occidental Resorts “issimply unmatched. If there were six-starhotels, this one would have seven inguest service.”—TripAdvisor Member,Guadalajara, MexicoRoyal Hideaway Playacar & OccidentalResorts, Lote Hotelero No. 6, DesarrolloPlayacar, 984 873 4500“My husband and I have been to many nicehotels from large to boutique, but we havenever, ever, had service like we did at theRosewood. This is an exceptional hotel ina perfect location and run by an incrediblestaff. We were upgraded to an oceanviewsuite which was to die for: comfortable bed,wonderful shower, roof top plunge pool. Simplyperfect!”—TripAdvisor Member, Chicago, Ill.The Royal Playa del Carmen “is thecomplete royal treatment all the way! Thesite, the room, the staff, the food, the beach,the service, the activities, the weather—everything was wonderful. Why did wehave to leave?”—TripAdvisor Member,Montreal, QuebecRoyal Playa Del Carmen, Av. Constituyentes 1,998 881 7340Rosewood Mayakoba, Ctra. Federal Cancun,984 875 8000Call an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 3716tripadvisor.com7

WheretoSTAYHIDDEN GEMS“My recent stay at the XamanHaPenthouse was fantastic! The condo isextremely spacious and was equippedwith everything necessary to make my tripcomplete. The view was unlike any I’veseen before. Whether sitting on the largebalcony or relaxing by the pool or seaside,the location was outstanding.”—TripAdvisorMember, Illinois“I can highly recommend the Hotel CasaTicul. It is very stylish, yet affordable with asmall pool and a beautiful roof deck, perfectfor breakfast or drinks. The beach is justover the street and within 5-10 minutes byfoot, you’re in the bar & restaurant area.”—TripAdvisor Member, Vienna, AustriaHotel Casa Ticul, 5ta Avenida entre 38 y 40,Zacil Ha, 984 267 3501“I loved the Blue Pearl. The suites areoriginal, private and silent. The locationis so near the beautiful beach that myhusband and I could go to swim in theemerald Caribbean every morning beforebreakfast.”—TripAdvisor Member, MexicoCity, MexicoBlue Pearl Suites, 1a Avenida Norte 331,entre calles 10 y 12, 984 803 2379Xaman Ha Grand Penthouse, Fracc.Playacar Fase 1, 847 550 5406“.I could swim everymorning before breakfast”AboutTRIPADVISORTripAdvisor is the largest travel community in the world with 50 million monthly visitors and featuring more than 50 million reviews andopinions of 675,000 hotels and attractions. is the most trusted source for travel recommendations about where to go, whereto stay and how to play for 93,000 destinations around the world. also provides easy access to the major online travel sites tomake booking your next vacation, your best vacation, easier than ever.Edited/compiled by Kristyn Lak Miller, Michelle Schwartz and Kris HortonThis brochure and its contents are copyright 2011, TripAdvisor, Inc., all rights reserved. TRIPADVISOR, the owl logo and all other marks displayed herein are registered and/orcommon law trademarks of TripAdvisor and/or third parties. Representations made in this brochure are current as of its publication date. This brochure contains reviews, comments,photographs and other content regarding destinations, accommodations, airlines and other travel products and services submitted by users of Reviews and ratingsrepresent the opinions of such users. TripAdvisor does not sponsor or endorse any user content and therefore is not liable for any statements, representations or other informationcontained in such user content.Further, reference to any products, services, processes or other information of any third party does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation of oraffiliation with, such third party by TripAdvisor. Such third parties are owned and operated by independent retailers or service providers, and TripAdvisor cannot ensure that youwill be satisfied with their products, services, business practices or provided information. TripAdvisor recommends that you pursue any and all investigation you feel necessary orappropriate before transacting with any third party.Call an Expedia Travel Specialist now 877 633 8

cream and drinks. Try the Chocolate Maya, the chocolate equivalent of espresso. And the brownies—to die for!"—TripAdvisor Member, Playa del Carmen Ah Cacao, Avenida Quinta and Constituyentes, 984 803 5748 For an unusual dining experience, eat at Cueva del Chango, "the Cave of the Monkey. Worth seeing if just for the jungle garden setting.