Playa Del Carmen famous waterfront area features the well-known mermaid statue

The PERFECT 6 Day Playa Del Carmen Itinerary

Are you planning a trip to Playa del Carmen but unsure what to do, where to stay, or where to eat? This complete itinerary for 6 days in Playa Del Carmen tells you all you need to know!

Located in the Riviera Maya region, Playa Del Carmen is a known beach town for its many beaches, excellent restaurants, and its famous 5th Avenue Street, a vibrant street with something to do for everyone!

Included in this 6-day itinerary are many things to do in town, including the best beaches, beach clubs, day trips, and more. Also included are several hotel/restaurant recommendations for your visit!

I’ve visited Playa Del Carmen many times over the years and always find myself returning to it for a few reasons. It’s very walkable, you can walk most places in town in around 20 minutes or less.

Restaurants are excellent here, the beaches are beautiful, and its location is convenient, being in between Cancun and Tulum, and having Cozumel is across the water!

walkway full of palm trees towards Playa Del Carmen main beach, a must visit on your Riviera Maya itinerary

How to Get to Playa Del Carmen

Once you’ve flown into Cancun International Airport, you must make your way 1 hour to Playa Del Carmen.

Unfortunately, Playa Del Carmen has no airport, so you cannot fly into Playa Del Carmen.

If it’s your first time visiting this region of Mexico, don’t worry! It’s straightforward to get from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. There are a few different ways you can leave Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen. See which one of the following works best for you!

If you choose to take the ADO BUS, there are 4 ADO Bus Terminals at Cancun Airport. Make sure you go to the correct one stated on your ticket.

Day 1: Arrival

a busy street in Playa Del Carmen named 5th avenue, most popular street in the city

Depending on when your flight lands at Cancun International Airport, you may have some time to explore the town, or if it’s late, you may want to go to bed in your hotel!

As you arrive in Playa Del Carmen in the early morning or midafternoon, walk over to 5th Avenue Street, have a drink and some lunch, then walk over to explore the main beach shoreline.

Those arriving slightly later, around dinner, must be hungry. I recommend you start your first day with authentic Mexican food at one of Playa Del Carmen’s best taquerias.

After you’ve had some delicious tacos, take a walk on 5th Avenue Street and explore the town’s famous street full of restaurants, nightclubs, bars, shopping, and more.

Continue your evening at one of the many beach bars in town for a drink. Here are a few places to consider: Zenzi Beach or Lido Beach Club. Another great spot is INTI Beach, they have fire performers some evenings!

Day 2: Beach Day / Rest Day

stunning shades of turquoise waters at the main beach in Playa Del Carmen

Whether you had some time to explore the first day or arrived late to your hotel and went right to bed, spend your first day relaxing at one of Playa Del Carmen’s many beaches!

Start your morning off with breakfast before an active day at the beach. Use my guide for a few breakfast recommendations. After breakfast, walk over to your beach of choice in town.

The central Playa Del Carmen Beach is accessible from several streets off 5th Avenue Street.

It’s an excellent beach, but the shoreline isn’t too large and can sometimes get crowded. The best part is you can walk over to a restaurant in minutes, eat lunch, and return to the beach in minutes.

Suppose you’d prefer a more extensive, nicer beach shoreline that is more friendly for families. In that case, Playa Punta Esmeralda and Playa Xcalacoco are the best beaches in Playa Del Carmen. To get to these beaches you will have to take a taxi.

Those visiting with friends and looking for a more lively beach day, either attend a catamaran cruise where you’ll cruise the waters of Playa Del Carmen and drink/party through the afternoon.

Or consider one of the many beach clubs in Playa del Carmen:

  • Mamaita’s Beach Club
  • MVNGATA Beach Club
  • Kool Beach Club
  • Martina Beach Club
  • Marena Beach Club

Day 3: Chichen Itza Tour & Cenotes

several tourist taking photos of the world-famous El Castillo pyramid in Chichen Itza
Credit: Christina Abken

A trip to Playa Del Carmen or anywhere in the Riviera Maya, for that matter, without a visit to Chichen Itza is an incomplete trip!

Famous for being one of the seven world wonders, the ancient Chichen Itza site is Mexico’s most recognized tourist attraction. Over 2.7 million tourists visit the archaeological site yearly.

The best way to visit Chichen Itza is by attending an all-inclusive tour from Playa Del Carmen.

On this tour, you’ll spend the day exploring Chichen Itza, swimming at Cenote Saamal, and visiting Valladolid, one of the most beautiful colonial cities of the Yucatan.

The tour package includes hotel roundtrip transportation pickup and drop off, so you won’t have to worry about any transportation. A lunch buffet will be served at the Chichen Itza site for attendees to enjoy.

It’s about a 2 hour and 30 minutes drive from Playa Del Carmen to Chichen Itza.

What To Bring on Tour:

  • Sunscreen / There is limited shade, especially at Chichen Itza.
  • Water / You can purchase more there, but it will be more expensive.
  • Hat / Make sure to wear a hat or bring one as you explore to wear it sometimes.

To give you some added context, this ancient area was once the city center of the Mayan Civilization, and this is where Mayans would come for religious gatherings and trade of goods. The famous pyramid is named El Castillo.

Day 4: Adventure Park or Cenotes

a narrow stream of water surrounded by limestone at Xcaret Adventure Park in the Riviera Maya, Mexico
Xcaret Park – Credit: Stephen Monterroso

While Playa Del Carmen has no parks in the city center, it’s close to the best adventure parks in the Riviera Maya.

For those looking for a day of adventure or if you’re visiting with kids, visiting an adventure park is an excellent way to spend the day!


The most popular amusement park in the Riviera Maya is Xcaret. This large park is a haven for those looking for a day full of adventure: cave swimming, buggy rides, and zip-ling from treetops — Book Xcaret Tickets

Xcaret is more suitable for those visiting with kids. It’s a more relaxed adventure day.

The main attraction here is the Xcaret Mexico Espectacular show, a captivating performance show that’s taken place at Xcaret Park for over two decades now!


Another fun amusement park is Xplor, which has very similar options to Xcaret but with the addition of thrills. Xplor has ATVs, zipping, river rafting, and much more!

Those looking to have an active day visit Xplor. This park is more suitable for young adults and teensBook Xplor Tickets

Xel-Ha Park

At Xel Ha Park, you will experience an aquatic theme park, including swimming with dolphins, a massive water slide, and swimming with tropical fish coral reefs. With all its water activities, Xel Ha Park is an excellent idea on a hot day!

Also at the park are jungle trails, caves, and ziplines to ride — Book Xel Ha Tickets


A unique type of adventure park, Xenses offers adventures into dark caves, gravity-defying chambers, zip lines, water activities, and more — Book Xenses Tickers

Cenote Adventure Parks

clear blue skies with clear water cenote in Tulum Mexico
Casa Tortuga Cenotes Tulum

For those looking for an adventure but would prefer to visit somewhere unique instead of an amusement park, Rio Secreto and Casa Tortuga Cenotes are perfect for you to discover!

Casa Tortuga Cenote

When visiting the Riviera Maya, you must put swimming in a Cenote at the top of your Playa Del Carmen itinerary!

There are cenotes in Playa Del Carmen, but the best cenote park in the Riviera Maya is Casa Tortuga Cenotes. The park features 4 different cenotes, and one even has tropical fish and sea turtles swimming in it!

On this Casa Tortuga Tour from Playa Del Carmen, you get picked up from your hotel and taken to the park, where you’ll spend the day exploring the 4 different cenotes with a guide. Transportation, life jackets, lunch there, and water are included in the tour package.

Cenotes are sinkholes formed by nature collapsing with fresh spring water. There is no better way to cool off on a hot day than swimming in a Cenote! These cenotes were once the prime water source for the Mayan Civilization long ago.

Rio Secreto

Rio Secreto is one of Mexico’s most stunning cenote caves, famously featured in National Geographic for its unique rock formations. On this Rio Secreto tour, you will follow a local guide as they navigate you through the beautiful underground cave.

All equipment is provided, and after the tour, you will enjoy a delicious Mayan buffet lunch.

Day 5: Day Trip to Cozumel

clear white sandy beach shoreline full of stunning green palm trees and turquoise waters in isla cozumel
Credit: Fallon Michael

No Playa Del Carmen itinerary is complete without visiting the island of Cozumel. Located directly across the water from Playa Del Carmen, only 40 minutes away by ferry.

Cozumel is full of things to do, and you can do many excursions from the island as well —snorkeling/diving trips, sea turtle and starfish spotting, and more.

Several excellent beach clubs in Cozumel offer all-inclusive deals and all-you-can-eat/drink. The most popular are Sanchos and Paradise Beach Cozumel.

If you’re visiting with kids, go to Playa Mia Beach Breaks. They’ve got a floating park on the water, kayaks, and more activities for kids to enjoy!

Punta Sur Ecological Park is worth checking out. It has some of the most beautiful beaches on the island and a mangrove. At the mangrove, you’ll spot several bird species and crocodiles.

My favorite thing to do is rent a scooter or jeep and drive around the island, see the beautiful coastline, and stop by the small beaches and restaurants.

Walk to the ferry dock just off 5th Avenue to get from Playa Del Carmen to Cozumel — Book Ferry Tickets Here

Day 6: Travel Day

sunset on the main beach shore in Playa del carmen with a ferry parked in the distance

It’s time to fly home from Playa Del Carmen. No matter your flight time, I recommend you spend your last morning enjoying a classic Mexican breakfast before you leave!

If your flight is in the evening, do some last-minute souvenir shopping on 5th Avenue Street or enjoy your last afternoon on the beach soaking up some sun before you go home!

Please ensure you have reservations to return to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen.

ADO Bus or Private Airport Transfer is the best way to get to Cancun Airport from Playa Del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen Itinerary 6 Days+

Are you planning on visiting Playa Del Carmen for longer than six days? Here are some excellent suggestions to add to your longer Playa Del Carmen itinerary!

Visit Akumal and spend the day swimming with 7 species of sea turtles here. Akumal Beach is famous for being home to several sea turtles, and it’s an enjoyable experience!

Head back towards Cancun and take a ferry to Isla Mujeres, a beautiful island across Cancun famous for its beaches, nature, and island atmosphere. I recommend two nights here if you have time!

TIP: If you choose to visit Isla Mujeres, you can spend a night on Isla Mujeres, and the next day, take the ferry back to Cancun from Isla Mujeres and go to Cancun Airport!

fire performer performing on the beach at Lido Beach Club in the night in Playa del carmen, Mexico

Where to Stay in Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is a small beach town, so no matter where you choose to stay, you can walk to most restaurants, the beach, and shopping in under 30 minutes.

Below, I’ve included some of the best hotel recommendations in town, from luxury to mid-range and budget-friendly hotels too!

RESORTS – All Inclusive

Hilton Playa5 Stars / Located steps away from 5th Avenue Street, Hilton Playa is right on the beach and steps away from 5th Avenue Street.

The Reef 28 (Adults Only) – 4 Stars / Popular amongst singles and couples, The Reef has an excellent rooftop restaurant and bar with beautiful sea views.


Mvngata Beach Hotel4 Stars / A more boutique hotel with large spacious rooms, exceptional rooftop and one of the best beach clubs in town.

Thompson Playa Del Carmen4 Stars / Excellent location, minutes from the beach, and home to the best rooftop restaurant/bar in Playa!

Singular Dream Residences (Condo Residences) – Spacious condos, steps away from the beach and located in a quieter area.


Che Playa Hostel & Bar – Best-rated hostel in town with spacious rooms, clean dorms, and a rooftop pool bar.

Maui Hostel – Popular hostel offering dorms and private rooms. It is located steps away from the beach and 5th Ave.

Best Restaurants in Playa Del Carmen

El Fogon: Known as the king of tacos in Playa by locals/tourists, El Fogon has 3 locations in town and is a staple in town for tacos/tortas/quesadillas/nachos, all the Mexican food favorites

Primo: A modern Mexican restaurant with an open layout serving an exceptional seasonal menu; last time there, we experienced the flamed octopus, braised duck, and suckling pig.

La Cueva del Chango: Legendary breakfast/brunch restaurant in Playa that’s been open for many years with a tropical junglelike setting; make sure you order the Chilaquiles here

Alux Restaurant/Bar: Known as the most fancy restaurant in town, Alux provides a unique dining experience inside a cave/cenote, serving many modern Mexican dishes with a twist

El Oasis Seafood: An absolute seafood paradise, from fried fish to crab tacos, oysters, Mexican seafood soups and much more; seafood lovers must-visit

Are you looking for more recommendations? Refer to my guide for the best restaurants in Playa Del Carmen!

two plates of Mexican ceviche being served at a restaurant in Mexico
El Oasis Playa Del Carmen

Best Time To Visit Playa Del Carmen

The best time to visit Playa Del Carmen is during the dry season, from November to April.

This is when the weather is best, days are hot enough to go to the beach, humidity levels are low, and the chance of rainfall is unlikely.

Playa Del Carmen is in the Riviera Maya, and the region has two main seasons here: dry and rainy seasons.

Dry Season: November to April 

Rainy Season: May to October 

If you choose to visit Playa del Carmen during the rainy season, it can be risky, but some months are better than others. What you can expect, though, are fairly high humidity levels, it’s scorching hot some days and some tropical rainfall that tends to pass by quickly.

TIP: For those looking to visit Playa Del Carmen during the dry season and looking for cheaper flights/hotels, visit during the shoulder season month of November!

beach house with classic palapa sides on the roof on a beach in Playa Del Carmen beach tap

How Many Days in Playa Del Carmen is Enough?

Five to seven days is enough time for a vacation in Playa Del Carmen. Four days in Playa Del Carmen could be enough for those traveling around Mexico for an extended period at a fast pace.

I’d argue that you can spend much longer in Playa Del Carmen because of its excellent location in the region and the town’s great walkability score.

Making Playa Del Carmen a base and traveling to different places within the region is an excellent idea!

Is Playa Del Carmen Safe?

Yes, Playa Del Carmen is safe. There are several police and a national guard army patrolling the streets of Playa Del Carmen at all hours of the day.

This doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen here because they do. But it’s normal, like any busy city, with an influx of tourists coming and going.

When visiting Playa Del Carmen, the only precautions you need to take are watching out for a few scams in the Playa and practicing big city street smart rules.

Like stick to lit streets always, and at night, take a taxi if you’re far from your hotel. Refuse any illegal substances offered to you. Watch your belongings at all times, especially on the beach.

Make sure to purchase travel insurance before traveling to Mexico!

several lights at a beachclub in the evening on Playa Del Carmen main beach at night

Playa Del Carmen Itinerary Final Thoughts

There are plenty of things to do in Playa Del Carmen and around the beach town as well. Also, Playa del Carmen is an excellent base for first-timers to explore other places in Mexico in this region!

While it’s great to experience a lot on vacation, don’t forget to relax!

I hope you enjoyed this action-packed Playa Del Carmen itinerary for 6 days. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below!

Playa Del Carmen is my favorite beach town in the Riviera Maya. Having been a few times now, I know it well!

Is 3 nights in Playa del Carmen enough?

You can experience a fair bit of Playa Del Carmen in three days, but if you’re looking for some time to relax while visiting, it’s best to spend at least five days in Playa Del Carmen!

Is staying in Playa del Carmen worth it?

Yes, staying in Playa del Carmen is worth it. The beach town is very walkable and offers plenty of spacious beach shorelines. There’s plenty to do in the town, great restaurants and shopping.

What is Playa Del Carmen Mexico known for?

Playa Del Carmen is known for its beaches, excellent food, many resorts, and great walkability score!

Can you drink tap water in Playa Del Carmen?

No, you cannot drink tap water in Mexico. You can get sick from doing so. Make sure to always purchase and drink bottled water.

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