The breathtaking beauty of the Mayan Riviera attracts millions of visitors every year. Playa del Carmen, Mexico's fastest growing city, also known as "The Gem of the Mayan Riviera" aptly earns its moniker. To this day, the once sleepy fishing village continues to retain its warm charm and allure. Whether you are the adventurous type or you prefer to lay back and spend your days basking in the glorious Mexican sun, Playa del Carmen is the ultimate beach destination!
On one side, is a stretch of powdery, alabaster coastline bordering the majestic sea with its multiple shades of glistening blues and greens. To the east, lies a vast jungle, mostly untouched and exuding striking flora, fauna and natural wonders such as the many freshwater centoes (swimming holes formed by the region's underground river system). This list of must sees in and around Playa del Carmen offers visitors an opportunity to experience the captivating splendor of this fascinating region and the rich culture and history of its people.
Xcaret Mexico Spectacular
Although this eco park just outside of Playa del Carmen has been around for a few years, the impressive evening historical show has been recently modified to incorporate new, advanced technology as well as enhanced set and costume design. Spectators are transported through time as entertainers perform through song, dance and theatrics, the many traditional and historical customs of this multifaceted nation. To view photos, purchase tickets or see show times, please go to Xcaret
Rated by National Geographic as one of the top ten underground walks in the world, this magnificent park is nestled within the lush jungle and consists of various subterranean caves and cenotes, each possessing a unique, surreal beauty all their own. Open 9-5, Aktunchen is located 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. For more info, visit Aktun Chen.
Go nATiVeS Park
One of Playa del Carmen's newest adventure parks, this ATV adventure includes a stop at Dona Mary's house, an original settler of this region, where you will learn about the lifestyle of this area's first inhabitants. As well, you will attend an ancient Mayan ceremony and meet a shaman. This exhilarating expedition also takes you along Mayan jungle trails to Cenote Media Luna where you can swim in and zip line over the refreshingly cool cenote waters, explore caves and view their extraordinary formations. To book your excursion, visit Alltournative
Cruise through canals on famous trajineras decorated with motifs from the 32 states of Mexico. These boat rafts were once used to transport flowers and produce grown on floating gardens. Coast along the tranquil waters, sample authentic regional gastronomy, and experience another aspect of the centuries old culture and heritage of this vibrant country. To view pictures of this magical encounter or for information and pricing, please visit Xoximilco
Joya - Cirque du Soleil
The new venue, Vidanta, sits admist the pristine jungle 20 minutes North of Playa del Carmen. Witness stunning acrobatics in a story about Joya, a restless, teenage girl transported to a mysterious jungle by her alchemist grandfather. The nightly extravaganza runs Tuesdays through Sundays. To purchase tickets, visit Joya Cirque du Soleil
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.