Playa del Carmen, The Heart of Mexico’s Riviera Maya
Originally the small fishing village south of the resort town of Cancun, Playa del Carmen has seen a tremendous amount of growth over the last 10 years. The picturesque beach town has become one of most chic hot spots in the Caribbean. Showcasing pristine alabaster beaches and turquoise waters, Playa del Carmen is a top destination in Mexico for high-end, luxury tourism.
Among its offerings are 5-star, all-inclusive resorts from the world’s largest companies, including Hyatt and RIU. However, Playa del Carmen also boasts million-dollar, private condominiums with private beach clubs and ocean views stretching to the island of Cozumel. Established in 2005, BRIC Vacation Rentals has developed a reputable name in the Mexican Caribbean’s flourishing vacation rental industry. Presenting 200 diverse and fully serviced Playa del Carmen vacation properties, you are sure to find the ideal rental for your beach getaway.
A Fantastic Mix Of Old And New
Running parallel to the pristine Caribbean waters is the renowned Quinta Avenida, or 5th Avenue. This lively cobblestone street now expands for almost 5 miles, one block from the silky white coast. Along the city’s most famed avenue, you’ll discover hundreds of restaurants, nightclubs, and endless shopping. What is most unique about Playa del Carmen is its delightful mix of traditional Mexican and modern allure.
You can still find plenty of authentic, local cuisine and small artisan shops peddling everything from hammocks to sombreros. But Playa, on the other hand, is rapidly transforming into a luxury destination presenting the best in dining, shopping, and entertainment. This award-winning resort town greets visitors with its top-notch, exotic restaurants run by notable chefs. Plus, visitors can appreciate the upscale boutique stores showcasing an array of designers from around Mexico and the globe.
Something For Everyone
Playa del Carmen’s glorious white sands and clear, turquoise waters attract millions of beachgoers and water enthusiasts. From divers and snorkelers to paddle boarders and avid fishermen, the translucent sea appeals to travelers of all ages. Perched along the shores in the city’s vibrant center, are several beach clubs. Pull up an oceanfront seat to enjoy a sampling of their complete food and drink services throughout the day. Choose to mingle with the high-energy, fashion-forward crowds at Mamitas or Kool Beach. Or if you would rather a relaxed setting, Zenzi or Lido Beach Club extend a cool and casual welcome. Whatever your style, BRIC Vacation Rentals offers private condo rentals just steps from these heavenly Caribbean cantinas.
A Land With Extraordinary Nature and Rich History
Looking to spend the day soaking up the sun at more rustic and less populated beach locations? A leisurely walk either North or South of town leads to sublime and seemingly untouched beaches. Just a short drive from Playa del Carmen, there are dozens of extraordinary spots to enjoy a day of fun in the sand and surf. Maroma Beach, Xpu Ha, Tulum, and Punta Venado are some such divine locations to visit for the day.
Your designated BRIC Ambassador can help to plan a memorable day trip and offer insider information on other seaside sanctuaries throughout the Riviera Maya. For more ideas for fun and adventure in Playa del Carmen, you can also visit our Local Area Guide.
This region, dotted with ancient Mayan cities and protected biospheres, possesses important historical and ecological significance. Playa del Carmen’s central location provides convenient access to the area’s several major eco-parks including Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, or Rio Secreto. Other nearby adventure parks and attractions to add to your itinerary are the Pre-Hispanic ruins of Tulum or Coba. Moreover, scenic cenote swimming holes such as Eden or Cristalino are a must when traveling to Playa.
Any of these outstanding tours will give you a unique sense of the Yucatan Peninsula’s remarkable historical and archaeological value. BRIC Vacation Rentals offers customized tours and transportation service to these and a host of other Riviera Maya destinations and parks.
A vacation to Playa del Carmen can be as relaxed or as active as you desire. The entire 60 plus member staff of BRIC Vacation Rentals is happy to offer our best advice to enhance your stay. Our multilingual team of Playa del Carmen experts is excited and honored to play a part in your unforgettable vacation experience and we can’t wait to welcome you to paradise!
If you’re planning an upcoming trip to the Riviera Maya, it helps to do some research beforehand so you can prepare for a stress-free vacation. First-time visitors typically want to know where to stay, what the best things to do are, and how to stay safe.
In general, when traveling to any destination, certain precautions should be taken. Travel tips such as never leaving your luggage unattended, using ATM machines only in banks, and drinking responsibly are good pieces of advice wherever you go.
The Riviera Maya is one of the safest exotic destinations on the planet visited by over 4 million annual travelers. The most common troubles visitors face are sunburns the dreaded Montezuma’s Revenge.
Besides packing environmentally safe sunscreens and Pepto-Bismol tablets, there are a few simple things you can do to steer you away from trouble in Mexico. More safety tips to come, but first, let’s get to know this divine destination better.
What Is The Riviera Maya and Which Town Suits Your Needs Best
The Riviera Maya is comprised of an over one hundred kilometre stretch of white sand beaches along Mexico’s Caribbean coast. This wondrous natural playground begins at Puerto Morelos and continues south just past Tulum. Dozens of adult-only, family-friendly and ultra-luxurious all-inclusive resorts run along this spellbinding corridor.
The tropical climate is one of the most appealing draws with an average eternal summer temperature of 30 degrees Celsius. Boasting a diverse conglomeration of ecosystems, this unique piece of paradise presents world-class diving and golfing, the longest underground river system, and the second largest reef system in the world. With numerous protected biospheres and an extensive jungle speckled with the abandoned remains of an ancient civilization, the natural beauty and fun-filled activities are endless.
Beautiful Beaches and Bustling Towns
Just a handful of seaside towns occupy the captivating coastline, each with its own set of attractive characteristics. Puerto Morelos (20 minutes south of the airport) is a quaint village with one central square from which all of the action stems from. It is a popular destination for snowbirds as expats can easily integrate into the community and enjoy a peaceful existence. There are a few delightful restaurants, cafés and beach clubs surrounding the main square along with souvenir and ice cream shops.
Puerto Morelos Activities
- Xenotes Park
- Joya by Cirque du Soleil
- Little Mexican Cooking School
- Ixchel Jungle Spa
Continuing twenty minutes south is Playa del Carmen, the Heart of the Riviera Maya (40 minutes south of the airport). Once a small fishing village, it is now a vibrant, metropolitan city with a multitude of options for dining and entertainment.
The principal tourist area is on the east side of the 307 Federal Highway. Visitors can stroll Playa’s famous 5th Avenue from CTM to Playacar on the south end of the city. The multi-cultural community is made up of a colorful mix of national and international residents and the vibe is very casual. Despite its easy-breezy ambience, an abundance of upscale restaurants, luxury hotels, brand name and boutique stores give the city its sophisticated essence.
Playa has everything you could possibly need for a traveler’s comfort and convenience. There are banks, hospitals, and consular agencies for Canada, the United States, Italy, and France. In addition, you can find every type of cuisine, big box supermarkets and specialty health food stores. If you’re vegan or gluten free, there is a plentitude of restaurants that will cater to your dietary needs.
Playa del Carmen Activities
- 3-D Museum of Wonders
- Frida Kahlo Museum
- El Pueblito Cooking School
- Teatro de la Ciudad
- Beach Clubs
- Roof Bars with Pools
- Xcaret Park
- Xplor Park
- Xenses Park
- Rio Secreto
- Emotions Native Park
- Cenotes Parque Fundadores
- Free Daily Cultural Shows
- Shopping Malls
- Night Clubs
Next on the map is Puerto Aventuras (55 minutes south of the airport) yet another enchanting seaside destination. At its center is a bustling square with water-front eateries and a Dolphin Discovery as its main attraction. A few quaint coffee and gift shops border the canals, which run through the 9-hole golf course and residential neighborhood.
There is a marina from which many of the Riviera Maya catamaran, fishing and yacht tours set sail. A modest hotel zone offers ocean views and a couple of all-inclusive lodging options. The shopping and dining experience is limited but there are some popular local hubs with fantastic happy hour specials and sublime water views.
Puerto Aventuras Activities
- Golf (9 hole course)
- Swim with Dolphins
- Beach Clubs
- Xpa Eco-natural Spa
- Cedam Maritime Museum
- Rauxa Dinner Show
- Xpu Ha Beach
- Xel ha Park
- Woodward at Hard Rock Hotel
Ten minutes further south on the 307, you come to the Akumal, a.k.a. ‘The Place of the Turtles’ (65 minutes south of the Cancun airport). This beautiful bay is home to an abundant source of sea grass. The massive bed of sea grass and coral reef make it an ideal feeding zone for Green, Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles. There is a principle dive shop on the beach, a few beach club restaurants and a couple of sprawling resorts.
On the road in from the highway to the parking for the bay, you’ll pass by convenience stores and ice cream shops (be sure to try some creamy gelato while you’re there.) For breakfast Turtle Bay Café is touted for its scrumptious pies and generous portions. If you continue down this road, you’ll arrive at Half Moon Bay. This residential area is sprinkled with more intimate hotels and gorgeous beach villas. Heading north still, to the end, you will come upon the Yal Ku Lagoon. The spectacular site offers snorkeling, a restaurant and palapas for shade when you’re not cooling off in the crystal clear waters.
- Yal Ku Lagoon
- La Buena Vida Beach Bar and Restaurant
- Akumal Monkey Sanctuary
The last stop on the Riviera Maya tour is the famed bohemian-chic town of Tulum (85 minutes south of the airport). It’s a quieter version of Playa del Carmen, but still offers some charming boutique shopping, upscale lodgings with thatched-roof cabañas and luxurious beach clubs. Although the style is rustic, the prices are on the posh side. However, the quality of cuisine and other-worldly dining experiences match the premium prices you’ll pay. Plus the views you will encounter on these beaches are truly priceless.
Tulum is renowned for its sustainable tourism, its wide alabaster beaches, Yoga and world-class cuisine. Exquisite jungle hideaways and random hole-in-the-wall restaurants showcase healthy and locally sourced menus featuring authentic Mexican offerings with a modern twists.
- UNESCO Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve
- Punta Allen (2 hours from Tulum and the last town on this stretch of white-sand beach)
- Muyil Ruins
- Tulum Ruins
- Yoga and Wellness Retreats
- Xel Ha Eco-Park
- Tulum Jungle Maya Park by Alltournative
- Coba Ruins
Although Cancun is not part of the Riviera Maya, the Cancun International Airport (CUN) is the destination you will choose when booking your flights. There are plenty of popular big player online sites such as Expedia that offer hundreds of flight options. But it may mean a few extra dollars in your pocket to look beyond the usual suspects for more price comparisons. Try these additional suggestions for flight deals .
The first four options allow you to book your tickets right from the site. Although you will have to contact a travel agent, Itamatrix.com provides the whole calendar month of prices and compares almost every airline that flies to your destination. You can find plane tickets for half price with Itamatrix versus other giants in online travel industry, so it definitely deserves a mention.
How To Get From The Cancun Airport To The Riviera Maya
Most commonly, airport transfers are include if you book an all-inclusive hotel. However, you should know that these tourist buses can make 5-10 stops before arriving at your destination. That can mean sometimes mean an extra hour or two of travel time. Not exactly convenient when all you want to do is grab a margarita and hit the beach!
For an extra cost, taxis and private vans services might be a better option, especially if you are traveling with a group and can split the cost. The ADO bus has scheduled stops at all the major cities in the Riviera Maya including Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen and Tulum.
Expect anywhere from twenty minutes to two hours for shared transportation. If you do not mind the extra travel time, the ADO bus to Tulum takes approximately two hours. But it’s the way to go for the most cost efficient mode of transportation. Other perks include pickup points at all four terminals, air-conditioning, wide seats and televisions.
The Riviera Maya presents a vast selection of top-notch accommodation options. Whether you are coming to celebrate your honeymoon, reuniting with relatives for a family reunion or planning a getaway with friends, the hotel and vacation rental offerings are endless. Travelyucatan.com showcases a plethora of choices in all of the hot spot destinations in this area.
The best vacation tip we like to share that never fails to please guests is to break up your stay. Pool bars, unlimited food and umbrella drinks can be blissful and relaxing for a couple of days, but seven consecutive days of this becomes boring fast.
To the right is a compiled list of first-choice accommodations in the Riviera Maya. We recommend a mix and match to have two completely different, yet unforgettable vacation experiences in one.
Spend a couple of relaxing days at an all-inclusive for your fill of Eat. Drink. Sleep. Repeat. Then choose a vacation rental in one of Playa del Carmen’s top condo hotels near 5th Avenue, the city’s main dining, shopping and entertainment district. By staying both on and off a resort, you’ll really get a sense of the incredible Playa lifestyle. This is the best way to acquaint yourself with its sensational tastes and fun-loving people. It is just small enough to navigate by foot or bicycle. Yet the ever-transforming city still offers museums, aquariums, galleries, boutique shops and over three hundred restaurants in the downtown area.
Riviera Maya Travel Tips
Due to Playa del Carmen’s central location, travelers have convenient access to the many ecological parks, ancient Mayan ruins, and picturesque cenotes in the Riviera Maya.
Once you have confirmed your flight dates and the accommodations are booked, you can delve deeper into your research. Everythingplayadelcarmen.com is an excellent source of regional information and posts honest opinions of their personal experiences. Discover the best activities in the Riviera Maya along with restaurant, hotel and attraction reviews. The site also contains updated travel tips and covers some of the newest concepts to pop up around the entire Yucatan Peninsula.
As the name states, you will find everything you need to know about Playa del Carmen and area. In the articles are detailed instructions on how to get around and the best economical or authentic menus in town. As well, you”ll know what to expect at popular and lesser visited gems in the Riviera Maya.
Learn From The Experts
The travel blogging duo from Gettingstamped.com spends a few weeks each year in Playa del Carmen. They loved it so much, it was once their home base for a four-month period. Hannah and Adam know this region well and have put together several guides. From living in Playa del Carmen to the best day trips and best margaritas, you’ll find a ton of useful information. Plus they continually update their articles so you can count on current content.
A third option that offers travel tips with full guides is the Bric Travel Blog. Any extraordinary experiences that are worth sharing are documented here to help visitors have fun and memorable vacations. Also, Bric’s Playa del Carmen experts are available online to answer any questions you may have regarding the area.
If you are fluent in español, Rivieramaya.com presents a wealth of information on the fore-mentioned destinations.
Should you want to do some exploring on your own, minus the expensive group tour prices and crowded buses, hire a reliable private van service. Travel Yucatan allows you to customize your adventure based on your group’s desires and timeline. Additionally, you have a private guide to give you insider information on some of the area’s top sites.
The local Taxi WhatsApp service (+52 1 984-138-1075 / +52 1 (984-197-0814) is another option for reserving a ride. The best feature of this service is that you have a guaranteed price at the time of booking so there are no surprises when you arrive at your final destination.
Tip: When hailing a cab on the streets, always pre-determine the cost of your taxi service with the driver before you get in. What you expect to pay is not always what the reality is if the price is not agreed upon beforehand. It’s best to establish the cost verbally before your journey begins.
Keeping Safe In Mexico
Mexico is a considerably large country with rugged mountainous, lush jungle, and desert terrain. Its coastal plains boast some of the most alluring beaches on the planet. The country is dotted with “Magical Towns” rich in history and architectural beauty. With such extraordinary features including limestone caverns, agave farms, coffee and coconut plantations, remarkable cathedrals, mouthwatering dishes, ancient Mayan cities, and cultural festivals, Mexico is a country that must be visited at least once in a lifetime.
When traveling to Mexico, here are the best tips for a trouble-free vacation:
- Avoid drinking the tap water
- Keep your purse on you when you go out rather than hanging it on the back of your chair at dinner
- Stay hydrated and take breaks from the midday sun
- Travel with a buddy when taking a taxi
- Bargaining for the best price is acceptable, bu keep the conversation respectful
- Drink responsibly and do not indulge in recreational drugs
- Purchase travel and medical insurance
- Set up notifications from your bank to authorize credit card transactions to avoid fraud
- Don’t leave your belongings unattended on your beach blanket
- Don’t be afraid to try street food, just follow the locals and stick to the busiest food cart stands
For any other information regarding a Playa del Carmen vacation, our offices are open everyday to answer your calls. Contact us anytime and we will do our best to help!
When autumn arrives, Thanksgiving is just around the corner. This special holiday revolves around family, feasting, and football. But if anything can rouse people from their turkey comas, it’s the other “f” word— Friday. Black Friday that is. Similar to Boxing Day in Canada or Buen Fin in Mexico, on this famous Friday, retailers offer the biggest discounts of the year. Red ‘SALE’ signs as far as the eye can see send hoards of deal seekers into a buying frenzy.
So what exactly compels us to jump out of bed at an ungodly hour? What drives us to circle overcrowded parking lots for hours, eager to forge our way through a mob of crazed shoppers? The answer is saving money makes us feel good. Coming home knowing we got the deal of the year gives us a sense of pride, a natural high. If only we could find some way to make this feeling last…
Buy Experiences, Not Things
Undoubtedly in the last decade, you’ve seen social media posts advocating spending money on experiences, not things. Investing in travel produces priceless dividends. Studies have shown that traveling can boost brain and heart health and lower stress— an important contribution to your physical and mental wellbeing. Not to mention, travel develops compassion and cultural understanding, along with many other benefits. For this reason, we’re suggesting you forego the boot sale this Black Friday. Instead, book a trip to the tropical paradise of Playa del Carmen.
This exotic playground is bursting at the seams with awe-inspiring points of interest. In fact, this area of the Yucatan Peninsula presents hundreds of ways to stockpile one-of-a-kind experiences for the ol’ memory bank. Snorkeling beneath glistening, turquoise waters, boating through mangroves canals, paddle boarding on tranquil lagoons, exploring colonial cathedrals, the list is endless.
More Reasons To Say ‘No’ To The Boots
Joy from things is temporary. In one form or another, we’ve all encountered it. From walking out of the Apple Store with the latest iPhone to buying a car. We imagine swiping our way to happiness or driving our way to fulfillment. Once we have this or achieve that, our lives will be complete. The problem is, almost every time, that happiness is short-lived. Whereas experiences become a part of us. Every stamp in our passport, every photo of our journeys has a wonderful story to tell. Unforgettable experiences make our hearts smile and can be pivotal turning points in our lives.
Possessions rarely equal (meaningful) connections. When’s the last time you were intrigued by so-and-so’s story of having to downsize from three vacation homes to two? This topic is a conversation killer. On the other hand, connection that impacts your life is often a byproduct of unique experiences. It could be a bond formed with your Bric ambassador who went out of her way to make your first Playa del Carmen vacation amazing. Or perhaps you connected to a new city where you discovered a charming cafe with a personable barista who served the best cappuccino in the world.
Material things come and go. Not only can experiences never be taken away, but they become ingrained in us. Connections, unfamiliarity, learning something new, and anticipation of an event or an adventure enhance our lives in lasting ways.
Experiences In Playa del Carmen Cost Less Than You Think
For the same amount you’d spend on a pair of boots, you can swim alongside sea turtles PLUS enjoy fresh seafood overlooking a picturesque bay. Rather than adding another coat to your collection, you could sail across the Caribbean waters, anchoring by undeveloped shores sprinkled with starfish. For the price of a Starbucks, you could pay the entrance fee to a cenote and pass the day floating upon in crystal clear waters. Instead of a designer purse, you could hire a private van, zip line through the jungle, swim in underground caves, and climb towering Mayan temples.
Visiting a country known for its hospitable people, sensational food, and scenic nature, makes a trip to the Riviera Maya the best investment you can make for yourself this year.
Even though international travel may seem impossible on your income or budget, anyone can do it. Where there is a will, there is a way. If seeing the world has been a dream of yours, but you just haven’t been able to make it happen, we want to make it easier for you! With over 150 superb vacation homes in our inventory at all-time low prices, Bric Vacation Rentals has the perfect vacation home for your Playa del Carmen beach getaway.