What could possibly be more fun than a music festival? How about a music festival on the beach? Picture yourself on the soft sand. The moonlight is glistening on the sea, casting shadows of the palm trees along the shore. You and your favorite travel companion sit on a blanket, which faces the open-air stage. You let out a relaxed sigh and smile as Nora Jones belts out ‘Don’t Know Why’ under a star-filled sky.
It’s no wonder why renowned musicians, chefs, and professional athletes flock to the Mexican Caribbean every year. We get it. Not only are these Riviera Maya events entertaining, but they just happen to take place in a tropical oasis.
If you’re looking for things to do in Playa del Carmen on your next visit, this calendar of upcoming events will come in handy. From notable art festivals to highly-anticipated concert events, you won’t want to miss the Riviera Maya’s most celebrated occasions.
Alejandro Sanz in Concert
(October 26, 2019)
The stunning Teatro Gran Tlachco at Xcaret Park will welcome international superstar, Alejandro Sanz at the end of this month. The Spanish guitarist and songwriter has collaborated with the likes of Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello, and Alicia Keys over his decades-long career.
The 3-time Album of the Year Latin Grammy winner will treat fans to his long list of chart-topping songs beginning at 9 p.m. It is a not-to-be-missed concert event of the year in Playa del Carmen.
Oktoberfest at Thomson Playa del Carmen
(October 26, 2019)
Celebrate the first annual Oktoberfest at The Thompson Beach House on Calle 8. Taste over 20 artisanal beer varieties accompanied by music and traditional German bites. The party starts at 1 pm and tickets are available on Eventbrite.
(October 29, 2019)
This sensational music, wine, and gastronomy evening takes place at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Playa del Carmen. As the stellar band Babasónicos plays, patrons can to sample an exquisite array of fine food. Furthermore, your palate will be pleased when it encounters the best in Mexican, as well as Monteviejo wines from the esteemed Argentinian winery.
Halloween Tiki Party
(October 31, 2019)
The Tiny Tiki Hut is always a great idea for a night out in Playa del Carmen. But the staff has devised something really spooktacular to celebrate Halloween this year. Costumes are a must, and the theme is ‘Stranger Things’. Your creativity and festive spirit will be rewarded. Perks for showing up dressed include a welcome “Zombie” cocktail and prizes for the most inventive masqueraders at the ball.
Festival of Life and Death / Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte
(October 30 – November 2, 2019)
This intriguing festival celebrates the time-honored tradition, Day of the Dead for people of Mexican heritage. It is the movie Coco come to life at Xcaret Park. As a spectator, you’ll see vibrant cultural plays and dances. You’ll visit candlelit altars adorned with orange marigolds, fruits, as well as photos of loved ones who have passed. Continuing on, you’ll awe at the elaborately painted calavera (skull) faces parading through the scenic grounds.
In addition to cultural aspects, there are interactive workshops for children and adults. Plus you’ll discover food booths serving traditional cuisine such as creamy esquites and cochinita pibil. Two Gala Concerts, which take place on one of the most exotic stages on earth, top off the list of outstanding events. The indigenous festivities, inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, will undoubtedly captivate you.
MTB Fest Riviera Maya
(November 3, 2019)
This adrenaline-fueled mountain bike race happens within Dos Ojos Cenote Park, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the Riviera Maya. For the advanced and elite groups, the 50-kilometer trail is a thrilling adventure over lush, jungle terrain. The day closes with a celebratory party with DJs, drinks, food, and raffles.
Sabor Latino Social
(November 9, 2019)
If you love Latin rhythms including Salsa, Mambo, and Bachata, this night is made for you! The sultry social outing takes place on the roof terrace of the Hotel Fiesta Inn. Fans of Latino dance styles can expect 5 hours of dance floor fun.
Mayatlón Playa del Carmen
(November 10, 2019)
Come and show your support for the inspiring participants in the 1st edition of Mayatlón. The sprint triathlon commences in Parque Fundadores in the heart of Playa del Carmen. From this perfect vantage point, enjoy the Caribbean views and the festivities as you cheer on the competing athletes.
Mayakoba Golf Classic
(November 11 – 17, 2019)
Join thousands of golf aficionados at one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world, El Camaleón near Playa del Carmen. The popular PGA-tour stop is set along the tranquil canals and beaches of the luxurious Mayakoba property.
Some of golf’s most recognizable stars, including Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, and Abraham Ancer are confirmed. They will join returning champion Matt Kuchar at the prestigious golf tournament that draws thousands of global golf enthusiasts annually.
Mazda Ironman in Cozumel
(November 24, 2019)
The late-season destination race invites endurance athletes and their entourages to the Mexican Caribean paradise of Cozumel. Just a 45-minute ferry ride from downtown Playa del Carmen, the enchanting island is known for its flourishing coral reefs and white-sand beaches.
Crowds gather to cheer on Ironman participants as they swim, bike, and run along the pristine coastline of San Miguel de Cozumel. It’s an inspiring sporting event, at which crowds of locals and supporters convene to enjoy its lively Mexican music, authentic cuisine, and festive atmosphere.
Bushido El Camino del Guerrero
(November 30, 2019)
This vibrant Japanese cultural show will take place at the intimate Teatro de la Ciudad venue in Playa del Carmen. In an effort to promote the arts in the Riviera Maya, many of the concerts and theatrical performances are free. Visit the Teatro del la Ciudad Playa del Carmen Facebook page for a calendar of upcoming shows.
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
(November 29 – December 1, 2019)
The 17th annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival returns to Mamitas Beach Club in downtown Playa del Carmen. Chucho Valdés, famed Cuban composer and pianist, as well as the Grammy-nominated Reggae band UB40, are part of this year’s exciting line-up.
Mind-bogglingly enough, organizers host this extraordinary talent at no cost to attendees! Bring your blanket or beach chairs and enjoy 3 phenomenal days of jazz music. Performers hit the stage at 7 p.m. each evening. It’s best to go early to claim your spot on the sand.
Vegan Market Playa
(December 7, 2019)
This popular local market takes place on the first Saturday of every month in Parque La Ceiba. Local growers along with small business owners and artisans gather to showcase natural and alternative medicine products as well as delicious vegan fare. Market organizers invite visitors to experience delicious food, listen to live music and learn from experts speaking on the topic of veganism.
Canvas & Cocktails Mexico
(December 11, 2019)
Join beloved Riviera Maya artist Jesse Montenegro, for an engaging painting class. Whether a beginner or advanced, Jesse guides his students through the process with patience and expert instruction.
The fun, 3-hour classes are given in Spanish and English and the location is convenient, in the heart of the city. The Tiny Tiki Hut, a popular Playa hangout, offers the perfect setting for your creativity and new friendships to blossom.
Day Zero Tulum
(January 10, 2020)
This iconic night of electronic dance music returns to the majestic jungle of Tulum. Featuring extraordinary venues and an all-star line-up of prominent DJs including Damian Lazarus and Audiofly, Day Zero sells out quickly. EDM lovers can’t get enough of the sandy, outdoor dance floors, endless beats, and sunrise after-parties along the magnificent coastline.
(January 29 – February 4, 2020)
This is the most highly-anticipated dance music festival in Mexico catering to the LGBTQ community. The 6-day beach party features legendary DJs and the most impressive circuit parties on the continent.
Marking its 9th edition, the Arena Festival is the biggest gay event in the country, attracting attendees from all over the world.
Parades and Brazilian beats take over the cobblestone streets around the third week in February of 2020. Grab your feather boas and join in the colorful celebrations that appeal to growing audiences year after year.
Although the official date has not yet been released for Carnaval 2020 Playa del Carmen, it typically coincides with Cozumel’s grand carnival fiesta. Mark your calendars in February from the 19th to the 26th. With over a week of lively parades, concerts, and fantastic food, it is an ideal time to plan a trip to Playa del Carmen.
Art With Me *GNP Tulum
(April 22 – 26, 2020)
This remarkable 4-day event boasts striking installations by sculptors, painters, photographers, and phenomenal visual artists. Participants can attend workshops on themes such as sustainability and better business practices. Also on the daily agenda are films, children’s activities, and panel discussions. Due to its mindful planning and engaging attractions, inspired attendees gain a thought-provoking outlook on a wide range of environmental issues.
Some of Mexico’s finest culinary masters take the opportunity to showcase their creative genius along with chefs from Tulum’s top restaurants. Tantalizing pop-ups appear in the most divine locations. Dine on delectable bites at verdant jungle or breathtaking beach settings within the area of this Mexican Caribbean gem.
DJs covering a realm of genres from folk to electronic dance music hit the stages to perform before blissful audiences. Larger-than-life artworks combine with a series of unforgettable moments. For those fortunate enough to be part of this epic event, the art, the people, and the atmosphere culminate to form impressions that last forever.
Sacred Mayan Journey
(May 25 – 26, 2020)
To witness this meaningful race, which commemorates an ancient pilgrimage, is to be a part of the fascinating history of the Mayan civilization.
Each May, Xcaret Park is the scenic starting point of the Travesia Sagrada (Sacred Mayan Journey). The day begins at dawn with Mayan ceremonies of blessings and gratitude. As the sun begins to rise over the Caribbean, several groups of steel-willed men and women embark on the challenging 7-hour voyage. Paddling replica canoes similar to those used centuries ago, the teams set off towards Cozumel. In the massive, wooden canoes, they bring with them offerings for Ixchel, the Goddess of Fertility. After paying homage to Ixchel and resting for the night, they depart the island and return to Xcaret Park. It is an exhilarating welcoming, courtesy of the hundreds of cheering spectators. Unwinding from the 19 km trek, the participants, join in to celebrate with live music and cultural dances.
Zouk MX 2020
(July 24 – August 5, 2020)
This dynamic event has beckoned attendees to the Riviera Maya for 5 successful years. ZoukMX is an all-encompassing and interactive dance festival featuring some of the most influential artists in the business.
On the stimulating 2-week itinerary are 100 hours of instruction led by the International Brazilian Training Team, in addition to workshops, teacher training, and competitions. Throw in a couple of cenote, yacht, and rooftop parties, and the schedule becomes irresistible. Not to mention the elite international DJs, beachfront venues, and an invigorating retreat, which brings the festival to a memorable close.
Sure, lounging by the sea on sunny days with a few margaritas never hurt anyone. However, there is much more to this Caribbean paradise than its glorious beaches. Explore more when you choose to stay with Bric Vacation Rentals. Our hospitality team works hard to take your vacation from great to extraordinary!
For more information on upcoming Riviera Maya events, visit our Facebook Page. Likewise, you can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter at www.bricrental.com.
La Vida Local
One of the benefits of staying in a vacation rental is that you get to experience the city through the eyes of a local. While staying in your home away from home, you have the chance to venture out and experience the authentic tastes of Mexico most tourists to the Riviera Maya miss out on.
To make it easier to find these hidden gems, we feature our recommendations in ‘Top 10’ lists on our website’s travel blog page. When you visit this great Playa del Carmen resource, you will discover the best the city has to offer. Articles such as The Top 10 Restaurants For Vegetarians and Vegans or Bric Staff’s Favorite Mexican Restaurants point out some of our best suggestions.
La Quinta, or 5thAvenue (Playa ‘s main tourist hub) presents an enticing array of unique dining options. However, there are hundreds of one-of-a-kind eateries tucked alongside streets worth checking out.
But before you set out on a quest to find the best enchiladas in town, you’ll want to start the day off with a great cup of coffee. This blog article highlights not only the best cafes in Playa del Carmen but also its vibrant multicultural spirit. Hailing from interesting places including Italy, France, Cuba, and Mexico City, this medley of coffee shop owners has done well to inject its dynamic flare into the city’s food scene. Luckily for us, we can choose from an exceptional range of global menus and international brew styles.
Choux Choux Café
(20th Avenue and Calle 24)
Opens at 7 am
There are so many reasons to love this eclectic eatery. The décor at Choux Choux is artsy, heck even their frothy latte is a pièce de résistance! They have a display case of chocolaty goodness and other sweet treats to go with your fresh coffee and the menu boasts a list of vegan-friendly dishes.
If you fall in love with this place as most locals in Playa have, you may find yourself there again on Wednesday evenings for their open mic night. The owners are all about embracing local talent, creating a welcoming sense of community, and raising environmental awareness with their recycling program.
(Calle 30 between 25thand 30thAvenue)
Opens at 8 am
You can recognize this delightful little coffee shop by the massive flamboyant tree at its entrance. Bursts of burnt orange blooms and a maze of branches provide natural shade for the window seats. Artwork and other products from local artisans decorate the rustic café and are available for purchase.
Whether you are a regular or not, the manager is always on hand to welcome you as if you have been a client for years. If you want a little brunch with your coffee, ask for a fresh-made bagel or breakfast sandwich.
Lara & Luca
(On the outskirts of Playacar Fase 2, Avenida Aviacion)
Opens at 7:30 am
This popular café and restaurant is such a hit that it has undergone renovations to expand twice and has recently opened a second location in Tulum. The coffee is rich and the pastries have the perfect amount of puff.
For breakfast, they serve a menu of the day, which includes their own natural yogurt and granola blend, the main dish, coffee, and a fresh fruit juice. Try their healthy green drink to accompany the best eggs benny in town. If you’re in a hurry, next door is their deli with ready-made salads, soups, breads, and desserts to go.
Ojo de Agua
(CTM between 15th & 20th Avenue)
Opens at 8 am
This newly established gem invites visitors to enjoy a cafecito outside on their verdant, open-air patio or in the air-conditioned dining room. There is plenty of space if you are traveling in a group. Their on-site store is a great place to find fresh produce and organic products. The location is especially convenient if you are a guest of Bric’s at the Elements condos just down the street.
If you desire a savory breakfast, it is a hard choice when it comes to the list of divine selections. But forced to choose, we’d go with the hearty matcha or coco breakfast bowls brimming with seasonal fruit.
(25th Avenue between Calle 12 and 12 Bis)
Opens at 8 am
The aroma of fresh baking and maple syrup is always a welcome touch upon entering this cute little café. Located beside Walmart and behind the ADO bus station, it’s the perfect final pit stop if you are heading back to the airport.
Friendly staff offers organic, free-trade coffee and delicious iced frappe blends such as horchata, matcha, and chai. Even a quick stop to admire their stunning mural is worth a trip inside.
(Constituyentes between 10th and 15th Avenue)
Opens at 6:45 am
We are thrilled that the Italian proprietors decided to bring their devotion to fine Italian coffee and cuisine to Playa del Carmen. The menu boasts a vast selection of sweet treats to accompany one of the best cappuccinos in town.
Open for lunch and dinner as well, you might want to check out their menu of the day or visit for a refreshing Aperol Spritz!
(5th Avenue and Calle 48)
Open from 7 am – 5 pm
One of our favorites on the list, we love the authentic ‘Playaesque’ feel of this inviting neighborhood café. There are only a few tables, so finding a seat at this busy hub can sometimes be a challenge.
They have a tasty, casual breakfast menu with some creative dishes including healthful smoothie bowls and poached eggs in a rich red salsa that is spiced to perfection. If you can’t take the heat of the salsa, try their amazing passion fruit lemonade.
Café, Coco y Miel
(5th Avenue and Calle 48)
Opens at 8 am
The care and attention to detail in every single beverage and dish they serve is clearly evident. It’s a unique, hole-in-the-wall eatery serving delicious superfood vegan options such as Acai smoothies, breakfast bowls, and matcha waffles.
Organic coffee beans from Oaxaca, Veracruz, and Chiapas are available for purchase and this commendable, local business is one of the leaders in environmental awareness with their dedication to ban the use of plastics.
The Pitted Date
(CTM in between 1stand Cozumel Avenue)
Opens at 8 am
This incredible vegan café is full of scrumptious surprises to accompany your coffee or creamy turmeric latte. How does a slice of sinfully delicious chocolate cake or mouth-watering macadamia lemon cheesecake sound? These tantalizing 100% vegan pastries are packed with!
The creatives responsible for this menu continuously push the envelope when it comes to out-of-this-world vegan dishes. Take for example the omelet drizzled with a cashew cream sauce, or the Paninis served with homemade ketchup – that’s a lot of pure goodness.
(5th Avenue & Calle 34)
Opens at 8 am
If you have already walked Playa del Carmen’s famous 5thAvenue, chances are you have strolled by this popular local bakery. A favorite coffee shop for their fresh French bread, pastries, and almond croissants, Chez Celine brings a taste of France to the Riviera Maya.
Additional crowd-pleasers worth mentioning are the coconut flan and house ginger lemonade, which offer refreshing twists on the original versions.
And that’s all folks! You now have the inside scoop on Playa del Carmen’s best-kept secrets as far as coffee houses go. Now grab a friend for the perfect blend.
Perfect Days Begin With Perfect Mornings
In Playa del Carmen, locals spend as much time possible in the great outdoors. The region’s warm, tropical climate lures people from around the globe to set down roots near its silky shoreline. This year-round summer weather makes outdoor living a way of life. Offices are set up on terraces perched over the Caribbean. Hockey sticks are traded in for golf clubs. Dinners are prepared on grills, and savored on patios engulfed by lush gardens.
This Riviera Maya jewel is a natural paradise. If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Playa del Carmen, you won’t want to waste a single second indoors. Enjoy your Mexican vacation to the fullest with these 7 ways to kickstart a perfect day in Playa del Carmen.
Enjoy Coffee With A View
One memorable highlight of staying in an ocean view condo with Bric is that you can wake up to some of the most spectacular sunrises in the world. Sip your morning brew on the balcony. From this privileged position, get a front-row seat to a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds, and pinks bursting across the sky. Add the Caribbean hues from the sea below into that mix, and well, there aren’t really words to describe that kind of beauty.
Breakfast at Bajo Cafe
Shaded by the umbrella of a massive flamboyant tree, Bajo Cafe is part of Mercado 30. This quaint little conglomeration of eclectic stores and eateries is located on Calle 30 and 25th Avenue.
Local artists feature their prints and artisanal works throughout the cafe. But the remarkable decor is not the only reason to visit Bajo. You’ll discover the best coffee in town, derived from coffee bean plantations in Chiapas. Try a breakfast bagel or a warm pastry, both ideal accompaniments to their robust coffee.
Sunrise Paddle Board Session
The seasoned instructors from Aloha Paddle Club are experts at reaping the benefits of beach life in Playa del Carmen. Every morning, they offer Stand Up Paddle classes from the glorious white sands at Fusion Beach Club on Calle 6. The company, who has a loyal following of locals and expats, recently signed on to offer Stand Up Yoga classes from the stunning infinity pool at Grand Hyatt.
Join Sander and his team for a safe and remarkable 1.5-hour journey to local reefs a couple of hundred meters off the silky shores. You’ll have a blast gliding over and diving into the crystal clear waters. A sunrise paddle presents one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have on the Caribean Sea.
Birdies and Breakfast Balls
Since Playa del Carmen is lucky enough to have summer weather year-round, hitting the links is a highly recommended way to start the day off right. Nothing beats teeing off in the early morning when the air is fresh, with no distractions but the local wildlife scurrying about.
Playa del Carmen is a top golf destination due to its climate and pristine, PGA tour-worthy courses. Go for birdie at championship golf courses such as El Camaleon in Mayakoba, Gran Coyote Golf in Grand Coral, or Hard Rock Riviera Maya, which sits in the center of the gated community of Playacar.
Get Your Om On At Yogaloft
Pose and meditate your way to a magical morning with a class at Yogaloft, situated on Calle 10 and 10th Avenue. Renowned instructor Michael Gannon and other guest teachers from around North America offer a schedule of classes designed to get the blood flowing and the mind centered.
These challenging and impactful sessions will help to set the mood for an excellent day. Additionally, next door to the studio is a yoga-based store selling gear and Liquid Prana. A rejuvenating line of raw, cold-pressed juices, Liquid Prana will give you the healthful jolt of energy to power through your unforgettable day.
Who’s Up For A Roadtrip?
There are a thousand and one fantastic adventures to be had around Playa del Carmen, so get in the car and hit the road! Among the vast array of riveting sights are the Yucatan Peninsula’s longest underground river and cave system, cenote swimming holes, and ancient Mayan cities.
Tucked within the lush jungle are centuries-old pyramids and dozens of ecological parks, including Xcaret, Xplor, and Emotions Native Park. Within a couple of hours, you can drive to Magical Towns (Pueblos Magicos) such as the Yellow Town of Izamal and the colonial city of Valladolid.
In Bacalar, you’ll be amazed by the pirate history and the Fort of San Felipe, which overlooks the astounding Lagoon of 7 Colors.
Alternatively, head to a nearby island like Isla Mujeres or Holbox to experience island life at its finest. Ride along rustic roads lined with multi-colored buildings on a golf cart. Dine on fresh catches of the day. Furthermore, drop by a welcoming Caribbean beach bar. Listen to Reggae music as you enjoy the view consisting of turquoise and palm trees as you sip on a fruity cocktail. This dreamy island vibe will surely stick with you forever.
Additionally, you can jump on board a boat for some of the best snorkeling in the area in Puerto Morelos. Not so far off the shore is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. You’ll relish the opportunity to swim alongside turtles, parrotfish, and fascinating reef sharks.
Cozumel, just a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, boasts a long list of unique activities. First of all, it’s a renowned diving destination due to its extraordinary underwater visibility. Consequently, exploring sea life and sunken ships via a submarine is certain to be a grand adventure. Next, climb to the top of the lighthouse and savor the divine views at Punta Sur. Be sure to taste tequila and authentic Mexican cuisine on a food tour with a local chef. Lastly on the itinerary for things to do in Cozumel is visiting a pearl farm in the picturesque waters on the island’s north end.
No matter which direction you set out on, you are sure to collect travel stories that will make a lasting impression on your heart.
Take A Sunrise Stroll
Is there anything better than the feeling of cool sand under your feet and warm, salty waves lapping your toes? Picture an early morning walk along the powdery sand toward the sun as it rises over a turquoise seascape. It’s a picture that you will want to hold in your mind forever.
Considering all of the benefits of spending time at the beach, it is no surprise that this breathtaking activity makes it on our list. However, let’s face it, if you wake up in Playa del Carmen, you already have a huge advantage for starting the day off right!
Summer in Playa del Carmen sizzles. Luckily for visitors, you can always find inviting turquoise waters or glistening pools within close range. Built upon shores of powdery soft coral, Playa borders the shimmering blue-green waters of the Caribbean. This Riviera Maya city is most popular for its picturesque coastline. However, vacations here offer far more than cocktails on the beach.
This article sheds light on five of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen during summer vacation. These sensational outings will fill your memory bank with epic Yucatan Peninsula travel stories to tell for years to come.
Discover Paradise at El Cielo
Located a few hundred meters off the southern tip of Cozumel is El Cielo, meaning ‘Heaven.’ From Playa del Carmen, a 45-minute ferry delivers you to the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Upon arriving in Cozumel, you will board a smaller boat to transport you on an unforgettable 4 to 5-hour journey. As you sail south along the island’s sublime coastline, you’ll anchor at two flourishing coral reefs of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. During these snorkeling sessions, you will explore some of the clearest sea waters and meet a host of breathtaking aquatic animals.
No notice from the captain is needed, as it will become crystal clear (literally) when you arrive at El Cielo. The waters in this isolated diamond in the Caribbean rough are in the ranks with those of the Maldives. Although you won’t encounter over-the-water huts, majestic manta rays, starfish, and sea turtles will surely capture your attention.
When Mother Nature designed this extraordinary, aqua bay, she created a masterpiece too spectacular to really describe in words. Of all of the Playa del Carmen day trips available, El Cielo is a must to add to a Mexico vacation itinerary.
This entrancing water excursion is available to individual travelers as well as large groups. You can search online for local tour companies or contact your Bric ambassador to help you arrange a sublime trip to El Cielo. Included in the price are snorkel gear, beverages, and a light lunch (usually ceviche, fruit, and/or sandwiches.)
Immerse Yourself in Incredible Nature at Aktun Chen Park
This surreal experience in the heart of the jungle is an amazing introduction to local wildlife. The nature reserve offers protection to spider monkeys, coatis, iguanas, boars, and vibrant green parakeets that live within it. In addition to an up-close view of the area’s jungle creatures, you will explore an awe-inspiring cave over 5 million years old. This guided trek, voted one of the top 10 Underground Walks In the World by National Geographic, is 100% worth the 30-minute drive from Playa del Carmen.
After taking flight over the lush jungle landscape on a circuit of 10 ziplines, you will be ready to dive into the cool cenote waters. The ancient Mayan civilization believed were gates to the underworld. Even today, archaeologists and divers continue to make important discoveries of centuries-old artifacts within these limestone caves.
Wear comfortable walking shoes and only biodegradable sunscreen is permitted. Although Aktun Chen is a smaller ecological park compared to others in the area such as Xcaret or Xplor, it offers plenty of activities, at a more economical price. When you reserve with an excursion company using the booking link on the Aktun Chen page, lunch and transportation are included.
Snorkel With Turtles and Sip Piña Coladas at La Buena Vida
In the seaside village of Akumal, just 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, sits a tranquil bay inhabited by Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles. One-hour, guided snorkel tours present a guaranteed opportunity to observe all sorts of marine species. Along with the turtles, you’ll see exotic fish, colorful coral fans, as well as an occasional stingray gliding across the seafloor.
Afterward, continue for 5 more minutes down the winding road to La Buena Vida, a beloved local beach bar. Request a table overlooking the bay and munch on delicious burgers, carne asada, or tangy ceviche.
While the bartender prepares another round of Caribbean cocktails, find the hammock with your name on it and settle in. If you have kids, they will love the treehouse lookout tower and pool, which are surrounded by sky high coconut palms and face an endless turquoise horizon.
Skip the hoards of vendors selling snorkel tours along the road leading to Akumal Bay. Book with Akumal Dive Shop and receive certified guides who are knowledgeable in the local laws and adhere to safety standards.
Test Your Culinary Skills At El Pueblito In Mayakoba
A cooking class with one of the country’s most engaging top chefs, Karla Enciso, offers a savory escape from the midday heat. In the air-conditioned commercial kitchen, you will learn time-honored recipes and taste unique regional ingredients. From robust salsas such as mole to guanabana (soursop) margaritas, you will be swooning over your authentic creations.
Chef Karla is an expert at blending the warmth of the Mexican culture into every dish. Her passion is infectious as she introduces visitors to an impressive array of regional flavors. This outing also makes an ideal group activity and kids are welcome! For more information, visit El Pueblito on Facebook for a schedule of cooking classes.
If you are traveling with a group, contact Chef Karla for a customized class. She is fluent in several languages and is a master at a variety of international cuisines.
Witness The Bioluminescence Phenomenon In Holbox
People from around the world flock to the Yucatan Peninsula to swim with the magnificent whale sharks. The sheer size of these spotted fish makes them intimidating. However, you have nothing to fear. Whale sharks are about as dangerous as the microscopic plankton they feed upon. Each year, these gentle giants migrate to areas off the coasts of Isla Mujeres and Holbox, an enchanting near Playa del Carmen.
Come nightfall on this sleepy island, a magical, natural phenomenon known as bioluminescence presents itself. As the water is near the shoreline is stirred, a domino effect of glowing blue light illuminates the surface. This surreal scene occurs only in the summer months from June to mid-September, when the whale sharks are in the area. Since Holbox is so close to Playa del Carmen, this once-in-a-lifetime summer outing should not be missed!
Kayak and paddle board tours are available after dark. To witness the full splendor of this sea of sparkling stars, try to plan your trip around the new moon.
That rounds out our top 5 list of best summertime activities in Playa del Carmen. Together with its lush jungle tours, ecological parks, and pristine cenotes, the Riviera Maya appeals to travelers of all ages. Not to mention the limitless day trip options to magical towns and divine islands. In addition to its superb dining scene, year-round tropical climate, and luxury accommodations. It’s no wonder Playa del Carmen remains a fixture on TripAdvisor’s Best Destinations in the World.
Through Sustainable Tourism, Passionate Guides at Cenote Chikin-Ha Park Introduce Us To Some Of The Most Spectacular Nature On The Planet
One of the top Riviera Maya activities, especially when the heat turns up from May to September, is taking a dip in the cool waters of a cenote. These extraordinary sinkholes have been around for thousands of years and enhance the already extraordinary beauty of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
What Is A Cenote?
At 8:30 a.m., in the most peaceful of jungle settings, our expedition begins at Chikin-Ha Park (20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen). After selecting a bike for the first part of the tour, we peddle alongside David, our enthusiastic guide. As we approach the first of two dry caves, the kids are glued to David’s side as he shares with us the fascinating history behind a cenote. The Yucatan Peninsula, once an expansive coral colony beneath the sea, became exposed when the water receded during the Ice Age. Unable to survive, the coral fossilized to form a limestone platform about one mile thick. Throughout the years, acidic rainwater caused the porous limestone to collapse, forming thousands of remarkable caverns. At the end of the Ice Age, the glaciers melted and flooded these caves resulting in crystal clear, turquoise-tinted pools and the world’s longest underground river system.
David goes on to explain that many of the Mayan cities were constructed around cenotes, as they provided a freshwater source for the community. Moreover, these unique wells were considered a sacred passageway to the Maya underworld. Many human sacrifices were offered to the gods, believed to reside within the dark depths of these geological phenomena. In 2001, the oldest remains in the Americas were found in Quintana Roo and date back some 13000 years.
Chikin-Ha Park’s Captivating Caves
Throughout the caves, lamps shine spotlights on the hundreds of dripping stalactite formations. As we regress back to the steps of the entrance, he points out glow-worms living within the crevices; the children are in awe.
The early tour is highly recommended as it feels as though you have the serene jungle sanctuary all to yourself. Wear natural mosquito repellent for the dry cave exploration portion of the excursion. Regular repellents and sunscreens are prohibited.
Partaking In A Time-Honored Mayan Tradition
The third stop takes us to a breathtaking pita-shaped cave. The sun’s rays pierce through the lush wilderness and paint a mystical scene. From the branches of massive Ceiba trees, we hear the calls of bright orange and turquoise Mot Mot birds. Partially concealed by flowing vines is the entrance to the cave. David pushes aside the natural curtain of flowing vines and instructs us to follow a candle-lit aisle.
At the end of the pathway, a Shaman stands at an altar with a welcoming smile. The Mayan priest motions for us to sit down. A beautiful cleansing and gratitude ceremony commences, aiming to rid us of any negative feelings we may be harboring.
Each of us takes turns placing copal incense inside the smoking chalice. As we do so, we make a silent, intention for the betterment of the universe. In Mayan, the Shaman gives thanks to the earth for all it provides and sends our blessings (from the smoking chalice) up through a small opening in the ceiling of the cave. The sacred ceremony seems to work and we are left feeling a deep sense of peace.
A View From The Top
We return the bikes, grab our towels from the lockers, and proceed to the zip lines. Traveling with an apprehensive nine-year-old, we were relieved that after a quick survey, she determines to give the modest zip line circuit a go. One by one, we soar over blue-green ponds and finally above the vast canopy of the jungle. The powder blue sky and the verdant vista from the hundred and twenty-meter long zip line are extraordinary. Everyone in our group is eager for a second round on the circuit.
You are allowed to bring your camera or smart phone to take photos. They also have a professional photographer escorting you through the park. The photo package is $65.00 USD. The park operates on a cash–only basis. So even if you skip the photo package, you will need cash for the entrance fees, refundable locker deposit ($50 pesos) and tips.
The tour concludes with a refreshing swim in two unique cenotes. With our snorkel gear and the help of David’s expert eye, we are able to spot the catfish, turtles, and divers swimming beneath us in the picturesque sinkholes. He invites us to stay and use the facilities as long as we like. But our stomachs are signaling that it is time to eat.
We opt to dine at La Buena Vida in Akumal, one of our favorite seaside beach clubs in the Riviera Maya. The restaurant and bar sits facing the Caribbean and offers bean bag chairs, plenty of tables with a view, and hammocks tied to coconut palms. This laid-back little piece of heaven is the ideal end to our adventurous morning.
Without a doubt, you can expect similarly inspiring encounters at any one of the many eco-parks in Playa del Carmen. But above and beyond the awesome nature, this half-day excursion hits the bullseye for affordable, family-friendly fun. For $650 pesos ($36 USD) each, our group of five was pleasantly surprised with the personalization of the tour complete with cultural aspects, history, and thrilling elements. For these reasons, our Chikin-ha experience emphatically receives 10 thumbs up!
Book online in advance by PayPal and save 15%. There are various packages to choose from. The basic entrance fee is $350 pesos and does not include the zip lines. The full package included bikes, snorkel gear, and all activities (dry caves and rappelling, cenote swims, zip lines and Mayan ceremony.) In addition, you have the option to pay $100 pesos per person for a buffet lunch in the on-site restaurant.