Top 10 List For Fun, Adventure And Culture In Playa del Carmen
After four years of calling Playa del Carmen home, I have met two people that were actually raised in this magical city. There is a common thread woven within the story-line of most residents here. Often what began as a one week holiday turned into twelve years, or what was to be a one year cultural experience in Playa became a full decade’s worth of existence in tropical bliss. Blooming into a metropolitan city from what was once a sequestered, fishing village thirty some years ago, Playa del Carmen developed from of a diverse collection of sun-seekers in search of a simplistic way of life by the sea. Located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the entrancing Mexican Caribbean, Playa del Carmen is a cultural, gastronomic and nature-enthusiasts’ hub. European and North American expats have converged with citizens from all regions of Mexico to form a dynamic, multi-cultural community within a paradisaical setting. With new developments and attractions sprouting up along the alabaster shores each year, the Mayan Riviera offers a limitless variety of family friendly, adventure-themed activities as well as hundreds of virtually untouched natural wonders to explore.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Yoga In Tulum
SUP Tulum is the Mayan Riviera’s first and only Boga Yoga floating studio. The class takes place on the stunning, turquoise waters of lagoons and cenotes near Tulum, which is only a 45 minute drive south of Playa del Carmen. The company offers a 3 hour class for groups of 3 or more which include transportation to and from the Tulum meeting point, a cold pressed juice, a raw vegan energy ball, a paddle board, instruction class, a Boga Yoga floating yoga class and a photo session. SUP Tulum also hosts Boga Yoga retreats at various times throughout the year. For more information, please visit http://www.supyogatulum.com
The endless summer climate in the Riviera Maya presents over three hundred glorious sun-filled days, perfect for those who enjoy polishing their skills on the links. There are dozens of scenic, championship quality courses in and around Playa del Carmen which offer all-inclusive options and special summer pricing. To view a list of impeccable courses in the area or to book a tee time, please go to http://www.playgolf.mx.
There are four adventure parks near Playa del Carmen in which families, honeymooners, or thrill-seekers alike can partake in a memorable day amidst the surreal beauty of this fascinating region. Xcaret is mystical park featuring shows and events depicting the culture and traditions of the Mayan people. Swim through caves, learn about local flora and fauna and witness an elaborate spectacle in which the performers sing and dance their way through various aspects of Mexico’s colorful history. Xel-há is a natural wonder where visitors have the opportunity to commune with nature during an unforgettable day of snorkeling, zip biking, cliff jumping, and floating down a lazy river on rafts. Xplor is an adventure-themed park consisting of six lengthy zip lines which stretch over the jungle’s canopy. This exhilarating journey includes riding an amphibious vehicle through the remarkable underground caves, swimming in seemingly glowing aqua waters and beneath waterfalls, floating along the subterranean river and exploring the impressive stalactites. Go Native’s Park is a protected natural reserve with jungle paths which lead to stunning cave formations, crystal clear cenotes and the property of one of the area’s original settling families.
The Yucatan Peninsula is made up a shelf of porous limestone. Thousands of years ago, the underground river system which runs beneath the surface of the region, caused the limestone to collapse in some places resulting in hundreds of fresh water sink holes throughout the area. Each cenote is unique in size and formation. Some are open, while others are hidden gems within caves which display impressive stalactites. The blue-green waters are crystal clear and are appealing for both swimmers and divers. There are several a short driving distance from Playa del Carmen with very reasonable entrance fees varying from $40 to $80 Mxn pesos per person. Cenotes are an excellent way to spend a memorable day in the Mayan Riviera.
Diving, Fishing and Sailing
Just off the pristine shores in the Mexican-Caribbean is the awe-inspiring Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. In the early 1960s, Jacques Cousteau and his team declared Cozumel one of the best diving sites in the world due to the superb visibility and healthy variety of marine life. There is an abundant selection of dive centers in Playa del Carmen including http://www.abyssdivecenter.com and http://www.mexicobluedream.com. For additional options for an extraordinary day of fishing or sailing on the open sea, visit http://fatcatsail.com or http://rivieramayafishing.com.
Spending the night on one of the paradisiacal islands near Playa del Carmen.
There are three popular islands which beckon visitors with their small town charm and shallow shorelines on which you can wade hundreds of feet out through warm, translucent waters. Cozumel has a world-renowned reputation for its deep sea diving. Just off the alabaster beaches of Cozumel is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, where diving enthusiasts have the opportunity to explore the plentitude of vibrant marine life in exceptionally clear waters. On the center of the island is also a Mayan archeological site, where Mayan women would come to pay homage to Ixchel, the goddess of fertility and healing. A direct ferry service shuttles travelers to and from Playa del Carmen every hour and the ride lasts 45 minutes. The island of Holbox can be accessed only by boat or ferry and is approximately a 1.25 hour drive from Playa plus 20 minute ferry ride. Visitors can view pink flamingos in their natural mangrove habitat, swim with whale sharks from July to September and enjoy the island’s famous lobster pizzas. Golf carts are the preferred mode of transportation around the picturesque island of Isla Mujeres. Visitors can take a 1 hour ferry from Cancun or there are several excursions which offer various stops including snorkeling in the MUSA underwater museum, and a stopover at nearby Isla Contoy, as well as exhilarating sailing and catamaran tours.
Swim with sea turtles in Akumal
Akumal, meaning “Place of the Turtle” in Maya, is a pristine bay and turtle sanctuary. Located only 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, this pueblita, or “little town” is speckled with divine eateries such as Turtle Bay Cafe, ice cream parlors, artisan stores, and seaside restaurants overlooking the breathtaking harbor. There is a snorkel, dive and fishing shop in the bay area where you can rent gear for $15 USD per hour. However, if you have your own equipment, you can swim approximately a hundred feet from the shore to witness and glide underwater with giant sea turtles. It is truly a magical and memorable experience.
Walk on sacred sites where an ancient Mayan civilization once lived
There are several archeological sites along the Yucatán Peninsula but the three largest and most visited are Tulum, Chichén Itzá and Cobá. If you decide to rent a car or take the ADO bus and explore on your own, it is advised that you hire a guide who will explain the symbolism, architectural styles, and history of the Mayan people. The tours are much more enjoyable and interesting when you can gain insight into the highly sophisticated,mathematical and astrological skills this fascinating civilization possessed from a knowledgeable guide. A complete tour of one of the well-preserved, centuries old remnants lasts 2 to 3 hours and it is recommended that you go as early as possible to avoid the heat of the midday and crowds from the tour buses. As part of your itinerary, be sure to include a cenote on your day trip. There are thousands speckled throughout the peninsula and several of these awe-inspiring swimming holes are on-route to the ruin sites.
The Ixchel Jungle Spa
Established in 1994, the Jungle Spa originated from the concept of helping local Mayan woman in the community provide financially for their families. These expert healers were massaged out of the womb and were taught the art of therapeutic massage by their grandparents who came in after strenuous days out in the fields. This non-traditional spa is a non-profit organization and receives rave reviews for the natural healing techniques and successful outcomes in treating aches and pains in every region of the body. This jungle spa is a unique and unforgetable opportunity to witness sustained Mayan customs passed down from generations.
The Little Mexican Cooking School
Located 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen in the town of Puerto Morelos, The Little Mexican Cooking School provides foodies and chefs in the making, with both an animated and educational encounter as part of your Mayan Riviera getaway.
The full day begins with a light breakfast then delves into a highly pleasurable gastronomic experience. Learn the history of the authentic flavors and preparation methods behind savory Mexican dishes. Sample popular beverages and traditional recipes sure to become favorites in your cooking repertoire. After a delicious mid-afternoon meal, take a stroll through the quaint neighborhood, peruse the artisan shops or sip cool Mexican-Caribbean cocktails seaside.
Although this concludes our top suggestions for fun, adventure and culture in Playa del Carmen, the beauty and magic of the region is truly limitless. If you are planning an upcoming trip the magical Mayan Riviera, Bric Vacation Rentals reservation specialists and professional ambassador team can assist you with your travel plans! We invite you to visit our website for in-depth information on accommodations, attractions and the best restaurants in the area.