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Discover Playa del Carmen through Its Diverse Attractions and Activities



There are many reasons that Playa del Carmen, once a fishing village, is one of Mexico's most popular vacation destinations. First of all, there's the white sand beaches and turquoise Caribbean Sea. Then there's charming pedestrian walkway 5th Avenue, where visitors can dine, drink, shop and people watch. In addtion, Playa del Carmen offers endless activities and attractions. Many people just don't realize how much there is to do in the area.

Did you know that the Yucatan Peninsula sits on underground rivers and caves? Some of them can be accessed by opening on the earth's surface, aka cenotes. Snorkeling and scuba diving in this mysterious underground world is an unforgettable experience.

If you're an ancient history buff, a visit to a Mayan archaeological site is a must.

Spend a day at Xcaret for a Mexican cultural and natural experience, or Xplor to spend the day zip lining, off-roading in the jungle and exploring (Get it?) underground rivers. At Xel-Ha you can snorkel in the "world's largest natural aquarium" and then spend the afternoon sipping on a beer in a hammock.

If you're more the indoor type, book a tour with Playacrawl. They will take you to three of Playa del Carmen's best nightclubs, where you'll get VIP treatment.

Discover Playa del Carmen's natural and manmade wonders through these attractions and activities.


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RockStarCrawls.com has done it again. This bar-hopping tour takes you to three of Playa del Carmen's hottest nightspots. The experience is all-inclusive and provides 5 hours of open bar including bottle service in at least 2 of the 3 clubs. You won't have to wait in line either, because Playacrawl gets VIP access to all the nightclubs. You'll sit at the best tables as well. The hosts are warm and friendly, and know how to get the party started. Playacrawl is great for a night on the town for a couple or a group, or bachelor/bachelorette parties. If you need it, they offer transportation to and from your resort.


Rio Secreto is a natural park located just 3 miles south of Playa del Carmen. During a 3 1/2 hour tour, you'll hike, swim and ride in a boat through flooded underground caves filled with stalactites and stalagmites that formed over thousands of years. The mysterious caves and cenotes that lie below the surface of the Yucatan Peninsula were considered sacred portals to the underworld by the Mayans. The tour is followed by a buffet of regional dishes. This tour is perfect if you want to see some of what's special about the area without leaving the resort for the entire day.


Tulum
Photo courtesy of SL_Photography/iStock


Another popular Mayan ruin site, Tulum is located a bit closer to Cancun than Chichen Itza, roughly 2 hours south. This is a smaller site and can be seen in about an hour but it's worth the trip simply for the breathtaking views. The Mayans knew good real estate when they saw it and the main pyramid of Tulum sits on a cliff above an amazing beach. Once a major port for the Mayan empire, the ruins site is the main attraction of the growing town. Tulum also boasts a downtown area (Tulum pueblo) and a bohemian "hotel zone" with relaxed cabana hotels and open-air eateries.


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This eco-park is part of the Grupo Xcaret family (Xcaret, Xplor, Xenotes, Xoximilco, Xenses and Xavage). Xel-Ha boasts the "largest, most beautiful natural aquarium in the world." You can swim in grottos & cenotes (natural sinkholes) and see local marine life, explore Mayan ruins, jump off the Cliff of Courage, cross the floating bridge, ride bikes or fly kites. There are plenty of other activities and exhibits to keep you occupied for the entire day or you can simply spend your time relaxing in the sun or napping in a seaside hammock. Xel-Ha also features a delicious buffet restaurant and a children's area.


Cobá

The name of these Mayan ruins means "water stirred by wind," probably because the site is located between several lakes. At one point Cobá was a city covering 27 square miles with a population estimated at 55,000. Fewer tourists visit these ruins since they are farther away from Playa del Carmen and Cancun. This affords visitors a wonderful opportunity to explore the giant pyramids in peace. Allow two hours to explore the ruins at leisure. Multi-lingual guides are available for a small fee, and you can rent a bicycle if you'd rather not walk. Visitors are urged to wear comfortable shoes and to bring water and insect repellant. There are several daily buses between Playa del Carmen and Cobá, or you can park at the site for $2.


Xplor is a natural eco adventure park located in the Riviera Maya, just south of Playa del Carmen, and is part of the Xcaret family. Activites include 14 zip lines, amphibious vehicles, and underground rivers that feature amazing stalactites and stalagmites created over millions of years. Recover from all the action in the buffet restaurant which features international favorites or the snacks bar which serve yummy juices, smoothies and cookies. Xplor is the place to find safe adventure in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya. Xplor is not for couch potatoes!




Aventuras Mayas was created to show tourists the beauty of the Yucatan Peninsula through tours and excursions. They are fully dedicated to the development of sustainable tourism in the area. They offer tours to Tulum, the ancient Mayan archaeological site, and zip lining excursions, cenote rappelling, and snorkeling on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is just off the coast of the Mexican Caribbean. Aventuras Mayas has high quality and safety standards and follows strict sustainable practices as well. This is a great way to see the ruins of Tulum as the tour involved other activities as well.




Cenote Xperience offers scuba diving tours. You can do what everyone else does, and dive in the ocean, or you can take advantage of owner Nicolas' specialty; cave diving. The Yucatan Peninsula sits on a labyrinth of passageways, tunnels and underground rivers and their surface openings, cenotes. Cenote Xperience will guide you safely through this spectacular world during a tour based on your needs and requirements. You will see stalactites, stalagmites, underwater rock formations and sunlight effects in this breathtaking underground world. Cenote and cave dive prices range from 120 to 210 usd. Snorkeling tours are also available.


Alltournative
Photo courtesy of Alltournative


This eco-tour company has been offering excursions since 1999. Their specialty is Mayan adventures that combine outdoorsy activities such as kayaking and biking, with cultural tours of the local ruins or exploring the jungle or caves around Playa. Half-day and full day trips are available. Popular excursions include the The Original Coba Maya Encounter that takes you on a tour of the Coba Ruins, lets you ride a zip-line over the jungle and has you rappel into a cenote. The Jungle Maya Expedition involves snorkeling and kayaking through caverns and underground rivers, as well as 4x4 trekking through the jungle.


Pronounced "Sh-car-ret", this eco-archaeological park is filled with Mexican and Mayan flavor, color, music, nature and culture. Inside the park there is a butterfly pavilion, an aviary, an aquarium, as well as places where you can view flamingos, manatees, spider monkeys, jaguars and more. If that's not enough, you can also swim with dolphins, float down a lazy river, swim in underground rivers, climb a small Mayan ruin, visit the traditional cemetery, snorkel in the inlet, relax on the beach and more. For kids, visit Children's World aka Mundo de Niños. There are performances throughout the day, but Xcaret's night show, a celebration of Mexican and Mayan history, sport, dance and music, is an unforgettable experience and is not to be missed. The park holds amazing annual events like a Day of the Dead festival and the recreation of an ancient Mayan ocean crossing to the island of Cozumel.


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Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin

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