Skip to Content

Playa Del Carmen Itinerary: One Amazing Day in Playa Del Carmen

Searching for the perfect Playa del Carmen itinerary? Justin and I loved visiting Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on the picturesque Mayan Riviera. It’s a bustling and lively town with beautiful beaches, plus it’s smaller and more charming than Cancun. We’ve come up with the perfect Playa del Carmen one day itinerary with lots of must do attractions and activities, as well as the hidden gems.

Posts may be sponsored. Post contains affiliate links. I may be compensated if you make a purchase using my link.

Playa del Carmen is a great choice for a home base when traveling around the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. First, there are so many fun things to do in Playa del Carmen. I’m going to show you several of these activities in Playa del Carmen, including some non touristy things to do in Playa del Carmen.

Playa Del Carmen Itinerary

You can also book lots of Playa del Carmen day tours. It’s possible to easily visit the nearby island of Cozumel by ferry, go snorkeling with sea turtles, explore underground cenotes, or venture out to witness incredible Mayan ruins. While you’ll want to explore the surrounding region, it’s a good idea to spend at least one day in town.

One Day in Playa Del Carmen Itinerary

Justin and I went for an extended weekend, four day holiday to Playa del Carmen. It was a vacation purely for relaxing and we didn’t leave Playa at all. We spent our days swimming in the ocean, laying on the beach, and strolling through town. It’s wonderful because there are lots of things to do in downtown Playa del Carmen that you’ll surely love as much as we did.

I realize that you might not be looking for the kind of vacation where you don’t do much at all (trust me, I’m not usually that kind of traveler either!), but it’s not such a bad idea to have a vacation from traveling. You can easily see all of Playa del Carmen in one day and spend your other days on adventures. But, soaking up the sunshine and reading a book isn’t such a bad idea either.

Visiting Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and the Yucatán for the first time? Check out my friend Rachel’s top tips for visiting the Yucatán before you embark on your holiday.

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen

Playa Palms Beach Hotel

Are you looking for where to stay in Playa del Carmen? There are so many wonderful hotels. Some are right on the waterfront and the beach, and some are right in town for easy access to restaurants and shops.

Here’s a handy booking tool where you can see all of the most amazing accommodations in one place. It’s easy to compare prices and find the best rate for your Playa del Carmen vacation.

The Playa Palms Beach Hotel

Playa Palms Beach Hotel

Justin and I stayed at the gorgeous Playa Palms Beach Hotel. It’s a very calm and quiet hotel with a pool and access to the beach. The hotel isn’t an all inclusive resort, but that wasn’t an issue. Every room has a balcony with a hammock and our stay included breakfast daily.

Playa Palms Beach Hotel

On many occasions, we had the pool to ourselves and this hotel was always a peaceful retreat. We also loved how inexpensive this hotel is – it’s such fantastic value for such a great spot! Book your stay at the Playa Palms Beach Hotel or read more reviews by fellow travelers who have stayed.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen: Enjoy the Beach

Playa Del Carmen Beaches

This might be a no brainer, but Playa del Carmen has a beautiful public beach right in town. It’s easy to access right from the street, no resort wristband required. Wander down to the water and go for a swim. Sometimes there are issues with seaweed, but things have been looking up compared to previous years, thankfully!

Playa Del Carmen Beaches
Playa Del Carmen Beaches
Playa Del Carmen Parasailing

When we traveled there, there was seaweed present on the beach, but it wasn’t enough to keep us off the beach and out of the water. The public beach in Playa del Carmen wasn’t very crowded. If you’re looking for fun things to do in Playa del Carmen, stopping at the beach is a popular choice.

Playa Del Carmen Attractions: 5th Avenue

La Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue

La Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, is one of the top Playa del Carmen attractions. It’s a lengthy shopping street with stores, restaurants, and stalls, as well as clubs and bars for an exciting nightlife scene. You can’t leave Playa without strolling along 5th Avenue.

Playa Del Carmen itinerary

Justin and I walked along this expansive street and its side streets on several occasions throughout our stay. Justin and I happened to be visiting during Mexican Independence Day in September and the streets were extra lively and decorated for the celebrations. If you’re looking for what to do in Playa del Carmen, my number one choice is visiting 5th Avenue.

Mexico sign in Playa del Carmen

Beyond Fifth Avenue, we wandered around town to various shops and restaurants. Justin and I felt perfectly safe walking around Playa del Carmen throughout the day and in the evening, too. Just like anywhere, be aware of your surroundings and stay in populated areas.

Fifth Avenue is always busy with tourists and activity and we never felt unsafe. If you’re looking for things to do in Playa del Carmen in the evening, check out the Coco Bongo night club for a night of thrilling entertainment. Enjoy your drinks while watching acrobatics, a lights show, and dancers for a spectacular show.

Playa Del Carmen Day Tours: Take a Sailboat Tour

Playa del Carmen Sailboat Tour

If you’re looking for a relaxing activity in Playa del Carmen, take a sailboat tour in nearby Puerto Aventuras. It’s only a 15 minute drive down the highway and most tour operators will pick you up from your hotel.

We took a romantic sunset sailing tour to watch the sun go down from the middle of the sea. There’s nothing like feeling the wind in your hair, watching the sun disappear into the horizon. Stunning streaks of pink and orange materialized across the sky.

Playa del Carmen Sailboat Tour
Playa del Carmen Sunset

There’s also the option of booking a daytime luxury catamaran cruise from Puerto Aventuras, which includes snorkeling on the second largest reef in the world. No matter how you do it, admiring the beautiful sunset is obviously a must see in Playa del Carmen.

Eat All of the Vegan Food in Playa del Carmen

As a vegan in Playa del Carmen, you won’t have any trouble at all finding breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The restaurants are all within walking distance around Playa. From vegan hot dogs to fruit smoothies, there was something for every taste and every meal.

When reminiscing about our few days in Playa del Carmen, one of the best things was all of the yummy vegan dining options. Here are my favorite and recommended vegan restaurants in Playa del Carmen.

The Pitted Date

The Pitted Date vegan restaurant

The Pitted Date is a vegan cafe and bakery, serving paninis, smoothies, soups, salads, desserts, and raw food. Not only are there lots of mouthwatering lunch options, but you can also indulge in their baked goods, too. Everything is vegan and everything tasted so good. We loved the chill vibes on the quiet outdoor patio as well.

Comet 984

Comet 984 vegan restaurant

It’s a 1950s style diner that’s completely vegan, with burgers, shakes, nachos, hot dogs, and ice cream. This place is absolutely amazing. It’s total comfort food and not the healthiest place in the world, but totally worth busting your diet. I’m still dreaming about that Snickers milkshake.

Clorofila Green & Vegan

Clorofila Green & Vegan

A vegan restaurant with burgers, sandwiches, smoothies, vegan cheese plates, and more. There are so many delights on the menu, and they’re innovatively presented on eco-friendly wooden platters. There’s also a small shop inside the restaurant so you can bring the vegan cheese and other treats home with you (or back to your hotel fridge!).

Fresco Habito

Fresco Habito

It’s a smoothie bar serving up healthy bowls, sandwiches, salads, and delicious fruity drinks. I highly recommend trying their bowls. They’re not only bright and colorful, but they’re healthy and delicious, too. Pair your bowls with a fresh fruit smoothie.

Follow Justin Plus Lauren:
Instagram | Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Join our Travel Community

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Thursday 29th of November 2018

We are planning a trip to Playa del Carmen soon, so I'm glad I found your post about things to do. We are staying at an all-inclusive, because we were in Cancun and Tulum in April and we found food prices to be outrageous (this is our budget beach trip). My family and I live in Central Mexico, where the food prices are much, much less than in Cancun. I do like living in Mexico - since we came here for my husband's job, I couldn't choose to live on one of the coasts. I think Playa del Carmen or Merida would be awesome places to live. Even Tulum, which is gorgeous.

I also like living in Central Mexico because the climate is sooooo awesome. We just aren't close to the ocean! It's only humid during the rainy season and even then, the humidity isn't that bad unless it's actually raining. There are only two or three really hot months each year. The rest of the time, the weather usually is around 70-80 degrees F during the day and it cools down at night. I hope you can move to Mexico soon! It's a really nice place to live.


Thursday 29th of November 2018

Thank you, Natalie! I am not sure we will ever move away from Canada, but I really have enjoyed my time in Mexico. I haven't been anywhere in central Mexico but would love to visit. I'd love to hear your recommendations! It would really be great to explore more of Mexico. I'm glad you enjoyed our Playa post and hope you have a great time there!


Saturday 27th of October 2018

thank you so much for sharing all this... big hugs


Thursday 29th of November 2018

You're welcome!! :)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.