What to Do in Playa Del Carmen – 1 Day Itinerary

posted in: Blog, Mexico, Shopping, Tours, Vegan 4

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

Here’s what to do in Playa del Carmen for one day.

Playa del Carmen is a great choice for a home base when traveling to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It’s smaller and more charming than Cancun. Discover a bustling and lively town, beautiful beaches, and be right in the middle of the action. You can take day trips to the nearby island of Cozumel, 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.

Justin and I recently took a quick four day vacation to Playa del Carmen. It was a holiday 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. 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. Or not. Soaking up the sunshine and reading a book isn’t such a bad idea sometimes.

Want to travel more?

Need more travel in your life? In this special free bonus content, we reveal our top tips and personal advice to living a life of travel.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

Enjoy the Beach

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. However, be warned – copious amounts of seaweed on the beach is a concern right now. You can check this website for seaweed reports. 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 things to do in Playa del Carmen, stopping at the beach is a popular choice.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

Wander and Shop on 5th Avenue

La Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, is the main attraction of Playa del Carmen. 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. 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.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

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.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

Take a 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.

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.

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

It’s a Paradise for Vegans

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 what to do in Playa del Carmen, one of the best things was all of the yummy vegan dining options! Here are my favourite and recommended vegan restaurants in Playa del Carmen.

The Pitted Date

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

The Pitted Date is a vegan cafe and bakery, serving paninis, smoothies, soups, salads, desserts, and raw food. 

Comet 984

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

It’s a 1950s style diner that’s completely vegan, with burgers, shakes, nachos, hot dogs, and ice cream.

La Senda Restaurante

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

It’s one of the first vegan restaurants in Playa del Carmen with an emphasis on traditional Mexican food gone vegan and healthy eats.

Clorofila Green & Vegan

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

A vegan restaurant with burgers, sandwiches, smoothies, vegan cheese plates, and more.

Fresco Habito

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

It’s a smoothie bar serving up healthy bowls, sandwiches, salads, and delicious fruity drinks.

Marvin’s Burgers

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

A fast food vegan restaurant for dining in and taking out with burgers, hot dogs, and fries.

Where to Stay

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

What to Do in Playa Del Carmen - 1 Day Itinerary

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. On many occasions, we had the pool to ourselves and this hotel was always a peaceful retreat. Click here to read reviews written by other frequent travelers.

We truly fell in love with the relaxing seaside atmosphere of Playa del Carmen, so much that it would be amazing to move here someday. It’s very affordable to travel and live in Mexico, even close to the beach. After browsing some listings in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan Peninsula, perhaps it’s possible to make that dream a reality sooner than we think! How amazing would it be to have a permanent place to call home here? If you have any experience living for an extended period of time in Mexico, we’d love to hear your thoughts!


4 Responses

  1. Naomi
    | Reply

    thank you so much for sharing all this… big hugs

  2. Natalie
    | Reply

    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.

    • Lauren
      | Reply

      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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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