Playa del Carmen has long been a popular Mexican Caribbean vacation destination, particularly among American and Canadian tourists.
And although not quite as popular as Cancun, the city does get millions of visitors every year.
That being said, either one of them is a great place to visit, but here is why Playa del Carmen is the perfect destination for a cultural experience.
Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a resort town that sits just over 40 miles south of Cancun, about an hour or less drive away.
It started out as a small fishing town not even 100 years ago and has already since developed into a thriving, bustling tourist destination.
The island of Cozumel sits just off the coast of Playa del Carmen and only takes a short ferry ride to get to, giving tourists two distinct but equally fascinating places to explore.
@mrsetoile Strolling around 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen 😍 #playadelcarmen #mexico #mexico🇲🇽 #cancun #rivieramaya #strolling #city #downtown #citycentre #mexicotiktok #citylife #bucketlist #explore #explorepage #trip #traveltiktok #travel #crowd #beachvibes #citypop #tiktokviral ♬ Salsa en la Calle – Sr Ortegon
The Difference Between Playa Del Carmen And Cancun
Like Cancun, Playa del Carmen’s biggest attraction is its dazzling white sand beaches with turquoise blue water, but beyond that, there are few similarities.
Where Cancun is larger, more populated, and more commercialized, Playa del Carmen more resembles the quintessential small beach town.
In Playa del Carmen, you’ll also have more opportunities to explore the culture of the Riviera Maya region.
Playa Del Carmen Cultural Events
In Playa del Carmen, cultural events range from musical and dance performances to food festivals and holiday celebrations.
One such Festival is the annual Italian Culture Festival, which is in its 7th year and takes place June 9th and 10th of this year.
Other notable cultural festivals being held in Playa del Carmen this year include the Way Down Here festival, which takes place October 7-12, and the Transcendence Festival, which takes place December 8-11.
@playaaldia VII Festival Cultural Italiano 2023 #playadelcarmen ♬ La luna e la Fisarmonica – Ziv Moran
Permanent Cultural Attractions In Playa Del Carmen
While Playa del Carmen has become a cultural melting pot due to its popularity among ex-pats from all over the world, it hasn’t lost its Mexican and Mayan cultural heritage.
There are many places where you can explore both, including Mayan ruins, art museums like the Frida Kahlo Museum, and important architectural structures located throughout the city.
Playa del Carmen’s 5th Avenue is also a great place to immerse yourself in the local culture and where you’ll find authentic textiles, clothing, and other goods.
@sydsips Come with me to Playa Del Carmen 🌴 #dayinmylifevlog #mexicovlog #playadelcarmen #shoppingvlog #imonvacation ♬ My Addiction – Alex Guesta
Playa Del Carmen Cultural Activities
There are some fantastic activities to participate in when visiting Playa del Carmen that will give you a more cultural experience as well.
Tequila tasting tours, Mexican cooking classes, cenote tours, and exploring the jungle are all great ways to get in touch with the cultural side of the region.
Attending shows like Cirque du Soleil Joya and a Mexican floating fiesta like Xoximilco will give you a chance to experience the artistic and fun side of the culture as well.
@mnene_official Playa del carmen de fiesta sabado por la noche #playadelcarmen #fiesta #babytumeencantas #cantadas #antro ♬ sonido original – Willyarias1980
Experiencing Culture Through Food In Playa Del Carmen
Someone once said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and the same can be said for learning about a new culture.
Playa del Carmen is full of authentic Mexican restaurants where you can indulge in real Mexican food, which is far different from the Americanized version.
Food tours are great for getting to experience a little bit of everything, and you can’t forget about street food either.
@themikeberner Cheap local food if you’re living in Playa del Carmen #playadelcarmen #traveltok #digitalnomad #digitalnomadlife ♬ Jarabe Tapatio – (Mexican Hat Dance) – Sr Ortegon
Getting To And Staying In Playa Del Carmen
If you’re now convinced that you need to experience the cultural side of Playa del Carmen, then you’ll want to know how you’re going to get there and what kind of accommodations there are.
Much like Cancun, Playa del Carmen has some fantastic all-inclusive resorts, as well as some smaller boutique-style hotels.
Getting there is as easy as booking a flight to Cancun International Airport and transportation to Playa del Carmen.
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