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Why This Trendy Beach Town Near Cancun Is A Traveler Favorite Right Now

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When talking about the Mexican Caribbean, the highly popular Cancun often steals the spotlight.

However, Playa del Carmen, a former fishing town about 45 minutes south of Cancun, has gained fame as a world-class beach destination, currently trending with winter travelers seeking a sunny Mexican Caribbean getaway.

Beachgoers at Playa del Carmen beach with palm trees, sun loungers and beach umbrellas

The numbers show it all – after closing 2023 with record-breaking visitor numbers, the high season in the town remains steady, with local businesses reporting an 80% customer flow, which even climbs up to 90% on weekends.

These figures are set to climb even higher during the carnival festivities, which started on February 7th and lasted until February 14th.

During this time, both locals and visitors flocked to the town’s streets to witness the colorful parades and free live music shows.

@tourista2023 Playa Del Carmen -Mexico 🇲🇽 @Tourista #bestcity #bestplacestovisit #bestdestinations #thingstodo #topplacestovisit #foryourpage #tourista2023 #foryou #bestplace #traveling #travel #explore #vacation #fyp #fypシ #mexico #mexican #mexico🇲🇽 #playadelcarmen ♬ Nhịp Điệu Mùa Hè – Vina Mix

Even without considering the carnival festivities, February is typically a busy time in Playa del Carmen. This year, it’s expected to be busier than ever, and if you want to find out why, keep reading!

Excellent Tropical Weather & Gorgeous Beaches

With temperatures averaging about 28C, Playa del Carmen’s warm tropical weather makes it a highly popular getaway choice for American and Canadian travelers escaping the cold back home.

And with humidity levels at their lowest throughout the season, the climate becomes even more pleasant, making it ideal for embarking on tours, visiting adventure parks like Xcaret, or enjoying the town’s spectacular beaches.

@freyastays Tropical | Playa Del Carmen, Mexico 🌴 #mexico #playadelcarmen #vacation #holiday #sea #palmtrees #mexican #beautiful #beach #turquoise #summer #destination #travel #travelling #sun #hot ♬ Me Gustas Tu – Sped Up Version – Manu Chao

There are more than a few of these beautiful coastlines, and each of them offers something different.

The beach at Parque Fundadores is preferred by families due to its shallow waters and proximity to the town’s center. And if you’re looking for a more secluded option, there’s Playa Punta Esmeralda, while Calle 10 Beach is known for its excellent beach clubs and seafood restaurants.

A Variety Of Tourist Attractions

Not unlike its beaches, Playa del Carmen’s tourist offerings are incredibly diverse, as there’s something for every taste, budget, and preference.

The iconic Quinta Avenida, the town’s main street, is lined with restaurants, bars, clubs, luxury stores, art galleries, and much more, making it a must-visit destination on any Playa del Carmen itinerary.

@fabiennevilling The famous 5th Avenue of Playa del Carmen🏝️🐚 . #mexico#cancun#5thavenue#5thavenueplayadelcarmen#playadelcarmen#mexicotiktok#travel#trip#5thavenuemexico ♬ AIME MOI – Speed Up – kobzx2z

Moreover, there’s a myriad of tours and experiences available for travelers you can book right from the Quinta Avenida, including sailing and snorkeling boat trips to archeological exploration at Mayan ruins. 

You can also take a ferry to the idyllic Cozumel Island, with the journey averaging at only 35 minutes.

For those seeking luxurious accommodations, there are numerous options, from lavish resorts like the AAA 5 Diamond Banyan Tree Mayakoba or Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen to exotic beachfront bungalows like the Petit Lafitte Hotel.

Banyan Tree Mayakoba
Image Courtesy Of: Banyan Tree Mayakoba

How To Get To Playa del Carmen In 2024

Another reason behind Playa del Carmen’s rising popularity has to do with its excellent accessibility.

The town is located just under an hour’s drive from Cancun International Airport, although technically, the nearest airport is Cozumel International Airport.

It’s true that Cozumel Airport is increasing its connectivity, but with direct flights to over 40 U.S. cities, Cancun Airport remains the most convenient choice for American travelers. 

Maya Train Track Running Through the Yucatan Peninsula

Until now, the easiest way to reach Playa del Carmen was to take the ADO bus or rent a car from Cancun Airport. 

However, two major developments will soon make reaching this charming beach town easier than ever. One is the Maya Train Project, as the Playa del Carmen – Cancun section is set to open by February 29th. 

The second one is the Tulum International Airport, which will begin international operations in March. 

While the trip from this airport takes slightly longer than to Cancun Airport, at about 1 hr 33 mins, this increased connectivity is set to bring several benefits to travelers, including more flight availability and potentially lower fares.

Coastal area in playa del carmen

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