Playa Del Carmen was only going to be used as a stepping stone to get to Cozumel. We arrived at Playa Del Carmen at around 10:00 so decided to stay there for the rest of the day and head out to Cozumel the day after. We figured why not? It would give us less than 24 hours to give the place a look. Spoiler… we ended up spending most of our time in our hotel room dreading not going to Cozumel on the same day. Read on.

Why we think Playa del Carmen is overrated

Getting from Tulum to Playa Del Carmen

We used an ADO bus to get from Tulum to Playa Del Carmen. A bus ride that took around 1.5 hours.

What to do (and not to do) in Playa Del Carmen 

The reason we didn’t visit Cancun is because we knew we wouldn’t enjoy it. It’s too touristy and commercialized for our liking. We also only planned to use Playa Del Carmen as a mere stepping stone for this same reason, but we decided to give it a chance anyway. We were wrong to do so. Tulum seems to be next in line to be fully taken over. 

Playa Del Carmen is basically a main street (5th avenue) packed on both sides with shops, restaurants, and bars. Not much quality though. Everyone goes to great lengths to lure in tourists. You’ll also see people in the streets using exotic animals as props for photos. Surprised these things still work in this day and age. 

Why we think Playa del Carmen is overrated

Scamming tourists into over tipping (on top of a tip which is already automatically included in the bill) is another popular scam. This is also considering the fact that restaurants in Playa Del Carmen were quite pricey compared to other areas in Mexico we had visited up until then. We experienced this scam first hand and later looked it up. A lot of people actually fell for the scam so keep this in mind if in Playa Del Carmen.

Beaches are nice if they weren’t so crowded. We heard that diving is quite nice in Playa Del Carmen and we were actually quite tempted to go for a few dives while here. We ultimately decided to focus our dives in Cozumel (didn’t regret this one bit).

Why we think Playa del Carmen is overrated

It’s not all bad though. 5th Avenue is quite convenient since everything you need is pretty much centered around this main street. Most hotels are within walking distance to the beach. Playa Del Carmen is also well located to other popular destinations like Cancun and Tulum. Many day tours and activities can be booked from Playa Del Carmen so it is a convenient central hub if your time in Mexico is limited.

Is a visit to Playa del Carmen worth it?

All in all, and in case you haven’t noticed yet, we certainly wouldn’t recommend a visit to Playa Del Carmen unless it’s to get to Cozumel. We could have spent an extra day in Cozumel but hey, if this could somehow help others plan their time in Mexico better, then it would have been worth it 🙂 

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