Where to stay in Playa del Carmen


Playa del Carmen, a coastal resort town in Mexico, has become increasingly popular among tourists from around the globe. Known for its stunning beaches, vibrant nightlife, and cultural hotspots, it offers a variety of experiences for every type of traveler. When planning a trip to this picturesque destination, choosing the right area to stay is crucial to ensure a pleasant visit. Each neighborhood in Playa del Carmen offers visitors a unique atmosphere, with pros and cons that could make or break your holiday experience. The following guide is an honest look at the most prominent areas to stay in Playa del Carmen, aiming to help you pick the perfect spot for your travel needs and preferences.

  • Centro

    • ๐Ÿท nightlife
    • ๐Ÿ›๏ธ shopping
    • ๐Ÿ food
    • beaches
    • ๐Ÿ’ƒ vibrant
    • ๐Ÿ™๏ธ central

    Centro, or Downtown Playa, is the heart of Playa del Carmen, bustling with activities, shops, restaurants, and nightlife. It offers proximity to the famous Quinta Avenida and the beach. While it's the most convenient location for tourists, it can be noisy and crowded. Prices here can be higher due to its popularity. Centro caters to those who seek the comfort of amenities and the excitement of urban life right at their doorstep.

  • Riviera Maya

    • ๐Ÿฅ‚ upscale
    • secluded
    • all-inclusive resorts
    • pristine beaches

    The term 'Riviera Maya' generally encompasses the coast region, including Playa del Carmen. Staying within the larger Riviera Maya area might mean resorts and hotels that are located outside the town's core, often offering exclusive and quieter beach experiences. Remember that staying here could require transportation to enjoy Playa del Carmen's downtown delights.

  • Mayakoba

    • ๐Ÿ’Ž luxury
    • eco-friendly
    • ๐ŸŒŸ exclusive
    • golf
    • ๐Ÿฅ‚ upscale

    Mayakoba is an eco-friendly luxury resort development north of Playa del Carmen. It's renowned for its beautiful canals, lagoons, and high-end accommodations. Mayakoba offers a secluded, elite experience with world-class golf and spa facilities but is disconnected from the city's local culture and casual vibe. It's perfect for those seeking exclusivity and indulgence.

  • Zazil-ha

    • ๐Ÿ’… trendy
    • ๐Ÿ–๏ธ beach
    • boutique hotels
    • ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ residential

    Zazil-ha is a cozy neighborhood close to Centro yet slightly more tranquil. Ideal for those who seek a balance between convenience and relaxation, it's within walking distance from the beach and has its share of cafes and shops. It's a good fit for travelers who enjoy being near the action but appreciate a neighborhood feel.

  • Ejidal

    • local
    • ๐Ÿฆญ laid-back
    • ๐Ÿฝ๏ธ dining
    • ๐Ÿ›๏ธ shopping
    • affordable

    Ejidal sits just west of the highway behind Centro, offering a blend of residential calm and local commerce. It is more budget-friendly and less tourist-centric than Centro, boasting a local food scene worth exploring. It may not be ideal for those who prioritize beachfront access since it's a bit removed from the beach and central activities.

  • Colonia Luis Donaldo Colosio

    • budget
    • local
    • quieter beaches
    • ๐Ÿ˜๏ธ residential

    Situated north of the center, Colonia Luis Donaldo Colosio is a developing residential neighborhood with a more authentic local vibe. This area has more affordable accommodation options, ideal for travelers on a budget. However, it's further from the main tourist attractions and the beach, and some may find it less polished compared to more central locations. The area does witness a growing number of small eateries and shops as it evolves.

  • Santa Fe

    • ๐Ÿก suburban
    • ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐Ÿ‘ฉโ€๐Ÿ‘งโ€๐Ÿ‘ฆ family-friendly
    • ๐Ÿง˜ quiet
    • safe

    Santa Fe is a smaller, more recently developed residential area. It usually attracts longer-term stays and expatriates. While it offers some tranquility away from the tourist hubbub, it lacks the amenities and the charm found closer to the beach. Santa Fe can be a good middle ground for those with extended stays who wish to integrate into the local community.