Playa del Carmen (Mexico): the Perfect Winter Getaway for Canadian Snowbirds

The best way to get around in Playa del Carmen is on foot.

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Travel insurance for Playa del Carmen

Is it really a surprise that Playa del Carmen is a perfect winter getaway for snowbirds? The weather is warm and sunny all year round, making Playa del Carmen the ideal destination for anyone looking to get away from the cold. There are plenty of activities and attractions to keep you busy during your stay, including beautiful beaches, amazing nightlife, and plenty of shopping and dining options. You can also find some great deals on vacation rentals in Playa del Carmen.

So if you're looking for a winter getaway that's sure to please, look no further than Playa del Carmen!

How to get to Playa del Carmen

This Mexican resort town located on the Yucatan Peninsula is a great place to escape the winter blues. There are a few different ways to get to Playa del Carmen from Canada. The most direct way is to fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is located about an hour north of Playa del Carmen.

You can catch an ADO public bus from the airport that will take you right into the town center for as little as 225 pesos (a little less than 15 CAD). Alternatively, you can take a taxi, hire a private shuttle or rent a car and drive to Playa del Carmen. Whichever way you choose to get there, you're sure to have a great time in this vibrant Mexican town.

Travel insurance for the Snowbirds to Mexico

How to get around in Playa del Carmen

The best way to get around in Playa del Carmen is on foot. The town is relatively small, and most attractions are within walking distance. If you're planning on doing some exploring outside of the town, you can rent a car or take a bus.

Many tour companies offer day trips to nearby attractions, such as the ancient ruins at Tulum or Chichén Itzá. For a more local (and cheap!) experience, don't hesitate to jump into a Colectivo, a shared taxi that operates like a bus.

What are some of the best things to do for Snowbirds in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico, as well as a variety of shops, restaurants, and bars. You can also find a number of activities and attractions, such as scuba diving, snorkelling, fishing, and golfing. If you're looking for something a little more cultural, there are also several art galleries and museums to explore.

Whether you’re looking to relax on the beach, explore ancient ruins, or shop till you drop, here are ten perfect things to do in Playa del Carmen:

Visit the ancient Mayan ruins of Playacar: Just a short distance from downtown Playa del Carmen, you can find the ancient ruins of Playacar. This archaeological site is home to several well-preserved buildings and artifacts, making it a great place to learn about the history and culture of the area.

Relax on the beach: Playa del Carmen is home to some of the best beaches in Mexico. The powdery white sand and clear blue waters make it a perfect place to relax and soak up some sun. Popular beaches include Playa Mamitas, which features a beach club, and restaurants; Playacar Beach, which is adjacent to an upscale resort area; and Xpu-Ha Beach, which is known for its secluded setting and natural beauty. There are also several public beaches open to everyone, such as Playa Punta Esmeralda, in the city's north end and Coco Beach.

Explore 5th Avenue: 5th Avenue, or La Quinta, is the main thoroughfare in downtown Playa del Carmen and is lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. The pedestrian-only street is closed to traffic, making it a great place to stroll around and take in the sights and sounds of the city. Visitors will find everything from high-end designer stores to local artisanal shops selling handmade goods. 5th Avenue is also home to several popular nightclubs, so it’s the perfect place to go if you want to experience Playa del Carmen’s vibrant nightlife scene.

Swim with turtles in Akumal: Akumal is a small town located about 45 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. It’s well known for its clear waters and abundance of sea turtles, which you can swim with in the designated turtle conservation area. Akumal is also home to several beaches, including Akumal Bay Beach, where you can snorkel and see a variety of fish, and Half Moon Bay, which is perfect for swimming and relaxing.

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Take a ferry to Cozumel: Cozumel is a small island off the coast of Playa del Carmen known for its scuba diving and snorkelling. Visitors can take a ferry from Playa del Carmen to Cozumel and then explore the island’s many beaches, restaurants, and shops. There are also many scuba diving and snorkelling sites around the island, making it a popular destination for water sports enthusiasts.

Try the local street food: Playa del Carmen is home to many street food vendors selling everything from tacos and tamales to elotes (corn on the cob). Visitors can find street food carts and stands throughout the city, and it’s a great way to try some of the local cuisines. Be sure to wash it down with a refreshing agua fresca (fruit juice). On the weekend, at the Andador Solidaridad park between Calle 8 and Calle 10, on Avenida 15, there’s a small market with a few street vendors. Try the traditional Pozole soup, a local’s favourite!

Take a cooking class: With its abundance of fresh seafood and produce, Playa del Carmen is a great place to learn how to cook traditional Mexican cuisine. Plenty of cooking schools in the city offer classes for all levels, from beginners to experienced cooks.

Go scuba diving: Playa del Carmen is located in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the western world. The reef is home to a wealth of marine life, making it a popular destination for scuba diving and snorkelling. You will find many dive shops in Playa del Carmen that offer gear rentals and tours.

Swim in cenotes: A cenote is a natural swimming hole formed from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater. There are several cenotes in the Playa del Carmen and Tulum areas, and they are popular places to swim, snorkel, and dive. Be sure to visit one of these natural wonders during your stay. Some popular ones include Dos Ojos, Zacil-Ha, Car Wash and Cenote Jardin Del Eden.

Explore the street art: Check out the murals in Playa del Carmen, which feature the work of artists from all over the world. The artwork can be found throughout the city, with many pieces concentrated in the downtown area. The vibrant murals add colour and life to the cityscape and provide a unique way to experience Playa del Carmen’s culture and history. On the Quinta Avenida, between the 54th and 106th street, there is an open-air gallery of murals created by different artists.

Whether you’re looking for ancient ruins or sandy beaches, Playa del Carmen has something for everyone. This vibrant Mexican city is filled with activities and attractions that will make your vacation one to remember.

What are the best places to stay in Playa del Carmen for Snowbirds?

Depending on your travel needs, preferences, and budget, Playa del Carmen has a wide variety of accommodation options. If you're looking for a luxury experience, many upscale resorts offer everything you could want, from private beaches to world-class amenities. For a more budget-friendly option, there are also a number of hotels and vacation rentals that offer great value for your money.  

For a more laid-back atmosphere, Playacar is a great choice. This gated community is home to luxury resorts and golf courses.

Downtown Playa del Carmen is another popular option for travellers, as it's home to the city's main tourist attractions, including 5th Avenue. Within the downtown neighbourhood, other areas worth considering are North of Avenida Constituyentes, North Gonzalo Guerrero, and Zazil-Ha.

There are a few factors to consider when it comes to finding the perfect place to stay in Playa del Carmen. But with so many great options available, you're sure to find the perfect place for your vacation.

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How to find the best deals on vacation rentals as a snowbird in Playa del Carmen?

There are a few ways. First, you can check out websites like VRBO and Airbnb, which offer a wide variety of vacation rentals in Playa del Carmen. Second, you can contact a local property management company or real estate agent who can help you find the perfect rental for your needs. And lastly, you can check out online forums and social media groups, where you can often find great deals on vacation rentals.

These Facebook groups are an invaluable source of information to help you plan your stay in Playa del Carmen:

Rentals and Sales in Central Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen Insiders Guide


Vacation Rentals in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is an excellent destination for snowbirds seeking a beach vacation or a cultural getaway. With its warm weather, abundance of activities, and various accommodation options, it's easy to see why this Mexican town is such a popular winter destination.

Practical tips and advice for snowbirds in Playa del Carmen

● Learn some words in Spanish as it is the official language in Mexico, but don’t worry English is also widely spoken in Playa del Carmen.

● Always keep Mexican Peso (MXN) or US dollars with you.

● Tipping is not required, but it is appreciated. A 10-15% tip is standard in restaurants and bars.

● Put sunscreen daily as the weather in Playa del Carmen is warm and sunny year-round and the average temperature is 28 degrees Celsius. As a snowbird, you will get a lot more sun in comparison to short-term tourists.

● Be aware of your surrounding and personal belonging. Playa del Carmen is generally a safe place to visit. However, as with any travel destination, it's always important to exercise caution and be aware of your surroundings.

Best places to eat for snowbirds in Playa del Carmen

● The Lost Tiki: Located in the heart of Playa del Carmen, The Lost Tiki is a popular spot for both locals and tourists. The restaurant specializes in Asian fusion cuisine, with dishes like General Tso chicken, Cantonese pork belly tacos, and ramen. The Lost Tiki is also known for its delicious craft cocktails, making it the perfect place to enjoy a few drinks during their daily happy hour.

● Restaurante Nativo: Restaurante Nativo is a must-visit for anyone who loves Mexican food. Try the restaurant's signature dish, the Nativo Burrito, which is stuffed with chicken, beans, rice, and salsa. Do yourself a favour and try their fresh juices. It will soon become an integral part of your morning routine.

● Don Chendo: Don Chendo is a popular spot, and it's not hard to see why. The pizzas are big, the crust is thin and crispy, and the toppings are plentiful. Be sure to try the Chicago-style deep dish pizza, which comes with a layer of cheesy goodness that is sure to please.

● Plantivoros: For a truly unique dining experience, head to Plantivoros, a vegetarian restaurant serving delicious plant-based dishes. The menu features a wide variety of options, including tacos al pastor (tacos with grilled pineapple), enchiladas de mole (enchiladas with chocolate sauce), and quesadillas de nopal (cactus quesadillas).

● Mariscos y Clamatos El Doctorcito (the one on Avenida 25 and Calle 12): This seafood spot specializes in fresh seafood dishes. The menu features a wide variety of options, including ceviche, shrimp tacos, and whole fried fish.

Livin' la Vida Loca in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is the perfect winter getaway for snowbirds. The weather is warm and sunny year-round, and the locals are friendly and welcoming. Safety is generally a concern in any travel destination; however, Playa del Carmen is a relatively safe place to visit. With its wide variety of restaurants, bars, and beaches, there's something for everyone in Playa del Carmen. So what are you waiting for?

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