Treat yourself to white sandy beaches, sparkling waters and world-class diving with a trip to Mexico’s Riviera Maya. For a touch of luxury on this beautiful stretch of Caribbean coast, you can’t go wrong with the newly developed upmarket community of Playacar. Just south of the large resort of Playa del Carmen, Playacar boasts beautiful private beaches lined with palm trees, azure waters with colourful coral reefs and blissful sunshine to bask in.
Playacar is the ultimate secluded retreat for those looking for a romantic break or a relaxing holiday with friends and family. With indulgent all-inclusive hotels, a mall filled with designer boutiques and a fantastic 18-hole championship golf course, escape from the stresses of daily life and unwind by the sea in this unforgettable Mexican destination. If you want to explore further afield, you’ll find Mayan ruins, jungle adventures and paradise islands all within easy reach.
Playacar itself is a place to relax and unwind on the spectacular beaches, but you’ll also find plenty of activities and adventure around. The championship golf course is popular with golfing fans thanks to its professional course and stunning jungle surroundings. Or why not flex that credit card with a trip to Playacar’s stylish shopping centre?
A trip to neighbouring Playa Del Carmen is a must, where you’ll find a fantastic selection of shops, bars and restaurants. Fifth Avenue, or Quinta Avenida, is a long and vibrant pedestrian strip close to the beach, which is lined with traditional taco-stands, souvenir stalls, restaurants and shops. For family fun, head to the Mayan-themed Xcaret Eco-park.
If you love being active on holiday, you’ll find plenty of water sports from jet-skiing to windsurfing in Playacar. You can even take to the skies for a bird’s eye view of the coast with some parasailing. Above all, you can find some of the world’s best diving here, with coral reefs, abundant marine life and underwater caves to explore.
Slightly further afield, the Riviera Maya’s ancient Mayan ruins are a breathtaking sight and within easy reach for a day trip. The ancient walled city of Tulum is the closest, with Chichen Itza and Coba also within easy reach. Or head across the waters to the small paradise island of Cozumel. Renowned for its amazing dive sites, it provides easy access to the world’s second-largest barrier reef. The island is also a lovely place to spend a day strolling through the town and admiring the views from the pristine beaches.
As you’d expect from an upmarket development, Playacar offers a range of places to eat and drink, many of them located in the area’s luxury hotels. Many of these are all-inclusive, and offer a wide range of delicious cuisines, whether you’re looking for Asian fusion or want to try traditional Mexican dishes. You’ll find an even bigger choice of restaurants in neighbouring Playa del Carmen, one of the largest and most vibrant resorts on the Riviera Maya. Local specialities that you won’t want to miss include the famous lobster and shellfish, along with other spectacularly fresh seafood. You could also tuck into panuchos or salbutes – tortillas stuffed with black beans, meat, vegetables and avocado – which are a Yucatan speciality. Or perhaps stop at a tamale stand for a freshly made dough parcel filled with meat or cheese and a touch of chilli, then wrapped in a corn husk or banana leaf and steamed.
Playacar is a great option for families, thanks to its pristine beaches, tranquil atmosphere and luxurious amenities. Most of the hotels offer child-friendly facilities such as mini clubs and a baby-sitting service, as well as pools and a host of water sports. These include everything from snorkelling to wind-surfing, and you’ll find plenty of local suppliers that offer courses and equipment rental. There are scores of fantastic kid-friendly attractions in the surrounding area, including several eco-parks, such as the enormous Xcaret Eco-park. This has numerous attractions, from an island inhabited by jaguars to boating trips along the river, as well as an aquarium, butterfly pavilion, and natural swimming pools.
There are sports and activities galore in upmarket Playacar, with even more in the adjoining resort of Playa del Carmen. The world’s second-largest barrier reef – the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – offers some truly memorable diving sites and snorkelling opportunities, with myriad underwater landscapes to discover. You’ll also find a host of other water sports, whether you want to rent out jet skis, go parasailing, fishing or sailing, or just take out a paddle board on the crystal-clear seas. There are several eco-parks in the area – notably the enormous Xcaret park – that offer even more activities, from zooming along zip-line to swimming in natural pools.
Holidays to Playacar are all about hitting the beach. Pull up a sun-lounger and soak up the sun, take a dip in the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea, and watch the sun go down with a cocktail in hand. The beaches in Playacar are mostly private beaches attached to each exclusive hotel so you won’t be bothered by crowds or beach sellers here. The gorgeous white sands and turquoise waters are blissful if you simply want to laze on the beach or go for a dip, but you’ll also find a host of water sports on offer. This region is home to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest in the world – and is justly celebrated for its outstanding scuba diving and snorkelling.
Most of the hotels in Playacar are upmarket, all-inclusive options, and most of these offer a range of nightlife, from cocktail bars to discos. Many of them feature a full programme of entertainment too. However, the resort is considerably more chilled-out than neighbouring Playa del Carmen, and doesn’t offer much in the way of serious nightspots. However, a short taxi ride (or even, depending on the location of your hotel, a stroll) will bring you to the massive array of nightlife options available in Playa del Carmen, which is one of the buzziest resorts on the whole of the Riviera Maya.
If you’re looking for picture-postcard Caribbean beaches of white sand, plenty of luxurious amenities such as spas and gourmet restaurants, then Playacar is a fantastic destination for a romantic holiday. The range of water sports is enormous, from fabulous snorkelling and scuba-diving, and you can also tee up on the championship golf course, have a game of tennis, or pick up some designer goodies at the boutiques. Most of the hotels boast their own plush private beaches with plenty of luxurious extras, and several have spas if you want to enjoy a couples massage or indulge in a beauty treatment. There’s a wide choice of romantic restaurants and bars for an intimate drink, or you could take a sunset cruise along this stunning stretch of coastline.
Playacar makes a great base for visiting some of the extraordinary Mayan monuments on the Yucatan peninsula. The closest and one of the most beautiful is at Tulum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which enjoys a breathtaking setting on a cliff edge overlooking a spectacular beach. You could also take an excursion to magnificent Chichen Itza, voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World, which was once one of the largest and most powerful Mayan cities. It’s located about two and half hours away by car and excursions often include a visit to nearby Valladolid, which is replete with elegant colonial architecture. To get more insight into the Mayan culture, visit the excellent Mayan Museum in Cancun, just over an hour’s drive from Playacar.