Situated on the Mayan Riviera, but maintaining its small-town vibes, Playa del Carmen is known for lazy, sun-filled days and lively nights spent clubbing and dancing. Once a sleepy fishing village, its distinct cosmopolitan flavour now shines as it welcomes people from around the globe. Playa’s trendiness and rapid growth make it a hot destination for every traveller seeking sun and fun. Here’s how to spend 48 hours in this Caribbean wonderland.
Check into your digs at eco-friendly oasis Fairmont Mayakoba, where restoration efforts have added increased beachfront surrounded by indigenous mangrove trees. Each guest room has its own private terrace or balcony and soaking tub. Book a presidential suite and you can stop reading here — you’ll have your own private infinity pool and we completely understand if you decide to stay there during your entire stay.
If you do decide to part ways with your coveted private pool, even if for a brief moment, get right to it and head straight to the beach. The Fairmont provides access to everything you could possibly need for a beach vacay. Think catamarans, kayaks, stand-up paddle boards, and snorkelling gear. They even have beach balls and sand toys for the kids, so you don’t have to waste any precious vacation time scouring beachfront stalls for beach gear — total win!
Catch a cab to Playa’s notable 5th Avenue for a pre-dinner stroll. Quinta, as locals call it, is where the action is. Boutiques, street performers, restaurants, and bars keep Quinta popular and buzzing with locals and tourists alike. Snag a table at Loncheria Doña Mary for a taste of authentic Yucatecan cuisine. What Doña Mary lacks in frill, it more than makes up for in flavour. Doña Mary devotees regularly line up for the revered tamales, and everything else on the menu.
After dinner, head toward the beach to Diabolita Cha Cha Cha. The retro beach bar is decked out in thatched hut, tiki bar style with music, dancing, and sea views.
Grab breakfast at Chez Céline, where breakfast options like fresh fruit and vegan granola with homemade bread and Mayan honey, avocado salmon toast, and dulce de leche-filled crepes will get you primed for a day of activity.
Saturday is for cenotes, one of Playa del Carmen’s most incredible draws. Just a thirty-minute drive from breakfast, Cenote Tajma Ha’s crystal-clear waters and stunning light show make it one of Playa’s best places to experience this natural wonder. Go for a cavern dive and be sure to see the Points of Light room, where a laser light show sparkles across the water, all thanks to the sun peeking through from above.
Grab a late lunch of fresh seafood (best washed down with a margarita or two) at one of Los Aguachiles’ two Playa locations. The seafood-heavy menu is a favourite for its fresh ceviche, grilled octopus, tacos, and, of course, salt-rimmed margaritas. Veer away from the standards and try the cucumber mezcal, loaded with fresh cucumbers, lemon juice, and a touch of the smoky spirit.
Enjoy an easy evening back at the beach or perhaps with a restore treatment at the Fairmont’s Willow Stream Spa. The spa’s signature Mexican Obsidian Stone treatment, a deep-heat massage paired with soothing aromatics, is the perfect antidote to the grind of everyday life.
Keep those relaxing, feel-good vibes going well into Sunday with breakfast at 100% Natural. Fuel up with wholesome grains like amaranth paired with fresh fruit or go the more traditional breakfast route with huevos rancheros and a side of refried beans.
What to do with the rest of your time before heading back to reality? We suggest hitting the beach with a good book or your loved ones and soaking up as much relaxing beach time as possible.