Written by Freddy ShermanUpdated Jul 26, 2021
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Playa del Carmen is Mexico’s boutique Caribbean resort destination, offering a more authentic experience than its larger neighbor, Cancun. It combines the powdery, white sand and warm, gentle aquamarine water of the Caribbean with the hospitality and flavors of Mexico.
Playa del Carmen has an excellent mix of resorts to fit every taste and budget. Some may prefer a large, all-inclusive resort like the Fairmont Mayakoba with so many things to see, do, and eat you may never want to leave the property. Other visitors like a more intimate, boutique experience like that found at the Belmond Maroma Resort with only 63 rooms and suites.
Most visitors to Playa del Carmen fly into Cancun (CUN), which is only 40 minutes away by car. Find the best place to stay when you arrive with our list of the top resorts in Playa del Carmen.
1. Royal Hideaway Playacar
All your non-motorized water sports and organized sports activities are included. This includes things like basketball, beach volleyball, and tennis. You can also try kayaking, windsurfing, or snorkeling-it’s all included. Scuba diving and deep sea fishing excursions are also available at an extra fee.
2. Fairmont Mayakoba
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One of the big draws for the Fairmont is golf, the resort is next to the El Camaleon Golf Course, home of Mexico’s only PGA TOUR event. Aside from golf, there are many things to do, starting with the beautiful beach. You can relax and enjoy the sun or try exploring the ocean in a kayak or sailing around on a catamaran. The Fairmont has a lot of nature trails, which can be explored on foot or on one of the resort’s loaner BMW mountain bikes.
You might also spend the day at the Willow Stream Spa, one of the largest hotel spas in Playa del Carmen.
3. Belmond Maroma Resort & Spa
For fun, there are three different swimming pools, two tennis courts, and the full range of beach and water sports. The resort can also set up dive and other excursions, including unique things like cenote snorkeling. The Maroma is kid- and family-friendly, with kid’s menus at the restaurants and a lot of activities. There’s a Discovery Club play area with things to do and an Adventure Camp with all-day supervised activities (so mom and dad can get some alone time).
4. Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun
Secrets Capri Riviera offers guests all kinds of things to do, in addition to the usual list of beach and water fun. You can take a cooking class, learn Spanish, take a yoga or pilates class, do some archery or skeet shooting, play beach or pool volleyball, play tennis or soccer, and even learn to salsa dance. If all that wasn’t enough, you get complimentary rounds of golf at a nearby club.
There are seven unique dining options at the resort, including a 24-hour café and 24-hour room service. There is also nightly entertainment, including musical performances and dancing. They also have movies under the stars, and group activities like karaoke night and talent shows.
Carretera Federal 387, Cancun Km. 299, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
5. Gran Velas Riviera Maya
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The Grand Class Experience is aimed at couples and offers a more luxurious, oceanfront vacation. The Ambassador Experience is great for families, as you get accommodations near the kid and teen clubs and also near the beach. The Zen Grand Experience is a more luxurious stay for families.
The Gran Velas Riviera Maya is right on the beach, about five minutes from the downtown Playa del Carmen area. At the beach, snorkeling, kayaks, and boogie boards are all provided for you. Other gear and equipment can be rented.
There are five signature restaurants to choose from plus a beachfront buffet. The restaurants each offer a different type of cuisine including French, Mexican, Italian, Asian (mainly Chinese), and Japanese (sushi). A tip: make reservations for your desired specialty restaurants immediately on arrival, as space can fill up quickly. Also, most of the restaurants, except the Azul buffet, have dress codes in the evening, so pack accordingly.
Carretera Cancun Tulum Km 62, Playa del Carmen 77710, Mexico
6. Newport House Playa Del Carmen
There are 15 apartments that really feel residential. Each is very stylish and unique, with cool touches like custom handmade furniture and original photographic prints by a local photographer. These are luxury units with full modern kitchens, central air, free high-speed Wi-Fi, and two smart TVs. Some units even have washers and dryers. The Newport House has a rooftop pool with day beds providing an excellent location to relax and enjoy the sunshine.
7. Hotel Xcaret Mexico
A stay at this all-inclusive resort gets you free access to all the various nature parks and attractions. The parks are Xcaret, Xel-Ha, Xplor, Xplor Fuego, Xoximilco, and Xenses. You can get deluxe tours at their two tourist attractions, Xenotes (cenote tour) and Xichen (Chichen Itza and Mayan ruins tour), with round-trip transportation included. The all-inclusive package at Hotel Xcaret is so complete, it even covers airport transportation.
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The hotel is all-suite, and the views vary between beach, jungle, pool, and ocean. The accommodations have a modern, Mexican style with beautiful spa bathrooms. The hotel has lagoons running through the property, and you can kayak or stand up paddleboard around them. The resort also has several swimming pools and its own stretch of semi-private beach.
8. Rosewood Mayakoba
There are six different dining environments, each offering a unique perspective on a certain cuisine. There’s even an outdoor Mayan restaurant using traditional cooking techniques and only locally sourced ingredients.
9. Playacar Palace
The beach is wide, with soft white sand and warm water. Any and all non-motorized beach activities and the gear needed are all included. Things like water hammocks, snorkeling gear, rafts, SUPs, kayaks, and more. Other things like Jet Skis can be rented at the beach.
Dining options at Playacar Palace include Cafe Del Mar, the resort’s buffet restaurant, which is open all day; Momo serves teppanyaki; and Bocelli has an Italian menu. There’s an active nightlife scene at the resort with nightly entertainment and dancing.
10. Hotel Riu Palace Mexico
An all-inclusive property, Riu Palace is family friendly and offers a range of rooms and suites, including options if you are traveling with kids. Other child-focused amenities include a kids’ club with its own swimming pool, babysitting (for a fee), and opportunities to book family-focused excursions.
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Things to Do: If you are looking for things to do off the beach and away from the resorts, have a look through our list of day trips from Playa del Carmen. Some of the highlights in include Chichen Itza, Tulum, cenotes, and maybe a visit to nearby Cancun.