Looking to add Playa del Carmen to your Mexico solo travel itinerary? These are the best things to do in Playa del Carmen for solo travelers!
Whether you’re looking for a quiet beach retreat, a remote work getaway, or want to stay busy with endless activities, Playa del Carmen has something for every kind of solo traveler.
Plus, its location in the heart of the Riviera Maya makes it an excellent base for solo travelers to explore this diverse region, filled with ancient Mayan ruins, breathtaking cenotes, and picturesque beach towns.
In this ultimate guide to traveling solo to Playa del Carmen, you’ll discover where to stay, the top things to do, and the top-rated restaurants that are best suited for solo travelers.
Plus, you’ll learn essential safety tips for solo travelers so you can feel confident exploring Playa del Carmen on your own.
In this guide, we have formatted it so that you can learn a little about Playa del Carmen first, and then what to do in Playa del Carmen second.
In the end, it will contain heaps of information about solo travel to Playa del Carmen, including safety tips, and more!
In this post...
- About Traveling to Playa del Carmen
- Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen
- Best Places to Eat in Playa del Carmen
- Is Playa del Carmen Worth Visiting for Solo Travelers?
- Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Solo Travelers?
- Playa del Carmen Safety Tips for Solo Travelers
- Solo Travel to Playa del Carmen Mexico: FAQs
- Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen
- Conclusion: Playa del Carmen Solo Travel Guide
- More Mexico Travel Guides
- Pin this Playa del Carmen Things to Do Guide
About Traveling to Playa del Carmen
If you’re planning a solo trip to Playa del Carmen, you’ll need to first know some basics about the destination:
Where is Playa del Carmen?
Known simply as “Playa” to locals, Playa del Carmen is located on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, just 1 hour south of Cancun.
The city is part of the Riviera Maya, a coastal region in Mexico that is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise waters.
Playa del Carmen is also situated on Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula, which is home to numerous Mayan ruins, the freshwater cenotes of Tulum, and picturesque beach towns.
How Do You Get to Playa del Carmen?
The closest airport to Playa del Carmen is Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is located about 1 hour north of Playa del Carmen.
To get to Playa del Carmen from Cancun, you’ll need to arrange airport transportation, which can be done by booking a private transfer, arranging a shared airport shuttle, or taking the ADO airport bus.
For solo travelers, the most economical way to get to Playa del Carmen is to take the ADO Airport bus, which only costs around $11 USD each way.
Best Time to Visit Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen has warm weather year-round, making it a great destination to visit any time of year.
However, the rainy hurricane season runs from June through November.
While the chances of rain will be higher, this isn’t necessarily a bad time to visit Playa del Carmen as storms tend to pass quickly and there will still be plenty of sun. You’ll also likely find more hotel deals during this time.
The high season in Playa del Carmen is during the dry season from December-April when the weather is still hot but much less humid.
If you want to avoid crowds, plan your solo trip outside of these times.
Best Things to Do in Playa del Carmen
When it comes to activities and attractions, Playa del Carmen has plenty to offer solo travelers both within the town center and in the surrounding areas.
Here are some top Playa del Carmen activities for solo travelers:
1. Relax at a Beach Club
A visit to Playa del Carmen wouldn’t be complete without some beach time, and the best way to do this is by visiting one of the area’s beach clubs.
At a beach club, you can rent shaded lounge chairs, order food and drinks, and take advantage of other resort-style amenities.
Some top Playa del Carmen beach clubs include Mamitas Beach Club, Martina Beach Club, and Kool Beach Club.
And if you want to escape the crowds, head to the stunning Playa Xpu-Ha just south of Playa del Carmen for a quieter, more secluded beach to relax on.
2. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving
Playa del Carmen is located near the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef system, which offers some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving in all of Mexico.
Popular snorkeling spots include El Cielo in Cozumel, the MUSA underwater sculpture museum in Isla Mujeres, and the off-shore reef in Puerto Morelos.
And if you’re scuba certified, there are many different dive shops in Playa del Carmen and Cozumel offering dive trips to some incredible underwater dive sites.
3. Go Standup Paddleboarding
Standup paddleboarding is a great way to explore Playa del Carmen’s beautiful coastline and calm turquoise waters, while getting to meet new people and make new friends in a relaxed environment.
The best place to go paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen is at Aloha Paddle Club, which offers sunrise sessions, group sessions, and private lessons.
4. Explore Ancient Mayan Ruins
Playa del Carmen is located within driving distance of many fascinating Mayan archaeological sites, including the Tulum Ruins, Chichen Itza, and Cobá.
These archeological sites can be visited easily on a day trip from Playa del Carmen, and are an interesting way to learn more about Mayan history and culture.
5. Swim in a Freshwater Cenote
One of the best things to do on the Yucatan Peninsula is to hit up the freshwater swimming holes and underground caves called cenotes, which make for a unique Playa del Carmen solo adventure.
Visiting one of these cenotes is a great way to escape the heat and enjoy some refreshing swimming, snorkeling, or cliff jumping.
Popular Playa del Carmen cenotes include Cenote Eden, Cenote Cristalino, and Cenote Azul.
6. Visit an Xcaret Adventure Park
If you’re looking for more adventure during your Playa del Carmen solo trip, a visit to an Xcaret adventure park is the perfect place for a full day of adrenaline-pumping activities.
With 8 different adventure parks to choose from, Grupo Xcaret has something for everyone, from ziplining at Xplor to driving monster trucks at Xavage to snorkeling at Xcaret or Xel-Ha.
Plus, the beautiful eco-parks are embedded in natural surroundings and have a focus on sustainability, making them a great way to connect with nature and learn about local culture.
7. Take a Day Trip to Cozumel
Located less than 45 minutes away by ferry, the island of Cozumel makes for a fun day trip from Playa del Carmen.
Known as one of the best diving destinations in the world, Cozumel is a great spot for snorkeling, scuba diving, and other water sports.
Or you can simply head to a beach club or go shopping in the quaint downtown area.
8. Go on a Catamaran Sail
One of the best ways to experience Playa del Carmen’s crystal-clear waters and stunning coastline is on a catamaran sail, which will take you sailing to nearby destinations such as Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, or Puerto Aventuras.
With music, dancing, and an open bar on board, this is a fun excursion for solo travelers to meet new people in a party atmosphere, while getting to experience the Caribbean Sea.
9. Go on a Playa del Carmen Food Tour
A Playa del Carmen food tour is the perfect option for solo travelers and food lovers who want to sample some of the region’s most delicious dishes and learn more about its culinary traditions.
Led by a local guide, most food tours in Playa del Carmen are walking tours where you’ll get to experience the town’s best restaurants and hidden gems that you wouldn’t be able to find on your own.
Whether you want to sample mouthwatering street food, authentic Mexican tacos, or traditional cuisine from the Yucatan peninsula, a food tour is a fun way to meet new people in a relaxed environment.
10. Shop on the Famous 5th Avenue
Lastly, no visit to Playa del Carmen is complete without spending some time exploring 5th Avenue (“La Quinta Avenida”), the town’s main street for shopping and dining.
Playa del Carmen’s vibrant 5th Avenue spans for more than 20 blocks and is where you’ll find the majority of shops, restaurants, and nightlife.
Whether you’re looking for souvenirs, local art, or just a delicious meal, Fifth Avenue is a lively area to shop and stroll.
Best Places to Eat in Playa del Carmen
While visiting Playa del Carmen, you’ll want to get out and explore the town’s restaurant scene. Here are some top Playa del Carmen restaurant recommendations for solo travelers:
- Peace & Bowl: This tropical smoothie bar and vegan cafe is a digital nomad hotspot offering tasty, healthy fare in a colorful environment–perfect for breakfast or lunch.
- Las Hijas Beach Club: Enjoy seafood small plates and tasty cocktails at this trendy beachfront restaurant that offers 3-levels of oceanfront seating, live music, and free wifi.
- El Fogón: This casual taqueria is consistently ranked for having some of the best al pastor tacos in Playa del Carmen. Head here in the evening or for a late-night taco treat.
- La Perla Pixan: This authentic Mexican restaurant offers a slightly more upscale Playa del Carmen dining experience, with fresh regional dishes, craft cocktails, and live music.
- Zenzi: This beach bar and restaurant is a hotspot at night offering live music and free salsa dancing lessons. With an open-air layout and fresh cocktails, Zenzi is the perfect spot to meet new people in a casual environment.
Is Playa del Carmen Worth Visiting for Solo Travelers?
Playa del Carmen is definitely worth visiting for solo travelers offering an affordable tropical getaway, a thriving digital nomad community, and many unique activities and attractions.
Here are just a few reasons why Playa del Carmen makes a great destination for solo travelers:
1) Warm weather all year round: As a tropical beach destination, Playa del Carmen is known for its hot weather and sunny skies all year round.
Whether you’re looking to escape the cold winter months or simply want a beach break, Playa del Carmen is a great choice for solo travelers looking to soak up the sun.
2) Affordable accommodations: With a wide variety of accommodation options, Playa del Carmen has something for every budget.
Whether you’re looking for cheap hostels, vacation rentals, or luxury resorts, Playa del Carmen has plenty of options to choose from at affordable prices.
3) Walkable town center: Playa del Carmen is a small but vibrant beach town, meaning you can easily explore the main streets on foot or hit the beach.
This makes Playa del Carmen a great destination for solo travelers because you don’t need a car to get around.
4) Reliable internet access: Fast and reliable internet access is available in Playa del Carmen, which makes it a great place for digital nomads and remote workers looking to stay productive and connected while enjoying the abundant sunshine and warm weather.
5) Active digital nomad community: The active digital nomad community and numerous coworking spaces in Playa del Carmen make it easy for solo travelers to get involved, attend fun community events, and meet new people with similar interests.
6) Unique activities and attractions: Playa del Carmen is a great base for exploring the many unique attractions of the Riviera Maya, including ancient Mayan ruins, freshwater cenotes, underground caves, and some incredible coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving.
So, whether you’re looking for a quiet beach escape, a remote work getaway, or an adventure-filled solo trip, Playa del Carmen has something for every kind of solo traveler.
Is Playa del Carmen Safe for Solo Travelers?
Playa del Carmen is generally a safe destination for solo travelers (including solo female travelers) as long as you follow basic safety precautions.
Drug crime does exist in Playa del Carmen but as long as you avoid illegal activity, most travelers will not encounter any problems.
The U.S. Department of State has officially issued the travel advisory for the state of Quintana Roo (where Playa del Carmen is located) as “Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution”.
Additionally, Numbeo reports the crime index for Playa del Carmen as 49.78, which is considered to be a moderate level of crime on a 100-point scale.
Visitors also report feeling very safe walking alone during the day and moderately safe walking alone at night.
While traveling to Playa del Carmen alone, it’s always important to use common sense and follow safety precautions.
This includes avoiding walking alone at night, keeping your valuables secure, avoiding illegal activity, and staying in well-lit and populated areas.
Of course, safety is never guaranteed, but following basic safety precautions can go a long way in helping you have a safe and stress-free solo trip to Playa del Carmen.
Playa del Carmen Safety Tips for Solo Travelers
While Playa del Carmen is a relatively safe place for solo travelers, it’s always important to follow basic safety precautions.
Here are some Playa del Carmen safety tips for solo travelers:
1) Stay in well-lit populated areas: When staying in Playa del Carmen on your own, it’s best to stay in downtown Playa del Carmen (“Centro”) and stick to the main tourist areas around 5th Avenue. Avoid walking alone late at night in quiet or deserted areas.
2) Splurge on security: When choosing your accommodations in Playa del Carmen, it’s well worth it to pay a little extra for a nicer hotel or condo building with 24-hour security and in-room safes. This can give you added peace of mind as petty theft is not uncommon in less secure buildings.
3) Use travel safety tools: When traveling solo in Mexico, it’s a good idea to bring along some travel safety tools and accessories like anti-theft bags or portable safes. If you decide to stay at an Airbnb or a vacation rental that doesn’t have a deadbolt, it’s also a good idea to pick up an inexpensive portable door lock to prevent overnight intruders and give you added peace of mind.
4) Always keep an eye on your belongings: Petty theft is not uncommon in Mexico so you’ll want to keep a close eye on your personal belongings at all times. Never leave your bag unattended, and always be aware of your surroundings when walking around, dining at restaurants, or at the beach.
5) Don’t stay out too late: Playa del Carmen has a vibrant nightlife scene but if you’re traveling alone, it’s best to stick to the earlier hours of the evening. Drinking too much alcohol or staying out too late can put you at greater risk for crime and other dangers.
6) Avoid illegal activities: Playa del Carmen is a popular party destination, and unfortunately, drugs are prevalent in the nightlife and party scene. Avoid partaking in any illegal activities, as this can put you at a much greater safety risk.
7) Watch your alcohol consumption: Drinking heavily as a solo traveler in Playa del Carmen can put you at greater risk for crime and other dangers, especially if you’re a female. Be sure to pace yourself, limit your alcohol consumption, and always have a reliable way to get home safely.
8) Try to speak Spanish: Playa del Carmen is a tourist destination and while many locals do speak English, knowing some basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in interacting with locals and navigating the area. Learning some basic Spanish is also the best way to avoid getting ripped off.
9) Pack a water bottle and biodegradable sunscreen: Playa del Carmen is hot and sunny all year round, so always be prepared with a collapsible water bottle and biodegradable sunscreen to protect both yourself and the environment. Having a water bottle on hand is a great way to stay hydrated since the water is not safe to drink in Mexico.
Solo Travel to Playa del Carmen Mexico: FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about visiting Playa del Carmen as a solo traveler:
Can you get around Playa del Carmen without a car?
Yes, you can get around Playa del Carmen easily without a car. Taxis are readily available or you can take a colectivo (shared van) to reach Cancun or Tulum.
Additionally, you can also rent a bike or scooter to explore the area on your own.
How many days do I need in Playa del Carmen?
This will depend on your travel style and the activities you plan to do, but most travelers spend around 3-7 days in Playa del Carmen.
Is Playa del Carmen safer than Cancun?
Yes, Playa del Carmen is considered to be a slightly safer destination than Cancun. However, you should still take the same precautions and stay aware of your surroundings at all times.
Is Playa del Carmen expensive?
Playa del Carmen can be as expensive or affordable as you make it. If you stay at a luxury resort or dine at high-end restaurants, Playa del Carmen can be pricey.
However, there are also budget-friendly options like inexpensive hostels and authentic local restaurants. It all depends on your personal preferences and travel style.
Is it better to stay in Tulum or Playa del Carmen?
It is better to stay in Playa del Carmen to have better internet connectivity, more walkability, and easy access to transportation.
However, Tulum is also a popular destination for solo travelers, especially those looking for a more laid-back and bohemian kind of vibe.
Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen has a range of accommodation options for solo travelers, including beachfront resorts, budget hotels, and vacation rentals.
Solo travelers will want to stay in the downtown area known as “Centro” to be within walking distance to the beach, restaurants, and shops.
Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Playa del Carmen for solo travelers:
- Luxury: Located on the dreamy 38th Street, Mahekal Beach Resort offers bohemian luxury with its spacious bungalows, beautiful ocean views, and excellent amenities like an oceanfront swimming pool, spa services, and on-site restaurants.
- Mid-Range: In the heart of downtown Playa del Carmen, Hotel HM Playa del Carmen offers a great central location, along with modern Mexican-style accommodations and a beautiful courtyard swimming pool.
- Budget: Selina Hostel Playa del Carmen is a great option for budget-conscious solo travelers, offering both shared and private rooms. Plus, its onsite coworking space, outdoor pool, and community events make it an easy place to meet other like-minded travelers.
- Extended Stay: With many modern condo buildings and vacation rentals, Playa del Carmen also has many different accommodation options for digital nomads or those looking for a longer-term stay. Airbnb, VRBO, and Facebook Marketplace are great resources for finding these types of accommodations.
Conclusion: Playa del Carmen Solo Travel Guide
If you’re traveling to Mexico alone and looking for a laid-back beach getaway with beautiful beaches, lots of sunshine, and plenty of activities, Playa del Carmen is a great destination to consider adding to your Mexico solo travel itinerary.
The beach town offers beautiful beaches, endless adventure activities and excursions, and a laid-back atmosphere.
Plus, it’s a very walkable destination, easy to get around on your own, and can be very affordable.
Just be sure to follow basic safety precautions and you’ll have an amazing time exploring the vibrant beach town of Playa del Carmen on your solo adventure!
Author Bio: Allison Sicking is a travel blogger with a passion for Spanish and a love of Latin America travel.
She created the travel blog Viva La Travelista after moving to Playa del Carmen, Mexico to empower others to travel safely and confidently in Spanish-speaking countries.
Follow her blog to find out how to travel Mexico like a local with her insider travel tips!
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Aram is a travel blogger and writer from Armenia who spends his time between Spain and his home country. He is passionate about music and football (the European kind) and covers a lot of Western European destinations on the blog. Aram is a laidback traveler who enjoys meeting new people and finding the best food in each city that he visits (hence his frequent trips to France, Italy, and Greece!). He has been featured in (or written for) Forbes, BBC, The Guardian, Fodor’s Travel, and more.