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10 Reasons To Visit Playa del Carmen

Updated on October 9, 2017
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Sherry is retired and shares photos and travel experiences, especially beach resorts. Hawaii, Caribbean and Mexico have been reviewed.

Gran Porto Real in Playa Del Carmen - Hotel - All Inclusive Lodging and Resort
Gran Porto Real in Playa Del Carmen - Hotel - All Inclusive Lodging and Resort

The Beach South of Cancun

Thinking about vacationing in the Yucatan?

Go south along the east Yucatan coast and get out of the resorts of Cancun. Playa del Carmen has plenty of Mexican ambiance, food and friendly service.

Discover the beach in this bustling city about 40 minutes south of the International airport. Colorful and out of the ordinary sites and venues made this area of Mexico a place to see again. We returned in 2014.

10 Reasons to Visit Playa del Carmen

  1. Ferry trip for snorkeling and skin diving on Isla de Cozumel is convenient and a short walk from the resorts.
  2. Water parks are in the area offering dolphins swims, cenotes, coral reefs, zip lines and food.
  3. See the ancient pyramid cities of Coba, Muyil or Xelha.
  4. Experience Mexico's premier department store, Sanborns, on 5th Avenue, just a few blocks from your resort and hotel.
  5. Book your stay at an all inclusive resort on the beach.
  6. Enjoy warm green and blues ocean waters and cool white sand.
  7. Visit aromatic cigar stores and get a Cuban cigar or a choice of stogies.
  8. Try tequila tasting: it is as varied as craft beers.
  9. Witness the Boladores ceremony by indigenous natives on 5th Avenue's main square.
  10. Golf at three popular nearby picturesque courses.

Third floor balcony view at dusk
Third floor balcony view at dusk

White Sands of the Beach

The first pleasantry to take note of in Playa del Carmen is the white sand. It is white due to the porous material of soft coral and shell, making the sand cool and easy to walk on even in the height of the day.

Look towards the green and blue hued water. Walk in because the water is warm and must be in the mid 80's. Surfing is not big here but enjoy the soft rolls of the green sea.

Pelicanos, sand pipers in luscious black and browns, frigate birds, terns and a few gulls share your beach. Or rent a paddle board for a leisure look of the ocean farther out in the blue.

Floats mark reserved for local fisherman
Floats mark reserved for local fisherman

Hotel Review - Gran Porto Real

Fisherman are present near the resorts. Floats mark the boundaries between vacationer and worker. The space in front of the Gran Porto Real is adequate for the wader, casual snorkeler and light swimmer. Warm streams of water float around you.

This is your experience at the Gran Porto Real on the beach in front of the hotel. You will never be without a cool drink because polite servers take excellent care of you. Unlike a cruise, all drinks are included with your stay.

We met visitors from all over the world. We asked our friendly servers and found out that Americans are the biggest tippers. Canadians second and Europeans seem to feel tips are not necessary. We met vacationers from Holland, Toronto, Britain, Spain, Wales, Ireland, Brazil, Italy, Scotland and the U.S. Many were repeat visitors.

Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen

The Pool and Beach At Gran Porto Real

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Leader led water exercise
Leader led water exercise
Leader led water exercise
Gran Porto Real, Mexico
Gran Porto Real, Mexico
Take a boat ferry to Isla de Cozumel, wind sail, or paddle board
Take a boat ferry to Isla de Cozumel, wind sail, or paddle board

Child Friendly

If you stay at the Gran Porto Real kids are going to have fun too. There is a kid's play room for those times when parents need some time to catch up with each other.

Plenty of room in the pool area for kids and adults.

Billiards table, ping pong, giant chess set, and nightly stage shows poolside in the breezy outdoors.

And of course, the easy to play in white porous sand next to a quiet surf and plenty of blue lounge chairs. Beach side lunch hut with a different menu everyday. You do not even have to leave the beach. Take your lunch to your lounge and continue basking and playing.

Bring cool Non-clinging Clothes to the Yucatan

A word of advice is do not wear your favorite clinging jeans or capris. Wear skirts or shorts when in humid Yucatan. Skirts are my favorite and shorts are on every young lady.

Views From the Diningroom

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In the evening you do not have to dine in the buffet dining room. There is also Mexican and Italian restaurants as part of the all inclusive price. One night a week with an extra charge, experience outdoor dining with full complement of Mexican buffet dishes and desserts. Included for entertainment is the Mexican States Stage Show. Also, Mexican arts bizarre with local artists.

Going out on the town is an alternative dining option two blocks away on the very busy 5th Avenue.

Inside the Resort

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The hotel resort is very picturesque with a town house villa effect. It is the most inviting hotel on the whole playa.

View of the Gran Porto Real Resort
View of the Gran Porto Real Resort

Have you Vacationed in Mexico?

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Vacationing in Playa del Carmen - An Evening at the Mexican Restaurant

Finally, hot coffee and Kahula.
Finally, hot coffee and Kahula.
Rivera Maya Wikipedia
Rivera Maya Wikipedia

Mexico Highlights

Each day you can time your excursion and come back when you want. Go two blocks and stroll 5th Avenue for scores of shops, restaurants and people watching. Do a day trip to Cozumel and snorkel in the best waters in the area.

Maya ruins abound and natural water parks are about 40 minutes away.

Take strolls north along the beach from the resort hotel. Graffiti is visible, but walk farther and see small picturesque resorts and interesting side streets Strolling the resort areas and neighborhoods next to the beach is relaxing.

Walking south takes you to the pier.

As of 2017 the U.S. has posted travel advisories for the east coast Yucatan. Always travel with reputable agencies.


5th Avenue- Out On the Town

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Mexico's Premium Department Store on 5th AvenueComing to Town Sunday Morningah cacao cafe
Mexico's Premium Department Store on 5th Avenue
Mexico's Premium Department Store on 5th Avenue
Coming to Town Sunday Morning
Coming to Town Sunday Morning
ah cacao cafe
ah cacao cafe

© 2014 Sherry Venegas

Would You Consider A Vacation near Cancun? - Have you stayed in at Playa del Carmen?

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    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 2 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I have never been to any beach in Mexico so I enjoy looking at your pictures and reading about your experience. I have only been to Guadalajara and Mexico City.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 3 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I was able to spend part of a summer near Cancun, and was blown away by the beauty of the beaches there. I don't remember visiting Playa del Carmen specifically, but the white sands and blue water in your pics certainly bring back memories of that summer.

    • Cari Kay 11 profile image

      Kay 3 years ago

      Looks beautiful! Never stayed near Cancun but enjoyed visiting resorts around the Caribbean when we lived in Trinidad.