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Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen in 2024 | Best Areas & Hotels

Playa del Carmen is one of the Riviera Maya’s most popular towns, and with good reason. It has miles of pristine shoreline, many opportunities for water sports, and a lively, hedonistic town culture.

Once you visit, or even look at pictures, you’ll understand why so many visitors flock here every year, including many who return.

Planning your vacation to Playa del Carmen is an exciting yet daunting prospect. You want your trip to be as good as possible! That’s why we prepared this guide to where to stay in Playa del Carmen to help you prepare for the trip of a lifetime.

The Best Places to Stay in Playa del Carmen

Where to Stay in Playa del Carmen map in vector format featuring the best areas of town

Out of the many areas to stay in Playa del Carmen, the following parts of the area are among the most popular:

  1. Quinta Avenida: Best area for first-time visitors, shopping, and dining
  2. El Centro: Best area for nightlife, dining, shopping, and budget travelers
  3. Playacar: Best area for families and luxurious travel
  4. Mayakoba: Best area for luxury travel and resorts
  5. North Playa del Carmen: Best area for the beach, resorts, and quieter travel

The Best Areas & Hotels in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has diverse neighborhoods for such a small town. Whether you’re traveling with your family, as a solo backpacker, or with your spouse looking for an elegant vacation, there is something for you — as long as you don’t stay in the wrong neighborhood.

This guide to the different neighborhoods and the best hotels in each can help you figure out where to stay.

1. Quinta Avenida

Tourists strolling by a brick paved street with kiosks of various items stand on the street side.

Playa del Carmen 26. March 2021 Typical street road and cityscape of La Quinta Avenida with restaurants shops stores people souvenirs and buildings of Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo Mexico./Arkadij Schell/Shutterstock

Quinta Avenida is Playa del Carmen’s equivalent of 5th Avenue (literally — that is what the name translates to in English). This is Playa del Carmen’s main street and where anyone who is anyone in the town spends time in the evenings.

Quinta Avenida is packed full of interesting things for tourists to do. The street is pedestrian-only, making it a favorite for locals and visitors alike to take an evening stroll. The street is lined with restaurants and shops such as the Paseo del Carmen mall, perfect for picking up souvenirs.

If you want to add a more intellectual spin to your vacation, Quinta Avenida also has museums, such as the Gaston Charo Gallery.

Another benefit of Quinta Avenida is that it is close to everything you may want to see in Playa del Carmen — including the beach. Punta Esmeralda Beach with its famous turquoise waters is just a short walk away.

The convenient location and easy access to Playa del Carmen’s main sites is why so many people stay here when they visit the town for the first time.

However, Quinta Avenida is not perfect. Some people are attracted by the liveliness, while others complain that it is hard to sleep. Keep in mind that the party tends to continue until late at night, so maybe choose somewhere else to stay if you are a light sleeper.

Quinta Avenida Budget Hotels

  • Hotel Mariachi by Kavia 5th Av has beautiful local touches such as colorful local blankets and monstera-covered walls, plus great amenities such as air conditioning and a pool.
  • If you want a bit more space, book the suites at Sole Suites and get a kitchenette, dining area, seating area, bedroom, and spacious bathroom in each unit, plus access to a rooftop pool.

Quinta Avenida Mid-Range Hotels

  • Hotel Lunata is a surprisingly calm Quinta Avenida hotel. Previous guests adored the rooms, done in a traditional Mexican style, the above and beyond service that even offers medical services, and the balconies with gorgeous views.
  • At Villas Sacbe Condo Hotel and Beach Club, just a few feet away from Quinta Avenida, enjoy spacious apartments, an outdoor pool, and other amenities. If you stay in the penthouse, you get extra luxury and your own pool.

Quinta Avenida Luxury Hotels

  • The Thompson Playa del Carmen Main House is a member of the Hyatt chain, and features luxuries guests of Hyatt are used to such as a pool, fitness center, organized activities, and even free bathrobes.
  • The airy Hotel Colibri Beach is just steps away from Quinta Avenida, directly on the beach. Enjoy luxurious rooms, suites, and cottages, an in-house restaurant with free breakfast, and tours.

See All Hotels in Playa del Carmen

2. El Centro

A huge statue of two people pushing against each other while standing on a vine-like structure, and other smaller statues stand at the bottom of it.

Mexico, Yucatan, Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen- 27 September 2019:Mayan Portal, bronze monument on the Playa del Carmen Riviera symbol of new life and prosperity for the Mayan civilization of Yucata/Photostock by Leonardo Em/Shutterstock

El Centro, or the downtown area of Playa del Carmen, is where everything interesting in the town happens. This neighborhood, branching out around Quinta Avenida, features the best shopping, dining, and nightlife in the entire town.

It also has the highest concentration of accommodation in Playa del Carmen, including many budget options that are popular with backpackers.

When you need a break from the hustle and bustle of downtown Playa del Carmen, you can sit in Los Fundadores Park, a green oasis in the middle of the town. The Park has bronze sculptures commemorating the Maya, and performances of traditional arts such as the Dance of the Flyers.

The main beach in town is also a short walk away. El Centro also contains Calle 12, the main street in Playa del Carmen for nightlife. The street is lined with bars and nightclubs which are popular among visitors.

It’s a great place to let loose and meet other travelers. However, the same activities that attract some travelers to El Centro may frustrate others.

The lively nightlife makes this the loudest part of Playa del Carmen. If you were hoping to get a good night’s sleep with an early bedtime, you’re probably better off staying elsewhere.

El Centro Budget Hotels

  • Colorful Hacienda Maria Bonita Hotel has Mexican-style traditional décor, as well as modern amenities such as air conditioned rooms.
  • Simple, comfortable Hotel Colorado has large, colorful rooms, great service including a tour desk, and a garden to relax in.

El Centro Mid-Range Hotels

  • Hotel Casa de las Flores has character thanks to its Mexican-style décor, including a mural of Frida Kahlo. Other amenities include air conditioning, wifi, and a pool.
  • Stylish Hotel Posada Sian Kaan has air conditioned rooms with individual terraces, a tropical garden with a pool, and great service, all just a few steps away from the beach.

El Centro Luxury Hotels

  • Airy Aalada Playa del Carmen is located right on its own private beach and has excellent amenities such as a pool with cabanas. Despite its central location, it is very quiet.
  • All guests at the Syrena Luxury ApartHotel stay in their own apartments with bathrooms, kitchens, and terraces, and have access to the tennis court, tour desk, and pool.

See All Hotels in Playa del Carmen

3. Playacar

Coconut trees stand at the find white sand on a beach.

Alexey Oblov/Shutterstock

The southern part of Playa del Carmen, Playacar, is technically part of the center, but feels as if it is a whole world away. This quiet gated community has an exclusive, luxurious feeling to it.

It is far less overwhelming than El Centro or Quinta Avenida, while still being close to the attractions, making it a great vacation destination for families.

Playacar is close to the beach, making it perfect for a relaxing vacation. Another nearby attraction is Xaman Ha, one of the most unique attractions in the Mayan Riviera.

Xaman Ha was an old Mayan city, and the ruins are now free to explore, and located smack in the middle of the Playacar gated community. Although Playacar is fairly close to the dining and bars of El Centro, it doesn’t have much to do within the neighborhood.

Some people may enjoy this relaxation, but for people that want a livelier experience of Playa del Carmen, this is not the best neighborhood. Playacar is also one of the more expensive neighborhoods.

Playacar Budget Hotels

Playacar Mid-Range Hotels

  • The all-inclusive Riu Lupita hotel offers guests elegant rooms, and amenities such as a tennis court, pool, free bike rentals, and more.
  • The Wyndham Garden Playa del Carmen is a comfortable hotel with elegant rooms, event rooms, and a beach park.

Playacar Luxury Hotels

  • The adults-only Royal Hideaway Playacar is a luxurious resort that has multiple pools, including an infinity pool, a spa, daily entertainment, and small luxurious touches such as champagne for all guests on arrival.
  • The stunning Riu Palace Mexico is an all-inclusive resort with amazing amenities such as a pool, gym, and restaurant. The resort is kid-friendly with a playground and kid’s club.

See All Hotels in Playa del Carmen

4. Mayakoba

A building stands at the top of a pile of rocks with a fine landscape.

Cancun, Mexico – September 14, 2021: Luxurious room buildings inside a hotel zone of Mayakoba with a beautiful sunny climate/Aberu.Go/Shutterstock

Mayakoba, a district to the north of Playa del Carmen proper, is the most luxurious place to stay in the town. The private gated community is surrounded by lush tropical plants and is one of the best places in Playa del Carmen for staying in pristine nature.

The “away from it all” feeling is what attracts luxury travelers to this area, and Mayakoba is full of excellent resorts. Mayakoba is a great destination for ecotourists as the community has preserved so much of the surrounding nature.

There are countless nature trails for you to explore, as well as pristine beaches and lagoons for guests to swim in. Mayakoba is fairly far away from the center of Playa del Carmen.

If you’re looking to get away from it all, that is a great option, but not so much if you are hoping to experience the nightlife and culture of Playa del Carmen. Mayakoba is also the most expensive part of Playa del Carmen.

Mayakoba Budget Hotels

  • There are no budget hotels in Mayakoba, only slightly more affordable resorts. The Hyatt Zilara Riviera Maya is one of them. This adults-only all-inclusive resort offers guests plenty of restaurants, a pool, and spa services at a lower price than other resorts.
  • The Fairmont Mayakoba is a serene resort whose highlight is the massive spa with treetop services. Other amenities include a golf club, restaurants, and kids club.

Mayakoba Mid-Range Hotels

  • At the Andaz Mayakoba, guests can enjoy little touches such as free bathrobes, four on-site restaurants, a spa, and organized activities. Opt for the regular instead of all-inclusive package to save money.
  • The elegant Banyan Tree Mayakoba offers villas with their own sun terraces and spaces for guests. Shared amenities include a whopping 11 restaurants serving Mexican and international food.

Mayakoba Luxury Hotels

  • Even in luxurious Mayakoba, the Grand Velas Riviera Maya stands out with its SE Spa, which includes traditional Mayan wellness rituals, its Zen suites, and excellent service.
  • At the Fairmont Heritage Place Mayakoba, enjoy 5-star luxuries such as a terraced pool, spacious apartments, and a kids club so the whole family can enjoy the trip.

See All Hotels in Playa del Carmen

5. North Playa del Carmen

A few people walking on the fine sand of a beach with coconut trees and native huts.

Playa del Carmen, Mexico – January 7 2016 – The beautiful beach of Playa del Carmen in Mexico. The city boasts a wide array of tourist activities due to its geographical location in the Riviera Maya./posztos/Shutterstock

North Playa del Carmen is the stretch of beach in between Mayakoba and the center of town. It is also a popular resort area but has more affordable resorts than Mayakoba and Playacar. The resorts are still very high quality.

The main attraction in North Playa del Carmen is definitely the beach. The stretch of coast along this area is among the most beautiful in Playa del Carmen, far less crowded than the main tourist beaches further south.

Xcalacoco Beach with its white sand is the main attraction. You can access the center via a short drive or a 20-30 minute walk from North Playa del Carmen, but it is still far away from the action in the center of town.

There is also not much to do in the area itself besides hanging out on the beach. Although it is more accessible than Mayakoba, it is still not the best place to stay if you are excited about exploring the town itself.

North Playa del Carmen Budget Hotels

  • Hotel Punta Esmeralda is maybe the only true budget option in North Playa del Carmen. The no-frills hotel offers guests clean, air-conditioned rooms, a pool, and a terrace.
  • The Mareazul Beach Front Resort Playa del Carmen is one of the more affordable resorts in the area. Its amenities include a pool, private beach access, and big suites that are perfect for families.

North Playa del Carmen Mid-Range Hotels

  • The stylish Mvngata Beach Hotel offers guests a lush outdoor pool, private beach with beach chairs, and a rooftop terrace.
  • The Royal Haciendas Resort & Spa is one of the most famous resorts in the area, with good reason. Guests can enjoy lush garden surroundings, a massive spa with Turkish baths, and additional touches such as a shuttle to town and museum tickets for Cancun.

North Playa del Carmen Luxury Hotels

  • At adults-only Secrets Moxché Playa del Carmen, you’ll have everything you could ever wish for, including sports such as tennis and pool, a wide range of dining options, spectacular pools, and elegant rooms with marble bathrooms.
  • For a truly special stay, stay right on the water at the Palafitos Overwater Bungalows at El Dorado Maroma, with waves lapping at your bungalow stilts. Other perks include nightly entertainment including karaoke, dining, and a pool.

See All Hotels in Playa del Carmen

So, Where Should You Stay in Playa del Carmen?

Playa del Carmen has a few places where you can stay. The town is most popular with young travelers and those on a budget. Even better? There are countless amazing places to stay. Let’s recap:

📷 Best for First-Time VisitorsQuinta Avenida
🍹 Best for NightlifeEl Centro
👪 Best for FamiliesPlayacar
💎 Best for LuxuryMayakoba
🏖️ Best for the BeachNorth Playa del Carmen

Make sure that you pick the right area for your interests and especially for your budget. Happy travels!