Only have 72 Hours in Playa Del Carmen? In this most I go through all of the exciting activities we did whilst in Playa Del Carmen!
I wouldn’t lie, I was very excited by the idea of laying on a beach and having food and drink brought to me. We got a 50% voucher for this place from our hotel, but even still it’s very cheap. Full price is 200 Pesos for 2 lounge chairs and an umbrella, which is NZ$14 for a full day, and of course with 50% off we only paid NZ$7.
They have a large drinks menu and food menu which of course they deliver directly to your loungers. Make sure you tip the waiters well as they will then give you better service. They have regular club events (shortly after we left Mexico Corona was hosting a huge beach party there) and there is also a spa and restaurant on site.
Located approximately a 30 minute drive between Tulum and Playa Del Carmen is Akumal Bay. Here you can have the extreme privilege of swimming with sea turtles in their natural habitat. You can pay to go on a tour that visits here, or you can do what we did and use the local Mexican mini bus service called the colectivo. Your hotel will be able to tell you where to get one from, but they are typically used my Mexicans but you’ll get the odd tourist on them too. They leave when they’re full so be prepared to wait, but they are cheap (you’ll need cash) around 30 Pesos to the bay from Playa Del Carmen.
You then walk down a road to the beach, at the beach there are various places to hire gear and lockers, literally take your pick! We were puzzled when they gave us life vests but as we got in the water it was explained. They are very protective of the sea turtles, you are not allowed to wear sunscreen or bug spray in the water as the chemicals are bad for the sea life, you are not allowed to touch them or get too close to them or crowd them. They make you wear life vests because it keeps you on the surface and unable to dive down and disrupt the turtles.
It’s an amazing experience, one moment your swimming along and suddenly these amazing animals are a metre or so away nibbling at the weed! You can watch them quietly, and eventually they’ll come up to the surface to breath, so if you gradually rise as they rise your head will break the surface at the same time.
We spent around half an hour in the water watching the turtles coming and going, even though there are a lot of people at the beach it never feels too crowded. There is plenty of room to swim and move around. When your hungry there is a variety of beach side restaurants for lunch and room for you to simply enjoy lying on the beach.
One of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is accessible from Cancun, Playa Del Carmen or Tulum as there are a huge variety of tour operators. We were picked up at 7:30am and after picking up some additional passengers we arrived at our first stop around 10am.
First on the agenda is the Mayan community, when you hop off the bus you go into a small market place where they sell a huge variety of items. From obsidian to woven blankets to jewelry, it’s a fantastic place to get gifts. We opted to first have a swim in the cenote, which is more covered than the one in Tulum and also a lot colder but still amazingly beautiful.
After our swim we went to the onsite tequila museum and tried a variety of different locally made tequilas. The staff there explain how the tequila made in their community is completely different to the stuff you find at your local bar, they also pour a lot of free shots for you to taste the difference yourself!
To help settle the tequila we then had our buffet lunch which was included in our tour price. As they have to cater to a lot of different people you shouldn’t expect it to be proper Mexican food or of high quality but it’s still delicious.
Once we’d finished here it was back on the bus for the drive to Chichen Itza, we arrived at around 3pm, so it was still extremely hot but there was plenty of shade. We were also given water bottles before we left the bus and were promised cold beers on our return! We had a great tour guide who took us around the site and could tell us all of the history in great detail as well as interesting antidotes of famous people performing there. (It was incredible acoustics!)
On the way home we stopped at Valladolid which is a small colonial town, it’s an amazing place with beautifully coloured housing and buildings and a picturesque town square. We only stopped here for around 15 minutes as the tour buses are limited by the local police but it’s enough time for a quick walk around the square a to grab an ice cream.
Even though it’s a 12 hour day I highly recommend you take the time to do a tour like this as it packs so much into a day.
For more on Mexico check out my previous posts: