The Solo Traveler’s Guide to Playa del Carmen

By Gene Hooks
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Are you looking for a fun and exciting solo trip? Look no further than Playa del Carmen, Mexico! Located on the Caribbean Sea, this vibrant city is full of culture, adventure, and relaxation. Whether you’re looking to explore ancient ruins or lounge on the beach with a margarita in hand, Playa del Carmen has something for everyone. From snorkeling in cenotes to exploring the Mayan ruins of Tulum, there are plenty of activities to keep you busy during your stay. With its stunning beaches, delicious food, and friendly locals, Playa del Carmen is an ideal destination for a solo traveler looking for an unforgettable experience.

Traveling to Playa del Carmen for the first time?

Venturing into this tropical paradise for the first time can be a bit intimidating, but don’t worry! With its friendly locals and laid-back atmosphere, you’ll quickly feel right at home. Before you go, research the area and plan out your itinerary. You’ll want to check out the local attractions:

The beaches: Playa del Carmen is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Some of the most popular beaches include Mamitas, Delfines, and Quinta Avenida.

Xcaret Park: This eco-archaeological theme park features a variety of activities, including snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and exploring underground rivers.

Tulum: This ancient Mayan city, located just a short drive from Playa del Carmen, is known for its well-preserved ruins and beautiful beaches.

Cenotes: These natural swimming holes are formed by underground rivers and are a popular destination for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.

Cozumel: This island, located just off the coast of Playa del Carmen, is known for its beautiful beaches and water activities, including scuba diving and snorkeling. Check out my article on Cozumel solo travel!

Fifth Avenue: This popular pedestrian street is lined with restaurants, bars, and shops and is a great place to spend an evening.

Xplor Adventure Park: This adventure park features zip lining, rafting, and other exciting outdoor activities.

The Mayan ruins of Coba: These ancient ruins, located about an hour from Playa del Carmen, are a popular destination for history buffs and those interested in Mayan culture.

Playa del Carmen offers something for everyone! Whether you’re looking for a resort-style relaxation or an all-inclusive vacation, this destination has it all. It has also become one of Mexico’s top digital nomad destinations, making it a great place to work remotely while enjoying beach life.

female diver enjoying underwater excursion playa del carmen

Things to Know Before Traveling

Here are a few things to know before traveling to Playa del Carmen:

Language: The official language of Mexico is Spanish, but many people in the tourist industry in Playa del Carmen speak English.

Currency: The currency in Mexico is the Mexican peso. It is a good idea to exchange some money into pesos before arriving or to use an ATM once you are there.

Safety: Playa del Carmen is generally a safe destination, but it is always a good idea to exercise caution when traveling to a foreign country. Avoid walking alone at night, keep an eye on your belongings, and be aware of your surroundings.

Weather: The weather in Playa del Carmen is generally warm and sunny year-round, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit. The rainy season runs from June to October, and the hurricane season runs from June to November. The best time to visit is November through April.

Health: It is recommended that travelers to Mexico get vaccinated for hepatitis A and typhoid. It is also a good idea to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, and bottled water.

Accommodation: There is a wide range of accommodation options in Playa del Carmen, including hotels, resorts, and vacation rentals. It is a good idea to book in advance, especially during peak season.

It’s important to be aware of the local laws and customs. Make sure to research the area before you go and familiarize yourself with the local culture. Additionally, memorizing some basic Spanish phrases is always a good idea to communicate better with locals. 

colorful street art mural playa del carmen

Navigating the Area Solo

To get there, fly into Cancun Airport (CUN) and then catch a bus or shuttle to Playa del Carmen. Mexican holidays should be taken into consideration when planning your trip, as this could affect occupancy rates and drive prices up. Be sure to check out the local markets for souvenirs, explore the nearby beaches, and take advantage of all that Playa del Carmen has to offer! With its unique culture and stunning scenery, it’s no wonder why so many solo travelers choose this destination!

In general, getting around the Yucatan is easy, and there are a variety of transport options available. Different areas are connected by bus services, making it easy to travel from one place to another. For short distances, colectivos are an affordable option but be sure to pack light because they cannot accommodate large amounts of luggage. Be wary of pickpockets and carry as few valuables with you as possible.

Driving in Riviera Maya is relatively easy, but car rentals come with their own set of challenges. Be aware of the “TOPE” signs, as there are many speed bumps on the highway that can be difficult to spot. Avoid driving at night, as it’s hard to see all the speed bumps and potholes in the dark. Make sure you have a valid driver’s license and insurance before renting a car or taking to the roads yourself. Overall, getting around safely in the Yucatan is achievable with common sense and caution.

The Cancun Airport Transportation shuttle service makes traveling between Cancun and Playa del Carmen easy. With 25 departures per day, passengers can choose from First Class, Business, and Economy options to suit their needs. Private transportation or Uber is not available in Quintana Roo state, so this shuttle service is the best option for those looking to travel between these two popular tourist destinations.

The shuttle service runs from Cancun Airport to Playa del Carmen and vice versa. Before you go, it is important to know your options for traveling between Cancun and Playa del Carmen to make the most of your trip. The shuttles are comfortable, reliable, and affordable, making them an excellent choice for those looking to get from one destination to another quickly.

Be Aware of Common Scams

When visiting Playa del Carmen, it is important to be aware of common scams. Be wary of people selling on the streets, as they may try to pressure you into buying something for an outrageous price. Additionally, be aware of potential scams on Quinta Avenida, where shop clerks may try to lure tourists into their store and pressure them to buy something for an inflated price. It is also important to avoid being distracted by strangers offering to clean something off you; this is a common scam known as the distraction scheme. If approached, simply say “no, gracias” and move on.

It is also important to take precautions when using ATMs in Playa del Carmen. Be sure to use only ATMs located inside banks or other secure locations, and never give out your PIN number or other personal information. Additionally, it is best to avoid carrying large amounts of cash while exploring the city; instead, opt for a credit card or traveler’s check if possible.

playa del carmen beach pier at sunset

Don’t Be Alarmed by the Police Presence

The presence of police and military in Playa del Carmen has become increasingly visible in recent months. This is due to several incidents that have occurred, prompting the need for heightened security measures. As such, police checkpoints have been set up along 307 Hwy. If you are stopped at one of these checkpoints, it is important to make sure you have your rental contract and valid driver’s license on hand.

It is also important to remember that if anyone requests cash from you on the streets, you should politely refuse and ask for a ticket instead. This will ensure that any fines or fees are paid legally and properly documented. It is best to remain calm when encountering police or military personnel, as they are only doing their job to keep everyone safe.


In conclusion, it is important to take safety precautions when visiting Playa del Carmen. Be aware of common scams, use ATMs located in secure locations, and dress casually to avoid drawing attention from potential thieves. Additionally, be sure to have your rental contract and valid driver’s license on hand if stopped at a police checkpoint. Finally, remember to remain calm if you encounter police or military personnel, as they are only doing their job to keep everyone safe. Following these tips will ensure that your solo trip to Playa del Carmen is an enjoyable and safe experience.

*In some cases, we may earn a commission if you purchase from companies linked to within articles. Full disclosure here.

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