Originally a small fishing village that has developed into a tourist hub in recent years, Playa del Carmen still exhibits much of its laid-back appeal, and today is considered a relaxing alternative to the crowds of Cancun, but with the same quality beaches and turquoise Caribbean waters.
Essentially at the center of the Riviera Maya, which runs from the south of Cancun to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, the city is a stop for several cruise ships which dock at the nearby Calica quarry docks, about five miles south of the city.
Perhaps just as impressive as nearby Cozumel, the town’s coast offers good scuba diving and snorkeling opportunities, but make sure your scuba certification is in order to ensure a smooth and memorable trip.
Playa del Carmen tours run to the reefs of Cozumel and nearby Tulum. Most of the diving and snorkeling routes are guided, and in the summertime hundreds of whale sharks swim to the waters north of this region, to feed on plankton where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico. From the end of May to the middle of September, you will have the remarkable opportunity to swim with these amazing animals, in an area teeming with varieties of sea life.
In nearby Akumal Bay, the beautiful blue waters are inhabited by one of nature’s most beloved creatures – sea turtles. Here, in water no more than 8 feet deep, you’ll have the unique opportunity to snorkel with sea turtles and swim alongside them. You can also spot stingrays, angel fish, blue tangs, barracuda, jacks, and many more varieties of the rich sea life, that call the surrounding waters of Playa del Carmen their home.