Playa del Carmen Getting Around Guide
Playa del Carmen is a wonderful destination to explore and has many great places to see and enjoy, from delicious dining out, to exotic caribbean coastline, cenotes, Maya villages and more. Here are some important tips regarding transport in and around Playa del Carmen.
Within Playa del Carmen itself, you will see many people riding bicycles. You are not permitted to bike on the 5th Avenue, the main pedestrian walkway, but a bike path has been built on the 10th Avenue. There are some shops along the 10th Avenue that rent bicycles and many of the all-inclusive hotels will also offer bicycles, especially those that are closer to town. Local drivers are not respectful of cyclists so pedal safely!
Scooters are also a very popular way of moving around the center of Playa del Carmen. Many hire companies are located around town and are also present in all of the major all-inclusive hotels. Again be very careful as local drivers are not respectful of those using scooters.
Car rental is an option if you are planning to explore the coastline or inland outside of the city of Playa del Carmen. Cars are not necessary if you plan to stay within the city limits. All major car rental companies have offices in the major all-inclusive hotels and rental offices are dotted all over town and are easy to find. Be sure to include the necessary insurances when renting as you do not want to be stuck with huge bills in case of an accident. Also always lock up and make sure that you do not leave any valuables in the car.
The town of Playa del Carmen has grown at an incredible rate over the last few years and urban planners have not done a perfect job. Parking is scarce and is usually available only on private lots where users pay a per-hour fee. Look out for signs that offer “Parking” or “Estacionamiento”. Be careful not to park in public roads as local traffic police will be quick to remove your licence plate and replace it with a parking ticket.
Taxi’s are easy to use and are plentiful, with taxi services available in all major all-inclusive hotels and taxi service booths dotted around the town. Service is usually good as is the quality of the vehicle. Taxi drivers however are notorious for overcharging so be sure to always ask for prices before you get into the vehicle and always request a printed rate list (rates are fixed by geographical zone) against which you can check the rate being charged. Use your seatbelt and if you feel that the driver is racing just say “despacio por favor” (“slow, please”).
The “colectivos” are mini-vans that run up and down the federal highway from Cancun to Tulum. These cost a fraction of the price of the ADO buses, but seating is not reserved and is not that comfortable, and they do not operate according to time schedules. You can wave them down or head to the “colectivo terminal” located on Calle 2 between 10 and 15th Avenues. This form of transport is popular amongst the locals so for those of you who are explorers, this is it!
ADO bus service
ADO is a privately run bus service that covers the entire southern part of Mexico. There are different service levels available ranging from standard all the way through to premium. All are large buses with air conditioning, comfortable seating and one reserved seat per passenger. Buses run according to time schedules and are usually punctual. ADO bus stations are located in two places in the town of Playa del Carmen: at the bottom of Avenida Juárez and the 5th Avenue, and on 20th Avenue between Calle 12 and Calle 12 Bis. Bus routes run through all the major cities on the Yucatan Peninsula and can be consulted on their Website (unfortunately Spanish only!) or directly in one of the two bus stations.
Traffic police are uniformed in white and patrol the town of Playa del Carmen and surrounding highways. State police are uniformed in blue and patrol the highways and outlying areas. Be sure to follow all traffic rules as you would if driving a vehicle at home. Do not think that you will be able to bribe traffic officers in order to get away with traffic violations. Although Mexico is renowned for its corrupt police force we do not recommend bribery as this not only maintains the unhealthy status quo but can also land you in a lot of legal trouble. Use your common sense and do not break any laws.
Playa del Carmen Tours and Activities
Experience a sun-bathed Caribbean coastal destination graced with endless white sand beaches, turquoise blue seawater and a wide range of exciting tour activities. Please review selected highlights below and contact us to help you create an unforgettable experience in Mexico.