|Playa del Carmen, Mexico
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(freshwater underground springs)
Located in the heart of the Yucatan's underwater cavern region, there is an
opportunity in Playa to experience cavern diving and snorkeling. Cavern diving
is available at Cenote Dos Ojos. Tour the Bat Cave, and experience underwater
caverns decorated unlike any others in the world.
Extreme sports enthusiasts will enjoy scuba diving in the open seas in the
crystal-clear waters of Playa del
Carmen. You can go snorkeling and scuba diving on the Great
Mayan Reef, located less than 100 meters out from the beach. Alternatively, you
can go diving in the caves: a great experience.
Also known as "The Place of the Turtle" Akumal is a bay protected by a
coral reef, which has been developed as a natural aquarium and an excellent site
to learn how to scuba dive and snorkel. It has not so shallow waters and no
streams affect it, so it is like a big natural swimming-pool waiting to be
Archaeological Sites near Playa del Carmen
Several of Mexico's famous archaeological sites can be reached from
Playa del Carmen, such as:
This archaeological city of the state of Yucatan was founded by the Maya-Itzas
who arrived in the Peninsula around the year 435-455 A.D.. Chichen was occupied
twice. The first occupation was from 495 to 692, and the second from 948 to
1204. The architecture of the first period is considered to be authentically
Maya, and the second is considered to have Toltec influence, since it has
certain elements in common with those found in Tula, the ancient capital of the
Considered by many as the most beautiful of the Mayan sites, it is small, but
is exquisitely poised on the fifteen-meter-high cliffs above the Caribbean. The
Spanish first considered it to be as large and beautiful a city as Seville,
Spain. They were apparently misled by their dreams of El Dorado, by the glory of
its position, and by the brightly painted facades of the buildings.
Architecturally, Tulum is no match for these great cities, but it is striking in
This archeological site was constructed between two lakes. More than 80 square
kilometers of buildings remain. Its main pyramid is the tallest of the whole
Peninsula and is 130 feet tall. It overlooks the rain forest area.
Ka'an Biosphere Reserve
Heading south from Playa del Carmen,
travelers reach the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Natural Reserve, also known as "the
place where the sky begins". It is an area of rain forest, lakes, swamps,
coastal ponds, bays and reefs, all of which are the natural habitat of
thousands of species, such as jaguars and pumas, white-tail deer, crocodiles,
howler and spider monkeys and 345 species of birds. All day expeditions from
Monday to Saturday are available, which include a three hour boat trip. Requires
reservations in advance.
This is considered to be the largest natural aquarium in the world. Formed by a
huge inlet, it is a setting for hundreds of tropical fish; and is also known
also for its ruins, cenotes, and caves. Restaurants,, showers, and lockers are
Swimming With Dolphins
In the two nature parks
south of Playa, Xcaret and Xel-Ha, you can have the opportunity of interacting
This All Inclusive resort is located in
Playa del Carmen, on the coast
of the Riviera Maya, 40
minutes south of Cancun. Nestled on one of the most beautiful white sandy
beaches of Playa del Carmen,
the resort setting is one of lush tropical jungle greenery, natural springs
(cenotes), and vestiges of Mayan ruins. The Reef Club Playacar is
the first resort in the Playacar development area, within 15 minutes walking
distance of downtown Playa del Carmen
and the pier, from which the ferry to Cozumel departs.
Playa Del Carmen
is an ideal spot for visiting one of the most beautiful parks in Mexico: Xcaret,
which is also the point from which ferries set out for the 45 minute ride to the
Island of Cozumel. It is near the natural well area of Puerto Aventuras.
in Playa del Carmen
Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue) is Playa del Carmen's main shopping
area. This pedestrian walkway is also home to much of Playa's activity both
during the day and night. Not only does it have many shopping options, but also
restaurants, bars, hotels and more.
All sort of handcrafts from
Mexico's different regions, including clothes and beachwear, hammocks and
Mexican articles are sold. At the open markets furniture, and silver
jewelry are also available.
in Playa del Carmen
The evening offers a number of options such as places to dance. Popular fiestas
take place on the beaches and in the lively bars. On 5th Avenue there are bars
and discos with a lively ambiance.
Visiting the Ruined
Cities of the Maya
There are four cities within
easy reach of Playa and most of the coast. The easiest to reach is Tulum.
A half-hour inland from Tulum on a pock-marked road is CobĂˇ, rising up
from a jungle setting. This city has not been reconstructed to the same degree
as the other three and doesn't have the rich imagery or clearly delineated
architecture. The other two cites, ChichĂ©n ItzĂˇ and Ek Balam, are
2 1/2 hours distant in the interior of the peninsula.
From Playa and the rest of
the coast there are tours to the ruins. The tour buses usually stop at a few
places along the way for refreshments and souvenirs. Some combine the ruins of
Tulum with a visit to a nature park.
There is a tour agency in
Playa called Alltournative: 984/873-2036 which offers small tours
that combine a visit to a contemporary Mayan village; kayaking, rappelling,
snorkeling, and cenote diving; natural history; and ruins. It offers
these tours daily using vans for transportation.
Call the agency directly or
arrange a tour through your hotel; they pick up at most of the large resorts
that are along the coast.
Sian Ka'an Biopreserve
This originates from Tulum.
The Nature Parks: Xcaret,
Xel-Ha, & Tres Rios:
These parks require full-day excursions, and offer opportunities for swimming,
snorkeling and other aquatic activities, educational tours highlighting the
region's natural history and local Mayan culture and entertainment. They are
completely self-contained and offer food, drink, watersports equipment, and
various choices of merchandise. Tres RĂos isn't far north of Playa. Xcaret is
just south of Playa, while Xel-Ha is further south, almost to Tulum.
Deep Sea Fishing
The largest marina on the
coast is at Puerto Aventuras, not far south of Playa. There you will
find a number of options for boating and fishing.
There are several places
along the highway that offer horseback rides. One is just south of Playa near
the Calica Pier and is called Rancho Punta Venado (984/877-9701).There is
a clearly marked sign.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
In Playa, Tank-Ha
Dive Center 984/873-0302;arranges reef and cavern diving. The owner
offers reef and cenote diving excursions. He and his staff speak English.
There are also good dive shops in Puerto Morelos, north of Playa, and in Akumal,
south of Playa. The area around Akumal has a number of underwater caverns and
cenotes that have become popular scuba and snorkeling destinations. The
Akumal Dive Shop specializes in cavern diving and offers a variety of dives.
Hidden Worlds Cenotes,
15km south of Akumal provides everything, including wet suit.
an 18-hole championship golf
course (984/873-0624), designed by Robert Von Hagge, is adjacent to the
Continental Plaza Playacar. The club also has two tennis courts.