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Worth it to go to Playa Del Carmen for the day?

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We will be stopping in Cozumel in January on NCL. We've been to Cozumel several times and while we can always find something to do there, we've been thinking about taking the ferry to Playa Del Carmen for the day just to do something different. It would just be for sight-seeing and shopping. However, we are wondering if it's really worth the 45 minute ferry ride each way. For those who've been to Playa Del Carmen, is it worth the trip? Is it much different from what's in San Miguel/Cozumel? Thanks.

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PDC is beautiful and the beaches are soft sand with no rocks. The ferry docks right near a nice shopping area. But it isn't any prettier than Coz. We were luky enough to cruise to PDC {Calica} a few years ago from Mobile.

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We visit the Riviera Maya area often, we stayed in or near Playa 6 times within the last 15 months, we're building a home just to the north. So obviously we love the area. We've cruised to most of the Caribbean destinations multiple times and stayed on some of our favorite islands like St Martin, St Thomas, and beautiful Tortola. But the Yucatan offers so much we chose there...

 

The Playa you would experience on a day visit would be mainly the 5th Ave shopping area. The southern section is made of many vendor stalls, stores, and restaurants. To the north it's newer and nicer with fewer barkers. Whether that's something you'd want to do I don't know, it's different than San Miguel but similar.

If you wanted to head for Mayan ruins or one of the nearby eco parks with cenotes that would definitely be worth the trip.

 

Have you rented a smal car from ISIS and driven south along the west coast and back up the east coast of Cozumel? That's a very nice day with great spots to stop for lunch and drinks. The views from the Bob Marley bar on the south end are gorgeous...

Edited by blue_water

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There are many, many boutique hotels and larger resorts along the beaches in Playa and so the beaches are typically crowded and if you look at pictures you'll see many boats along the shore. Playa was a fishing village before the phenomenal tourism growth took place. So just be aware it is a very busy vibe right in town. There are beach clubs where you can have use of lounges and facilities by buying drinks and food, Zenzi's is a good choice. If you prefer EDM Kool's beach club on Mamita's Beach is an option.

You can taxi to Coco Beach which is just past Mamita's Beach to the north, nice beach but no amenities other than lounge rentals.

 

If looking for a beautiful beach with few people we'd stay on Coz.

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We are thinking of exploring Playa Del Carmen for the day as well when our ship docks in Cozumel. is there a risk that the public ferry coukd stop due to weather/ocean conditions? Don't want to be stranded with no way to get back to Cozumel

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No that would not happen. If there was a hurricane or severe weather the ferries would not run at all...If the weather was that iffy you could always inquire at the terminal before purchasing your tickets too.

Edited by blue_water

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No that would not happen. If there was a hurricane or severe weather the ferries would not run at all...If the weather was that iffy you could always inquire at the terminal before purchasing your tickets too.

 

Thank you! That is good to know! That's a good suggestion to inquire at the terminal when we purchase our tickets.

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There area couple ferries and they are very regular.

 

Within walking distance from the Playa ferry you'll find 5th Avenue which is a very busy pedestrian-only street lined by vendor stalls and shops. As you walk further north (to the right) eventually you'll come to a quieter section, the stores are newer and there is a small mall.

 

There are many beach bars that either rent lounges or let you use them free if you purchase drinks. Zenzi's is a good one at Calle 10 at the beach, that's about a 12 - 15 min walk along 5th Ave. Wah Wah is at Calle 2 and much closer. Many great restaurants, but not much else right in town.

 

You've probably read of Xcaret and the other natural parks.

Our favorite beach, La Playa, is a 20 min drive to the south.

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There area couple ferries and they are very regular.

 

Within walking distance from the Playa ferry you'll find 5th Avenue which is a very busy pedestrian-only street lined by vendor stalls and shops. As you walk further north (to the right) eventually you'll come to a quieter section, the stores are newer and there is a small mall.

 

There are many beach bars that either rent lounges or let you use them free if you purchase drinks. Zenzi's is a good one at Calle 10 at the beach, that's about a 12 - 15 min walk along 5th Ave. Wah Wah is at Calle 2 and much closer. Many great restaurants, but not much else right in town.

 

You've probably read of Xcaret and the other natural parks.

Our favorite beach, La Playa, is a 20 min drive to the south.

 

Thank you so much for all the recommendations! We wanted to see Playa when we were in Cozumel last year. We took a tour to Tulum that was supposed to allow us time in Playa but our group was slow moving so we ran out of time and didn't see Playa at all except for the private ferry terminal. We are looking forward to exploring Playa on our own this time.

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Thank you so much for all the recommendations! We wanted to see Playa when we were in Cozumel last year. We took a tour to Tulum that was supposed to allow us time in Playa but our group was slow moving so we ran out of time and didn't see Playa at all except for the private ferry terminal. We are looking forward to exploring Playa on our own this time.

 

Yes that's the problem with group tours.

You'll see an old church a couple blocks up 5th on the corner of Av Benito Juarez, you can tour that if there isn't a wedding taking place. If there is a wedding you'll probably enjoy seeing the dress and custom as they walk from the church.

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Yes that's the problem with group tours.

You'll see an old church a couple blocks up 5th on the corner of Av Benito Juarez, you can tour that if there isn't a wedding taking place. If there is a wedding you'll probably enjoy seeing the dress and custom as they walk from the church.

 

Thank you for all the tips and recommendations! Looking forward to seeing Playa this time!

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We, like some of the other posters, stay in/around Playa once a year, so know it well. It's worth going to if A) you don't get seasick on smaller boats - you don't want to ruin your day because the ferry bothered you, and B) You've already seen and done Cozumel, which is fun in it's own right.

 

Playa's 5th Ave (Avenida 5) is fun and is within the new town square area right near the ferry dock. Watch for the Pole "swinger" presentation. It's pretty cool. Lots of fun bars, restaurants, shops etc. One thing to note....it can get VERY warm there if you are off the ocean, so wear a swim suite if you want to hit the beach to cool off a bit during a hot mid-day visit. We usually don't go to town until after 3 or 4 pm because of the heat, but if you are OK with that, then go for it!

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Evenings are a great time to walk 5th Ave when it's a little cooler and have a nice dinner at one of the many great restaurants. Not sure what time of year you are there but the weather can be quite hot any time of year, especially from 3 - 4PM. So if it is a hot one you can slip into the air conditioned shops to get relief.

But enjoy your visit, as mrsfuzzmo mentioned you will see the flying pole dancers, or Voladores of Playa Del Carmen performing, or you can check their schedule. That is right next to the church I mentioned. There are many beach bars where you can enjoy a nice lunch on the beach and use their lounges and facilities, we like Zenzi's as mentioned.

We just finished building a home to the north of town because we love it here for the natural beauty, the people, and the rich culture.

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I know that this is and old post but I would like to offer some new information. We just took the ferry over to PDC in April 2017. The ferry ride was only $5 round trip per person. The shopping are and beach were very nice. In fact we are thinking that next time we dock in Cozumel we will get off the ship earlier so that we can have more time to enjoy the beach over there. The ferry ride was a little rocky but it was nice to do something different.

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I know that this is and old post but I would like to offer some new information. We just took the ferry over to PDC in April 2017. The ferry ride was only $5 round trip per person. The shopping are and beach were very nice. In fact we are thinking that next time we dock in Cozumel we will get off the ship earlier so that we can have more time to enjoy the beach over there. The ferry ride was a little rocky but it was nice to do something different.

 

Yes it is a nice day, and you can enjoy a nice beach with amenities or visit Mayan ruins or a cenote. That's why we chose the Playa area to build a home, so much to experience, and so much natural beauty. Cozumel is amazing as well, just two different experiences.

Thanks for your update! :)

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We are heading for Cozumel in first week in October and wanting to spend the day in Player, can anyone tell me everything there is to do there Don't know about 5th ave. at all, so want to know and also want to know about the side streets. I know its all fun so share the fun...

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You can use G Maps street view to look at 5th Avenue and PDC and if that's the sort of tourist trap you want to spend time at

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Geeko do you have a bettter recomendation

 

You don't really say a lot about what sort of thing you're looking to do and what sort of thing you want to see but 5th Avenue in playa can be just fine if you want tourist shopping. The idea of staying on coz and renting a car from Isis and driving around the island is an excellent one. The beach at Tulum is one of the best beaches in the Caribbean and is about an hour from Playa del Carmen.

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As mentioned earlier, there is so much along 5th Avenue that is nothing like a tourist trap. The camel ride in Marina is probably the most touristy attraction, that caters to resort guests.

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Like I said you can actually look at 5th Avenue on G Maps street view to see what it's like. If you do spend time on 5th Avenue be really careful of the jewelry stores a lot of fake crap in there.

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Yes there are the typical barkers and souvenir trinket and t-shirt stores you also find in all of the other Caribbean resort and port destinations. Savvy shoppers are able to distinguish between these places and the quality merchandise that is available. The Talavera tile for example, a couple stores carry the best quality.There are also some wonderful shops with great owners on 5th and in other areas of Playa.

 

Just a very international vibe, and a really interesting day if you do some research as above. And the restaurants are amazing.

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It's clear you don't care for 5th Avenue, geeko1, we get that. The OP and others are asking about 5th Ave and PDC and there is much to enjoy there.

 

We just spent a week in our home there while meeting with furniture makers there and in Tulum, and we enjoyed the fabulous weather and beautiful beaches along the RM. And the people are so amazing... Sometimes you just need to focus less on the things you don't like - or you read about from questionable sources - and see the real place.

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