Playa del Carmen, now one of Quintana Roo's largest cities, ranks right up there with Tulum as one of the Riviera's trendiest spots. Sitting coolly on the lee side of Cozumel, the town’s beaches are jammed with super-fit Europeans. The waters aren’t as clear as those of Cancún or Cozumel, and the sand isn’t quite as powder-perfect as they are further north, but still Playa grows and grows.
The town is ideally located: close to Cancún’s international airport, but far enough south to allow easy access to Cozumel, Tulum, Cobá and other worthy destinations. The reefs here are excellent and offer diving and snorkeling close by. Look for rays, moray eels, sea turtles and a huge variety of corals. The lavender sea fans make for very picturesque vistas.
With cruise-ship passengers visiting from Cozumel, Playa can feel crowded along the first several blocks of the tourist center.