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Living in and around Playa del Carmen offers so many exciting places to visit. An excursion to a nearby attraction or park can make for a perfect day trip, but there are plenty of well-known and less familiar destinations that can satisfy a well-deserved weekend getaway. Living in Playa del Carmen, we enjoy the beautiful beaches, the world famous 5th Avenida – a.k.a. La Quinta, and all the daily entertainment offered. But another benefit of living here is that there are so many exciting things to see and do. Get out a map of the area and run your finger around till a destination tickles your curiosity. Then add it to your agenda for a day trip or overnight stay!
One of the favorite day trips among locals is to Xpu Ha Beach – pronounced ish poo ha. This is a great place where you can go for the day and have fun in the sun, meet new people and enjoy on-the-beach food and drink. There are several cantinas and beach bars to choose from. You can pick a spot that has your perfect set-up which could be lounge chairs, palapas with tables and chairs, or an open air patio.
You can relax and dine on great food, sip a refreshing beverage, take a plunge in the perfect tempered Caribbean water all while enjoying casual conversation with your partner or friends. Xpu Ha offers massages on the beach and water activities like diving, snorkeling and fishing. If you feel really adventurous, take a few kitesurfing lessons and try your hand at the latest craze. When it’s time to say “adios” and call it a day, home is only a twenty to twenty-five minute ride away. You can’t ask for a more exciting day than that!
If you are thinking more along the lines of experiencing an attraction that involves personal interaction, then Puerto Aventuras might be more of what you are looking for! It is just a short fifteen-minute ride by either taxi or colectivo from Playa del Carmen. Puerto Aventuras’ aquatic entertainment offers fun for everyone in the family! You can swim with dolphins or slap high fives with a seal. Puerto Aventuras can provide your day trip with a variety of fabulous cuisines and refreshing beverages as well. Several of these eateries provide views of the daily shows going on all around you. No worries about the time of day when those hunger pains begin, most of the restaurants serve all day and well into the evening.
Puerto Aventuras is surrounded by beautiful water which provides a perfect opportunity to do such activities like paddle boarding, fishing and snorkeling tours. And yes, they also have a wonderful beach with several bars & grills that will cater to your every need. The town center has a Cedam Museum that tells about the area’s nautical history and significances. There are a variety of boutique shops where you can browse for that perfect gift or you might want to hit a few balls around the nine-hole executive golf course that intertwines throughout the community.
Puerto Aventuras can be a great place for a weekend getaway. There are a variety of beachfront hotels, condos and homes to select from. If you choose to spend a long day or an extended weekend, you can’t go wrong.
If an island getaway is more your style, then Cozumel can offer endless enjoyment. The ferry port is located just south of Playa’s Parque Fundadores. It takes approximately 30 minutes to ferry over to the land of swallows. Cozumel is just close enough to make it a perfect day trip and far enough away for a great getaway. With The Great Maya Reef running the length of the Riviera Maya coast, Cozumel is considered one of the best places in the Caribbean to dive and snorkel. There are several locations like the Hotel Barracuda and the Money Bar that offer their guest’s great walkout snorkeling right from the shore.
Cozumel offers plenty of day tours that include snorkeling/diving, fishing excursions and the San Gervasio ruins in the jungle to mention a few. You might even want to rent a jeep and explore the island’s many virgin beaches and rustic bars & grills that surprisingly pop-up right out of nowhere. You can also visit the Punta Sur Eco Park with its unspoiled beaches and historical Faro Celarain lighthouse and museum. Just a little further down the road is the popular St. Maarten beach which is a local’s favorite.
You can always stay closer to town and enjoy the many shops that flow along the palm tree lined streets. There are many plazas and open air markets that are tucked away up and down Av. Rafael E. Melgar. Finding a restaurant or bar & grill won’t ever be a problem. Cozumel has many award winning eateries. There are various atmospheres that have a romantic, traditional and casual dress settings. This makes it easy for any occasion and/or celebration.
If you want to plan a quick getaway to this enchanting island, there are numerous hotels and resorts up and down the western facing shore. Watching the sunset from your balcony that overlooks the Caribbean Sea is simply breathtaking. Pack an overnight bag, clear your mind of any issues, and set out for a fun-filled couple of days.
There is a quiet little community about 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen that offers true Mexican tranquility. Puerto Morelos is still a sleepy little fishing town that starts its morning very early and shuts down soon after the sun sets over its turquoise horizon. This quaint little pueblo makes for a great day trip but is also ideal for an overnight stay. Spending time in Puerto Morelos feels like a family affair in a familiar township, and the locals are among the friendliest you will find.
The Malecon is much smaller than most but provides as a starting point for most of the tour boats. Puerto Morelos has an extended shallow shelf leading out to open waters, which makes for some great snorkeling. There are also fishing excursions and other water sports that can be enjoyed as well. There is quite an assortment of local bar & grills in both directions from midtown. Taking a stroll along the beach with its soft white sand and calm water that hugs its shore makes for a very pleasurable experience. You can spend a quiet and relaxing getaway in Puerto Morelos for less money than its neighboring towns, and the nightlife can consist of a moonlit walk on the beach while listening to the oceans subtle beat. You could also sit on a park bench where the stars shine down and the cool evening breeze swirls around you.
There are plenty of local hotels or condos scattered throughout town and on the beach. There are also a few larger resorts. But if you are planning a quick getaway, try to stay in town at one of the local establishments to really get the feel of what Puerto Morelos is all about.
In summary, there are so many places that can be reached within fifteen to thirty minutes from Playa del Carmen. Theme parks like Xcaret, Xel Ha, Rio Secreto and Xplor can make for a fun filled day. Exploring hidden Cenotes or taking a buggy or bike excursion through the jungle can be adventurous as well. There are way too many places to mention when deciding on taking a day trip.
If you are looking at more of a getaway destination, then think about places like Tulum, Akumal, Cancun or Isla Mujeres to mention just a few. If you feel like venturing out a little further, consider Merida and Campeche on the Gulf side of the Yucatan Peninsula. These fabulous cities are just hours away and offer a different taste of what Mexico is.
Being close to so many towns and cities adds to the benefits of living in Mexico. The possibilities could be endless when you decide to retire to one of Mexico’s most desirable destinations. You will be the envy of your peers.
See you in paradise!
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