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500 Mexico Real Estate Tips - What's The Difference Between Cancun and Playa del Carmen?


Thomas Lloyd,  Broker By Thomas Lloyd
2011-07-25

When we see Mexico real estate from the outside, we can often get the (false) impression that it is all the same; this is the fault of those presenting the material as much as it is the lack of experience for us in those areas themselves.  We here so much repetition of words like “luxury” that we begin think it’s all just the same anyway. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Two very close real estate market areas – Cancun real estate and Playa del Carmen property in Mexico – demonstrate the point well.

 

Similarities

We will start by identifying a few items which they hold in common in order to see how they diverge better.  The following are the points in common:

  • Beaches – The beaches on the Mexican Caribbean, which stretch down from Cancun for hundreds of miles, are wide, with soft, white sand and turquoise blue water.  These beaches are like no others.  They are like the pictures that most places put on their postcards or calendars, with the difference that those are retouched with a computer; the real beaches in this area are not.
  • Airport & Modern Infrastructure – Both share very easy access to the Cancun International Airport (45 minutes from Playa del Carmen.) Both have modern road networks, full urban infrastructure and international stores.
  • Weather – Since they are so close, they also share the same climate, which includes warm, sunny weather for pretty much the entire year.

 

Differences

The differences come mostly in how the two communities were initially envisioned, how they have developed, and, consequently, the style of real estate in both places.

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  • Downtown – Cancun’s downtown was build back from the beachfront, divided by a large lagoon from the “Hotel Zone.”  For this reason most buyers consider only the beachfront hotel zone, but some also buy homes in the downtown area.  Playa del Carmen’s downtown, on the other hand, has grown along the beachfront, with direct access to the beach along just about every road; this gives residential areas back from the beach easy walking access.

 

  • Lifestyle Atmosphere – Cancun was planned as a modern community, and looks very much like an upscale U.S. suburb; it was planned and designed to appeal to middle-class Americans and Europeans who prefer comfort like back home.  Wide access roads with palm-lined  boulevards, and carefully planned “mega city blocks” with smaller access roads define the city lay-out.  Playa del Carmen developed with small city blocks an gained a distinct provincial atmosphere, which was given further flavor from a large number of Italian and Argentinean real estate buyers and investors.  The factor mentioned above goes hand in hand with this as a general “walk-everywhere” lifestyle.

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  • Size – Cancun is about 4-5 times as large as Playa del Carmen, and thus has more of the modern services mentioned above.  Playa del Carmen’s advantage is that you can still drive clear across town in 15 minutes.  Playa del Carmen has fewer services and activities, but residents can get to them more quickly.  Neither one has significant “traffic” to speak of compared to the congestion seen in so many North American cities these days.

 

Those who love life on the beachfront may consider real estate in either city.  However, condos in Cancun are typically defined by high-rise buildings, splendid views and modern urban services; Playa del Carmen are defined by low-rise buildings and a walk-every lifestyle.  Which one is better depends entirely on personal taste.

 

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Region:  Playa del Carmen real estate.

Thomas Lloyd graduated from Purdue University Krannert School of Management with a degree in Management/Financial Option Investments. He has been living, investing, and working professionally in Mexico for over 15 years. A Mexican Certified Realtor he is the current president of TOPmexicorealestate, you can contact him at (512) 879-6546.

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