Easter holiday in Playa del Carmen brings the crowds in. You can still get a good time here, but you may need to plan. It is good to know what to do and not to do during this busy time. Here are our recommendations.
Holy Week, the week before Easter, is called Semana Santa and it’s the biggest holiday in Mexico. The week that follows Easter Sunday is Semana de Pascua. This year Semana Santa runs from April 14th-20th, followed by Pascua from Easter Sunday until the following Saturday.
Schoolchildren in Mexico get both weeks off, and while adults often get off just Thursday and Friday of Semana Santa, they take some additional vacation days to make it a proper holiday. So a lot of Mexican tourists come to Playa to spend their Easter here.
On average, a quarter of a million visitors arrive at Cancun airport at the start of the holidays. Therefore a relaxing stroll down the pedestrian 5th Avenue during Easter is out of the question. So what to do? Explore the areas around 5th Avenue. You will also find prices for food and souvenirs lower in the 10th avenue, for sure. Alternatively, go out to Plaza Las Americas for your shopping, you only have to grab a cab. If you need the supermarket, go early (they open at 7 am). If you are going out for a restaurant meal, do reserve beforehand. They have some incredible Easter specials!
Accommodation fully booked during Easter
The resorts and rental apartments are usually fully booked at this time. So it’s a great time to be a landlord in the Riviera Maya! Mexican families (and not only Mexicans), tend to arrive in numbers, so set a maximum number of people in the rental contract. If you are a visitor, bear in mind that the cost of everything is about 25-50% more over Easter, including rentals.
Avoiding the crowds
Beaches in downtown Playa are also packed at this time. If you want to avoid the crowds, don’t go to Mamitas beach club or the famous Xpu Ha beach. Instead, try Coco Beach at street 38, or go out of town to Xcalacoco Beach. Even better, spend a day at a cenote, in the jungle. The least crowded cenotes at this time will be on the Cenote Route from Puerto Morelos. However, expect more police patrols, both on the highway and in town. Also, expect road closures in the village. It will affect traffic and parking, so prepare to walk a little further.
Tours and activities are still available during this busy time but booking in advance might be safer, particularly if you want to go to popular places such as Chichen Itza or Tulum. Even better, choose off-the-beaten-track trips, for example, Ek Balam ruins or Rio Lagartos boat trip with bird-watching. They are amazing, yet less known, and you will kill two birds with one stone. Or remember what Easter celebrates, and join in a packed church service or line the streets for a Christian procession.
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