“Playa del Carmen or Cancun, which is better?” is a question that is present in the heads of many travelers who visit the Riviera Maya, let’s see how we can answer it…
It is not new that the Mexican Caribbean is part of the best destinations to enjoy a well-deserved vacation, paradisiacal beaches, delicious gastronomy, first-class tourist services are part of the proposal.
Let’s see what each of these incredible places in the Riviera Maya offers…
Choosing a favorite destination in the Mexican Caribbean is a difficult task that not only Playa del Carmen and Cancún compete, you also find beautiful destinations such as Puerto Morelos, Tulum, Bacalar, Puerto Aventuras, Akumal, Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, Mahahual, added to all of them. the other small towns that are on the coast, on the way to the state capital, Chetumal.
However, there is a great advantage with so many beautiful places on offer and that is that they are located relatively close to each other, which will allow you to enjoy an incredible trip, tailored to your needs in the chosen place, and if you have the time and desire , you can dare to know something more.
That same idea is perfect to apply in this “pseudo” dispute between Cancun and Playa del Carmen; Less than an hour separates one destination from the other, so you can enjoy one or both, depending on your preferences…
Where is it better to stay in Playa del Carmen or Cancun?
Returning to the idea of this post “Playa del Carmen or Cancun, which is better?”, we must say that there are certain aspects of each destination that make it the favorite of many tourists, let’s discover some of the reasons…
Cancun is a fascinating destination, its extensive coastline with beautiful white sand beaches and turquoise sea makes you fall in love.
The city is quite large and has well-defined areas for walking and others that are more remote and frequented by local people. It is a good idea to know more about the topic, here are more details.
In its famous hotel zone you will find all the tourist services to enjoy a dream vacation.
On the other hand, Cancún has two other areas that are also enjoyed, the center where you find craft markets and some shopping plazas, there is also a new area that it shares with Isla Mujeres located to the north of the city, an area with more jungle and recently development.
The hotel offer is very wide, there are 5 diamond and ultra luxury hotels and there are also cheaper ones that do not lose quality; You can even decide to stay in a hostel or Airbnb.
The gastronomy is excellent, you find alternatives for all budgets and menus that will delight you; snacks, Mexican and Yucatecan cuisine, also Asian, Mediterranean, Argentine cuisine, you will even find a variety of international food chain stores with cafeterias, hamburgers, pizzas and more.
Pros and cons of staying in Cancun
There are many positive aspects that Cancun has, the first is the sea, its color is incredibly beautiful and along the entire coast you have many public beaches, some with calm seas because they are part of a bay, others with more unruly seas in the area. open sea, ideal for all ages and tastes.
Likewise, it is a favorable point to stay in the hotel zone since there are quite a few hotels located right on the beach, and if not, in that area you will only have to walk very little to find the sea.
If you are staying in the center, the plus point is that there are some beaches such as Playa Delfines, Playa Marlin, Playa Langosta, which have palapas, bathrooms and showers, they are ideal to go spend the day, public transport leaves you within a passed.
In addition, a great advantage is that throughout the 25 km of the hotel zone you will have shopping plazas, supermarkets, restaurants, an archaeological zone, a golf course, water parks, a craft market, a nightclub area and much more to enjoy.
Another positive point is that you can explore the hotel zone on foot, by bicycle or get on public transport that runs very frequently and at a super affordable price, so you can see everything you want.
If you want to visit Isla Mujeres or take a yacht ride, there are several points along the coast from where ferries and other boats leave, a highly recommended option.
The great hotel offering also stands out, having options for all types of budgets and variety of services is something that is highly valued in a tourist site like Cancun.
We add to the above that this destination is chosen by many national and international artists for their concerts.
If we have to see a “against” of Cancun…
We can say that the downtown area does not have very picturesque places to walk, you find large avenues that are difficult to navigate in the intense heat of the city.
Such a situation forces you to plan well the places you want to go, such as the Crafts Market, the Palapas Park, the Kabah Park, the Sanctuary of the Virgin Desatanudos or a shopping plaza, etc., and in that way get around. by taxi or public transport.
On the other hand, the central area of Cancun is very dark and lonely at night, which takes away the peace and security of your walk, without forgetting that it is one of the cities with transportation problems through digital platforms and taxis.
And if we look for some more cons, we have to mention that there is no beach club on the beach, the fact that there are so many hotels in the hotel zone, almost the entire coast is occupied by their facilities. That makes it difficult to enjoy the night on the beach unless you are staying in a hotel.
There are also alternatives such as buying your drinks and meals at convenience stores before entering the beaches and enjoying your day anyway.
If you are a traveler who enjoys parties, super luxury hotels and huge shopping malls, you will love Cancun.
If you go to the Mexican Caribbean, you surely deserve to visit the beautiful “Playa”, one of the most visited destinations in the Riviera Maya that dazzles with its beautiful corners not only on the beach but also on the famous Fifth Avenue and downtown.
Playa del Carmen has a small hotel area compared to Cancun, you find it in what is called Playacar, a residential area with several hotels and luxury houses that are located on the same beach line and reach the road.
Fifth Avenue is the meeting point for tourists who visit the city, there are numerous restaurants, bars, small shopping plazas, a variety of shops, museums, cafes, among other places that you will like to visit and enjoy.
The sea is two blocks parallel to the villa, it has calm waters so you can take a dip whenever you want, just keep in mind the instructions of the lifeguards.
Pros and cons of staying in Playa del Carmen
Among the first positive impressions of Playita is the fact that you can go everywhere on foot, the tourist strip that includes the sea, hotels and center is delimited to a kind of rectangle parallel to the beach where you find everything.
The aforementioned means that visitors can stroll and walk at ease, discover very beautiful little streets, find themed cafes, craft stalls, go to the sea and continue walking, everything is valid.
A walk in the afternoon and evening along 38th Street is highly recommended, they call it the most beautiful street in Playa del Carmen and the truth is that it has everything to be so.
Complementary to the previous point is that you can enjoy the night of Playa del Carmen whenever you prefer, 12th Street, going down from Fifth Avenue to the sea, concentrates many of the best-known clubs and just by walking there you will find a lot of fun.
The other very good detail of the destination is that it has paradores on the beach, a very good option to go during the day and at night, they have food service, there is good music, some have parties, they can also offer water activities such as paddleboarding.
Another point in favor of Playa del Carmen is that it is close to many cenotes, it is the same distance as Cancun to the Cenote Route in Puerto Morelos, but it is also close to other cenotes located on the way to Tulum. Even in the same city, on Punta Esmeralda beach, you find a small open cenote ideal to enjoy with the little ones and it is free.
And let’s not forget the proximity to Cozumel, Mexico’s new magical town.
Among the cons…
Playa, unlike Cancun, is a little more of a town, which can be seen as a disadvantage by those people who like to visit huge shopping malls with a greater variety of stores.
Another con that Playa del Carmen has is that there is only one road to get there from the Cancun Airport, that can affect your arrival as well as when you are going to leave the city since traffic can be very complicated, depending on rush hours, if there is an accident as well as when there are repairs or heavy truck traffic.
Such a situation forces you to plan departures in advance according to your flight schedules and thus avoid setbacks.
Regarding accommodation options, there is a great variety, some are close to the center and are easily accessible, but there are others that are far away and on the road so you will have to take a taxi if you want to get around and the price is somewhat high.
If you are a relaxed traveler and prefer the charms of walking in a “small” city, this is your best choice.