Both Playa del Carmen and Cancun Mexico are a very popular tourist destination. The high season is from December to the end of March. April through October tend to be a little bit less hectic; still pretty busy just not as busy as high season. Playa del Carmen is becoming a popular year round tourist destination especially during the summer months with our friends from across the pond.
*Fun Fact* Over 5 million people per year fly into Cancun International Airport each year. They keep expanding the airport to keep up with the influx of tourists.
Our condo at Cruz Con Mar is about a 45 minute drive from CANCUN airport give or take depending upon the traffic. There are many transportation agencies to get you from the airport to your destination in Playa. We use Cancun Transfers and have been using them for years. They are great and very reliable as well as reasonable in pricing. You have your own private shuttle.
Q.Do I need a passport to enter Mexico?
A. Yes you will need a passport to travel to Mexico from the US and other foreign countries. It is best to get your passport at least 4-6 weeks in advance of your stay.
Q. Should I rent a car?
A. I wouldn’t- LOL- They drive pretty crazy in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. There are taxis on every corner, just be sure to negotiate your fare before you get in the taxi. There is also the ADO Bus that travels all around the Yucatan.
Q. What type of clothing attire should I bring?
A. Pack light and casual, there’s no need to get all gussied up like you would on a cruise ship. Playa del Carmen is very laid back and most people are fine dining out in shorts and flip flops. If there is a washer and dryer in your accommodation; even better as you can wash some clothes while you are staying. Less is definitely more in Playa del Carmen!
Q. Do I need to speak Spanish?
A. No, you don’t need to speak the language as most people do speak English as well as other various languages. However it is nice to make an effort to speak their language while you’re visiting their country. At the very least; use Please-Por Favor and Thank you- Gracious. I find the Google translate app on my phone to be very helpful. Especially the camera function as you can hold it over menus and labels and decipher in your chosen language.
Q. What currency is used in Mexico?
A. The currency in Mexico is the Peso, however the US dollar is widely accepted everywhere. The peso currency conversion fluctuates daily. You can use a currency converter to help you with this if you are not a math whiz.
Q. Can I drink the water and brush my teeth with tap water?
A. Most resorts as well as vacation rentals will provide bottled water for you during your stay. I would not drink water right out of the tap however it is fine for bathing and brushing your teeth. Some folks do like to take an extra precaution and brush with bottled water. I personally, in 15 years of traveling to Mexico have never had an issue with the water. I do drink a fair amount of Tequila as well as other various libations while visiting so that may have something to do with it.
Q. What is the food like in Playa del Carmen?
A. When people think about Cancun or Playa del Carmen they envision tropical settings with sugary white sand, turquoise waters, Coco Bongo, Senior Frogs and all of that is very real. What most people don’t realize is the food and restaurants are for the most part outstanding.
Playa del Carmen alone has over 1,000 restaurants according to Trip Advisor. Every type of cuisine you can imagine can be found in Playa del Carmen. Of course there are tacos and Mexican food however there’s Italian, Greek, French, Indian, Thai, Mediterranean and local Mayan food.
With over 1,000 restaurants in Playa alone, the competition is fierce and what that means for you is that they all have to be good! This alone is a very compelling reason to stay at a vacation rental vs an all inclusive resort as you will pretty much be forced to try all the great food Playa has to offer. I might add that the prices of food are very reasonable. If you venture a few blocks off of 5th Avenue the prices become extremely reasonable.
Q. Is Mexico Safe?
A. The short answer- As long as you are not out at 2:00 AM trying to buy cocaine or whatever your pleasure may be; down a dark alley than, yes it is very safe.
Most of what you read about in the media is happening very far away from the resort areas of Playa del Carmen and Cancun. The violence is going on at the border of Arizona, Texas as well as central Mexico.
Here’s the issue- People go on vacation to Mexico and they lose their minds…. That’s right! They drink too much Tequila in the hot sun, take chances they probably wouldn’t take at home, ie buying drugs, looking for prostitutes, jumping off of 5 story balconies into swimming pools, swimming in areas that they have been warned not to swim in as well as being in places they probably shouldn’t be.
So, use your head. If you wouldn’t jump off a 5 story balcony into a 5 foot deep swimming pool in your own home town don’t do it there. If you are not in the habit of looking for drugs or sex for hire at home, don’t do it there and you will be just fine, I promise you!
My family and I have been traveling to Cancun and Playa del Carmen since 2004 without incident. We made the investment to purchase our retirement home in Playa because it is safe and beautiful. We would not have made that decision if it was a dangerous area riddled with drug cartels and tourists getting beheaded. Like any city or state in the USA there are good sections and sections you wouldn’t or shouldn’t be visiting in the middle of the night. Plus, nothing good happens after midnight when you are over 50 lol.
Thanks for stopping by- Karen Bickford