Vacation Advice for Playa del Carmen and Cozumel?

My wife and I will be heading to Playa del Carmen and Cozumel for about two weeks at the end of February.

Our plan is to spend the first half of the time in Playa, and to go from there to see the major archeological sites: Chichen Itza, Tulum, maybe others. This would be the “adventure” part of the vacation. We’ll probably want to go Scuba diving in the Cenotes when we’re there. We’re definitely looking for other things to do during this half of the vacation.

The second half, we’ll spend in Cozumel. I’ll be diving a lot. Laura may dive, or may spend lots of time sitting around on the beach with a cocktail in her hand. We’re considering an all-inclusive, in part to just relax more, and to have a “vacation from our vacation” while still on vacation.

We’re looking for things to do, places to see, and meals to eat for the first half of the vacation; and we’re looking for recommendations on where to stay for the second half.

4 thoughts on “Vacation Advice for Playa del Carmen and Cozumel?

  1. We went to Tulum! It was awesome–i would go back there in a heartbeat. In fact, I would make Tulum my base and go to Chichen Itza, the cenotes, the Sian Ka’an nature preserve, etc. from there. Driving is no big deal. I would strongly avoided any bus tour activity, having seen who gets off the bus.

    The Tulum ruins take just a couple of hours–half a day if you really push it. The town itself is just a little strip. Where Tulum shines is the beach and the associated beach restaurants, which–if a bit touristy–have that whole on the beach thing going for them. I had this green juice concoction at Zamas that I still think about, years later. I also really liked Posada Margherita, which is Italian, but lots of right out of the ocean fresh fish. As I am not a spicy foods eater, this was a nice break for me from the too hot to trot taco diet. The Chowhounds people have a nice wrap-up:

    My advice about Chichen Itza is to drive to Valladolid the day before, explore a little of the colonial town setup, and then get up early to make the last part of the trip to Chichen Itza. While getting up early is ill-advised on vacation, you will get there before the tourist buses show up from Cancun/Playa del Carmen and yet not have to have gotten up even earlier if you were in Tulum. You will practically have the place to yourself (not to mention that it’s cooler at that hour, which is important for when you want to climb the pyramid!). The one down thing about Valladolid is that it’s noisy, so try to get a hotel room that isn’t right in the center of town, but that you could walk to the center.

    I had a fabulous time in Mexico–Tulum is super chill, Chichen Itza was inspiring, and the sitting around on the beach with a cocktail is totally the way to go. Have fun!


  2. i wrote a big report for you on tulum and it deleted itself! argh! we went to Tulum a few years ago.

    here’s the sum up:
    Don’t stay in Playa del Carmen–stay in Tulum. Enjoy the beach, the beach restaurants, the cocktails. You can go from here to the cenotes, the Sian Ka’an biopreserve, the ruins, and Chichen Itza. Tulum is super chill–it’s all about the cocktails on the beach with a trashy novel and an occasional “time to flip!”.
    Good food recs here:

    The day before you want to go to Chichen Itza, plan to spend the night in Valladolid. This way you can get up early and be at Chichen Itza when it opens, which is about 2 hours before the tourist buses show up from Cancun/Playa del Carmen. You will have the place to yourself, it will be cooler, and you will be finishing your tour including climb to the top of the pyramid as 150 sunburnt, poorly-dressed, slightly greasy Americans roll their buffet-padded butts off the tour bus. I strongly recommend the non-tour bus option.

    Have a great time!


  3. We are trying to plan a vacation somewhere in Mexico where the water is clear & warm for snorkiling. We are in our 70’s and would like to be close to the beach, have massages, be catered to without spending a fortune. Also want to have fun. We have seen the ruins so no need for that. Concun is too busy. Maybe Playa del Carmen? Maybe all inclusive, which we have never done. Any suggestions, anyone


Comments are closed.