Essential information for Playa del Carmen
When to go
Playa del Carmen shares its sea with the Caribbean, so expect gloriously warm weather of least 26°C all year round and highs of 35°C in the summer months. With hot, tropical weather comes some fairly predictable rain in the summer, but this rarely lasts more than two hours and often comes in the evening. Cheap trips to Mexico are more widely available during these times, but you can guarantee there’ll still be plenty of sun.
Hurricanes are also possible from July to October but very uncommon and all of the hotels are well-equipped to cope with them. Last minute deals to Mexico are a good bet for winter sunshine if you’re yearning for blue skies come January.
Health and safety
Please be advised that the water in Mexico is not drinkable so you must purchase bottled water during your stay and brush your teeth with it too. You can bathe in the tap water and cook with it, but avoid ice in drinks unless you know it’s made from filtered/bottle water.
It’s recommended that you take out comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover you and your family while on holiday. If you plan to take advantage of the many watersports and recreational activities on offer, such as scuba diving or caving, you must ensure you’re travel insurance covers these activities. Check out our holiday extras page for more information, and for the latest health and safety information, visit www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/mexico/health.
You should check the latest travel advice at least three months before you travel to find out whether you need any vaccinations. Playa del Carmen is designed to accommodate tourists so you won’t have a problem finding English-speaking medical professionals should you need one.
Passports and visas
British citizens don’t need a prearranged visa to enter Mexico but do need a valid passport – remember to check yours at least three months before you travel. You will then be given a tourist visa on your flight with one half going to immigration when you land and the other kept by you until you leave.
Playa del Carmen is an hour’s drive from Cancun airport and easily accessible by transfer. Once there, you have a number of options to get you on the move. Within the town, everything is in walking distance away. The avenues run parallel to the beach – 1st, 2nd etc – up until the main highway which is 50th Avenue. The calles, or street, run perpendicular to the beach.
Taxis are easy to flag down and taxi ranks can be found throughout the town and in the main resorts. Prices are fixed with few taxis using a meter, therefore you should ask your hotel for guidance on how much a particular journey should cost. Tipping is not customary.
The ADO is the local bus system, with the main Playa del Carmen bus station being located on 5th Avenue and Juarez Street. These are comfortable coaches with air conditioning, but many of the locals use the cheaper colectivos – mini-vans that run up and down the main highway.
If you want to travel further afield without the restrictions of an organised tour, it’s relatively easy to hire a car. Driving here is rather different to North America or the UK though, so you should swot up on the rules.
Advice for travellers with children
Playa del Carmen is very family-friendly, the whole area being a relative tourist haven for Mexico. Many of the hotels have on-site entertainment for children, and Playa del Carmen has plenty of All Inclusive options that provide a wide range of food the little ones will happily consume. Nearby waterparks delight kids and adults alike, and the beaches are clean and safe. If you do plan to hire a car you should take your own car seat.
Connector type: North American two-pin plug
Voltage info: 110-120 Volts
The new emergency number for Mexico as of 2016 is 911
The British Embassy is in Mexico City. You can contact them in the case of an emergency, for example for travel advice, health advice and lost passports.
Río Lerma, No. 71, Col. Cuauhtémoc, CP. 06500 Mexico City Mexico
Phone: +52 (55) 1670 3200
Hospiten Hospital is the best hospital for tourists in Playa Del Carmen. It’s large and modern, with English widely spoken. There is also an emergency room at Costamed.
C. Balamcanché Lote 1, MZA.30, Carr. Federal 77710 Quintana Roo Playa del Carmen
Phone: +52 (984) 803 10 02
Costamed Emergency Room
Carr. Federal, MZ 285, LT 7, Entre 27 y 23, Edificio Progreso, Col. Ejido Sur, Playa del Carmen
Phone: +52 (984) 803 77 77