cancun vs playa del carmen wich is better

Cancun vs Playa del Carmen ¿Which one is better?

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We help you to decide between Cancun VS Playa del Carmen. When you are planning a vacation in the Mexican Caribbean, the most difficult thing is having to decide which destination to choose, as there are many destination options.

However, today we will talk about Cancun vs Playa del Carmen, two destinations located in the Mexican Caribbean.

Both boast beautiful beaches and offer access to nature hikes and plenty of day trips and activities. If you still haven’t decided which is the best vacation destination, don’t worry, here we will show you their differences so that you can plan your trip.

How to get to Cancun and Playa del Carmen?

If you are heading to Cancun or Playa del Carmen, we recommend arriving directly at Cancun International Airport (CUN). Due to the proximity of the distances of both destinations, it is more advisable to arrive at Cancun International Airport than at Cozumel International Airport (CZM).

No matter the method you choose to get to either of the two destinations, Cancun International Airport offers different transfer options, such as:

  • There are different types of taxis at the airport, from share Ride and taxi X to taxi XL and taxi SUV, with different vehicles for each type.
  • A wide variety of buses and shared transfer services that can take you to your hotel.
  • Car rental agencies.

The only thing that changes is the arrival time. From Cancun International Airport to the Hotel Zone, it is around 30 minutes, while to Playa del Carmen it is 44

It’s important to mention that, if you decide to vacation in Cancun and want to visit Playa del Carmen, you can rent a means of transportation or take an ADO (a bus) and it’s about an hour away.


Which one is better?

Cancun VS Playa del Carmen is known for their beautiful beaches with warm turquoise waters, soft white sand, and saturated sunsets included. The water in both places is warm year-round and is clearest when fewer people are around and kicking up sand. The only drawback is that some beaches, both in Cancun and Playa del Carmen, are prone to seaweed, so it can become an

Let’s start by talking about the beaches of Cancun:

The 22 kilometers of impressive beaches make this Mexican city the preferred destination to enjoy a few days of sun and sand. Cancun’s beaches are wider and better equipped. Even though they are public beaches, you will probably have to spend some money on food or drink if you want to lie on a chair or under an umbrella. It’s important to mention that there are some beaches in Cancun that have parking, so if you are on vacation and have rented a car, you can park freely and enjoy the beach.

There are also some beaches that are calmer than others, and when we talk about calm we mean both the tide of the sea and the multitude of visitors.

Next, we list the best beaches in Cancun:

San Miguelito

San Miguelito lives up to Cancun’s fame of having the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and the world. One of the advantages of San Miguelito is that it is one of the hidden beaches of the Caribbean in Cancun, so you will not find crowds. It is ideal for rest and relaxation, in its more than one-kilometer extension. This beach is pet friendly and is located next to the Mayan Museum. It is between the Oasis hotel and Ritz Carlton.

Playa Delfines

Playa Delfines offers the most beautiful calm and crystal clear waters. In season, you can practice a bit of surfing due to its wild waves. On occasion, you can also see the sighting of beautiful dolphins. It is an ideal beach to explore, relax and enjoy the Caribbean Sea. Its location is somewhat removed from the large hotel areas, Punta Nizuc – Cancun 335, Hotel Zone.

Playa Linda

Playa Linda is one of the best family options in Cancun for its flat and calm waters. What makes this beach incredible is the color of its waters, a beautiful greenish blue because it’s a point where the sea meets the Nichupté lagoon, turning this Cancun beach into a magical place. It’s one of the safest beaches to go to with the family. The entrance to Playa Linda is at km 4 of Bulevar Kukulkan, with the sandbank located on the shore of Puente Calinda.

Playa Caracol

This beach, with fine sand and shallow waters, is perfect for swimming and relaxing in the sun. Being away from the large leisure areas, it becomes the best place to enjoy a bit of tranquility and privacy. It has a beautiful pier where you can enjoy panoramic views that you will not find anywhere else. It is located at km 9 of Boulevard Kukulcán. And the list goes on, as Cancun has 11 public beaches. However, we list our best recommendations.

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Now, it’s time to talk about the beaches of Playa del Carmen:

Playa Mamitas

One of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen, with an incredible view of the Caribbean Sea, with its spectacular turquoise blue you will fall in love. It’s a public beach where you can enjoy music, sunbathing, dancing, and more. It also has a beach club, to which you must pay for access if you want to enjoy its services.

Punta Esmeralda

What makes this beach special is its union with an open cenote of cold water, in which a dip will help you deal with the heat. It is located on the shore of the colony called Colosio and is very visited by the locals of Playa del Carmen.

Playa Xpu-ha

Xpu-ha is practically a virgin beach, its fine sand and crystal clear waters make this place the ideal paradise to sunbathe and enjoy life. Although it’scloser to the Riviera Maya, if you are in Playa del Carmen, you can reach it in just 20 minutes. It is one of the treasures of the locals and one of the best beaches in the area. It’s not a public beach, so we recommend you purchase access.

Xcacel – Xcacelito

Xcael is a public beach that allows you to be more in contact with nature, with crystal clear turquoise waters. In addition to this, there is a place in the same area called Xcacelito, it is a small open cenote with controlled access. It has a reef with more than 60 corals, a reserve for various types of flora and fauna, as well as a Natural Protected Area and activities such as snorkeling. It’s located just 45 km south of Playa del Carmen.

The Weather

Due to the proximity of both places, Cancun and Playa del Carmen share the same type of climate: hot, humid and sometimes with rainy seasons. The weather can vary slightly, although not by much, since they are only half an hour apart. We recommend you visit both places in October to take advantage of some good sunbathing and excellent prices for lodging, since it is outside of the
high season.

Cancun Hotel Zone vs Playa del Carmen La Quinta Avenida

As its name indicates, the Cancun Hotel Zone is where most of the hotels in the city are located, however, it is also the area where the best restaurants and nightclubs are located, as well as activities and shopping malls with a large number of department stores and luxury. If we compare it with La Quinta Avenida, this one is much bigger, since La Quinta Avenida has more variety of restaurants and department stores and local stores, although you can find the occasional luxury store that is also in Cancun.

Another different point is that on Fifth Avenue you can walk freely, there is no need to take a bus to go to a restaurant or place that is there. Both places offer the same entertainment options,  everything will depend on what your travel plan is.

Night life: Which one has better party options?

The nightlife in both places is mainly centered around bars and clubs. In Cancun you can enjoy the nightlife in the Zona Hotelera, while in Playa del Carmen you can enjoy it on La Quinta Avenida.

Both offer the same party options, such as Coco Bongo, Mandala Beach Club or Señor Frogs, they also have different options of bars and restaurants to have a good time.

Cancun Night Life

In Cancun, you can enjoy the nightlife at places like D’Cave, Coco Bongo and Coco Bongo Beach Club, The City, Mandala Beach Club, Señor Frogs, Cotorritos and many others. The advantage is that all those mentioned above are located in Plaza Forum, so it will not be difficult to find them. There are also other nightclubs, however, the ones mentioned above are the mainstays of Cancun’s nightlife, so you won’t want to miss them.

Playa del Carmen Night Life

In Playa del Carmen, you can find many options to enjoy a good night out, because on Fifth Avenue there are many good options. If you want to go for the more traditional, you can enjoy the nightlife at Coco Bongo, Señor Frogs, or Mandala. In case you are looking for something different, you can go to Mamita’s Beach Club and enjoy an incredible music festival at night and if you want something more fun, you can go to a bar near La Quinta Avenida and enjoy live music.

Which one should I choose?

Cancun and Playa del Carmen are tourist destinations that favor fun, however, both share different environments. It all depends on your travel plan. If you want to travel as a family, we recommend staying in Cancun, on the other hand, if you want to travel with your friends, we recommend you visit both Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

Cancun has more activities within the area, however, if you stay in Playa del Carmen you can enjoy the same activities, you just have to plan your transportation well or contact a tour agency. In both places you can have fun, have a good time and shop at local and luxury department stores.

As we mentioned before, everything will depend on your travel plan. Although, if you decide to stay in Cancun, don’t worry, Playa del Carmen is only half an hour away, so there is no excuse to enjoy both places.

So, which of the two will be your destiny for this year?

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