Playa del Carmen - Cancun, but Good!

Playa del Carmen rocks. I wrote earlier about what a disaster the cesspool of Cancun is and how you should never go there.  Luckily, nearby is one of my favorite places in Mexico: Playa del Carmen, or just “Playa” for short. It’s only an hour (or less) from the Cancun airport by bus, yet it feels like a thousand miles away culturally. In place of drunk fat sunburned American tourists you have chic Italians, cool Mexicans, Russian models, and great nightlife at much less tourist trap prices. Playa del Carmen is definitely a single dude recommended destination.

Now that you’ve landed at the Cancun airport, it’s time to first wait for customs. Quick? See any cute Mexican girls waiting for baggage? Go up to them and say, “Hi girls!  Did you come in on the flight from Miami?” or something like that. After you get their phone numbers and Facebook, get your bag and proceed towards customs. This is fun: they have everyone push a button and if the green light comes on, you’re through! If you get the random red, they will search your luggage and take your weed. Bummer!

After that, proceed through the airport ignoring everyone who comes up to you and buy a bus ticket in the terminal for Playa. It’ll be about 10 bucks. The buses run regularly and take an hour and drop you off in the bus station. When you get out of the station turn left and voila you are in Playa, and right on the main drag, too! That main drag is called 5th avenue, or “Quinta Avenida”. It runs all the way from one end of town to the other and is just a couple blocks from the beach.

As far as a place to stay, there’s a bunch of hotels around, just start looking at rooms and you should find a good cheap room quite easily. I stay at the Caribe Sol hotel right on Quinta Avenida between 4th and 6th streets and get a little apartment for about 40 bucks a night overlooking the main drag. There’s plenty of places to stay, especially small hotels a block or two off Quinta. No need to spend more than 50 bucks, and you can get by with 20 if you look hard enough and aren’t too snobby.

Now that you’re settled in, go out and explore. Go buy a bottle of tequila or rum to keep in your room for later. If you need weed, ask any shoeshine boy or cheap tourist shop owner.  If you want harder drugs ask young ritzier store owners or gay guys. The Mexicans are helpful and friendly always. Don’t forget to negotiate!

Now you can settle into the Playa routine, which is wake up at noon, go to the beach and meet girls, have coffee and meet girls, go to happy hour and meet girls, and then go to the clubs and party your ass off with the girls you picked up at the airport, beach, coffee shop, happy hour, etc.

This town is about as easy as it gets. All you really need to do to get started is just walk from one end of Quinta Avenida to the other and when something looks cool, stop in and have a drink or a coffee. It’s a really great drag and as you walk down this pedestrian only treasure, you will see people from all over. Playa is a major destination for Europeans and there are a lot of expat owners running nice places out there.

Restaurant recommendation: El Bistro - Great food, great service, not too expensive. A great place to take someone you really like. 10th Avenue between 14 street, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Q.roo, Mexico, Tel. (984) 873 14 84

There’s lots of nice restaurants in Playa. But not all of them actually have good food, so try an appetizer before you go for a full meal. A lot of the more touristy ones on the main drag are very nice looking but with shitty food. Looks can be deceiving.

This little town always has lots and lots of pretty girls walking around. A large number are rich European tourists. Therefore, the “where are you from?” approach works very well. Sometimes you’d think Playa was actually a part of Italy with how many Italian tourists there are. Also keep on the lookout for hot Russian supermodel types. They may have a rich man but they could also be some rich Mafia’s guy’s daddy’s little girl. So go say hi, but know you’ll have to work pretty hard to pick them up. At the club it is much harder to pick up chicks as there are many club douchebags, so I always focus on meeting girls during the day.

Now of course, I’m leaving out the best resource: the Mexican girls! They generally speaking will not be as hot as the European tourists but are very friendly and are really looking forward to meeting you! They’re actually feeling neglected, because all the Mexican guys are crazy for white skin, they’re always slobbering after even fat mediocre white tourist chicks. At night, the key is to find the cute threesome of Mexican girls in the corner of the club that no one is hitting on much and go say hello. The Mexican girls can easily be picked up and taken home the same night. So don’t forget to smile, flirt shamelessly, and if one appears to really like you, start making out with her immediately at the bar. Get your wingmen to do the same with her friends.

Lesson number 1 today:  Don’t neglect the Mexican girls in Playa.

One thing to be aware of: if you’re staying as a single traveler at a hotel in Mexico and you bring  girl home with you at night, be prepared to pay the difference between the single and double rate. So you basically need to hand the guy 100 pesos (10 bucks) when you stagger home drunk with some floozy. Standard protocol in Mexico. But hey, you’re getting laid, right?

Another really cool thing if you’re into it is the BPM Festival, which is a 10 day electronic music festival out of Montreal that takes place beginning every Dec 30 or so. All day beach party with DJ from 12-8 then a huge all night party at a different club each night with a famous DJ 10PM-6AM. Great time, and lots of hot chicks come in from all the world to do drugs and listen to house music. Put it on your life to-do-list. Just beware of douchebags. Lots of douchebags come from Montreal, surprisingly!


All in all, Single Dude Travel heartily endorses a trip to Playa. It’s a solid vacation destination, close to home, friendly and cheap, with great weather. So go down and have a great time, and try not to screw it up for the rest of us.

From El Madador:

In all honesty, You hit all the major points. The European emphasis in PdC, the importance of “eating local”, the way whiteness is highly prized in Mexico. A gringo can KILL down in Mexico but a Nordic looking guy can DESTROY down there. I personally love the darker girls as the “guerras” are too high maintainance, though I did date an entirely Euro looking famous model there once. The chocolate Mexican girls would give me their phone numbers because I was dating someone well known. An interesting lesson on women in general. Show up with a knock-out and you gain massive points, which is why I rolled with HOT wing girls from then on. See my upcoming article on that issue.

OH, one addition….

Club Med Cancun is a great value, has lots of single girls who really want to hook up including the french staff, and has the best beach and reef in Cancun, hands down.

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36 comments to Playa del Carmen – Cancun, but Good!

  • David

    Charlie thank you for providing this knowledge of Playa. I’ll be in Cancun in June and spend a day or two in Playa as well. I’m counting down the days!!!

  • james lapointe

    Playa advice was great – it influenced my decision to go. I had a great time and studied Spanish at one of the schools. I did suffer a bout of Dengue Fever upon returning. I stayed on the edge of town and there were way to many mosquitos. So, my advice is stay closer to the ocean.

  • thewhitejuan

    Also if you dont want to pay the cover for some of the higher end big bars (coco maya, the blue parrot, or that place with the giant indian statue, places of that calibur), get shit housed at your place, and go out at about 8:30 to whichever club you want…..you’ll be the first ones there but within the hour itll be poppin….and youll get let in for free…………also beer is like 3 times as cheap down here then liquor

  • thewhitejuan

    whoever wrote this article is spot on, just came down with my wingman 7 days ago…..just found this and all the advice that he said was spot on from our experience so far

  • eneitzel

    I’m heading down next week and this article is perfect timing! I always go where the locals eat for sure! Thats my traveling mantra. So, how do you find the good local hangs there?

  • Tony

    I fond this article VERY helpful. I’m heading to Playa in a few days on a “Couples” trip but my better half and I ended things this weekend. I’m looking forward to meeting a Mexican girl and partying it up! Any FAILsafe tips on how to approach them?

  • Andy

    I’ve lived in Play for 7 years and have banged hundreds of girls but the party is on 12th street, not 5th.

  • xkalibur80

    will be in Cancun…based on your blog, I did my best to convince the group to stay in PDC but to no avail….how far is it from Riu Cancun as we are planning on spending a day or two at PDC

  • Ollie

    Going to Playa with a group of guys in early October for a bachelor party, any tips for the best places to party during the day/night?

  • Alex

    Is July/August a good month to go to Playa ? What you guys think of Punta Cana for single guys?

  • Sam I Am

    I was there for the BPM festival in December. We couldn’t have chosen a better spot for NYE. I do have a special tip for you travelers. I booked a room through airbnb and it was amazing. We had this amazing condo with two bedrooms, all furnished with pool and girls everywhere. Although we didn’t have enough time to throw a party, it was setup perfectly for it. We were invited to different parties at the condo. Better than any hotel could offer. And we did everything that this article mentions. In fact, I am going back in next few days for a long weekend. Cheers!!

  • This article is so inspirational. I have actually applied for and received my passport and am planning my trip to Playa Del Carmen based on your recommendation. Your down to earth advice is so easy to understand. Please keep adding to your website. Men need to understand that they can live a fun-filled life. You don’t have to continue to be bored out of your mind waiting to die.

  • jeff

    I just got back from a week in playa… it was unreal! everything you said was spot on.. Though I had a little trouble not speaking spanish very well.. I know a few words and phrases, but next time i’ll take a few classes before i go down there. Beach was incredible, clubs were nice, but music was kinda cheese.. The Mexican girls definitely like the gringos. I ended up partying with some of the locals form one of the beach bars and hooked up with a super hot lil latina girl. I’m already looking at the calendar to see when I can go back :D

  • Carmo

    Hard to say, first time there so I’m not sure which places were new. Had a blast though, could easily see myself chilling there for a few weeks at a time.

  • Just got back from Playa and I can see why you like it so much. Will definitely be returning.

  • Carmo

    Also just discovered that Spirit air fly’s all throughout Latin America for super cheap. Think I will check out Antigua Guatemala too. Can’t beat roundtrip from Tampa for $250!

  • Carmo

    Think I’ll give playa a shot this fall for a little birthday weekend. Prob not the best time due to weather and what not but who cars, it’s a 2 hour flight.

  • Dood McMan

    The whole premise of these ‘Mexico travel’ articles is fundamentally absurd. U can snatch low-rent beaner kunt N E where in USA 4 pennies. Y the hell buy tickets & all that jazz 4 the disposable 3’rd world poon? That is simply INSANE! =D YoW! The world never ceases 2 amaze. & what, they R ‘superior’ 2 American girls? How so? Sure, they will pretend 2 like U – ‘cuz they want 2 white their azzes up, but only 2 destroy the place. They wreck whatever they touch. Not blaming them. Rats like 2 munch your crops. Wetbacks like 2 munch your cities – drag them down. It’s natural. Doesn’t mean we gotta’ like it =P

    • Dood McMan

      Hey next maybe U can post some articles how we can travel 2 Somalia & shag some hotties there? =D & yes some of them R VERY hot – tall, sleek, sexy (once U wash off the cow poop in their hair). U know, like Bowie’s wife. But what will your offspring B like? Destroyers – like Obama, or worse. They’re all the same really.

      • Bill

        This guy has obviously never been to Playa or traveled much – I just returned to Playa again after 4 months in EE because I love the people and the beaches. Most the women who go out speak 2-4 languages, are well educated and just amazing.

  • Rob Madrid

    Where should single guys stay in Playa that will have the most 25-45 ladies staying there? Thanks for the info…

    • I don’t really know. Those big hotels will be much more expensive than the local small places. I meet girls on the street, at the beach, at coffee, at the bars, etc. I’ve never really done it at a hotel in Playa.

    • No idea, but you don’t need to stay in a hotel there to meet chicks. Just walk down the street, dude.

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