Playa del Carmen is well-known for its luxurious side. And you’ll experience plenty of the finer things during your stay at the all inclusive Royal Hideaway Playacar, a AAA Four-Diamond resort and one of Playa del Carmen’s best luxury resorts. But you don’t have to spend every last dollar in your wallet to enjoy some of Playa del Carmen’s most amazing attractions and experiences. Here are just a few budget-friendly and free things to do in Playa del Carmen.
Hit the beach
This one’s a no-brainer. The beaches are a major part of why you planned a Playa del Carmen vacation, right? On Playa del Carmen beaches, you can kick back, soak up the sun, and enjoy the sparkling waters without opening your wallet once.
- Royal Hideaway Playacar: The resort’s spectacular beach is the ideal place to relax and unwind. There is nothing better than lying in the sun and listening to the sound of the waves while reading a book, playing on the shore, or swimming in its crystal-clear water.
- Mamitas Beach: If you’re in the mood for a beach party, look no further than Mamitas Beach in Playa del Carmen. There’s a vibrant atmosphere at this beach 365 days a year. The water is warm and calm, the people are friendly and there is a diverse array of beachfront restaurants, clubs and shops to check out as well. Playa del Carmen beaches don’t get any more fun!
- Akumal: The sugary white sands at Akumal, located between Tulum and Playa del Carmen, may be the main attraction. But there’s a lot more going on here. For one thing, it’s a haven for nesting sea turtles. Between May and November every year, hundreds of these majestic creatures come to Akumal to lay eggs. Learn more about Riviera Maya sea turtles.
Explore Playa del Carmen 5th Avenue (La Quinta Avenida)
Sure, you can spend your hard-earned cash on Playa del Carmen La Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue). It’s one of the best places for a Playa del Carmen shopping spree, or to enjoy the city’s vibrant nightlife scene. But some of the best things in life are free – and that’s very true on La Quinta! As you explore this dynamic part of Playa, you’ll encounter an array of street performers, from traditional musicians to jugglers to dancers. It’s one of the most entertaining free things to do in Playa del Carmen (though the performers do appreciate your tips!).
- Playa del Carmen travel tip: Art In 5th Avenue – taking place every Thursday evening on Playa del Carmen 5th Avenue – is the perfect way to experience Playa del Carmen’s thriving arts scene. The event sees La Quinta Avenida transform into an open-air Mexican art studio, with artists setting up easels right on the street, capturing the world around them on canvas.
Discover Playa del Carmen Mayan ruins
Chichen-Itza and Tulum may be the big names when it comes to Riviera Maya ruins. But deep Mayan history can be found without leaving Playa del Carmen – if you know where to look! Right off of 5th Avenue, near 14th Street, there’s a stone structure that’s been preserved through the centuries, giving you a glimpse into how the Mayans lived. Also nearby on 2nd Avenue near the beach, you can check out a similar Mayan building thought to be well over 600 years old.
Eat out – on the cheap
There are plenty of amazing Playa del Carmen restaurants. And some of the best aren’t too pricey. Here are a few cheap places to eat in Playa del Carmen.
- El Fogon: Simple recipes, fresh ingredients and incredible flavors. That’s El Fogon’s recipe for taco success. Some say that these aren’t just the best tacos in Playa del Carmen – they’re the best in all of Mexico. Find out for yourself!
- Los Hijos de Tostada: Located on 5th Avenue, Los Hijos de la Tostada is one of the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen for fresh seafood. Order the seafood tostada and experience Playa del Carmen culinary bliss.
- Don Sirloin: As you can tell from this Playa del Carmen taco joint’s name, the signature dish here is the sirloin taco. The chefs at Don Sirloin use only the best cuts of marinated meat and the most palate-pleasing toppings. Suffice it to say, Don Sirloin’s tacos are out of this world – and very affordable.
See world-class live music – right on the beach – for free
This without a doubt one of the best free things to do in Playa del Carmen. The long-running Riviera Maya Jazz Fest on Mamitas Beach offers three nights of the world’s greatest jazz, pop and international performers in an incomparable setting. This year, the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival returns Nov. 28-30, 2019. And as always, it’s FREE.
These are just a few of the cheap and free things to do in Playa del Carmen. Make your dollar go even further. Check out some of the best Royal Hideaway Playacar packages and deals.