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Playa del Carmen


Playa del Carmen, known colloquially as 'Playa', is a resort city located along the Caribbean Sea in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. It is part of the municipality of Solidaridad. As of 2020, the city's population was just over 300,000 people, a small yet thriving portion of which are foreign expats.

Playa del Carmen is a popular tourist destination in Mexico's Riviera Maya region. Its current growth rate is set at 25% per year. According to the Guinness World Records, it one of Latin America’s fastest growing communities. In 2016, the city was the tenth most popular international travel destination for U.S travelers, and over a million tourists passed through the city a year later. The main airport for Playa is the Cancún International Airport, which is around 70 kilometres (43 mi) away.

The area is known for its white sand beaches, blue turquoise waters, coral reefs, surrounding rainforests, and balnearios. The downtown area of the city revolves around Quinta Avenida, a busy pedestrian thoroughfare lined with many shops, clubs, and restaurants. The weather is hot year-round, with the summer and winter breaks being peak season for tourism.

Geography[]

Various palm trees on white sand beach, Playa del Carmen Playa del Carmen is located within the Riviera Maya, which runs from south of Cancún to Tulum and the Sian Ka'anbiosphere reserve. Playa is a stop for several cruise ships which dock at the nearby Calica quarry docks, about six miles (10 km) south of the city. The Xcaret Eco Park, a Mexican-themed "eco-archaeological park", is a popular tourist destination located just south of the town in Xcaret (pronounced "ish-kar-et").

Climate[]

In October 2005, Hurricane Wilma passed directly over Playa del Carmen, remaining in the vicinity for two days and causing significant damage and a temporary drop in tourist arrivals. Most of the damage was relatively superficial and repaired within a few weeks of the storm. Hurricane Wilma arrived from the Caribbean Sea, passing over Cozumel before making landfall in Playa del Carmen. It then moved north along the Mexican coast, hitting Cancúnespecially hard.

Playa del Carmen has a tropical savannah climate (Aw) with June to November receiving most of the precipitation. Summers are hot and year round with warm nights. Cold temperatures are unheard of because of the tropical influence of the Caribbean Sea.

Climate data for Playa del Carmen (1951–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 37.5

(99.5)

33.0

(91.4)

34.0

(93.2)

39.0

(102.2)

40.0

(104.0)

39.0

(102.2)

39.0

(102.2)

39.5

(103.1)

39.0

(102.2)

34.0

(93.2)

35.0

(95.0)

39.0

(102.2)

40.0

(104.0)

Average high °C (°F) 27.8

(82.0)

28.5

(83.3)

29.6

(85.3)

30.8

(87.4)

31.7

(89.1)

32.0

(89.6)

32.5

(90.5)

32.9

(91.2)

32.6

(90.7)

30.8

(87.4)

29.3

(84.7)

28.6

(83.5)

30.6

(87.1)

Daily mean °C (°F) 22.8

(73.0)

23.4

(74.1)

24.3

(75.7)

26.1

(79.0)

27.3

(81.1)

27.9

(82.2)

28.0

(82.4)

28.0

(82.4)

27.9

(82.2)

26.3

(79.3)

24.4

(75.9)

23.4

(74.1)

25.8

(78.4)

Average low °C (°F) 17.9

(64.2)

18.3

(64.9)

19.0

(66.2)

21.3

(70.3)

22.9

(73.2)

23.7

(74.7)

23.5

(74.3)

23.2

(73.8)

23.1

(73.6)

21.7

(71.1)

19.4

(66.9)

18.2

(64.8)

21.0

(69.8)

Record low °C (°F) 8.0

(46.4)

7.0

(44.6)

5.0

(41.0)

10.0

(50.0)

15.0

(59.0)

14.0

(57.2)

13.0

(55.4)

15.0

(59.0)

14.0

(57.2)

13.5

(56.3)

11.0

(51.8)

9.0

(48.2)

5.0

(41.0)

Average rainfall mm (inches) 61.2

(2.41)

50.5

(1.99)

28.1

(1.11)

51.2

(2.02)

78.1

(3.07)

153.0

(6.02)

126.3

(4.97)

126.3

(4.97)

168.8

(6.65)

284.3

(11.19)

130.3

(5.13)

73.1

(2.88)

1,331.2

(52.41)

Average rainy days (≥ 0.1 mm) 7.7 4.4 3.8 3.7 6.5 10.6 9.3 9.6 14.5 15.9 9.5 7.3 102.8
Source: Servicio Meteorológico Nacional

Demographics[]

View from the ferry dock

Historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1995 17,621 —    
2000 43,613 +147.5%
2005 100,383 +130.2%
2010 149,923 +49.4%
2014 186,700 +24.5%
2020 304,942 +63.3%
sources:

Turquoise waters off of Playa del Carmen

Tourism[]

Originally a small fishing town, tourismto Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and a world-famous scuba divingdestination.

Playa del Carmen has recently undergone extremely rapid development with new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues. Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centers on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, which stretches from Calle 1 norte to Calle 40. A pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach, Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars, and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on and just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach.

Playacar is a residential and tourist development in Playa del Carmen just south of the main urban area. Most of the all-inclusive hotels, the aviary, and the golf course are located in this development. There are two phases – phase 1 is mostly residential with a few hotels and some stores, while phase 2 contains the largest all-inclusive resorts as well as the golf course and a significant number of residential properties.


  • Park temático Xcaret

  • Tourists entering Playa del Carmen's ferry terminal

  • Paseo del Carmen shopping center

  • Church in Playa del Carmen

  • Beach in Playa del Carmen

  • Beach in Playa del Carmen

  • Modern church, interior view

Sports[]

The city is home to Inter Playa del Carmen, an association football club founded in 1999, which competes in the south group of the Segunda División Profesional, the third tier of Mexican football league system.

The World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba is a PGA Tour FedEx Cup golf tournament held at El Camaleón Golf Club since 2007. Since 2013, it has been a full-points tournament where the winner earns full rights for a PGA TOUR win.

2022 hotel shooting[]

On January 21, 2022, a tourist opened fire at the Xcaret all-inclusive hotel, killing two Canadians and wounding one other.

In popular culture[]

The telenovela Peregrina takes place in Playa del Carmen. The Real Housewives of Vancouver featured Playa del Carmen in two episodes. The Amazing Race was shot on location in Playa del Carmen. The Celebrity Molewas set in the Playa del Carmen area. UK reality series Geordie Shorefeatured Playa del Carmen. It was also seen in Spies in Disguise.

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