10 things you should know before traveling to Playa del Carmen | LDS Tours Cancun
Playa del Carmen is one of the favorite destinations for tourists, especially for those who are seeking to enjoy a swim in the turquoise waters, walk the famous 5th Avenue (yes, Playa del Carmen’s most popular and colorful avenue), or simply relax by the beach. Playa del Carmen used to be a small fishing village. Over the years, this “fishing village” has been shifting into a more cosmopolitan city thanks to the cultural diversity of its residents, the developing scene of high-end restaurants, hotel boutiques, and of course, shopping areas.
Planning a trip to Playa del Carmen may seem simple, but there are a lot of things to consider in addition to booking a flight.
If you want to have a less stressful and more fun vacation, here is a list of ten tips on how to prepare for your Playa del Carmen trip.
1.- Hotel, Airbnb, condo.
What experience do you want when visiting Playa del Carmen? What do you expect from the place you’ll be staying in? These questions may help you decide where you want to stay when planning your trip. Playa del Carmen is known for having a wide variety of “All-inclusive Resorts,” but you can also find more affordable accommodations.
You should consider:
- Hotel Location
- All-inclusive or breakfast only
- Hotel Size
- Family-friendly or adults-only
- On-site activities
- Things to do in the area
If you are traveling with young kids or teenagers and you plan to spend most days at the resort enjoying endless buffets and soaking in as much time on the beach, and you might only leave one day on a tour with Alma’s LDS Tours, then perhaps an All-inclusive is what you are looking for. If you have plans for every day of your vacation, and you are on a tight schedule, then perhaps an Airbnb or a Condo hotel is what you need. Airbnbs or Condohotels are usually centrally located and within walking distance from most tourist attractions such as the 5th Ave and most restaurants. If you don’t want to pay all-inclusive and prefer paying your meals as you go, Playa del Carmen has a wide range of hotels in great locations that offer different types of meal plans that can be a lot more affordable.
When in doubt, you can contact us at (801) 415-5136. Our staff will be more than happy to assist you with recommendations.
If you are not staying in an “All-inclusive” hotel, there’s a chance you might need to do a little shopping. Whether it is sunscreen, groceries, or souvenirs, there are different options to find a supermarket.
Here is a list of the supermarkets you can go to:
- Sam’s club
One good thing about supermarkets in Playa Del Carmen is that they will accept dollars, as well as credit and debit cards. If you are choosing to pay with your card, remember to notify your bank before leaving your country; this will allow you to make your purchases without worrying later.
Most cashiers will accept a maximum of $250 USD at a time per purchase. They will give a maximum of a thousand pesos in exchange, meaning that if you buy a $20 USD worth of shopping, you can’t be paying with a $100 US dollar bill, because your change will be exceeding the limit of a thousand pesos.
In case you need cash, there are also ATM’s in front of the checkout section.
One more thing, since most of the supermarkets are now transitioning to a plastic-free, you can take your bag or get a reusable one in the store.
Need to do a quick grocery run? Add a stop to Walmart to your airport shuttle with Alma’s LDS Tours! Click here to book your shuttle.
If you are staying in the downtown area, the best way to get around Playa del Carmen is on foot, but in case you are a little further than that, there are more options available.
Private shuttle provided by Alma’s LDS Tours
Alma’s LDS Tours is your best option if what you need is a shuttle from your hotel to the airport, or even to the city.
Whether you’re a single traveler, a couple or a large family, our private shuttle services will make your vacation much easier. Forget having to wait extra time at the airport for other people to fill up the shuttle, our services are completely private and fully insured, meaning direct service with no other passengers except for those in your party, firm guaranteeing 100% satisfaction 24/7. All of our experienced drivers are honest, reliable and fluent English speakers. With Alma LDS Shuttle Co., there is never any waiting time or long lines, and the vehicles depart immediately after your arrival.
Forgot to schedule a return shuttle to the Cancun airport? Or do you need to transfer to another hotel in the Riviera Maya or Cancun? We can help you! We offer 24/7 private shuttle and transfer services all year round, even late at night! You can count on us!
Make your reservation and pay online beforehand with major credit cards! Click here to book your shuttle
The city is very easy to understand for those who decide to rent a car, but it isn’t necessary unless you are planning to explore beyond the downtown area. However, rental agencies are mainly located near the 5th Ave. You’ll be required to present your driver’s license and a credit card to pay a deposit and insurance. Make sure to read your contract thoroughly.
There are two types of Taxis, street cabs, and the stationed ones. In Playa del Carmen, taxis have a fixed rate that by law, they are not allowed to change. So, how do you know how much to pay? This one can be tricky, but if you take one of the street cabs, you’ll spend an average of $2-$5 USD within the downtown area. However, taxis from your hotel may have a different fare, so we suggest you verify that information with the receptionist of your hotel.
Remember to confirm the fare price with the driver before entering the cab.
4.-Restaurants vs. Local food
There are many great and delicious places to eat, in fact, Playa del Carmen, maybe heaven for foodies.
One big misconception about Mexico is that all you can find to eat is tacos. Little do people know is that in Playa del Carmen, you can find Asian food, Italian food, high-end Steakhouses, and excellent Mexican cuisine.
If what you are looking for is a more local experience, then don’t forget to try traditional meals, such as Panuchos, Salbutes, Machacados, and Marquesita. You’ll thank us later!
Every time you prepare to eat out, seek for the best and worst reviews, payment methods accepted, tipping, and exchange rate. Always ask for your receipt.
5.- Cash or credit card?
One good thing about being in a tourist area is that you’ll be allowed to use U.S. Dollars in most of the stores in the city, although Mexican Peso is the national currency.
In case you want to pay with Mexican pesos, we advise you to withdraw money from a local ATM such as ScotiaBank, HSBC, Banamex, or Santander, most of them are easily found at the checkout section in the Supermarkets. Still, our best recommendation is to use CiBanco, this bank charges less fee per withdrawal. There are a few ATMs located near the 5th Ave.
Please, please, avoid the no-name ATMs, they are everywhere, and they look suspicious, so if we don’t trust them, then you shouldn’t either.
When using your card, some stores may ask you for an I.D. to ensure the credit/debit card is yours and verify your identity.
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Playa del Carmen, whereas American Express or Discover are not so easy to use.
To avoid what may seem “fraudulent” activity, please notify your bank before leaving home that you will be traveling to Mexico as they may freeze your card. Another thing is that some banks are now starting to charge fees for international transactions, so make sure to check with your bank and see if that fee applies to your card.
6.- Personal belongings
Let’s talk about your personal belongings. I know some of you are questioning yourselves whether to take your passport on your day trip or not, and others might be concerned about looking fancy wearing that big diamond on their honeymoon. But hey! You are on vacation! You are most likely going to the beach or the pool every day, so why risk it. If possible, don’t carry valuable items everywhere you go, but if you decide to do it, stay alert of your personal belongings.
7.- 5th Avenue
It is no secret that the 5th Avenue is the heart of Playa del Carmen. Here you can find restaurants, hotel boutiques, shopping areas, arts and handicrafts, and even Mayan dancers. The 5th Ave is likely to be crowded, no matter the time of the day, but if you were to adventure yourself to walk this famous strip, we suggest you do it around 6 pm-8 pm. That is the time when it is less hot, less humid, and it is actually more enjoyable.
Some attractions you can find when walking through the strip are Parque Fundadores, where you’ll find beach access, kids’ playground, and the famous Papantla dancers.
Calle Corazon is also famous for its recently opened food court area and the aquarium.
Paseo del Carmen, as well as Quinta Alegria, are two shopping malls that you’ll find on 5th Ave too. If you want to please your taste buds, do yourself a favor and go to Aldo’s Gelato, they’re delicious.
Playa del Carmen is a year-round warm weather spot. The average weather is about 27 degrees Celsius or about 80 degrees Fahrenheit during the day, which makes it enjoyable. Don’t worry too much about the weather, and if you see a cloudy day coming, it is most likely to go away within an hour. Most of the rain Playa del Carmen gets, goes as quickly as it comes.
How to give directions to your Taxi Driver
Most taxi drivers are already familiar with the “Mormon Church” in Playa del Carmen. So usually, you simply have to tell them to take you to the “Mormon Church” or “Iglesia Mormona”; which is how you say it in Spanish. If he requires more directions, tell him the Church is located on THE 307 HIGHWAY NEXT TO OFFICE DEPOT. The address is 50 AVE. NORTH BETWEEN 6 S.T. AND 8 ST. COLONIA CENTRO.
Estimated Taxi Fares to the LDS Chappel in Playa del Carmen
- 4 Passenger Taxi Fare: $15-$25 U.S. (One-Way)
- 5-8 Passenger Taxi-Fares: $30-$50 U.S. (One-Way)
Ask us for how to get transported to and from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints meetings on Sunday for FREE! To be eligible for this service free of charge, we require you to book at least two tours in advance. Click here to book your shuttle.
10.- Book your tours in advance
Booking your tours in advance has a lot of advantages. Not only gives you something to look forward but also helps you avoid the stress of booking last minute.
Did you know that Alma’s LDS Tours is a locally based company? Alma’s LDS Tours is a family-owned company with over 30 years of experience. Our tour guides are certified and amazingly fun to meet. Our tours share an LDS perspective and the correlation between the Book of Mormon and the Mayan ruins.
Alma’s LDS Tours offers a great variety of tours where you can keep learning more about the history of this and more Mayan culture.
Here is a list of our most popular tours:
- Chichen Itza by Airplane from Cozumel Tour
- LDS Tour F. Chichen Itza Ruins and Cenote
- LDS Tour 3 . Chichen Itza, Ek Balam Ruins and Cenote Ik Kil
We’d love to help plan your next trip to Playa del Carmen.