Rethink some of the all inclusives (AI's) when staying in Playa del Carmen. Many of these resorts are starting to really overprice their vacation stays, and I have found that the service, food and other items are really starting to suffer a bit too. About 5 years ago I stayed for the first time at a RIU AI property and it was great (went again about 4 years too). Also stayed at the Royal Porto about 2 years ago. Excellent, great foods and the staff was superb. After that our experiences have really gone downhill and so for our 3 trips a year to Playa we decided to Rent condos instead of going to the AIs.
All I can say is what a difference. 99 percent of the condos in the city have pools, gyms, concierge services, and they are all usually very close to restaurants, bars. The savings between a resort (like the RIU)was huge. A 4 person stay for a week at the RIU was $4000-$4500 while a condo rental for 4 was only $1300. We went out for dinners every night and didn't even come close to spending thousands of dollars. Some like the "free cocktails" at AI's, but they are watered down and use cheap products. If you stay in a condo you'll have a fridge and can buy your own beer for dollars.
Most condos are affordable and at the beach, so it's not like you'll be on the other side of the highway.
Next stay is once again at a condo, as we get all the services of a hotel, but over half the price. Saving all that money allows for us to go out to the best restaurants, snorkel, play golf and have a great time.