We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

London, United...
3 posts
Save Topic
Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

Hi,

I'm planning a trip to Mexico with my girlfriend in November and I'm still undecided about whether to stay in Playa Del Carmen or Cancun. We're not the all inclusive type and we hope to explore the ruins in Tulum and Chitchen Itza.

I have read a few articles which speak highly of Playa Del Carmen, do these seem fair?

stayplaya.com/travel-guide/playa-vs-cancun-w…

crazysexyfuntraveler.com/playa-del-carmen-ca…

…usatoday.com/cancun-vs-playa-del-carmen-178…

Can anyone offer some advice please?

Thanks for your help :)

Louisville
Level Contributor
3,115 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

"Stay Playa.com/travel...........

I guess consider the fact that the web page is all about staying in Playa.

Yes Cancun is larger than Playa, but it does have a great entertainment zone so the Vibe is good in Cancun. Nothing wrong with Cancun Location. The ruins are a few hours away, Isla Mujeres is only a short bus ride and a ferry to this Unique / truly Mexican town and a trip there is recommended by everyone. It's closer to the airport than playa, it has a ton of stuff to do (same things to do as in Playa). If you want the Mexican feel in Cancun take the Taxi to the downtown area / markets. Ask or google authentic restaurants in Cancun to get some good food or get a feel for the culture.

The Beach (5)

They talk about the resorts controlling the beach, but in playa it's a short walk or taxi to the beach. No way would I go to Cancun or Playa and not get accommodations on the beach. Both have great beaches, But I love the water better in Cancun. It has much larger waves if you want to boogie board or body surf.

Walk Everywhere (6)

Getting a taxi in Cancun is not the only way to get around. The bus system is great and it's only a $1 per person and you can go anywhere in Cancun. Want to go to a great restaurant take the bus $1 there, $1 back. Want to go to one of their great malls take the bus if it's not within walking distance.

Accommodation (8)

Go to Redweek.com or Tug2.net and rent a 1 or 2 bdrm condo right on the beach.

Safety (9)

We walk to a few of our favorite restaurants and was never uncomfortable doing so. We catch the bus to the entertainment zone and walk around there, no problems and it is active. Cancun and Playa are both safe.

Getting to Playa is Cheap and Easy (10)

Then getting to Cancun is cheaper and easier. Cancun is about 20 minutes, Playa is about 45 minutes from the airport. No matter how you cut it Playa is twice as expensive to get there and get back to the airport. But don't let that be the determining factor in where you stay. But you will have a longer drive back to the airport when you leave. You can go to either without renting a car because the bus system in Cancun is to easy, cheap and you won't wait more than 2 minutes for a bus. Or get a taxi. If you do decide to rent a car make sure you get the TOTAL cost when you reserve (rental cost, taxes, fees, and add on's). Plus there is the cost of gas. We have been going every year since 2005 to both Playa and Cancun and never rented a car.

You really can't go wrong with vacationing in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen they are both great.

California
Level Contributor
444 posts
40 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

My husband and I have stayed in Cancun once and it will be our 6th time to Playa in July. Cancun has the big city feel with some amazing beaches, Playa is more of a small town feel with beautiful beaches too.

We love Playa but we always stay at an all inclusive so not sure about other accomindations in that area. Our resort is always right on the beach, which are amazing.

Tulum is a lot closer to the Playa area along with Coba, another amazing ruin to visit. Chichen Itza is about a two hour ride(?) from both Playa and Cancun. Cozumel is easy to get to from Playa, ferry is in the downtown area. We love visiting Cozumel when we are there.

The taxi ride is a little longer but it's about a 20 minute difference so no big deal to us.

Have fun it what ever place you choose, both are beautiful areas. Enjoy.

Conception Bay...
Level Contributor
120 posts
8 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

I found Playa to be more relaxed and not as in your face. I'd go back tomorrow. I'd be content to not go back to Cancun again. Just not my style.

Grand Island...
1 post
Save Reply
4. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

Playa... If you want a boutique hotel try Al Cielo, or if budget is no concern Esencia south of Playa. We have stayed at La Tortuga, downtown Playa as well and had a good experience.

Calgary, Canada
Level Contributor
61 posts
26 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

I will agree with everyone on here except for the first post... Stayed in Cancun once..never again. I could just go somewhere in the US for that experience. I suppose it depends on your age but Playa anytime hands down.

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
45,074 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

I first went to both places over 30 years ago. I liked Cancun at the start. Had a condo there for a number of years. But that was sometime ago. No longer a huge fan of either but given a choice between the two, Playa wins hands down. In my opinion, the best thing about Playa is that so much is within easy walking range. A big plus in my book. The Cancun bus system is ok but below the standard of many large Mexican cities. And really, if I want to get a Mexican feel, I don´t want to get on an often crowded bus to do it.

As far as transportation costs to either, not a lot of difference from the airport. At least no enough to influence a decision.

Both have their fans. But to me, it would be a no brainer---it would be Playa.

London, United...
3 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your responses.

Cancun sounds good as a bigger option but we're leaning more towards Playa, we are more into the small town laid back vibe. Would it be possible to get around on bicycle in Playa and is there anywhere where we can rent them?

Glocker, thanks for your suggestion, Esencia looks great but it's a bit out of our budget. I've been looking at booking at La Tortuga or La Pasion Hotel Boutique. La Pasion is a bit more expensive but it get excellent reviews, have you heard of it? Either way they are both very well priced for a weeks stay. Did you use the spa fascilities at La Tortuga, we definitely looking to relax and unwind?

We are so excited for our holiday, it's been a long time!

Thanks again everyone :)

London, United...
3 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

Hi Everyone,

Thank you for your responses.

Cancun sounds good as a bigger option but we're leaning more towards Playa, we are more into the small town laid back vibe. Would it be possible to get around on bicycle in Playa and is there anywhere where we can rent them?

Glocker, thanks for your suggestion, Esencia looks great but it's a bit out of our budget. I've been looking at booking at La Tortuga or La Pasion Hotel Boutique. La Pasion is a bit more expensive but it get excellent reviews, have you heard of it? Either way they are both very well priced for a weeks stay. Did you use the spa fascilities at La Tortuga, we definitely looking to relax and unwind?

We are so excited for our holiday, it's been a long time!

Thanks again everyone :)

Cozumel, Mexico
Destination Expert
for Cozumel, Merida
Level Contributor
45,074 posts
142 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

To me, Playa does not really have a small town vibe but totally different from Cancun. The last census, a few years ago, put it at 150,000 population but now must be closer to 200,000. With the traffic there, I would not want to be riding a bicycle. It would be possible if you stayed in the confines of Playacar, in my opinion.

Savannah,GA
Destination Expert
for Savannah
Level Contributor
4,352 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Playa Del Carmen VS Cancun?

Cancun has wider beaches, bluer water, more ocean front rooms with balconies, more night clubs, more things to do in general. If you drink at all go A-I. Drinks in some hotels will cost $15.00 US. & up The convenience of AI changes your entire stay, no looking for breakfast $15 to $20 PP at your hotel. Do you really want to go look for a restaurant after a full day exploring or being at the beach ? Try & include Ek Balam in you trip to Chichen Itza.