10 THINGS TO DO ON A SOLO TRIP TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN
THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING YUCATAN PENINSULA
Are you planning a 2 weeks trip to Mexico Yucatan? You are in the right place. I will let you discover my Ultimate Travel Itinerary, the best parts of it, and errors I’ve made and I wish I knew before.
On my two-week trip in Mexico in the Yucatan peninsula, I’ve mostly seen men traveling on their own and only two girls that were each of them traveling solo. The guys traveling alone were mostly Europeans, whilst the women were from Latin America, used to that kind of insecurity.
It’s better to make your research thoroughly before going to Yucatan Peninsula if you want to have a nice vacation.
How many days do I need to explore Yucatan Peninsula?
You will need a minimum of 2 weeks in Yucatan Peninsula, but 3 weeks are recommended to enjoy the pristine white beaches, delve into the Maya history and ruins, dive into the abyss of the blue cenotes and enjoy the exquisite local Mexican food.
What is the best time to visit Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico?
The best time to visit the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is during the dry season. The dry season in Mexico runs from December to April. The weather is at its best, you’ll enjoy clear skies and warm temperatures.
From March, temperatures turn quite hot, therefore sunscreen and water are more than a necessity.
However, it is also the busiest time of year, when accommodation and transportation prices go up. Make sure to book in advance.
From May to June and October to November are the periods less crowded due to rain, especially in the afternoon. You could still enjoy nice weather with fewer tourists around and rates considerably lower.
Pick the right time for you because you will enjoy it either way.
How safe it is to go to Mexico?
The Yucatan peninsula is located on the Mexican Gulf coast and includes 3 Mexican states:
- Yucatan (capital Merida)
- Quintana Roo (capital Chetumal)
- Campeche (capital Campeche)
Most of the resorts and popular beaches, are actually in Quintana Roo. The general public knows the region as Yucatan Peninsula, not the states. The driving distances between the states are also quite important.
Good to Know!
From November to March, the state of Quintana Roo is 1 hour ahead of the Yucatan and Campeche states.
I went from Cancun to Chichen Itza and I was so confused why I had 2 different hours on my two cells when I came back. One I put on airplane mode when I was in Chichen Itza to save battery and the other was connected to the Internet the entire time. At the Hotel I realized that the hours do not match until I put my phone from airplane mode to Wi-Fi.
In terms of safety, there is a big difference between the states also. Yucatan and Campeche provinces are safer, with police, known as Guardia Nacional, driving at a fast pace in their cars with bulletproof vests and high-caliber firearms. At first glance, you could feel alarmed and question what is going on, but bear in mind they are there to protect the tourists. Once I understood that, I felt much more secure and relaxed. Of course, I also took precautions not to go alone during the night, not walking on isolated streets or less safe barios.
In Quintana Roo you will find more corruption and gangs. Be aware of your surroundings and stay in populated areas, securing your belongings at all times. You can still be safe here as well, you don’t have to worry about that. As a Solo traveler, I recommend opting for organized trips where they are in charge of your safety.
Is it safe to drive in Yucatan Peninsula?
You can definitely drive safely and in good conditions in Mexico, especially in Yucatan Peninsula. Just stay out of the roads during the night as much as possible, especially if you go off the beaten path. The roads are in good shape, just be aware of TOPES – speed-reducing road bumps that are quite high and can destroy your car. They are installed to limit the speed and secure the roads, which is a good thing.
If you decide to rent a car to get around, know that Yucatán has restrictions on drinking and driving of 0.08% BAC limit. during the night there is a significant number of state police and even medical personnel, taking breath samples in their quest to keep drunk drivers off the road.
BE AWARE OF SCAMS!
There is a lot of corruption, especially in Quintana Roo, so you will deal with policemen that stop you for no reason, just to get a bribe. They will invent some charges on you, but just stay calm, try to negotiate, or if it doesn’t work try to call someone, a local. They will back off.
At the Gas stations you might be a victim of scams as well, so better watch at all times that the counter is at zero when you start filling your car.
Propina (Tips) – as soon as they see you are a foreigner they will take everything from you. They will impose 20% Propina but know it is not legal to do that.
how to get to PLAYA DEL CARMEN
If you insist on going to Playa del Carmen, then I suggest arriving in the evening from Holbox, spending the night there, and leaving the next day in the evening for Tulum.
HOW TO GET FROM cancun airport TO PLAYA DEL CARMEN
If you arrive by plane, you will mostly land at Cancun Airport (CUN), the 10th busiest airport in the world for international passengers.
Be prepared to stay a long time to pass the border, and have all documents ready, return flight ticket, all the hotel reservations, and your passport. Visa, in case your nationality requires VISA.
If you don’t have internet access, make sure to save screenshots of everything. You don’t need to print them, they do not require it. I showed everything on my phone and everything was just fine.
After passing the border, be aware that they will make a thorough inspection of your luggage inside. Make sure to pack everything very compact, otherwise, you’ll have a hard time putting everything back together. Do not try to take photos or videos of this stage, it is strictly prohibited.
There were a few passengers that brought with them 2 packs of cigarettes, although only one is permitted. They made a scandal in there, but nothing has changed. At the duty-free in Paris they’ve been told they can bring 2 packs per person, but always check the country of destination if they accept as well.
From the airport, the best way is to take the ADO busses from the airport directly to Playa del Carmen. Check the photos above to see the cash desk of ADO buses in Cancun airport, right before exiting the airport.
How to get from Holbox to Playa del Carmen
Getting from Holbox Island to Playa del Carmen is quite easy. You need to take the Ferry from Holbox to Chiquila, from there you have ADO buses that can take you directly to Cancun downtown, Cancun airport, or Playa del Carmen. As I said, their public transportation system is so good that it is very easy to go from one place to another.
When you arrive in the evening in Playa del Carmen, make sure not to stay in a Hotel in the Downtown center, or on the main street. There are so many bars with loud music that you will not sleep at all. If you go to Playa del Carmen forget about sleeping the night off. The city vibrates with American tourists that are there to have fun, loud fun.
As soon as I arrived, I asked myself, where is la Playa in Playa del Carmen? If you go, like me, for la playa (beach) you will be disappointed for sure. If you want to understand all the fuss around Playa del Carmen, imagine it’s Red Light District for Americans in Mexico. It’s a sort of Vegas meets Red Light District in Mexico. Everything is made for Americans which represents 40% of Mexican tourism. And I did not appreciate my time there at all, especially during the night. The bars and clubs are just too much.
From Playa del Carmen, you can visit Isla Cozumel. It’s a wonderful place for snorkeling and diving. Take the ferry from the Embarcadero to Playa del Carmen. You can take your car with you.
THINGS TO DO IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
1. Chill at a Rooftop Pool Bar Hotel
2. Deeepdive in a blue Cenote
3. Xcaret Adventure Park
4. Drink the best Mojito at Bodeguita del Medio – Cuban Bar
5. Day Trip to Cozumel island
6. Frida Kahlo Museum
8. Shopping on Mexican 5th Avenue
9. Alux Cave Restaurant
10. Parasailing Over The Ocean
BONUS: WHERE TO EAT in PLAYA DEL CARMEN
My favorite restaurants iN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
- Choux Choux Cafe
Best place for a royal morning breakfast or late brunch. Everything is so tasty.
- La Bodeguita del Medio
Actually, it is a true Cuban restaurant, but it is the best place to be in Playa del Carmen. Great Mojito, the best I’ve ever had in my life and life Cuban music with people dancing and having fun. Just go there if you are in Playa del Carmen.
- Tropical – Restaurante Mexicano
This is the place to be if you want to eat in a Frida Kahlo be-spoke restaurant with excellent Mexican food. Very big dishes and the fish is incredible.
CHECK OUT THE BEST Playa del Carmen tours
DID YOU FIND THIS ARTICLE USEFUL?
Tell me in the comments section if you’ve been to Mexico and what was your experience. If you are planning to go on solo travel ask me for some useful tips that are not in this article.