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Playa del Carmen or Cancun? Why?

Travel Forums North America Playa del Carmen or Cancun? Why?

1. Posted by OxyJen (Budding Member 20 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Hello everyone. I am looking to travel or move to Playa del Carmen or Cancun, Mexico or surrounding areas. I am wondering which location you prefer and why? Im interested in weather, atmosphere, prices, activities, culture, people etc...any help and your opinion would be really appreciated. Thanks!

2. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Just how much time have you spent in Mexico and how much Spanish do you speak?

How do you intend to support yourself?

3. Posted by OxyJen (Budding Member 20 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

Sam, I have lived in Mexico off and on for 11 years. And I am fluent in Spanish. I have money saved and intent on working when I get there and as I continue traveling. Playa, cancun or surrounding advice?

4. Posted by SamSalmon (Respected Member 626 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

You should be on Mexconnect

5. Posted by Calcruzer (Travel Guru 2003 posts) 6y Star this if you like it!

I personally prefer Cancun--mainly because I like to stay at either north-facing beaches where the swimming is great (so I get one on the north side, not the east side--which has too many waves) or I stay out on Isla Mujeres where there is either a west or south-facing beach (also great for swimming). Both of these places give me easy access to the downtown area of Cancun via rental car or the buses (via water ferry if on the island). This area allows me to see some of the real Mexico while also living the Cancun resort life most of the time.

Playa del Carmen is very nice also, but I find that sections of the beach have far more rocks than the two areas of Cancun I mentioned. Playa does have better prices--and the more laid-back attitude at the beach, where topless is completely acceptable than in Cancun (where it is only accepted at about 4 hotels) and where you see all types of groups. Also, its a shorter walk to the main shopping/restaurant district. However, I find Playa del Carmen very small--and therefore the choices somewhat limiting unless you plan to spend quite a bit of time traveling up and down the coast to the other local towns (Playa Aventuras, Akumai (beautiful beaches), Puerto Morelos, Tulum). I do wonder whether Playa will become a real resort or stay mainly as it is. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options.

I'd say that if you want total laid-back then go to Playa del Carmen (or lots of other small beach towns either on the Carribean or on the Pacific Coast (such as Todos Santos in Baja). If you are looking for the resort experience (or something like it) at least part of the time, then go to Cancun (or Acapulco or Puerto Vallarta or Zihuantanejo or Cabo San Lucas).