Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen is a bit sleepier than the places we’d typically travel to for a guys’ trip. But Cancun would feel like a re-run, and I associate Cozumel with suffering (for a glimpse of my former life, click here). So since we’d read great things about Playa Del Carmen, we decided to give it a shot.

From Los Angeles (LAX), simply fly direct via United to Cancun (CUN). Then, instead of taking a 30-minute taxi to Cancun, take a 45-minute taxi the other way, to Playa Del Carmen. But instead of taking a taxi, consider booking with Royal Pick Up. Not only was one of their representatives waiting for us when we exited customs, but the eight-passenger SUV was stocked with cold beers, cold water, and a bottle of Herradura Anejo Tequila.


Upon arriving at the Thompson Playa Del Carmen (not the one on the beach), we knew our hotel selection was strong. They pump a fragrance through the vents that feels like the Aria in Las Vegas. And the pool is like a small version of the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore.

Thompson PDC
Photo Credit: Thompson Hotel

And the food was excellent.

During the day, there are lots of options in Playa Del Carmen. A host of excursions exist (check Google or your hotel’s concierge), and there is plenty of beach for those interested in a December tan. We, however, decided to have a look at the Coralina Beach Club.


With beds on the beach, we knew its location was prime. But what surprised us was the quality of the food.

Coralina’s high price tag might not be justified, but its location and lunch menu make it a great place to spend a day.

Evenings in Playa Del Carmen flirt with calm and crazy, depending on what you’re looking for. If you value your eardrums (seriously), consider skipping Mandala, as that is one night club whose speaker volume might be . . . too high.

While kitschy, we did enjoy a lunch at Guy Fieri’s Kitchen + Bar. We went for the live music, but the food and service were great.

Overall, Playa Del Carmen did not disappoint. It was certainly quieter than Cancun, but sometimes tranquility can be nice.


United Airlines 737-800 LAX-CUN First Class
United Airlines 737-900 CUN-LAX First Class

Thompson Playa Del Carmen

Car Service:
Royal Pick Up

Re-entry Hack: If you don’t have Global Entry, download the Mobile Passport app. You can bypass the general line to re-enter the USA and, instead, enter via the Global Entry kiosks.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact me.

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