Are you looking for unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen? Do you want to discover the city and its culture while going a little off the usual tourist path? You are at the right place! Of course, visiting the beaches the beach clubs in Playa Del Carmen is a must, but there are other exciting ways to discover this amazing and interesting region. Here are 10 unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
1. Try all the street foods
Playa Del Carmen has an amazing street food culture. At night, the city is vibing with street vendors at every corner. If you go a little beyond the touristy restaurants, you will discover far more delicious food bursting with local flavors.
There is so much to try: Elotes, kibis, empanadas, churros, chili mangos, tacos, tortas, tamales, etc.
If you have a sweet tooth, you can easily find deserts like marquesitas, churros and crepes!
If you are trying to find unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen, skip the restaurant one night and simply wander around the street and try all the street food. I promise, you won’t regret it. I also advise you to do that at the beginning of your trip so you can come back for your favorite delicacies!
2. Ride a Colectivo
Riding a colectivo is definitely one of the unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen. Colectivos are small vans that run in the Yucatan area, and they are mostly used by locals. Unlike the usual buses, colectivos leave when it is full (every five or 15 minutes), and the passengers can go out wherever they need to. Sure, it can get pretty hot in those that don’t have AC, and they are often packed, but it’s worth it! I personally think it was a very interesting way to enjoy the local way of living
Moreover, it’s a cheap and fast way to get to Tulum, Akumal or to most of the Cenotes.
3. Swim with the turtles
One of the unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen is to do a half-day trip to Akumal to swim with the turtles. You can venture there on your own, or you can book a tour with a guide. The situation at Akumal beach is a little confusing: Some people say you cannot go on your own and some others say you can. In my experience, you can go snorkel with the turtles on your own, and it is free, but independent snorkelers are limited to the first 150 feet of the shore. Beyond that, it is required to go with a “licensed” guide.
I personally think that it is worth it to pay for a guide to venture a bit off the shore (and you often get to see more turtles) but it is still doable for free!
It is recommended to arrive at Akumal beach around 9AM for a smooth and successful visit.
4. Eat pizza at Don Chendo
This is one of the unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen because you wouldn’t think to eat Pizza on a visit to Mexico! However, Don Chendo makes one of the best Pizza I have ever eaten. I went there three times for the Chicago style pizza, and I was never deceived. Their pizza is delicious and made with fresh and tasty ingredients. The staff is friendly, welcoming and always willing to give local advice if you have questions.
You should reserve your spot in advance as the place is tiny, and it gets very busy every night.
5. Go to XSenses
If you are looking for unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen, you have to go to XSense. The place is hard to describe but basically, XSense is an outdoor amusement park with sense-themed activities & optical illusions. From floating on a mud river to experiencing the planet ecosystem in pitch black darkness, your senses will get challenged. My favorite activity is definitely El Pueblo, a street that gets you very confused. You don’t know if you are going downhill or uphill and the optical illusion is really special!
Visiting XSenses takes half a day, and it is totally worth it! You can take a taxi to get there, or buy a ticket online that includes transport.
6. Ride a scooter around Cozumel Island
We don’t feel the need to rent a scooter or a car when visiting Playa Del Carmen, as it is very easy to travel around. However, if you plan on visiting Cozumel, an island off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, near Playa Del Carmen, you should definitely rent a scooter to drive around the island.
Taxis on Cozumel are crazy expensive anyway, so it’s a good occasion to experience the Mexican roads! We rented a scooter and drove around the island at our rhythm, stopping anytime we wanted to. It’s a very unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen and one of the best easy day trip to take.
7. Volunteer dog walking
Voluntarios Perrunos is a local organization in Playa Del Carmen that shelters rescue dogs. Sometimes, they need volunteers to take the dog on walks and get them out of their cages. If you are an animal lover, it’s a very nice activity and a good way to give back to the community.
8. Take a Mayan Cuisine cooking class
I personally think taking a local cooking class is one of the unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen and in every place I visit! It’s a wonderful way to immerse yourself in the local culture and interact with the people. You also get new cooking skills!
There are a lot of cooking classes in Playal Del Carmen that you can choose from, depeneding on what you would like. I always like to go on Airbnb Experiences to book my classes. There are several to choose from and you can read the reviews, ask questions directly to the host and make a choice.
9. Take a clear boat ride
Taking a boat tour in Playa Del Carmen is not that unique, as almost everyone does it! But what if the boat was totally , I mean, 100% transparent? The regions’s tropical reef attracts divers from all over the world and you will discover why! The clear boats offer incredible views of the reefs and the clear blue water. Some tours even include snorkeling, so you can admire the reefs from the boat and then get wet!
10. Paddleboard at sunrise
I know, paddleboarding is not unique anymore! But paddleboarding at sunrise in Mexico is certainly unique and a lifetime experience. It can be hard to wake up that early, but I promise, it is totally worth the early wake-up call. If it’s your first time paddleboarding, most tour companies will give you a basic crash course so you can enter the water safely.
I hope you found some ideas of unique things to do in Playa Del Carmen! Enjoy!