Playa del Carmen Walking Tour
Our free self-guided walking tour of Playa del Carmen includes a map and suggestions for where to eat, drink, shop, walk on the beach, and view great art. Many people travel to the Riviera Maya and never venture into the colorful port city of Playa del Carmen, Mexico. We recommend all travelers who visit the area spend at least one day here. Walking the city's colorful 5th Avenue is one of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen.
Our map and guide will allow you to walk Playa del Carmen with confidence. Quinta Avenue (aka 5th Avenue) is a pedestrianized street that serves as the town’s main street. Using this people-only boulevard as a base, our trek shoots off the main thoroughfare to different sites. Along the route, we highlight art galleries, stores, restaurants, and other points of interest we think you will enjoy. If you are looking for what to do in Playa del Carmen, try our route.
Playa del Carmen Downtown and Beach
Downtown Playa del Carmen is fun to visit in the day or at night. During the day tourists haggle for brightly decorated souvenirs, and shop for tequila, textiles, jewelry, and fashion. At night the partygoers are out in full force as the town’s many restaurants and nightclubs come to life.
One block over from 5th Avenue, the beach has a whole other energy. Less frenetic, but no less lively, the seashore is packed from mid-morning until well past midnight. As some show their skills on the water, others are content to sip and sunbathe.
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Our Playa del Carmen walk will help you see it all. Here are the specifics:
Walk Length: The route is 4.35-miles (7 km); without stopping the walk will likely take about 1 hour, 15 minutes. Stopping to see the sights, eat, drink, and shop – plan for around 4 hours.
Transportation to Playa del Carmen: Many area resorts offer shuttles to Playa del Carmen. If your accommodations do not, look online at the Collectivo Shuttle schedule for a stop near you. As a last resort, have your concierge arrange for a taxi. TIP: Always make sure the taxi you take is licensed, and agree on a price before transport (tip around 15%).
Is Playa del Carmen Safe: In Playa del Carmen the main tourist areas are; 1) the beach, 2) 5th Avenue, and 3) the blocks immediately adjacent to 5th Avenue. These areas are generally well-lit, well-populated, and patrolled. Take extra care when venturing past these points, especially after dark. For more information on keeping safe read our Playa del Carmen Travel Guide.
Playa del Carmen Walking Tour Map
Self-Guided Walking Tour Playa del Carmen: Route
Stop 1. La Vagabunda 38 Restaurant (Address: Calle 38 esquina con Calle Flamingo Local 1, Centro, 77710 PDC). Start your walk on the street some call the most beautiful in Playa del Carmen. Locate the restaurant, and then walk up 38th Street admiring the gorgeous foliage that envelopes the neighborhood. Peruse the eateries and pick out a restaurant for dinner later in the week. If you don’t like the nightclub scene, come here instead for great food and dancing in the street.
Stop 2. Sol Jaguar (Address: Avenida 5 Norte Entre calles 38 y 40, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 PDC). When you reach 5th Avenue, look to the right and find Sol Jaguar. Step inside to see beautiful wall art, home textiles, linens, sculptures, and wood carvings for sale.
Stop 3. Senor Frogs Mexican Fiesta and Official Store (Address: Quinta Avenida 5, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 PDC). Walk south on 5th Avenue until reaching Senor Frogs. The fun tourist watering hole is always busy. The gift shop has a nice selection of gifts for young adults.
Stop 4: La Fuente Maya Sculptures (Quinta Avenida, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77720 PDC). A block or so after Senor Frog’s, you will run into Avenue Constituyentes. Cross the double-wide road at the roundabout and look for the La Fuente Maya Sculptures (next to a busy taxi stand). Take a photo and take care not to get hit by a car.
Stop 5: Quinta Alegria Mall (Address: Quinta Avenida S/N Esquina con, Av. Constituyentes, Centro, 77710, PDC). If the weather is especially hot and humid, take some time at this next stop. There is an entrance to the mall on 5th Avenue, or you can walk around the block to the main entrance on 10th Avenida. This 2-story high-end shopping venue is cool, relaxing, and full of finds.
Stop 6: Porto Playa Condo Hotel (Address: 1 Avenida Norte & Calle 16 Norte Bis. Gonzaol Guerrero, 77710 PDC). Back out on 5th Avenue, walk south until taking a short detour onto Calle 16 (toward the beach). When you find the hotel, walk around the outside of it until you spot the leopard mural adorning the street. Spectacular.
Stop 7: Coco Bongo Show and Disco (Address: Calle 12 Norte, esquina con Av. 10 Norte, Col. Centro, Gonzalo Guerrero, 77710 PDC). Find your way back to 5th Avenue and walk until reaching Calle 12. At Porfirio’s Contemporary Mexican Kitchen stop for a bite to eat. Then, take a right and walk inland until reaching Coco Bongo’s. The popular entertainment venue features nightly music and shows. The businesses along Calle 12 cater to the area's vibrant nightlife.
Stop 8: Mueso Frida Kahlo (Calle 8 entre 5ta Avenida y el Mar, Centro, 77710 PDC QR, Mexico). Returning to 5th Avenue walk until you reach Calle 8. On the corner, locate the a small museum dedicated to the work of Frida Kahlo. If you have an interest in the artist, for a small admission fee see interactive exhibits, sculptures, and collages honoring her work.
Stop 9. Plaza Jardin de Marieta (Quinta Avenida 173, Solidaridad, 77710 PDC). Right down the road from the Kahlo museum, find the Plaza Jardin de Marieta. Walk down the colorful alley to discover over 40 galleries displaying wares, including the Gaston Charo Fine Arts Gallery. Don’t miss this stop.
Stop 10. Parque Los Fundadores (Av Benito Juarez, Centro, 77710 PDC). Continue down 5th Avenue until reaching Fundadores Park. Plan to spend 30-45 minutes exploring this area. If the Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church (Chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel) is open, step inside the pretty little church.
From the church, wander the park. Throughout the day you are apt to see various street performers and dance groups, some in ethnic dress, swirling on different platforms. There is a playground for children. Shops selling Mexican handicrafts surround the venue, and along one edge there are carts with local women selling fresh fruit cups and other snacks.
By the edge of the water near the famous Portal Maya sculpture, there is a 30-meter pole where the Papantla Pole Flyers perform an ancient ritual dance. In the distance is the Ultramar Ferry zipping back and forth to Cozumel. In front of it all, the white sand and the blue-green water of the Mexican Caribbean Sea shimmers.
Stop 11. Muelle Constituyentes (Av. Constituyntes, 77710 PDC). When you tire of watching the beach volleyball and mariachis at Fundadores Beach, you can walk back to the Quinta Alegria Mall via 5th Avenue, or begin a trek along the beach to the Muelle Constituyentes (Constitution Dock).
If you take the beach, you will pass beach clubs, bars, diving shops, fishing boats, jet ski rentals, and all manner of humans in a dressed (and undressed) state. If it is high tide you may have to cut up a side street (or take off your sneakers and get your feet wet). After arriving at Constitution Dock, take Constituyentes Avenida inland until you reach 5th Avenue. The Quinta Alegria Mall will be across the street (this is a good place to meet your shuttle or cab).
Disfruta tu paseo! (Enjoy your walk) Laura and Randy
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