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Should you go to Cancún or Playa Del Carmen 

How do you decide where to go and why is this decision so hard?  To visit Cancún or Playa Del Carmen?  Which is better Playa Del Carmen or Cancún?   We have the answer and actually, it is an easy decision.


The fabulous Cancún is a Mexican city on the Yucatán Peninsula.  This Holiday Mecca along the Caribbean Sea is known for its nightlife, iconic beaches, and fabulous resorts.  Especially Zona Hotelera, a “hotel zone” along the beach, which is a popular stop with its nightclubs, shops, and restaurants.

Cancun or Playa del Carmen
Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen Mexico

Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town in Mexico.  It is situated along the Yucatán Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip along the Caribbean Sea coast. Known for its beaches and coral reefs as well as the famous Quinta Avenida pedestrian thoroughfare with shops, restaurants, and nightspots.

Playa del Carmen vs Cancún

In summary; Playa del Carmen has more of a beach town feel, and is much closer to everything, while Cancún is a city composed of 2 distinct areas: the more traditional downtown area, El Centro, and Zona Hotelera, a long, beachfront strip of high-rise hotels, nightclubs, shops, and restaurants.

The best time to visit

The best time to visit Cancún is actually any time of the year and naturally, it is the same for Playa Del Carmen. 

Statistics from the last 30 years for Cancún show an average daytime max temperature of 26° degrees to 31° degrees during the whole year with May to September being the hottest months.  Sea temperatures range between 27° degrees and 33° degrees, which makes it the perfect place to be during those hot sunny days.

Cancun vs Playa del Carmen

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Cancun or Playa Del Carmen Mexico

The big question:

Cancún vs Playa Del Carmen

Which is best: Cancún or Playa Del Carmen?  The answer is easy:  You can do both! 

It is only a 1 hr 25 min (68,2 km) car trip from Playa del Carmen to Cancún (via Carr. Tulum – Cancún/México 307).  The biggest decision would be where to stay.  Cancún is a bit more “upmarket” with big hotels and Playa Del Carmen has a certain town feeling and charm about it.

Playa del Carmen vs Cancun

A few things to do while in Cancún and Playa Del Carmen

Cancún Underwater Museum with its statues.

Attend a music and dance show at Xcaret Park.  A privately-owned theme park and resort.

Go swimming at the natural rock pools of Cenote Cristalino

Learn more about the life of Frida Kahlo @ the Museo Frida Kahlo Playa Del Carmen

Visit Playa Del Carmen with its Fifth Avenue promenade for some shopping and souvenirs.

Watersport, like diving, snorkeling, fishing, and boat rides.

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Nearest Airport to Cancún, Mexico. 

The closest airport to Cancún is Cancún International Airport (CUN).

Bring Mexico holidays to your home:  Make your own Quesadillas

Where to stay

Deciding where to stay, is a personal decision.  Here are the most popular places in both, with ratings from guests, to make it easier for you to decide.

Accommodation in Cancún

Superb Beachfront Accommodation - Cancun

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Accommodation in Playa Del Carmen

Superb Beachfront Accommodation - Playa Del Carmen

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