Playa del Carmen, Mexico

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Living Or Retiring In Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Reviewed by Lief Simon

Lief Simon is the managing editor of Global Property Advisor, Simon Letter, and Offshore Living Letter. He has purchased more than 45 properties, investing in 23 different countries around the world.

Aerial of Playa del Carmen town skyline surrounded by a sandy beach and the sea
AdobeStock/Artur Niedzwiedz/Wirestock Creators

Playa del Carmen is a small beach town about an hour south of Cancún.

As a result, it’s become a popular vacation destination for Europeans and North Americans. You’ll also find a growing expat community here––North American, Europeans, Argentinians, Canadians, Venezuelans, and more.

This growth in popularity brought luxury residential buildings, restaurants, boutiques, and entertainment venues.

An attractive aspect to Playa del Carmen, besides the natural beauty, is the fact that foreigners can work there. So if you’re not looking to retire yet, this destination is worth looking into.

Nearly everyone in Playa seems to speak English. Locals are so used to speaking English with tourists that they automatically reply in English. And, if you feel you may never master a second language, Playa is a good option for you.

You could easily get by here in English. If you do want to try your hand at Spanish, though, locals are patient and eager to help.

Climate In Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has warm, tropical weather year-round.

The dry season runs from November to February. From March to May, temperatures gradually rise as the rainy season approaches. The rainy season runs from June to October.

Temperatures usually stay in the mid-70s during the day, and humidity is low. Nights are cooler, but it usually doesn’t get below 60°F. However, the breeze that comes in from the shore and keeps you cool during the day can feel quite chilly once the sun goes down.

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What Is Life In Playa Del Carmen Like?

Expats in Playa del Carmen own and operate bars, teach English, teach at or run schools, manage real estate offices, and more.

Some expats have chosen to raise their families here. The international school was founded by expats who recognized that they and other expat parents needed a good option for education.

In this town, you will see tourists and residents of all ethnicities and that represent all part of society. You’ll come across young couples and retired couples, families, students, and it’s a welcoming destination for the LGBTQ community.

With such a large group of expats and tourists, English is widely spoken. You’ll have no problem getting by if you don’t speak Spanish.

Another charming aspect of Playa del Carmen is that you can get pretty much anything you’d have gotten back home. This town has 12 supermarkets and 2 Walmarts.

In short, the overall feel of Playa del Carmen is French Quarter New Orleans meets South Beach Miami.

During the day, this city on the beach has a laid-back, carefree vibe. At the open-air bars and restaurants that line Playa’s 5th Avenue you see folks enjoying cocktails and lively conversation.

Then you’ve got people lazing in cabana beds at the exclusive beach clubs at the super-lux oceanfront boutique hotels.

However, Mexico’s Playa del Carmen is not just for couples looking for a romantic getaway or spring-breakers looking to party the night away. This Riviera Maya town has taken the Vegas approach to development.

Playa has diversified its tourist attractions to include more kid-friendly activities in an effort to draw in the family-vacationer demo. Playa is minutes from several eco-theme parks, including Xel-Ha and Xcaret, and it’s home to the largest 3D museum in the world.

Plus, this coast also boasts the only Cirque Du Soleil theater in Latin America.

Go to Playa del Carmen!

This is a great destination for anyone looking to become part of a vibrant and active beachside community, with an added bonus of a low cost of living.

Mexico is close enough to the States that things feel familiar, resulting in a relatively easy transition.

Once a sleepy fishing town, Playa del Carmen’s port was inadvertently put on the map by Jacques Cousteau in 1954 when he filmed an underwater documentary of the Great Mayan Reef just offshore of Cozumel Island—which lies about 12 miles offshore of Playa del Carmen.

Real Estate

Owning a short-term rental anywhere in Playa del Carmen would result in a good, steady yield. The closer to the beachfront, the more it would earn. However, a mid-range apartment farther out of the town’s center (closer to the highway) would still earn a decent amount.

Playa Del Carmen - FAQs

What Is The Difference Between Cancún And Playa Del Carmen?

Both Cancún and Playa del Carmen are located in the northern part of Quintana Roo. Both are sunny locations and a 50 minute car-drive separates Playa del Carmen from Cancún.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Playa Del Carmen?

The best time to visit Mexico’s Playa del Carmen is during September thru November. Basically, it is less crowded if you want to visit the tourist attractions and be part of its active beachside community.

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Is Mexico Your Dream Destination?


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