This Travel Writer’s Guide To Playa Del Carmen focuses on a guide to travel with the specific needs of a writer in mind. A traveling writer needs to know the history, where to find inspiration, a great place to write, and a great place to lay their head. That way all your energy can funnel into creating!
Playa del Carmen dates back to the pre-Columbian Mayan civilization. It was named “Xaman-Ha”, which means “waters of the north.” and was a stepping stone along the path to Cozumel which was considered by the Mayans to be a sacred island.
What was once Xaman-Ha was a religious center and trade route during the A.D. 1000 – 1500 when the Mayan culture was at its peak. The Mayan civilization created architectural and cultural splendors at that time however eventually wars and natural disasters diminished its population and influence.
The most inspiration you might find in Playa del Carmen is simply spending time there. Walking to get a coffee, exploring the nightlife, and people watching. The city is filled with a mixture of locals, colorful characters, and tourists. Here’s a list of particularly inspiring locations:
1. Chichen Itza
This site is two hours from Playa del Carmen by bus or car. Chichen Itza is what remains of the Mayan city from centuries ago.
This restaurant has an ornate yet relaxed vibe where you could lose time
For a gritty and off the grid feel, check out this club or any in the area on any given night
It isn’t hard to find a writing place in Playa del Carmen as it has drawn a large crowd of digital nomads. Aside from this list of places you might choose accommodations that are conducive to writing. The city is not expensive so it would not be hard to find a larger place with space for writing.
Nice working cafe with comfortable furniture and decor
2. Basic Foodie
A comfortable cafe with indoor and outdoor seating frequented by digital nomads
3. Bajo Café
A casual cafe with many outlets to plug in and comfortable seats with indoor and outdoor seating
A relaxed cafe located north of the more touristy area of fifth avenue, with many outlets for plugging in your devices
5. Papa Charly
Casual but aesthetic cafe frequented by digital nomads
6. Ojo de Agua
A higher-end cafe with reliable wifi
Where to stay: As in Tulum and other areas in Mexico, Playa del Carmen is safe for tourists however it is still a dangerous area. In fact, recently Mexico has become more dangerous. Be careful not to wander away from the tourist areas. Staying near 5th ave will afford you close proximity to all of the restaurants, nightlife, and beach restaurants. You won’t need a car as everything is accessible by walking and there are taxis available in the tourist areas.
For a hotel that feels like an apartment we highly recommend Singular Joy. The apartments have plenty of space and the upstairs has rooftop pools, a bar, and a lot of comfortable seating for doing work.
Getting around: There are many cabs in the area however everything is very close by and walkable. There is almost no need to venture too far away from where you’re staying. Even the nightlife is all concentrated into one area.
When to go: The best time to visit Playa del Carmen is between April and May. There are fewer crowds and the temperature is warm without being overly hot like in the summer months.