Getting to Playa del carmen : The ADO bus is a fast and cost effective way to travel from Cancun to PDC. The ride is only an hour long and costs 65 pesos each way. View the ADO schedule here . Plan to arrive to PDC around 8 a.m. and explore the beach right outside of the terminal and some of the surrounding shops on 5th avenue.
Cenote Azul : Next, take a collectivos for 40 pesos and head North to Cenote Azul. Tell the driver where you are going and they will inform you when your stop is approaching. You will literally get dropped off on the side of the road but do not panic, a 30 second walk will land you right at the entrance (the entrance fee is 30 pesos). It gets pretty packed in the afternoon so come as early as possible. This cenote has a natural partition separating it into 2 sides. Enjoy cliff diving and swimming on one side and snorkeling and an au natural fish pedicure on the other!
Cenote Jardin del Eden: What’s next? Well, head to Cenote Jardein del Eden which is only a 5 minute walk south. Pay the 100 pesos entrance fee to the guard and embark on a 15-20 minute stroll until you reach the actual cenote. I recommend packing your lunch as there are not many options for food and all the swimming and walking will definitely leave you hungry. Cenote Jardin del Eden was much larger that cenote Azul which resulted in a pleasant opportunity to find a spot all to myself to enjoy lunch while relaxing and taking in the views.
Akumal Beach: After Cenote Jardin cross the street (so you are heading in the opposite direction) and hop on the collectivos for 20 pesos to Akumal Beach! What’s so special about this beach you may ask, well… you get to swim with sea turtles!!! How cool! The beach is a 7 minute walk from where the collectivos drops you off. Don’t be afraid to ask a local to make sure you are heading in the right direction, everyone was very helpful and you should have no problems at all. Upon arriving you’ll be approached by different agencies offering snorkel equipment and a private guide to go swim with the sea turtles. I was able to bargain the price down from 30 USD to 20 USD. What a steal considering the sea turtle tours to Akumal from PDC typically cost 80 – 100 USD per person!! There are also several restaurants on Akumal beach, if you get hungry you can grab a quick lunch here for about 5 USD.
Explore 5th Street: If you’re not too tired, take the collectivos back to PDC ( I believe its the last stop). From there catch a taxi to 5th avenue (approximately 100 pesos) , the famous PDC strip where there are tons of restaurants and shops. it’s the perfect way to end the evening. I stumbled upon some memorable stores and met some pretty cool travelers. I recommend not missing out on the 2 listed below!!
sells Jellyfish lamps made Playa del carmen by Mayan artisans. All lamps are made from natural products supplied by nature . lamps range form 25.00 and each has their own meaning etched into them, represented by the Mayan symbols . The symbols and their respective meanings can also be found on the website.
Tierra Huichol – http://tierrahuichol.com
I was blown away when i witnessed first hand 2 Huichol men sitting in front of the store patiently placing each bead one by one onto their masterpiece cohesively creating an intricate work of art! It takes 4 hours to make the smallest of the pieces that were for sale and weeks for some of the larger ones. WOW!
View the ADO schedule here for your return bus to Cancun. I ended up staying in Playa so I didnt need a return bus.