Playa del Carmen, or just "Playa" as it is also commonly referred to by locals, is a coastal resort town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico. Approximately 70 km south of Cancún and 20 km west of Cozumel island, it is at the center of the Mayan Riviera and offers a more relaxed atmosphere and smaller boutique lodgings.
Playa del Carmen is less internationally recognized than its northern sister city, Cancun. However, this comes with many added benefits. Unlike Cancun, which has a reputation of being incredibly touristy, Playa del Carmen retains an authentic Mexican feel due to its smaller size despite still being a tourist destination. Also, Playa del Carmen can be far less crowded and hectic than Cancun year-round. The resorts and hotels are also much newer in Playa del Carmen. To summarize, anything one can find in Cancun - be it gorgeous beaches, great nightlife, or delicious cuisine - one can also find in Playa del Carmen, but in a much more authentic and relaxed environment.
As the town is part of the 1970s master plan to develop the eastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula as a tourist hotspot and barely existed as a hamlet half a century ago, there is very little in the way of remarkable architecture. There is however a couple of small Maya Ruins around the "Playacar" gated community.