Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen: My personal recommendations

As you all know, I’m a budget traveler. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean I am cheap — it means I also seek value. So let me tell you right now: when thinking about where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, keep in mind that there are so many wonderful, locally-owned guesthouses and budget boutique hotels.

Do not go for the international chain hotels!

They are typically located outside of the center. Yes, the website might say it is located just a few miles away from Quinta Avenida — but what they don’t tell you is that is in a completely different complex. You can’t just walk down the middle of the highway to join the action now can you?

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen: from boutique hotels to hostels

That being said, I spent 2 nights at the wonderful Aqualuna Boutique Hotel, just off Quinta Avenida (5th Ave.), on 10th and 14th St. It is literally steps away from all the action of 5th, yet a world away. From my room (number 1), I could hear nothing but the gentle sound of the courtyard fountain.

**Unfortunately, this Playa hotel is closed as of July 2016 🙁

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Aqualuna

Aqualuna Hotel from 10th St.

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Aqualuna bed

Bed inside my room. Firm, but comfy

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Aqualuna room

Rooms from the hotel’s courtyard or “patio interior”

Additionally, there were several local restaurants within walking distance of the hotel, away from touristy 5th. This meant I saved quite a bit of money eating out. I would go back to this budget boutique hotel in a heartbeat.

You can read my full review of Aqualuna here

I also stayed at a sister property, Hacienda Paradise, for one night. A more upscale hotel, this is where I would have my breakfast or take a dip in the pool during my stay at Aqualuna as well. While I enjoyed my stay at Hacienda, I feel the location and total lack of noise at Aqualuna make it my favorite of the two.

My full hotel review of Hacienda Paradise

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Hacienda Paradise

Hacienda Paradise courtyard and pool area from the lobby

Hacienda Paradise room, where to stay in Playa Del Carmen

My Hacienda room. Very nice!

On my last night, I decided to try one of the local hostels. I stayed at Hostel 3B. Absolutely loved the gigantic lockers (they even fit my carry-on with wheels!), silent dorms, comfortable beds and crispy clean linens. Excellent location, just a few steps away from the beach and 5th Avenue. Staff at reception was very helpful and friendly as well.

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Hostel 3B

Hostel 3B: Cheap and Chic!

My only complaint is that the bathroom smelled terribly once I got there. I saw someone cleaning them, but the problem is that they have no ventilation whatsoever (I stayed in the old female dorm number 5, by the way). This made humidity stall. It had great water pressure, though. Why do I recommend it, then? Because I had the best sleep (and hot shower) I’ve had at any hostel, ever. And I seriously fell in love with the lockers…

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, hostels

Hostel 3B’s massive locker. I could even fit the new wheeled carry-on I bought later that day!

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Hostel 3B dorms

Hostel 3B female-only dorm

Other wonderful hostels that come highly recommended are Hostel Rio Playa, Green Monkey, Hostel Playa, and Hostal Vive La Vida.

Another Playa Del Carmen accommodation option: Condo hotels

Just walking down 5th Avenue, I noticed several condo hotels in Playa Del Carmen. Rooms are similar to short-term rentals (more like apartments), while the grounds and amenities resemble a hotel. As a matter of fact, most of them are more luxurious than a B & B! A perfect example is Maya Villa Condo Hotel & Beach Club, the top-rated hotel of its kind in town.

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Maya Villa pool

Maya Villa’s gecko pool (Photo: Tripadvisor)

where to stay in Playa Del Carmen, Maya Villa

KITCHEN of one of the “flats” at Maya Villa Condo Hotel. Photo: Roberto B, Tripadvisor

Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen? Share your recommendations!

Special thanks to Xperience Hotels for offering a complimentary stay at Aqualuna Boutique Hotel and Hacienda Paradise. I was not paid for a positive review and all comments are my honest opinion, though.

3 thoughts on “Where to stay in Playa Del Carmen: My personal recommendations

  1. I was in Playa last March. I stayed at Jungla Caribe – located right on 5th Avenue (the main street). It was a great location, the balcony looked right onto the street from the 2nd floor. OK price – but the safe didn’t work and the bed was tiny/uncomfortable. The ones you stayed at def. look a little nicer 🙂

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