Would you go to Playa Del Carmen?
July 28, 2017 4:51 PM   Subscribe

We booked a vacation to Playa Del Carmen and recent news is making me want to cancel. Have you been to Playa Del Carmen in the past month (July)? Anywhere else in the area you'd recommend for a family? Experiences, suggestions and/or reassurances needed!

This year we decided to book a vacation at a beach resort in Playa Del Carmen. I was just Googling around yesterday and see that there is A) A state department warning about resorts possibly serving tainted alcohol and B) there have been 3 shootings in the past month--2 were on the main drag of the tourist-y street just outside our hotel. Both were in the evening, exactly the time we'd be going out to eat. The other shooting was at the police commander in charge of public safety(?) Anyway, I'm wondering whether I should cancel? I did buy travel insurance and have that option. It feels a little daunting to me at the moment. I have a daughter and don't want to take her into a dangerous situation or feel like I need to watch for guns, worry about blacking out from a margarita, etc.

Friends are saying to go and just stay at the hotel if I feel uncomfortable and eat all of our meals there. And I can bring my own bottle of alcohol. I don't drink a ton but I was hoping for a margarita or two--I don't really need an all-inclusive. On the other hand, maybe I can use the flight and go to another area nearby...maybe Akumal? Isla Mujeres? All of this is going to depend on if I can find vacancies anywhere of course. I've already looked at the Trip Advisor forums and basically no one is concerned. Any thoughts for a family vacation?
posted by biscuits to Travel & Transportation around Playa Del Carmen, Mexico (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
We really liked Tulum. We (3 kids, 2 adults) found a place through Air B&B that wasn't directly on the beach (it was across the street) but direct access to a cenote where we swam in between going to the beach (which was really nice and not crawling with people). We often walked up toward the busier part of the strip to find dinner, or hit one of the little shops to pick up fruit or pastry for breakfast. We had a car, but really used it only to go further afield, e.g. Chichen Itza. Recommended.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 6:15 PM on July 28, 2017 [2 favorites]

I really disliked pdc and absolutely loved tulum.

Ordinarily, I would worry too much about crime or state department warnings, but it really seems like this is the beginning of some kind of cartel conflict and that can spiral out of control.

Chances are, you'll be fine. I've been in most of the most dangerous cities in North America and never had a problem, but if you're hoping for a relaxing vacation with your family, I'd either stay in an all inclusive and never leave, or go somewhere else like tulum or cazumel.
posted by empath at 6:28 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend Isla Mujeres, it's lovely
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 6:48 PM on July 28, 2017 [1 favorite]

thirding Tulum, was there at the end of may—we stayed downtown rather than on the beach to save $$$, but it was charming in its own way, good tacos at Honorio and La Chiapaneca; we took cheap taxis to the beach area, bought a pitcher of juice at Hotel La Zebra, and sat on the beach. Arca and Hartwood are good for food/drink close to the beach.

Tulum is very chill, a little expensive if you stay on/near the beach, but we had a great time.
posted by zingiberene at 8:05 PM on July 28, 2017

PDC is trashy and crowded even without the recent violence. Absolutely head south to Tulum. There's a lot of wonderful family adventures to be had down that way (cenote snorkeling, Xel Ha lagoon, and of course the ruins.) Cozumel is fine if you're there to dive.
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:16 PM on July 28, 2017

You might also consider Puerto Morelos, a little town on the coast midway between Playa Del Carmen and Cancun. When we visited this area in 2010 we stayed in a few places along the water (including Playa Del Carmen) and Puerto Morelos was the one I liked the most. I remember it having a fairly quiet, somewhat sleepy feeling. The place we stayed at (Rancho Sak-ol) was a mile or so down the coast from the actual town which might bias my memories a little.
posted by metadave at 9:08 AM on July 29, 2017

PDC is not my favorite place. Cozumel, however, is a short ferry ride away and is amazing.
posted by ananci at 10:16 AM on July 29, 2017

Quintana Roo (the state that Cancun and Playa del Carmen is located in) is one of the safest places in Mexico. The murder rate is lower than the U.S. average, straight up. So, statistically, there is nothing to worry about that you shouldn't worry about while walking down your own street. There are about 5 million Americans who fly into the Cancun airport, roughly the same as the number of visitors to Quebec City, Canada, which just had 6 people murdered in a mosque this year. I doubt anyone is thinking about cancelling their Quebec trip, it wouldn't even come up.

That said, was there something in particular about Playa del Carmen that interested you? If you were mainly going to hang out at the hotel, you can do that in Cancun, with the added benefit that you can drink the water. There are a number of nice Cancun hotels that are not all-inclusive. I didn't care for Tulum, traffic was horrible even the second week of January. Akumal is a small town, very safe, very Anglo (mostly Canadians). Lots of families.
posted by wnissen at 11:03 AM on July 31, 2017 [1 favorite]

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