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Mexico is a fascinating and diverse country with an extensive cultural and natural wealth. Visiting Mexico for the first time can be an overwhelming experience of colors, aromas, sounds, flavors and textures.

Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya is a perfect example of this mixture of tradition and innovation, surrounded by the natural paradise of your dreams.

The Maya and Mexicans in general are warm and welcoming people, on the one hand with a rich and strong tradition, and on the other, open to meeting and learning from visitors of the world.

Playa del Carmen’s local community has become a blend of nationalities, languages, colors, and traditions resulting in a cosmopolitan and multiracial community.

As a tourist in Playa del Carmen you will notice how easily you can relate to the “Playenses” (Playa del Carmen locals), and become part of this happening city.

Below you will find some very useful information and tips to make your trip more pleasant and easygoing.

Entry Requirements

As of March 1, 2010 it is now required for American and Canadian visitors to hold a valid passport with photo ID in order to enter the country of Mexico. Your passport must be original, signed, and valid for six months beyond your stay. It also must have at least one blank page available for visa stamps. All minors travelling alone, with only one parent, or with someone other than their parents, must show a notarized letter of permission signed by the parent(s) not travelling. Anyone attempting to enter Mexico without fulfilling these requirements will be returned to their originating country.  

Visitors from other countries, please check with your local Embassy or Consulate.

Important!! Upon arrival, visitors are given a Tourist Card that must be turned in upon departure at the airport. Keep this in a safe place as you will be unable to leave Mexico unless you present it.

If your tourist card is lost or stolen in Mexico, you must immediately go to the nearest Immigration office in order to obtain a replacement or an exit permit (depending on your date of entry).

Visa extensions can be applied for at the immigration office in Playa del Carmen. 

Departure tax is usually included in the price of your flight, but if not it is only payable in U.S. dollars or Mexican pesos.


Wear casual, lightweight clothing - preferably natural fibers.

Use sandal-type shoes on the beach and around the pool, and tennis shoes or other comfortable shoes to walk in the jungle or in archaeological zones, reserves or parks.

Don't forget to pack an elegant casual outfit to dine in exclusive restaurants.
Bring lightweight pants and a sweater during the winter months.
We also suggest that you bring sunglasses and use sun block.
The use of insect repellent is also recommended.


The main point of arrival is Cancun International Airport.

From here, the Mayan Riviera can be reached via the 307 the coastal highway which links the city of Cancun with Tulum and continues southwest.

Available transportation from the airport includes buses, rental cars or taxis that depart from the terminal.
Playa del Carmen has a small airport with planes that make short hops to more distant places like Merida and Chichén Itzá.

Ferries also depart from Playa del Carmen and Calica, linking the continent with the island of Cozumel.
There are also local bus lines that service different locations along the highway.

Once you arrive in Playa del Carmen, taxi cabs are plentiful and affordable, and rental of bikes, scooters and cars is of course available for our guests at La Tortuga Hotel & Spa.


Playa Del Carmen has all the communication services of a modern and cosmopolitan city: widespread Internet access, long-distance phone service by credit card or prepaid calling card, and mobile phone rentals are all offered.

The main post office is located in Playa del Carmen on Juarez Ave. between 20th and 15th Streets, and is open Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 12 pm.


The Mayan Riviera is located on the northeast coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, bordering the Caribbean Sea.

The climate in Playa del Carmen is subtropical with summer rains. It is blessed with a moderate average temperature of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

From November to February there are colder winds from the north with occasional heavy rains. The temperature at that time reaches a low of 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tropical showers, intense but brief, are common in the summer, which leave the environment warm and humid.

The hurricane and tropical storm season runs from July to October.

In case of a hurricane warning, adequate contingency measures are established, and tourists are the first to be protected and evacuated.


Playa del Carmen has all the necessary medical facilities, such as recompression chambers to deal with any emergency, private hospitals and doctors on call.

Drugstores are open 24 hours.
Furthermore, private air transportation is available in the case of an emergency that requires traveling to a medical center with more specialized facilities.


The Mayan Riviera is very safe to visit.
You may stroll along the beaches and through all the tourist areas.
On 5th and 10th Avenues, wander worry-free at any time of day or night.
Nevertheless, as at any other beach resort, do not leave money or valuables unattended in public areas.

On the Beach

Swimming in the Mayan Riviera is safe since we have the second-largest coral reef barrier in the world protecting the shore. Nevertheless, the undertow can be dangerous, but if you swim according to the flag system you should have no fears about enjoying the beautiful crystal-clear Caribbean waters.

  • Green Flag – The water is completely safe for swimming, but use common sense.
  • Yellow Flag – The water is somewhat rough, so swim with caution.
  • Red Flag – The water is very rough. Swim with extreme caution, and stay near the water's edge.
  • Black Flag - Absolutely no swimming. Too dangerous.


The Mexican Peso is the official currency.
Most banks are located on Avenue Juarez, and there are several ATMs and exchange bureaus near La Tortuga Hotel Spa, on 5th and 10th Avenues.

The exchange rate can vary daily and from place to place.
MasterCard, Visa and American Express are widely accepted, as are traveler's checks and American dollars (bills only).

Dining Times

  • Breakfast is served from 7:00 am to 11 am (complimentary for our guests at our restaurant El Bistro)
  • Lunch is served from 1 pm to 4 pm (although the traditional Mexican lunchtime is between 2 and 3 pm)
  • Dinner is served from 7 pm to 11 pm (although the traditional Mexican dining-out hours are from 8 pm to 10 pm)

The Law

The following are considered federal offenses in Mexico:

  • The possession, transportation or sale of all drugs, whether they be chemical or natural
  • The possession, transportation or sale of any type of archaeological relic or historical treasure
  • The sale or purchase of an endangered animal or plant species, or derived products thereof, including birds, lizards, marine turtles, monkeys, deer and others on a very long and stringently-enforced list
  • The destruction, removal, or mistreatment of any marine coral

Business Hours

Most businesses and shops are open from 10 am to 10 pm, and closed between 2 pm and 4 pm.

Government office hours are generally from 9 am to 2 pm, closing for lunch and reopening from 5 pm to 8 pm.
Banking hours vary among institutions, but most open at 9 am.


An 11% value-added tax called IVA is added to all goods and services within the State of Quintana Roo, and is usually included in retail prices.


Tips are always a way of expressing satisfaction during your stay.

Bellhops: a tip of one or two American dollars per suitcase carried is recommended.
Maids: at the end of your stay, a tip of one dollar per day is appreciated.
Taxi drivers: tip only when they provide service in addition to transport.

Bar and restaurant staff:

A tip of 10 to 15 percent of the total value consumed is customary. Always verify beforehand that the tip is not included in the bill.

Time Zone

Central Standard Time (-7:00 GMT).

Daylight Saving Time is observed

Language and Religion

Spanish is the official language in Mexico, although natives in Maya villages and in towns speak Mayan.

But relax - in tourist areas, everybody speaks English.
Catholicism is the main religion of Mexico and several churches in Playa del Carmen offer services.
However, the Maya still practice the religion of their ancestors, creating a colorful hybrid of rites and traditions.

Holidays and Festivities

  • February 5th: Anniversary of the Constitution
  • March 21st: Birth of Benito Juarez
  • May 1st: Labor Day
  • May 5th: Anniversary of the Battle of Puebla
  • September 16th: Independence Day
  • October 12th: Columbus Day
  • November 2nd: Day of the Dead
  • November 20th: Anniversary of the Revolution
  • December 12th: Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe
  • December 25th: Christmas
  • Variable (on the first Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox): Easter


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