Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
Located on the beach and about 10 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen (named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patron saint of Cancun) is a beautiful, charming resort town and the third largest city in Quintana Roo on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. About 70 km south of Cancun and 20 km west of Cozumel, it's centrally located in the center of the Mayan Riviera and is quickly becoming one of the most hip vacation spots (though more relaxing and less wild than Cancun). It used to be the home of the ancient Mayans and after that a small fishing village, but now Playa del Carmen -- or "Playa," as the locals call it -- is full of exciting nightclubs, popular restaurants, cute boutiques, and resort hotels that sit on lovely white sand beaches. Because many of the businesses are European-run, the rest of the town retains a hint of European flair. The main tourist thoroughfare of Playa is the cobblestone-lined, pedestrian street Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), but there are plenty of fun outdoor activities for visitors, too, such as snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking, and sailing. The offshore reef is part of the second largest reef system in the world, Mesoamerican Barrier Reef.
Azul Fives by Karisma is a 360-room hotel located about 15 minutes from downtown Playa del Carmen. It seems well suited for all occasions (weddings, reunions, honeymoons), but caters especially to families with children -- there’s even a loan program for baby toys and equipment, as well as a great kids' club. Outside, the property is well kept with lovely grounds, and inside the hotel’s furnishings are modern and luxurious. All chicly decorated guest rooms come with a balcony or terrace, dining table, iPod dock, and Jacuzzi tub, but the suites are particularly spacious and include features such as living rooms with sleeper sofas, powder rooms, and kitchens. The private beach is lovely and great for relaxing, but the water is too rocky for swimming. The hotel has five restaurants, three beautiful pools, and outdoor seating that offers a little slice of paradise. Unlike most resorts, though, Azul Fives does not have its own shuttle to Cancun International Airport, which is 45 minutes away.