A hip, laid-back city in Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is the less-rowdy version of Cancun. It has pretty beaches, wonderful shopping, and a solid restaurant scene. While it tends to draw a well-heeled crowd, there’s still plenty of budget-friendly picks that offer a great value. After visiting dozens of hotels in the area, we compared each to see which had the best bang-for-your-buck. Take a look at the best value hotels in Playa del Carmen and start planning your warm-weather vacation!
An excellent, back-to-basics lodging option, this budget hotel is centered around lovely, lush jungle grounds just half a block from the hopping La Quinta Avenida strip. This small nature-filled oasis holds 18 simple, no-frills rooms. (Read: no TVs or telephones.) Outdoor terrace or balcony spaces connect the rooms to the surrounding greenery. A small sunken pool gives an alternative to the beach, which is about a 10-minute walk away. Wi-Fi, beach towels, and in-room watercoolers are free. The hotel bar provides a place to chill out, listen to live music, and hang from one of the rope-swing seats, but it’s a spot more suited to singles or couples; party animals need not apply.
Barrio Latino Hotel is a budget-friendly boutique located in the center of Playa del Carmen. Just two blocks from Quinta Avenida, the town’s main tourist thoroughfare, and three blocks from the beach, The property is ideally situated for travelers who have come to Playa to shop, dine, and hit the beach. The 18 guest rooms at Barrio Latino err on the smaller side; thatched roofs, personal hammocks, and rattan furniture give most of them a Caribbean flair. There's free Wi-Fi, parking, and continental breakfast, but parking is limited and breakfast is a bit sparse. Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which could be a good thing, considering there's no pool or other amenities to keep little ones entertained.
La Tortuga Hotel & Spa is an intimate boutique hotel best described as "barefoot chic." It's a good option for couples who want to watch their budget and be within fast walking distance of tourist-friendly 5th Avenue and the beach, but it's not the place for the typical Mexico vacation of all-inclusive packages on the beach. Older, but comfortable, rooms are centered around a gorgeous lagoon-style swimming pool landscaped with lush tropical plants, though the water isn't heated. The on-site restaurant and bar are solid choices, but there's plenty of options in the immediate neighborhood. Be warned that nearby Coco Bongo nightclub rages until the wee hours, so pack earplugs.
Hotel El Punto is an unassuming 16-room adults-only boutique hotel right off the busy La Quinta Avenida strip. Without a pool and a closed rooftop bar and restaurant, this lower-middle-range feels a bit like a glorified hostel -- but the price is right for those in search of an easily accessible place to crash after hitting the beach, bars, and clubs in the area. The NYC loft-like Master Suites are a sweet deal, though even the dim and simple Junior Suites feature Nescafe Dolce Gusto coffeemakers (with pods), free water bottles, cable TV, and a mini-fridge. Light sleepers should bring earplugs.
For travelers looking to skip the buffet lines and wristband requirements, Coco’s Cabanas is a laid-back alternative to many of the bustling mega-resorts in the area. The mid-range property is a jungle of palms and tropical plants, where stone pathways lead to colorful thatched-roof cabanas, hammocks hang from a wooden pergola, and guests enjoy margaritas in the open-air restaurant. Though kids aren’t necessarily unwelcome, Coco’s is certainly geared towards couples -- all six rooms are double occupancy and bathrooms have little privacy. The isolated location also means there’s not much to do or see in the immediate area.
A simple spot with a central location (but one not right in the thick of the main strip action), Aqualuna Boutique Hotel has 11 spacious, clean, no-frills rooms and one Mini-Suite within a block of central La Quinta Avenida. Located on 10th Avenue, this small budget (and super pet-friendly) boutique is easy walking distance to bars, restaurants, and nightlife. It gives guests discounts to local beach clubs, free Wi-Fi, a business center alcove in the garden, hospitality showers, and extra features such as bike rentals, breakfast, pools, and massages at nearby sister properties. It may not be the strip, but light sleepers should still pack earplugs.
Just a half-block off the northern La Quinta Avenida strip, the BRIC Hotel features a quiet atmosphere surrounded by beautiful tropical gardens. The mid-range boutique’s common areas are stylish and have personality, but the 14 rooms don’t quite match up. They're a tad neglected and dated, although the small rooms do have flat-screen TVs, mini-fridges, and patios. Outside there’s free hot breakfast, purified water, and a garden with a small pool as well as a handful of lounge beds and chairs. Unlike most off-beach boutiques in the area, the Bric does not have deals with local beach clubs, though there’s a public beach within a 10-minute walk.
The all-inclusive ClubHotel Riu Tequila is an upper-middle-range resort near Playa del Carmen. Though the hotel isn't on the ocean, it's a quick five-minute walk to the white-sand beach and guests have access to the amenities at the Riu Yucatánand Riu Playacar. The 664 spacious guest rooms include balconies or terraces and free minibars with liquor dispensers, but decor could use a refresh. The gorgeous lush grounds and the traditional Mexican decor provide an atmosphere reminiscent of a hacienda. Features such as a big outdoor pool, multiple dining options with included liquor, and spa, help make this property a great all-inclusive pick for the price.