Set in the heart of central Playa del Carmen, the 4-star Be Playa is a boutique hotel brimming with modern designs. Exposed hardwood floors and walls provide a backdrop for the open-air lobby, while the tiled pool has quirky chairs and tables set into the water for guests. Within walking distance of shops and restaurants, Be Playa is a posh spot and a comfy home base to return to after exploring the village.
Go exploring: The hotel is just four blocks from the beach. Playa del Carmen’s shops, galleries, and bars are all within walking distance.
Design and function: Modern standard and Jacuzzi suites feature hardwood floors and exposed concrete walls, decorated with inspirational Spanish sayings and brilliant pops of color.
Go swimming: Overlooking the Caribbean, the hotel’s rooftop infinity pool has a wraparound wooden deck and an outdoor bar, where you can drink cocktails. At night, a DJ spins tunes on the rooftop.
Onsite dining: The upscale Sushi Club serves fresh seafood in an intimate setting.
Sweeping views: The hotel overooks Playa del Carmen’s white buildings and thatched roofs, as well as the nearby Caribbean Sea.
Day trips: Snorkel around the Maya Reef, or take a 45-minute drive down the coast to the Mayan archeological ruins at Tulum.
Playa del Carmen, Mexico: Trendy Beach Area and Diving Destination
Just across the sea from the island of Cozumel, Playa del Carmen has been called "the hippest city in all of the Yucatán Peninsula" by Lonely Planet. The laid-back beach bars and cafés have a way of converting vacationers into expats, but Playa's most compelling draw might be its cenotes—cavernous sinkholes filled with turquoise pools. The water in the cenotes is crystal clear, particularly at the lily-pad-dotted Xlacah cenote, where you can snorkel among schools of colorful fish.
To the south, you'll find preserved ruins of pre-Columbian cities. Tulum's crumbling temples are situated above a dramatic ocean bluff, and Coba's enormous pyramid rises between two lagoons. For a fun day trip, hop aboard the ferry to Cozumel, which docks two miles at the pier east of Calle 1. There are about a dozen dive shops on Cozumel, and they offer trips offshore to the reefs that Jacques Cousteau declared some of the world's most beautiful.