Boutique Hotel Overlooking Lively Tourist District and Caribbean Sea
Hotel El Punto is located on Quinta Avenida, Playa del Carmen’s main street and a popular tourist destination for its cafés, bars, street merchants, and festive atmosphere. But the hotel manages to keep its cool amid the chaos—inside, the building is adorned in earthy tones and minimalist decor. It also has a swanky rooftop bar, La Azotea, where you can sip on a cocktail and look out to the Caribbean Sea nearby. These features helped the property earn recognition in TripAdvisor's 2012 Travelers’ Choice Awards—it was voted No. 2 on a list of Trendiest Hotels in Mexico, one of only a few Playa del Carmen hotels to be spotlighted.
A Hotel El Punto suite welcomes you with a 42-inch flat-screen TV and a bathrobe you can wear throughout your stay. The Caribbean Sea acts as the hotel's de facto pool—it’s just a block away. To enjoy the sea without swimming, grab a table at La Azotea Bar, which serves tapas-style Mexican food amid views of the water. There's a slick, exclusive atmosphere here: deep-red walls and bamboo stalks divide the sectional and lounger chairs into private sitting areas and can provide shelter during pickup games of laser tag.
Each morning, breakfast is served at Mi Pueblo, a Mexican restaurant located next door to the hotel. Its menu has 33 dishes, each corresponding to the culinary traditions of 1 of 33 south-of-the-border cities. If you can get a seat upstairs, you may even be able to catch the chefs making tortillas in a traditional talavera-tiled open kitchen.
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, docks about half a mile south of the hotel 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.