Playa del Carmen

La Quinta Avenida
Chacchoben and Kohunlich
Mahahual Beach

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Playa del Carmen/Riviera Maya

The gate to Riviera Maya

During your MSC cruise to the Caribbean, Cuba and Antilles, you will get the chance to decide for yourself weather Playa del Carmen has the potential to become Mexico’s Miami Beach.

Playa, as it is called by the locals, is a vibrant city: the biggest city of Riviera Maya, a long tract of the Mexican coast facing the Caribbean Sea. 
Here, the city life is concentrated along La Quinta Avenida, a long street closed to traffic lined with colourful shops and inviting bars and restaurants. This street is located a short distance from where your ship will dock and is Playa del Carmen’s main attraction. Naturally, the city has its own small beach: if you wish to take a bath, just follow the coast towards Cancun. 
However, every MSC Cruises Mexico holiday should include a visit to the Mayan ruins, which have made the Yucatan world-famous. Excursions from Playa del Carmen include unique opportunities to visit the cities of Chacchoben and Kohunlich. Discovered by archaeologists just forty years ago, Chacchoben is still little known (most of its buildings are waiting to be unearthed). Inhabited by the Mayans from the 3rd century AD to the 13th century BC, it contains two large areas with two well preserved pyramid temples.  
Kohunlich, usually only inhabited by giant butterflies and parrots, is located in a beautiful forest setting. Its buildings, which include the impressive Templo de los Mascarones with its giant masks, date to 2nd-10th centuries AD. Another MSC Cruises excursion, dedicated to lovers of the sea, will take you to Mahahual, which was named by Rough Guides as one of the best beaches in Mexico. 

Must see places in Playa del Carmen

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    Under the shade of a sombrero
    Under the shade of a sombrero

    One of the world’s great civilizations, Mexico is a great cruise destination with its melange of Mesoamerican cultures, modern indigenous tribes and Spanish traditions; it’s a vibrant modern economy too, the biggest in Latin America after Brazil.

    Mexico’s landscapes are just as diverse, from the shimmering blue coastline of Baja California and the iconic cactus-strewn deserts of the north, to the Mayan villages and gorgeous palm-smothered beaches of the Caribbean Sea. You can climb volcanoes, watch whales, swim underground and tour tequila farms during your holiday to Mexico.

    And sprinkled throughout you’ll find richly adorned colonial churches, giant ancient pyramids and a sophisticated cuisine that has little in common with the world of nachos and burritos. Despite the inevitable influence of the US and close links with the rest of the Spanish-speaking world, the country remains resolutely individual. The music that fills the plazas in the evenings, the buildings that circle around them, even the smells emanating from a row of taco carts: they all leave you without any doubt about where you are.

     Many first-time visitors are surprised to find that Mexico is far from being a “developing” nation: the country has a robust economy, the world’s fourteenth largest, a remarkably thorough and efficient internal transport system and a vibrant contemporary arts and music scene.