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Top 5 Photo Opportunities In Playa del Carmen

The list we put together here for Playa Del Carmen is admittedly limited in scope and not as condusive to breathtaking photography as one might expect from this coastal caribbean town. You will find a couple of businesses in the mix, something we tend to avoid when creating photographic recommendations. We sacrificed most of the visually noteworthy attractions to the Top 5 Photo Opportunities In The Mayan Riviera & Yucatan, which included mostly Ancient Mayan Ruins. Of course it is possible that those very ruins were used to conduct retail based business thousands of years ago, such as serving up lattes to those in the upper class Mayan hierarchy (priests, kings, shamans and the like). They were afterall ahead of their time, although we're pretty sure their wireless access was laughable compared to the service found at our modern day Starbucks. Maybe they weren't so advanced after all...


Alux Restaurant & Lounge

Mza Juarez Ave, Lot 217, Playa Del Carmen


So you're looking at the picture on the left and thinking "These idiots put the wrong picture on the wrong item...pshh". Hah! The jokes on you bub. The photo is in fact taken from the interior of this unique restaurant embeded within the natural confines of A wonderfully stalactite/stalagmite ridden cave.


As touched upon in the introduction, we normally would not include the inside of a "business" on one of our photo opportunity lists, much less at the top spot, but the Alux Restaurant is as much of an attraction in Playa Del Carmen as it is an eatery. The whole interior itself presents a world of photographic possibilities and the walkway, bookended with dim lit lanterns makes for a very dramatic entrance as well as a perfect album cover for the visual ensemble piece.


Alux is located inland from the main tourist area in Playa Del Carmen on Juarez west of Highway 307.


El Faro Lighthouse Tower

El Faro Hotel, Calle 10 Norte, Playa Del Carmen


Hotel El Faro, found on the turquoise shores of Playa Del Carmen, apparantly lays claim to the only privately owned lighthouse tower in the world. Although we cannot validate this point 100% until we have sent the YAH Travel Team around the whole planet a couple of times (we are currently stockpiling AirMiles) we will allow El Faro to hold this title. The lighthouse is also fully functioning, meaning the light bulb works. We're pretty sure cruise ships and ferries aren't using it for functional purposes.


The lighthouse has become an unofficial landmark of Playa Del Carmen and incites the "point & shoot" reflex when beach walkers pass by without intention. The tower also serves as a suite within the hotel. You may be allowed access to the winding stairwell (prime photo focal point) if you express a potential interest in reserving a room after receiving a guided tour from check-in personel 


Olmec Stone Head
5th Ave & Constituyentes

With so much attention given to the Mayans in the photo sections for Playa Del Carmen and the Mayan Riviera, its only fair that we pay our respects to one of the other very important Mexican civilizations from before even the times of the Mayans, the Olmec. Although we wish we could say there are some perfectly preserved ancient ruins deep within the lush jungles of the Riviera, where one could spend days exploring and learning more about the history of this mysterious culture, there is little to none to find in the Mayan Riviera, so you will have to settle for this, umm, water fountain rendering. You're welcome.


Tucan Hotel Lobby Mayan Statue

Iberostar Tucan Hotel

The hotel/resort vicinity in its entirety is worthy of a whole film set with a jungle scene placed in between the two Iberostar properties, complete with wildlife (monkeys!), vegetation and flora natural to the area. The lobby of the Tucan is where you will find the main target at number four. There, standing apart, are the giant figures of two Mayan Warriors. The most popular in photos, is the statue you see here with a full "bring it on" stance as if to taunt the other stone carved Mayan gentlemen across the room. Perhaps there is history between the two , quarrelling over a beautiful Mayan Princess or some generational tribal conflict. Romantic notions aside though, tough guy over here probably just want to switch spots to be closer to the A/C ventalation.

To get to the Tucan Hotel, assuming a central coastal point in Playa Del Carmen, head south west (stare at the ocean and go right) along the beach for less than two miles. The Tucan Hotel is very close to the Playa Del Carmen - Cozumel Ferry Terminal, which is also at the end of this list.


Playa Del Carmen Ferry Terminal


The Playa Del Carmen Ferry Terminal may be the last thing you see when leaving the area, depending on your itinerary, so it too finds itself at the finale of this photo based checklist.


The signed structural entrance/exit matches a traditional mexican motif and thus makes for a great "Bon Voyage", or should we say "Buen Viaje!", image with yourself bookended in the middle. There is a Senor Frogs on the right side (facing inwards) in plain view, which also helps with the whole "Im in Mexico!" thing, while giving you a place to sip one last Margarita before departing Playa Del Carmen.