Playa Del Carmen has become a hugely popular destination for expats looking to move abroad and live a slower-paced life overseas. Here are the main pros and cons of living here!
In recent years, this beach city has seen a surge in popularity among American retirees and international digital nomads too.
It’s easy to see why: Playa has something for everyone, from its stunning beaches and authentic Mexican food to affordable luxury apartments with a low cost of living.
But it’s easy to talk about the positives, so what are the drawbacks?
Keep reading to learn more about the pros and cons of making Playa Del Carmen your new home.
Top 3 Things to Do in Playa Del Carmen
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Pros and Cons of Living in Playa del Carmen
From safety concerns to WiFi speeds, here are the pros and cons of living in Playa del Carmen:
The Pros of Playa Del Carmen
Playa del Carmen is a great place to live for many reasons. In fact, it’s consistently voted as one of the best places in Mexico to live.
Here are just a few of the things that make it stand out:
One of the biggest concerns for anyone considering a move to Mexico is safety.
You’ll be pleased to know that Playa del Carmen is one of the safest cities in the country, thanks in part to its small size (it has a population of just over 150,000) and its strict laws against things like littering and public urination.
The city also has a strong police presence, with officers patrolling the streets 24 hours a day.
Playa del Carmen, or ‘Playa’ as locals call it, is known for its stunning white sand beaches and turquoise waters, attracting tourists from all over the world.
But what truly makes Playa a great place to live is its atmosphere and vibe.
The city is filled with cultural diversity, offering cuisine from around the globe and an array of languages spoken on every corner. The locals are friendly and laid-back, with a strong emphasis on community and social gatherings.
In Playa, you can spend your mornings lounging on the beach and your evenings strolling through open-air markets or dancing salsa at colorful rooftop bars. It’s impossible not to feel at peace living in such a beautiful and welcoming environment.
And if you’re looking for nightlife, you’ll find plenty of bars and clubs to keep you busy until the sun comes up.
Playa del Carmen is easy to get around, whether you’re walking, biking, or taking public transportation.
The city has an extensive network of buses and collectivos (shared taxis) that run regularly and are relatively cheap (fares start at around $0.50).
And if you need to get somewhere fast, you can always hail a cab – they’re plentiful and reasonably priced.
The city is actually very walkable though and you can usually get from your apartment to the beach within a 10-minute walk!
Cost Of Living
One of the best things about living in Playa del Carmen is how affordable it is.
Rent for a one-bedroom apartment starts at around $400 per month, while utilities – including water, electricity, and Internet – will set you back less than $100 per month.
If you eat out often, you’ll be happy to know that meals are relatively cheap as well; you can get a hearty dinner for two people for around $20 at many of the city’s restaurants.
You should also try the authentic Mexican street food, where you can find tacos for as little as $0.10.
We’ve devoted a whole section to the cost of living in Playa further down in this guide.
READ MORE: How Much is a Taco In Mexico?
The Cons of Playa Del Carmen
Of course, no place is perfect – even Playa del Carmen has its drawbacks.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before making your decision:
If you’re coming from a big city like London, New York, or Mexico City, you may find Playa del Carmen to be on the small side.
It can take some time to get used to being able to walk from one end of town to the other in just 30 minutes or so.
Once you do though, you may come to appreciate the convenience of living in such an intimate setting.
While Playa del Carmen’s infrastructure has improved greatly in recent years – especially since it was hit by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 – it still lags behind that of larger Mexican cities like Mexico City and Guadalajara.
This means that things like public transportation can be unreliable at times and that power outages are not uncommon (although they usually don’t last longer than an hour or two).
Unreliable Wifi Speed
The Wifi speed in Playa del Carmen can vary massively.
In recent years, many Airbnbs have upgraded their networks to accommodate the needs of digital nomads – but there are no guarantees.
Just make sure to check the upload and download speed before booking a long-term stay. You can also ask your landlord / Airbnb host to send you a screenshot of the wifi speed.
There are also restaurants and cafes throughout the city that offer free wifi to customers.
So while it may not be quite as fast as some places back home, with a little research and planning ahead of time, you can still find reliable internet access.
You can get a good idea of the wifi speed in Playa del Carmen on Nomadlist.
One thing that takes some getting used to is the weather in Playa del Carmen.
The city experiences high humidity year-round, which can make it feel very muggy at times.
There is also a high chance of hurricanes during the hurricane season, which runs from June to November.
However, these storms are usually not as severe as those that hit other parts of the same coastal region.
The Cost of Living in Playa Del Carmen
After the pros and cons of living in Playa Del Carmen, you might be wondering what the cost of living is like?
In this section, we’ll break down some of the monthly costs you can expect to incur if you make the move.
From food and accommodation to utilities and transportation, we’ve got you covered.
The Average Cost of Living in Playa Del Carmen
$1,500 USD will go a long way in Playa Del Carmen.
With that budget, you could comfortably afford a nice one-bedroom apartment in the downtown area, transportation costs, utilities, and enough leftovers for eating out and leisure activities.
Here’s a breakdown of some average monthly costs you can expect:
- Housing: $600 – $1000 USD
- Food: $350 USD
- Utilities: $100 USD
- Transportation: $50 USD
- Leisure/Entertainment: $250 USD
The cost of accommodation in Playa del Carmen depends on your lifestyle and preferences.
A semi-luxury one-bedroom apartment in a central location will start at around $600 USD per month. Even at this price, the apartment will be fully furnished and usually come with a rooftop pool.
If you have a family or want more space, you can expect to pay closer to $1,000 USD per month.
For those who prefer luxury accommodations, prices can start at $2,000 USD per month.
There are so many furnished apartments available, you will be able to find something fairly quickly if you decide to make the move.
Playa del Carmen has a wide variety of restaurants to choose from, ranging from street food to fine dining.
Prices for a meal can range anywhere from $1 USD for Mexican street food to over $100 USD for fine dining.
For someone on a budget, it is possible to eat well for around $10 USD per day.
If you cook at home, grocery prices are similar to what you would find in the United States; expect to spend around $100 USD per week on groceries for one person.
Utility costs in Playa del Carmen are relatively affordable.
Electricity and water will cost around $60-70 USD per month, depending on usage.
Internet and cable TV packages start at around $40-50 USD per month.
Cell phone plans are also very affordable; expect to pay around $20-30 USD per month for an unlimited data plan with good coverage.
Overall Cost of Living in Playa Del Carmen
As you can see, the cost of living in Playa Del Carmen is very reasonable compared to a lot of cities in the US.
Even when compared to other popular expat destinations like San Pancho and Puerto Vallarta, it’s actually incredibly affordable.
Living In Playa Del Carmen FAQ
The average cost of living in Playa del Carmen is around $1,200 – $1500 USD per month. This includes rent, food, utilities, and other expenses.
Playa del Carmen is located in the state of Quintana Roo, on the east coast of Mexico.
The airport for Playa Del Carmen is the Cancun International Airport. It’s located about 45 minutes away from Playa del Carmen and offers flights to many international destinations.
Yes, Playa del Carmen is safe. The city has a low crime rate and it is very common for people to walk around at night without feeling concerned for their safety.
Yes, it is possible to retire in Playa del Carmen. The cost of living is very reasonable and there are many retirement-friendly activities available in the city.
One great way to meet other expats in Playa del Carmen is to join one of the many English-speaking social groups or meetups that are available in the city.
There are also several online forums and Facebook groups where expats can connect with each other.
The population of Playa del Carmen is around 320,000 people, as of the latest census.
So Why Are People Moving to Playa Del Carmen?
After considering all the pros and cons, it’s not difficult to see why Playa del Carmen is becoming such a popular destination for Americans looking to move abroad.
The cost of living is significantly lower, the weather is tropical and beautiful for most of the year, and there is great infrastructure for being able to work online.
While some may be hesitant about cultural differences or the language barrier, Playa del Carmen offers the chance to immerse yourself in Mexican culture while still having access to top-class amenities.
Overall, Playa del Carmen is a perfect blend of convenience and luxury, making it an incredible option for those looking for a slice of the Mexican sun.