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If you hate the crowds and loud music that fills the beaches near 5th Avenue, Playa Esmeralda will quickly become your favorite Playa del Carmen beach.
I spent one month in this small beachside town in Mexico and during that time Playa Esmeralda (also known as Playa 88) has become my daily haunt.
Are you looking for somewhere new to relax under the sun? These are my top six reasons why Playa Esmeralda is the best Playa del Carmen beach!
6 Reasons Why Playa Esmeralda Is the Best Playa Del Carmen Beach
Keep reading to discover not only why you need to visit it, but how to get there as well!
1. It’s Not Crowded
It’s rare to find that perfect mix of lively but not too crowded, but Playa Esmeralda has it. Empty beaches are depressing and crowded beaches are annoying.
While most other Playa del Carmen beaches err on the side of being way, way, way too crowded, Playa Esmeralda hits the sweet spot.
2. It’s Outside of the City
If you’re like me and can’t afford to stay in the heart of Playa del Carmen, you can still be super close to this beach.
The main entrance is on Calle 88 (just for reference, the main drag of downtown is between Calle 2 and Calle 40) so if you live on the “outskirts” of town, lucky you – you’re actually located right next to one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen!
3. It has a cenote
Yep, this is the best Playa del Carmen beach because it has it’s own private fresh water cenote to hang out in. If you’re sticky and salty and hot, take a refreshing dip in the fresh water cenote located right on the beach!
4. It’s surrounded by greenery
At most of the other Playa del Carmen beaches you’ll find giant buildings and resorts spread out behind you, but at Playa Esmeralda that’s not the case.
The pristine white sand beach has ocean on one side and lush green plants and palm trees on the other so you can really relax and escape from it all. Although the Paradisus Resort runs along it, it’s hidden so far back from the beach you can barely even see it.
5. You Can Swim Without Rocks Underfoot
I love Playa Esmeralda because it has sandy stretches in the water without any rocks underfoot. I’m never going to be the type of person prepared enough to pack water shoes (let alone buy them) so a soft sandy bottom is essential to my beach enjoyment.
6. It Has One of the Most Unique Restaurants in Playa del Carmen
Last but certainly not least on my list of praises for this Playa del Carmen beach is the food – one option in particular stands out.
You can even rent a sun bed here and relax under shaded palms with the most beautiful ocean view.
If these six reasons aren’t enough to convince you to visit Playa Esmeralda, I hope at least the photos will!
Playa Esmeralda is definitely one of the best beaches in Playa del Carmen. It’s a little be off the beaten path, which makes it a perfect place to spend a couple hours in paradise.
Get there by walking down 5th Avenue until your reach the entrance on Calle 88 – It’s about a 30 minute walk from the main drag of Playa del Carmen but truly feels like a whole new world.
Ready to go? Use Skyscanner to find the cheapest flights to nearby Cancun and then explore accommodation like unique stays on Airbnb or the top-rated hotels on Booking.com to plan the perfect night, weekend, or long-term stay in the city.
This article is part of the Playful Playa series. Read the rest below:
Then, explore the Mexico Series for more insider tips on what to see, do, eat, drink, and discover in the Riviera Maya and beyond.
I’ve been traveling full-time for three years, these are the resources that make it happen:
➤ I exclusively use Airbnb for savings and security on long-term stays in furnished apartments.
➤ I use Booking.com for short-term stays in hostels and hotels on weekend trips.
➤ Upwork allowed me to take the leap to travel full-time because they make it so easy to find freelance clients in any field.
➤ The Superstar Blogging Travel Writing Course launched my travel writing career and helped me become a contributor at sites like Cincinnati Refined and International Living, and even get published in the Boston Globe.