If you’re looking to get off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen, Playa Esmeralda is the beach for you.

Playa Esmeralda may just be the best beach in the city. I spent one month in the small beachside town in Mexico and during that time Playa Esmeralda (also known as Playa 88) has become my daily haunt.

Looking for somewhere new to soak up the sun? These are all the reasons why you need to get off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen and visit Playa Esmeralda!

Save time planning your Mexico trip with this two-week itinerary!


Playa 88 in Playa del Carmen


1. It’s the perfect mix of lively, but not too crowded. Empty beaches are depressing and crowded beaches are annoying. You have to get off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen to hit the sweet spot.

2. Playa Esmeralda is in a great location for backpackers. 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, you will still be in walking distance to the this off the beaten path beach in Playa del Carmen.

3. It has it’s own private fresh water cenote to hang out in.

4. It has so much greenery. On most of the other beaches in Playa del Carmen you’ll find giant buildings and resorts spread out behind you but at Playa Esmeralda that’s not the case. The white sand beach is between ocean on one side and lush green plants and palm trees on the other. Although the Paradisus Resort runs along it, it’s hidden so far back from the beach you can barely even see it.


Playa 88 beach in Playa del Carmen


5.. You can swim in places without any rocks underfoot, and the shallow water near the cenote stretches out super far.

6. Playa Esmeralda features one of the most unique restaurants in Playa del Carmen – a locally owned Seafood Truck and Tiki Bar secluded in its own little paradise. You can even rent a sun bed here and relax under shaded palms with the most beautiful ocean view.


Playa Esmeralda beach in Playa del Carmen


If these reasons aren’t enough to convince you, then hopefully the photos will.

Playa Esmeralda may be off the beaten path in Playa del Carmen but it’s a perfect place to spend a couple hours in paradise and enjoy all the beauty that Mexico has to offer!


Save time planning your Mexico trip with this two-week itinerary!

Looking for more off the beaten path destinations in Playa del Carmen? Visit the Mexico Guide to learn how to visit the stunning Lake of Seven Colors, take your own DIY cenote day trip to swim in underground caves, or climb up the Coba Ruins for a breathtaking view of Mexico’s lush jungles. 



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