The Remote Worker’s Guide To Living In Playa del Carmen
Table Of Contents
- The basics of living and working in Playa del Carmen
- Coworking and wifi in Playa del Carmen
- Getting to and around Playa del Carmen
- Visas for remote workers in Playa del Carmen
- Best places for remote workers to live in Playa del Carmen
- Things to do in Playa del Carmen
I lived and worked remotely in Playa del Carmen for 2 years. Playa is great, and it’s a prime spot for remote workers (and for smokin’ hot 20 year old life coaches that have this whole life thing all figured out but…mostly remote workers).
This piece covers everything you need to know about living and working remotely in Playa del Carmen.
Working Remote In Playa Del Carmen: The Basics
Playa del Carmen Safety
In 2 years of living in Playa del Carmen, I never once felt seriously unsafe. While petty crime exists, the city remains tourist-friendly, especially in well-trafficked areas. Just use common sense, don’t walk alone at night, and don’t be a dummy.
Police In Playa
Remember: many police are not your friend in Playa del Carmen. The unfortunate reality of Mexico is these police are paid very poorly, so they often augment their income from shaking down tourists.
Most police aren’t bad people, and many won’t even shake you down. But if you get stopped and “detained”, they’re not going to kidnap you, and if you haven’t done something illegal, they probably won’t even take you to jail. They just want money, and that is, unfortunately, part of the game you play by traveling to a tourist hotspot like Playa.
Cost of Living In Playa del Carmen
The monthly cost of living for remote workers in Playa del Carmen comes out to around $1,500 to $2,500 USD, which includes rent, groceries, dining, transportation, and leisure activities.
Playa del Carmen Monthly Expenses Breakdown
Housing: $400/mo - $3500/mo USD
Housing prices in Playa del Carmen range dramatically based on location and whether you’re living alone or with roommates. For a 2-bedroom luxury condo downtown, you can expect to pay around $3,500 USD/month. But if you’re living in a basic apartment outside of town with 2 roommates? You can probably get by on $400 USD/month.
Groceries: $250-$360 USD/month
If you’re going to Chedraui Select or Mega weekly for groceries, you can expect to pay around ~$60-$90 USD/week on groceries.
Dining Out: ~$200 USD/month
A meal out for one person at a decent, elevated dining sit-down restaurant in Playa del Carmen (away from 5th Avenue) will run you about $20 USD. This includes a couple beers and a tip. There are nicer places, or you can hit more casual spots and/or taco stands to keep these costs down.
Transportation: $50 USD/month
A one-way taxi trip within town limits should cost you about $4. Uber is still illegal there - that's a whole thing.
But there are “collectivos” - which are large and micro public busses that will run you only 10 - 20 pesos for a one-way trip.
Leisure Activities: $300 USD/month
This is obviously a very loose number. If you grab beers and snacks at Oxxo and hang out at the beach every day, you’re not going to spend $300 USD/month on entertainment. And if you go clubbing every night, it’ll be more.
I go out a couple times per month, I’ll hit a cenote or maybe head to Valladolid for a weekend trip, head to the beach a couple times per week, grab drinks with friends a couple times a month. And I was spending about $300 USD/month on entertainment.
Playa del Carmen Weather Overview
Winter (December - February):
- Temperature: Average highs range from 77°F (25°C) to 84°F (29°C).
- Weather: Dry and mild with minimal rainfall. This is the most enjoyable time of year to be in Playa.
Spring (March - May):
- Temperature: Gradually rising temperatures ranging from 79°F (26°C) to 89°F (32°C).
- Weather: Increasing humidity with occasional showers, especially in May. Perfect for exploring nature, as long as you’ve got a body of water to hop into.
Summer (June - August):
- Temperature: Warmest months with highs averaging between 84°F (29°C) and 91°F (33°C).
- Weather: Intermittent rain showers and higher humidity. Expect brief but intense downpours known as "aguaceros." This is essentially the time of year when the sun is aggressively trying to melt you.
Fall (September - November):
- Temperature: Gradual cooling with highs between 79°F (26°C) and 88°F (31°C).
- Weather: Continued rainfall, especially in September and October due to the peak of hurricane season. The humidity starts to decrease, providing pleasant weather for outdoor activities.
General Climate Notes On Playa del Carmen:
- Humidity: Playa del Carmen is humid. But DAMN it’s humid in June, July, August, September.
- Rainfall: Rain showers are more common from June to October, with September and October being the wettest months due to the hurricane season. However, showers are typically 20-minute bursts followed by sunshine.
- Hurricane Season: The official hurricane season in the region runs from June to November. While direct hits are rare, it's always something to keep in the back of your mind at this time of year.
Working Remotely In Playa del Carmen: Coworking & Connections
Playa del Carmen: Top 3 Coworking Spaces
- Nest - The go-to coworking in Playa. Offering a cozy ambiance and reliable internet.
- Bunker Coworking - Free coffee, fast wifi, a solid all-around option
- Xinergy Coworking - Xinergy is more of a “put your head down and work” vibe, not as many people in there.
Playa del Carmen Internet Speeds
Playa del Carmen really caters to tourists. As a result, you’ll find pretty solid internet throughout the town here. Network speeds at coworking spaces and even many cafes is surprisingly robust, with most places offering speeds averaging 50-100 Mbps.
Playa del Carmen: Building Social Connection
The community of remote workers in Playa del Carmen is diverse and very welcoming. Check out Meetup groups like, “Playa Digital Nomads And Meetups”, join Facebook groups like "Playa Remote Workers", and once you go to those, ask other members about the many Whatsapp groups.
Working Remotely In Playa del Carmen: Getting There And Around
Playa del Carmen: How To Get There
The best way to get to Playa del Carmen is to fly into Cancun and, on arrival, find the ADO bus desk and buy your ticket to Playa. It should run you about ~$15 USD (depending on the exchange rate).
A Quick Note On Cancun’s Airport
Cancun is one of the most overwhelming airports I’ve ever been to. You’ll exit the airport to literally hundreds of people with signs shouting “TAXI!” at you. Keep your eyes forward and keep an eye out for the ADO desk.
The upcoming Tulum Airport will offer an additional convenient entry point with shuttle as well.
Working Remotely In Playa del Carmen: Remote Work Visas
For visas, a tourist visa allows stays up to 180 days. To extend or opt for residency, consult the Mexican consulate or explore options like Temporary Resident or Permanent Resident visas.
There are also many contractors working in this area that specialize in helping visitors get temporary residency.
Best Areas To Live In Playa del Carmen
Playa’s Best Areas For Remote Workers
- Centro - The heart of the city, offering proximity to both workspaces and leisure spots.
- Playacar - A gated community with a serene atmosphere and incredibly close to the beach.
- Colosio - A residential neighborhood with a local vibe. Stay south of Federal if you’re going to live in Colosio. Colosio can be a little dicey after dark, so keep an eye out.
- Gated “Cotos” - You’ll find many gated “cotos” - which are just apartment/condo complexes, throughout Playa. I liked Selvanova, but there is also Real Bilbao, etc. These are usually much more out of the way, but if you have a scooter, are a good and safe place to unwind at the pool.
Availability Of Groceries In Different Playa del Carmen Neighborhoods
Grocery shopping ranges from large chains like Walmart and Mega to smaller local markets and abarrotes where you can pick up a variety of options for daily essentials.
Centro/CTM has a couple grocery stores in walking distance, which makes it incredibly convenient to. There are meal prep services popping up that cater to remote workers and who will deliver 3 meals per day, to your door.
Working Remotely In Playa del Carmen: Things To Do
Leisure Activities In Playa del Carmen
- The Beach! Playa boasts one of the most beautiful beaches in the Mexican Riviera. To escape the crowds, move a bit north of Constituyentes. Colosio Beach is the go-to, and you’ll find some beach volleyball games there on the weekends you can join in on.
- Beach Clubs - There’s no shortage of beach clubs in Playa - Encanto, Mamitas and INTI are all great.
- Rooftop Escapes - Grab a day pass from hotels like The Fives Downtown Hotel, Thompson Playa del Carmen, and The Palm at Playa - it’s a great way to spend a Saturday.
- Cenotes - Cenotes are natural sinkholes that are a serious way to beat the heat, especially in the summer month. Explore the enchanting Cenote Azul, Dos Ojos, and Gran Cenote - pack a picnic and make a day out of it.
- Nearby Gems - There are some unbelievable spots within a couple hours’ drive (and ADO bus) of Playa del Carmen. Bacalar's electric Lagoon of Seven Colors, the historic wonder of Chichen Itza, the quaint allure of Valladolid, and the bustling energy of Cancun are nearby must-visit destinations - perfect for a day-trip or weekend getaway.
- The Stadium On 10th - "Deportivo Villanueva" (also simply called "el estadio") opens up in the evenings for the community to go run on the track, hit the outdoor gym, run stairs, or just walk with your friends. And it's free to enter! There are also salsa classes happening in the evenings above the ticketing office - definitely worth checking out.
Playa del Carmen Nightlife & More
Playa del Carmen's nightlife is centered along Fifth Avenue (Quinta Avenida), teeming with bars, clubs, and live music venues. And despite being a tourist walking street, there are plenty of bars here with surprisingly good vibes here.
You'll be able to find some good bars and restaurants just off fifth, on 34th and 38th Ave, but if you're into clubbing - Fifth is your home base.
My Personal Take On Living In Playa Del Carmen
After 2 years of living in in Playa, this is my personal take on it. And many will disagree.
I think Playa del Carmen is an amazing place to be for a one-two year span. However, it is also an extremely transient place, which can make it quite difficult to establish strong, lasting social connections. As I got into my 30s, I started prioritizing strong local community over some of the things Playa offers, so I moved away.
If you’re heading to Playa to live, I recommend heading to coworking spaces to meet people, joining the Whatsapp groups, and picking up a wellness habit (of which there are no shortages in Playa del Carmen). There is plenty of boxing, yoga and jiu jitsu there. Gracie Barra in Playa del Carmen is one of the best jiu jitsu gyms I’ve ever visited, and I recommend it as a place to find and build community.
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