Tips for getting to know the Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya Time Zone is GMT/UTC -6 (Central Standard Time)
Use light and casual cloth, preferably made of natural fibers. Use sandals on the beach and the pool, and comfortable shoes for walking in the jungle or in the Archaeological zones, natural reserves and parks. Don´t forget to bring casual outfit but also elegant in case you want to go to an exclusive restaurant. Bring also light trousers and a sweater for winter months-
We highly recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen. Insect repellent is also recommended. You will easily find any item you could forget or need.
When to go?
Basically any time is a good time to visit Playa del Carmen, unless you want to tramp with a thinner tourist crowd, you may want to avoid the soggy rainy season which starts from June through November.
Spanish is the official language and Mayan is the local language, but English, French, Italian and German are also spoken in tourist centers.
Speed limits are indicated in kilometers whereas dive operators generally use both feet/psi and meters/bars when communicating dive data. The temperature is in Celsius.
Domestic electric current is 110 volts, the same as in all of Mexico.
Most businesses and shops are open from 10 AM to 10 PM, closed between 2 PM and 4 PM for lunch time. The big stores don’t have lunch time and the banks are open from 9 am to 4 pm with no lunch time.
Taxes & service charges
There is a 10% value-added tax imposed on all goods and services within the State, including rental cars and hotel rooms.
Tipping in Mexico is similar to any other places.
In a restaurant, 10% is correct. But be careful, if in your bill says PROPINA INCLUIDA or PROP probably there’s an extra 10% charge and the tip is already included.
Probably your excursion guide will be expecting a tip, it´s not mandatory but if you´re satisfied with the service you can do it.
Local, domestic and long-distance and international phone calls can be made from any public phone with a phone card that you can buy in any grocery store or pharmacy. Otherwise, a number of shops have public phones (for international services look for the blue “Larga Distancia” signs).
Playa del Carmen area code is 984. Local numbers have 7 digits, and all start with an 8. If a number is written (984) 803 2582 and you ARE at the Riviera Maya, you should dial 803 2582. The international code is from USA 011+52. If you call from USA from Mexico you should dial 001 before the area code and the US number.
There´re many internet Cafes in town.
At most of the stores, you can get newspapers and magazines in English and also Mexican Newspapers in English.
MainPost Office in Playa del Carmen is located in Juarez Av between streets 15 and 20. Opens from Monday to Friday from 8 am till 5pm and Saturdays from 9 to 12pm.
Playa del Carmen has all the medical facilities to take care of any emergency.
Drugstores are open 24hs, and if this is not enough, air private transportation is also available if any emergency requires specialized attention.
The Mayan Riviera is a very safe place. You´ll be able to walk peacefully on the beach and touristic areas. On the 5th and 10th Avenues you can stroll without any worries at any time of the day or night.
At the beach
Swim in the Riviera Maya is very safe since this is home of the second biggest coral reef that protects the coast. If there is any ocean current, you can follow the flags system and you will be safe.
- Green Flag – completely safe for swimming, but always use your common sense.
- Yellow Flag – the sea is lightly rough. Swim with caution
- Red Flag – the sea is very rough, swim with extreme caution. Stay near the coast.
- Black Flag – Swim is prohibited. There are too many dangers.
Ferry from/to Cozumel Island
Ferrys depart everyday from Cozumel Island to Playa del Carmen and the other way around, the trip takes 45min aprox. and rates goes from USD 16 for kids to USD 27 for adults ( round trip per person ) The services start at 5am and the last one is at 11pm.