Skip to content

Playa del Carmen Gay Travel

What is Playa del Carmen gay travel like? Discover the local gay scene, plus where to stay, all-inclusive hotels, experiences and gay travel tips.

wolfyy logo

The Gay Travel Experience: Playa del Carmen, Mexico

So, you’re interested in visiting Playa del Carmen. That may mean one of a few things. Maybe you want a cheap destination for some sun near beautiful blue waters. Perhaps you’ve heard of the bountiful all-inclusive resorts here. Or, maybe you just found a cheap flight direct to nearby Cancun from your home city.

playa del carmen gay travel
playa del carmen gay travel
Playa del Carmen beach

Let me help you get oriented with Playa del Carmen gay life. I’ll go over the basics and explain if PDC is a good spot for you as a gay traveler.

Playa del Carmen beach

I visited Playa del Carmen during the month of August while traveling with my amazing mom and one of my little brothers. We took advantage of low-season pricing and stayed ten wonderful days in an all-inclusive resort. It wasn’t the most “gay-oriented” trip I’ve taken, but I was certainly able to learn about local the gay vibe.

playa del carmen gay
playa del carmen gay
local travel experience

Now…all-inclusive resorts are not normally my thing. I’m usually out exploring the most authentic areas of cities, taking in the local culture. However, when in Playa del Carmen, it’s most common that you stay in an all-inclusive. It’s what this town does best!

local travel experience

PDC is not really a city where you’ll want to lace up your sneakers to pound the pavement. There is of course a cute town center, but that is not why most people visit Playa del Carmen. Instead, people go to Playa for the leisurely resorts that line the oceanfront.

The Playa del Carmen Gay Scene

Playa del Carmen is primarily a family-oriented destination. Since the area is full of all-inclusive resorts, families book group vacations. This heavily outweighs the number of gay travelers in PDC. The gay scene in Playa del Carmen is small and mainly comprised of locals, but it does exist!

gay playa del carmen
gay playa del carmen
gay beach playa del carmen
Overall, there are not herds of gay men visiting Playa del Carmen. PDC simply doesn’t compare to places like Miami, Florida. But, if you’re still reading, maybe permeating a gay crowd isn’t really what you’re after.
gay beach playa del carmen

If your main question is “where do gay guys stay in Playa del Carmen,” then I can tell you that you’re likely to find them in the central PDC area. Gay guys are usually found here instead of resorts farther away. Why? It’s closer to gay nightlife.

I only noticed one or two gay guys at the hotel I stayed at north of central PDC. When I made a trip into the center of town though, there were some more bopping around.

Playa Del Carmen hotel
Playa Del Carmen hotel
playa del carmen. beach hut

The big exception to all of this is during the huge gay festivals that come to Playa del Carmen! WE Party, a giant gay circuit festival organization, partners with the ARENA International festival in Riviera Maya once a year.

gay beach playa del carmen

I have never been, but I can tell you it is a typical circuit festival like Barcelona Circuit or the like. ARENA 2021 is scheduled for October 28th. through November 2nd. When this festival comes to town, expect gay guys everywhere.

A Note on Mexico Gay Rights

Mexico can get a bad reputation, especially if you’re used to hearing a lot of American media outlets talk about their neighbor to the south. Interestingly though, the gay rights situation in Mexico fares much better than that of the United states in many respects!

Mexico gay life
Mexico gay life

Both nations are fragmented, with state governments grappling to deal with federal laws. More secular areas have less LGBT protections. Even still, Mexico probably has a much better set of LGBT protections than you may have thought! 

Head to the end of this Playa del Carmen gay guide to learn more, including the amazing help the country gives to HIV/AIDS patients.

Gay Playa del Carmen: Hotels & Where to Stay

When people mention Playa del Carmen, they may be referring to one of two things. Firstly, there is the town center of PDC. This is the part of town with narrow, pedestrian-friendly streets lined with stores and restaurants.

playa del carmen hotels
playa del carmen hotels
gay hotels playa del carmen Mexico

Then, there is the greater Playa del Carmen township area. This is the larger swath of resort property that is separate from the town center, but still within what is considered to be Playa del Carmen. There are plentiful resorts as well as stunning Playa del Carmen Airbnb rentals throughout the area.

gay hotels playa del carmen Mexico

Before booking a hotel as a gay traveler, you should decide if proximity to other gay men is a priority for you. Remember that the gay population in Playa del Carmen is slim and there are no official gay hotels in PDC. 

Playa del Carmen beachfront resort

Don’t believe me? The official “Everything Playa del Carmen” Website says it themselves! So ultimately, this decision more so concerns if you want some gays around, or if you’re are comfortable with having none.

luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen
luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen beachfront resort

If you prefer more gays than none, then check out some of the hotels in Playa del Carmen that claim to be gay favorites like The Palm at Playa. Otherwise, I suggest rounding up your friends and crashing whatever hotel you find to be the best.

Mayakoba Hotels

Mayakoba is a compound of several hotel and resort chains in Playa del Carmen. During my second trip to Playa del Carmen, I stayed at the Andaz Mayakoba, which was absolutely perfect.

Andaz Mayakoba Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen gay friendly hotels
Andaz Mayakoba Playa del Carmen

My favorite thing about the Andaz Mayakoba was the hotel’s commitment to embracing local culture, a signature touch of the Andaz brand. Aside from the pleasant cultural experience, the resort was simply fantastic. Everything from the glass-walled gym to the pristinely kept beachfront was impeccable.

Playa del Carmen gay friendly hotels

All of the hotels in the Mayakoba compound are of excellent quality. In addition to the Andaz, there are the Fairmont, the Rosewood, and the Banyan Tree Mayakoba properties. Any of these hotels would be an excellent choice.

all inclusive resort
gay areas in Mexico
all inclusive resort

Riviera Maya All-Inclusive Hotels

I stayed at the Grand Riviera Princess Hotel in Playa del Carmen back during my first visit to Playa del Carmen. Booking the hotel far in advance, I was able to get an upgrade to their Platinum Suites area which included some extra amenities.

best hotels playa del carmen

Just next door to the Grand Riviera Princess Resort is a similar hotel called Ocean Riviera Paradise Hotel, another all-inclusive spot. I took a walk around the grounds of this hotel and it’s magnificent! Their swimming pools were built with this white concrete that makes their water look super blue. I’d say Oceans Riviera is definitely worth checking out.

gay areas in Mexico
best hotel pools playa del carmen
best hotels playa del carmen

I recommend staying at one of the hotels on the beach if you choose to stay in the Playa del Carmen town center. Just a few blocks inland will start to feel a bit bland. Staying along the waterfront will give you awesome views, quick beach access and close proximity to fun activities nearby.

best hotel pools playa del carmen

Playa del Carmen Gay Travel Experiences

Cool off inside at the Quinta Alegría Shopping Mall in the Playa del Carmen town center. Inside you’ll find all the typical modern brands. The mall is indoor-outdoor, so it’s a great spot to stroll around, grab a snack and buy some new threads.

playa del carmen shopping
Mexico gay travel
Playa del Carmen downtown beach

Why did you come to Mexico again? The wonderful weather, of course! You don’t need me to tell you to get out and catch some rays. If you’re wondering, the beach in downtown Playa del Carmen is perfect for swimming.

Playa del Carmen downtown beach

The town center beach was not any cleaner or murkier than the beaches near the resort I stayed at. It all seemed the similar.

downtown playa del carmen restaurants
playa del carmen shopping
playa del carmen. beach hut

While on the subject of sun, make sure to wear an appropriate amount of sunscreen. There’s nothing worse than getting burned on your first day of vacation. Plus, sun damage causes wrinkles, and not just on your face!

downtown playa del carmen restaurants

Grab a bite to eat or a few margaritas at Señor Frog’s. The Señor Frog’s restaurant is a favorite chain of mine, especially because it’s a familiar spot for me in Miami Beach. 

They have an awesome elevated terrace where you can people watch on the streets below. Sometimes you just need a good chain establishment to be satisfied!

Swim in a Cenote

Visiting a cenote is one of the most popular things to don in Playa del Carmen. These natural pools of water are absolutely breathtaking. They’re bright blue, perfectly clear and just the right temperature to cool off.

Tulum cenotes
Cenote Dos Ojos
Tulum cenotes

Most of the Cenotes are in southern Playa del Carmen and Tulum. While there are many cenote options, only a handful of them have that true wow factor.

Cenote Dos Ojos

I visited Cenote Dos Ojos with my partner Michael. We booked a driver through our hotel who also acted as our guide and helped us get our entry tickets. It took about 40 minutes to get to this cenote in Tulum from Mayakoba, but it was 100% worth it.

I loved every part of it from the little fish swimming near my feet to the glowing water illuminated by the sun.

PDC Dolphin Swimming Experiences

One of my mother’s dreams was to swim with a dolphin. Neither of us had done it before, and so we had to make it happen! 

I know all of the animal rights advocates are not going to like me for this, but I booked a half-day dolphin experience with my family! Before you get too angry, let me explain the circumstances

dolphin experiences playa del carmen

We went to Dolphin Royal Swim at “Dolphin Playa del Carmen.” We each had some time with a sea lion, a dolphin and a huge manatee! I must say that every sea animal we touched and interacted with had huge amounts of free space to roam.

playa del carmen family hotels
dolphin experiences playa del carmen
playa del carmen family hotels

The animals seemed happy and appeared to love their trainers. I didn’t see any signs of mistreatment, abuse or unnecessary captivity. For example, when the sea lions weren’t interacting with us, they swim and relax in huge open areas of water.

boat in Playa del Carmen

For those wondering more about this experience, here’s some more detail about the general options. Usually, dolphin experiences take place in small groups of five and eight people.

Each person takes turns doing the same activity with each animal. Personally, I loved the manatees because they’re so huge, slow and easy to get up close to!

Playa del Carmen Gay Bars

La Cueva Disco Bar is a local gay bar in Playa del Carmen that is a little seedy but a ton of fun. It more closely resembles a strip club that also has drag performances. Since La Cueva is a little farther outside the town center of Playa del Carmen, you’ll find tons of locals there. Definitely not a tourist bar!

La Cueva gay bar

I also have a few friends that have been to La Cueva Disco Bar and liked it very much. If you’re in the area of central PDC, go give it a try.

La Cueva gay bar
LGBT community nightlife
la cueva Playa del Carmen

Playa 69 is a Playa del Carmen gay bar in the main town center. This is the only officially-labeled “gay bar” in Playa del Carmen. I unfortunately did not have the chance to go! It’s a small space and there is a cover charge. If you give it a try, let me know how you liked it.

LGBT community nightlife
Note that the gay bars in Playa del Carmen will be most busy on Friday and Saturday nights, as you might expect. If you can’t get there on one of these days, I would consider skipping them unless you happen to be nearby. No one wants to make a long trip out to visit an empty bar!
Trusted Gay Travel Info

Planning Made Easier with wolfyy.

Add Your Email.

wolfyy

Playa del Carmen Gay Travel Tips

You may want to consider an adults-only resort if you plan to stay with an all-inclusive hotel. Remember that Cancun and Playa del Carmen are family-oriented destinations. In some traditional resorts you will certainly find children squealing with happiness by the pool.

Playa del Carmen waterpark animals
PDC hotels all inclusive
PDC things to do Mexico

To visit Playa del Carmen, you will fly into the Cancun International Airport. It is best to arrange transportation in advance to your hotel in order to avoid getting ripped off. Some of the prices for private transportation are absolutely ridiculous.

gay things to do playa del carmen

I recommend using Bookaway to book a shuttle from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. They also can arrange price car transfers.

playa del carmen gay
monkeys in Playa del Carmen

On-the-spot taxis can demand the equivalent of up to 200 USD for one way! If you’re more flexible, there are also coach buses that go to central PDC.

Playa del Carmen Pharmacies: What Can You Buy?

Many Playa del Carmen gay travel newbies are naturally curious about the medications and supplements that are legally available for sale in Mexico. Firstly, I will tell you that these pharmacies are everywhere. There are dozens around the town center, so you will have absolutely no issue finding one.
playa del carmen pharmacies
playa del carmen pharmacies
playa del carmen pharmacies

Mexico sells many medications that are only available in the United States with a prescription. I won’t list them here, but if you have a hunch about what you might find, you’re probably right.

playa del carmen pharmacies
Not all pharmacies sell the same things. Many times, one pharmacy will only carry the most basic of medications while another will advertise that they sell the supplements that are hard to come by. Disclaimer: always abide by your country’s laws regarding international transport of medications.
Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen gay beach
Playa del Carmen

Prices for different medications at different pharmacies in Playa del Carmen vary significantly. 

Sometimes it has to do with how close you are to the waterfront and other times there is no logic behind it. My mom actually got an infection while in Mexico and so I took it upon myself to get some antibiotics for her. Look at all I learned!

Should I Visit Mexico in the Summer?

Summer is the tourist low season in Mexico for the obvious reason that all of North America and Europe have other destinations that tourists flock to. Mexico is much cheaper in the summer, and so those who want even more of a bargain may decide to visit Playa del Carmen in the summer.

PDC hotels all inclusive
playa del carmen seaweed on beaches
visit Mexico in summer

I personally was one of those people who visited Playa del Carmen in the summer. Although I had a fantastic time, it certainty was sweltering hot. In my opinion, the discomfort is mostly from laying in the direct sun. It can be too hot to lay out for a tan!

playa del carmen seaweed on beaches

I think this would have been more avoidable if the hotel I was staying at had a cooler pool temperature. I’m not exactly sure how you can check this for a specific resort. But escaping the summer heat is difficult if the pool water is also hot!

PDC things to do Mexico

If you prefer the shade, then you really shouldn’t have an issue! For me, the overly warm pool water made it difficult to relax.

Do Playa del Carmen Beaches Have Seaweed?

Playa del Carmen beaches have the clear blue water that you have come to expect while visiting Mexico. However, it is very common for large blooms of seaweed to cloud the shoreline. During these times, the beaches in Playa del Carmen are not so clear.
playa del carmen seaweed on beaches
playa del carmen seaweed on beaches
Mexico gay rights

During these algal blooms, you can get to a point where the beach water is clear and blue by wading through the bit of organic debris on the shore. Seaweed tends to collect along the first few meters of shoreline closest to the sand. 

Mexico gay rights

Many hotels work very hard to remove the seaweed as best they can. But sometimes, it can become unmanageable.

wolfyy logo

Explore more gay Mexico destinations. Check out the gay travel guide to Holbox Island and discover absolute blue-water paradise. Or, discover the best of gay-friendly Puerto Vallarta.

For additional resources, visit the official Playa del Carmen tourism website.

Popular Blog Posts on wolfyy

Why Trust wolfyy?

Because I've been to every destination I write about.

wolfyy travel guides are based on my own experiences, plus trusted tips from LGBT travelers & locals.

Louis Lafata from wolfyy
I'm Louis,

Creator of wolfyy

My mission is to provide authentic, local gay travel information you can rely on.

Advice you can trust. No outsourced content. Sounds good, right?

wolfyy gay travel logo

You Deserve Quality Gay Travel Info.

Let wolfyy Help


Before you go...

Trusted Gay Travel Info, Just for You.

Leave Your Email.

JOIN ME.

Gay Travel Advice You Can't Find Anywhere Else.

pixel