Playa Del Carmen Hotels

Playa Del Carmen street art

El Acuario Hotel – Playa Del Carmen accommodation

Playa Del Carmen was the next stop after a marathon bus journey back across the border from Belize into Mexico. There are a  lot of Playa Del Carmen hotels to choose. Our choice was the small and friendly El Acuario Hotel.
On the Playa Del Carmen hotel map, this cute hotel is in a great central location. It is only a few blocks from the bus station and taxi terminus. It is a small hotel with just twelve rooms and one suite. El Acuario has been at the heart of Downtown Playa Del Carmen for the last twenty years. The hotel is very colourful. Vibrant murals creating a friendly happy vibe.
El Acuario’s aquarium!

The aquarium of the ‘El Acuario’ title is in the reception area. There is also a pond of turtles in the little courtyard. More and more turtles have been donated or relocated to the hotel pool. People can’t keep them as pets any more so  there’s quite a little colony there now.

El Acuario
All turtles welcome

Shopping in Playa Del Carmen

There‘s a small swimming pool and relaxation area.  The hotel is only 10 minutes walk from Playa’s stunning white sandy beach and the turquoise Caribbean sea. If you like a bit of retail therapy, the main shopping street Quinta Avenida is just as close. Here you find a multitude of  purchasing opportunities. You can buy anything  from Margarita glasses to ceramics, Mayan masks, silver jewelery and other arts and crafts.

Caribbean colours

Everyone is welcome at El Acuario. The hotel caters for those who want value for money and a more authentic experience than the luxurious all inclusive hotels can provide. The staff are super friendly and helpful and many have worked here for years.
Diane, who is originally from Paris, has managed the hotel for six years. She is married to a Mexican and loves working here. ‘Playa is growing very quickly’ she said ‘and is now more like a city than the village it once was. Our hotel is like a community and has a family atmosphere. We get a lot of independent and quite a few solo travelers here too.’

Seaside suite

The El Acuario Hotel is now owned by a Mexican family. The hotel is so much like home that many guests stay here for long periods of time. They come to escape the cold winters of more Northern climes. In fact one guest, Mike has become a permanent resident. Mike turned his back on his life alone in Atlanta, and now loves living in friendly, sunny Mexico at the El Acuario Hotel!

Go Mexico!

Mexico – go tequila shopping!

All  rooms have air conditioning, a fan, fridge and small kitchenette, in case you want to make your own meals sometimes and a balcony overlooking the pool. Also free Wifi, it’s so important these days – who can live without it now? There are lots of reasonably priced places to eat in the locality, and some very cheap tequila to be had in the local mini market.

El Acuario Hotel
Tequila Shopping

I first visited Playa Del Carmen over twenty years ago and stayed in a thatched hut on the beach – it had one street. Playa Del Carmen was an up and coming fishing village then, with big ideas about tourist expansion.

Those ambitions have now come to fruition and today Playa Del Carmen is a bustling hub of shops, restaurants, hotels and shopping malls. It is close to the famous Mayan sites of Chichen Itza and Tulum and the natural delights of the Mayan Riviera. Playa Del Carmen still retains some of its original charm and as a winter destination for us Northerners, is pretty hard to beat. If you are looking for family friendly, Playa Del Carmen accommodation that won’t break the bank, then the El Acuario Hotel could be just what you’re looking for.

Helpful instructions in Mexican cuisine