Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, located on the eastern mainland (Caribbean side) of the Yucatan, across the water by ferry from the island of Cozumel, is large enough to have everything you need, but small enough to still get around easily.

There are lots of Expats who have already paved the way for you. So, whether you are considering retiring to that area or just heading down for some dental work, or vacationing and taking in some of the many fascinating ruins in the area or just lounging around enjoying the beautiful water, Playa del Carmen awaits you.

Here’s a couple of emails from a lucky person already there:

“Hey Barbie,

USED beautiful water and sky_thumb

A brief note to update you on my move to Playa del Carmen. I went down in November, leased a loft condo in Plaza Paraiso Caribe. Brand new, 24/7 security guards, underground parking. It is across from the nicest mall in town and two blocks from Avenida Cinco and the beach. Love it!

“Had a little trouble getting my things moved down but I eventually got everything in pretty good shape. What a difference in weather, lifestyle, grocery shopping etc. I have had to adjust my cooking a little but it is still good.

“In Texas for a few weeks, trying to sell the remainder of my furniture, etc. Can’t wait to go home (to Mexico!) Leaving on Valentine’s Day and driving. Tom”

And a little later from Tom:

“Hi Barbie,

“Sorry I haven’t been reciprocating with your bulletins, reports and emails. I am living in Playa del Carmen and love it. In my opinion it is truly Paradise for retired expats.

I found a nice loft condo in the central part of Playa on 10th Ave. South. I live just outside the gate into Playacar and only two blocks from a very nice mall and the popular 5th Avenue. As you know, I am in walking distance of many neat stores and restaurants in that area.

“There are so many great things to visit, experience and remember in the Yucatan. First of all, the weather here is nearly perfect year round. Hardly even have to use my air conditioners at all because of the beautiful sea breezes constantly.

“Secondly, I cannot imagine water this blue and clear except in the Virgin Islands, which I would love to return to someday. Then, the scenery in town and along the highways to Tulum and Chetemal is gorgeous. It is all just amazing!

“Playa del Carmen is not the same place that I discovered and fell in love with back in 1988. Even in the past 10 years, I believe the city has doubled in size. So many people have retired here from the U.S., Canada and Europe.There is also a big influx of people from South America (especially Argentina) Turkey and the Middle East. A lot of Jewish people from Israel have come here too. It is a real smorgasboard of nationalities.

Used-Colors-of-Mexico_thumb “Playa and the Mayan Riviera are totally secure. There are three police forces and the national military here in the area patrolling at all times. There is very little crime or violence at all in Playa because of the constant watch. Now, Cancun has it’s share of problems I understand, but it is a huge city which would harbor more crime for sure.

“Playa has all of the conveniences of home as far as way of life. Great food markets, many car dealers to care for any upkeep needed (I brought my jeep down from Texas). There are dry cleaners, beautiful furniture stores and lots of little shops to find local artistry/ethnic clothing and decor. Fun shopping and exploring!Used-a-Touch-of-Mexico_thumb

“I will say, the only surprise I had when I moved here was that the cost of living is not much cheaper here than Texas. The utilities are high, the gasoline is about the same,
rent is expensive in this part of town, but it has advantages and is so close to everything I want to do.

“The food is a little cheaper on some things but a nice selection of fresh produce and meats. I do miss the quality of our Texas steaks and other beef items. Since I love both poultry and pork, it is not a problem for me. And, the seafood is just wonderful! Not starving, for sure.

“I know that I could have lived cheaper in Merida or a lot of other places. But the Carribean (side of Mexico) called me years ago. Once again, I get what I pay for!

“Enjoy your newsletters, keep them coming! Tom C “

TO TOM: Thank you for allowing me to publish your email. You shared so much with us and we are all very grateful for your unique insight and experience!

SO, dear reader: do you have any questions for Tom? Post your comment below. Let’s get the discussion going!

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13 Responses to Playa del Carmen

  1. Andrea Robinson

    May 23, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Tom, my husband and I will be staying at the Barcelo Maya Palace 6-16-12 and leaving 6-23-12. I have been reading Barbie’s site for 6 years. We have been considering Playa de Carmen because it is so close to Dallas. We will have cell phone coverage while we are there and would love to talk with you or perhaps meet you. Please let me know if it would be possible. Thank you. Andrea

  2. Dave Wood

    May 23, 2012 at 6:01 am

    Hi Barbie,
    What great timing. We are heading to Playa in a couple of days, and I was wanting to check the area out for a possible retirement area. When he says cost of living is not much less than in Texas, is there a range or breakdown of costs? We will be limited to about 2500-2800 a month. Is that realistic for there or should we be looking elsewhere?
    Thanks again, Barbie,

  3. Francois Levesque

    May 23, 2012 at 6:45 am

    Hi , Looks like a geat place to Retire.,
    What is the cost to rent a 1 or 2 bedroom apt or condo in the area . does not have to be ocean front .. Is it safe to live there ,Crime ???????Please contact me .I would be grateful for your time and info..
    I currentky live in Port Orange FL. want to lower my cost of living..
    Thank You very much
    F. Levesque

  4. Lisa

    May 23, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    Hey Tom,

    Great article. Have you been through a summer there yet? Still no a/c?

    You say rent is high, can you give an idea of a 2-3 br. apt?

    How about noise? I hear it is always noisy in Mexico and that it can drive you nuts. But I suppose there are places that are quiet and peaceful to have an apt.?

    Thanks in advance for any answers.


  5. Marvin Porsnuk

    May 23, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    Hi Tom, Your making me jealous as Playa is where I would like to retire also, I’ve holidayed there several times and have a real estate agent who sends me e-mail , was it cheaper or easier to rent then buying , or is that what you wanted to do,and would you help a guy out in renting or buying in the future, I am assuming you are there for the forseeable future.
    talk to you later

  6. Barbie


    May 23, 2012 at 8:47 pm

    Hi Dave – You should find you’ll be very comfortable on that amount. And after saying that, there are some people who couldn’t make it on $5000 – but, that’s just depending on how you want to live. Most people will find $2500 a very nice amount. Barbie

  7. Barbie


    May 23, 2012 at 8:49 pm

    And do, when you have time, keep the other readers up on your progress! Barbie

  8. Steve

    May 28, 2012 at 11:54 am

    Where is Tom? Is he planning to reply to any of these questions?

  9. Barbie


    May 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Andrea, Sorry, that won’t work out, but have a wonderful time. There are a few folks who would like you and Tom to fill in some info for them on my site, if and when you have time? Thanks in advance. Barbie

  10. Barbie


    May 29, 2012 at 7:36 pm

    Hi Steve, I’m hoping Tom will be answering – when he has the time. Hang in there. Barbie

  11. Frank

    June 7, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    I think Tom must be very busy indeed if he has no time to answer a handful of posts in one month. Perhaps he has succumbed to expat-in-Mexican-resort-town syndrome, lol.

  12. Jim

    June 14, 2012 at 3:07 pm

    I give up on Tom, too bad. Maybe you could give him a little nudge, Barb.

  13. Abegail

    July 9, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Playa Del Carmen is such a wonderful place! Been there 3 times as well, and it’s diernfeft every time I go back. Have you been down to Tulum yet? I seriously want to move there. Must learn Spanish, but at least there are lots of Starbucks :)

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