Playa del Carmen
Located on Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen has become an established tourism hotspot and a strong rival to leading nearby resorts such as Cancún.
Playa del Carmen in Mexico is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for investors looking for both a steady rental income and an excellent long-term return on investment. A robust local economy, growing demand and a booming tourism industry combine to create a host of opportunities.
The key to Playa del Carmen’s success is tourism. The city slots onto the spectacular Riviera Maya region running along the Caribbean south of Cancun, which has seen a surge in tourist numbers in recent years. It is just 45 minutes to Cancun International Airport, which is the 10th busiest airport in the world, averaging over 500 flights per day. Playa del Carmen itself receives over 15 million visitors annually.
Tourists are attracted by a compelling mix of good weather, spectacular scenery, world-class nature reserves and gorgeous beaches. Meanwhile, the surrounding countryside, dotted with ancient Mayan ruins, gives the entire region a sense of mystery and magic.
For those who want sun and sea, it has gorgeous, expansive beaches with beautiful white sand. For others who wish to enjoy an adventure, there’s the opportunity to explore the Mayan jungle and a range of exciting sports – both water-based and for land lovers. Its vast nature reserves make it an excellent destination for eco-tourists. The coast also has the second-largest reef in the world.
With tourists latching onto this coastal resort town as one of the next must-see places, development has accelerated. Road infrastructure projects are underway to increase accessibility, and new restaurants and hospitality venues are popping up across the region.
The frantic pace of development means it’s a buyer’s market with opportunities to be found across the board. Over the last few years, real estate in Playa del Carmen has seen an incredible return on investment, making the area one of Mexico’s most profitable real estate markets.
Visiting Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya is going to be much easier from 2023 onwards with the addition of a new high-speed train (the Tren Maya), which will increase accessibility across the region. A new international airport in Tulum, only an hour away, is also set to bring in 4 million visitors annually. Playa Del Carmen will also welcome the first electric bus for travellers in the Riviera Maya, one of four to be introduced around the world.
Exponential growth is expected throughout the year and right into the next decade – making now the perfect time to invest.
Our experts say
“Playa del Carmen has really exploded onto the scene as a fashionable tourist destination and the Riviera Maya now sits as one of the most popular destinations in the world. The good news for investors is that property prices in Playa del Carmen have not yet caught up with the demand, so buyers can enjoy competitive prices with excellent scope for capital growth.
Playa del Carmen and Tulum received a record-breaking 822,000 visitors between June and August 2022 alone. Both resorts are becoming a strong rival to Cancún, one of Mexico’s most popular luxury travel destinations.
Road infrastructure projects are underway, increasing accessibility for visitors and residents. And, with a new international airport opening in nearby Tulum by 2024, tourist numbers are set to reach even greater heights in the next couple of years.”
– Kevin Martin, Head of Sales
How to get there
Playa del Carmen is located 42 miles from Cancun. It’s a direct drive from Cancun airport along the 307 Highway, and by car will take around 1 hour.
Currently, you cannot travel to Playa del Carmen via train. However, the new Maya Train that runs between Cancun Airport and Playa del Carmen is expected to be completed by the end of 2023.
Playa del Carmen is located just 45 minutes south of Cancun International Airport. There are also plans for a new International Airport to open in nearby Tulum by the end of 2024.
Ferry services, including day tours, run from Playa Del Carmen to locations such as Cozumel or from Cancun to Isla Mujeres.
Playa del Carmen has a tropical climate, experiencing year-round warm temperatures and high humidity.
Summer is the rainy season, but don’t be fooled – it’s short-lived and still very warm. The breeze tempers a bit of the heat, but moisture is high. There is no shortage of sunshine since the rains occur mainly in showers or thunderstorms, and are usually short but intense.
There’s not really a “winter” in Playa del Carmen – more of a cool season that runs from November to February with an average daily temperature below 29°C. The coldest day of the year is in January, with an average low of 17°C and highs of 28°C.
Playa Del Carmen is widely regarded as the fastest-growing city in Mexico, if not all of Latin America. The 2020 census recorded the area’s population at 304,942, which is over an 100% increase compared to a decade earlier. The population is now thought to exceed 350,000, with the municipality (Solidaridad) expanding at a rate of 7.7 per cent annually.
Playa del Carmen belongs to the state of Quintana Roo, which is home to other tourist hotspots such as Cancún and Tulum. House prices in the state rose by an impressive 17.1% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2023.
Within Quintana Roo, Playa del Carmen registered the second-highest increase in property prices in Q1. It was surpassed only by Benito Juárez (also known as Cancún) where values jumped by 17.3% over the year.
Meanwhile, the tourism industry is creating a vast amount of demand for vacation rentals. This is where the real opportunities lie for investors. The city has shot to fame, and is now one of the most popular resorts in Mexico. Experts are predicting that visitor numbers will surpass those of the mighty Cancún in the coming years.
While the older generations look to the area as a place to retire, younger professionals are buying up holiday homes. This gives them their own regular retreat as well as a reliable source of rental income from the ever-increasing tides of tourists.
Thanks to the increased popularity of the location, much is being invested in its infrastructure. The new Maya Train connecting Playa del Carmen directly with Cancún, and the new nearby Tulum International Airport, are both due to open by 2024.
Property here is also more accessible in many respects than in the USA or Canada. Prices are still relatively affordable, taxes are low, and the regulatory environment is welcoming.
Most of all, though, Playa Del Carmen offers an exciting property opportunity with the prospect of a steady income and a high return on investment. The Airbnb market is exceptionally robust here, with good rental yields on properties of all types and occupancy rates averaging between 75% and 85% for vacation homes. While the last few years have witnessed considerable tourism growth, Playa del Carmen is still listed as an up-and-coming location.
Subsequently, property prices have more scope to increase, with demand rising by the year. Investors who get involved today can expect to see significant returns in the future.