Playa del Carmen isn't the region's geographic center, but it is the Riviera Maya’s heart—its indisputable hub of social and commercial activity, as well as a preferred spot for fun in the sun, thanks to its nine miles of beaches fronting the Caribbean Sea. After soaking up the scenery from your privileged patch of sand, head to Quinta Avenida, a 2.8-mile stretch lined with indie boutiques, markets, and restaurants for every taste and budget. And feel free to stay a while—sidewalks don't roll up once the sun sets. Playa del Carmen has an energetic nightlife scene, with dance clubs that pump out beats until the wee hours.
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