HomeMexicoThe Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide for Playa del Carmen in Mexico

The Ultimate Digital Nomad Guide for Playa del Carmen in Mexico

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If you’re a digital nomad seeking a sunny escape from the winter blues while still enjoying the perks of remote work, why delay the inevitable? Dive into a work-life fiesta in Playa del Carmen, Mexico – the newest hotspot for digital nomads.

Located halfway between Cancun and Tulum, Playa (or PDC for the insiders) offers the perfect blend of sun, sea, and productivity, joining the ranks of other nomadic favourites like Medellin in Colombia, Chiang Mai in Thailand, and Canggu in Bali.

Imagine a sunny paradise where you can indulge in tacos as if it were Taco Tuesday every day.

With this ultimate guide, you’ll discover all the tips to fully enjoy your new Mexican life as a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen.

Why do digital nomads love Playa del Carmen, Mexico?

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Let’s just say that with all the deals for direct flights from Montreal for less than $400 round trip, it’s hard to resist. In under 5 hours, you’ll touch down in Cancun (the closest airport to Playa del Carmen) and conveniently remain in the same time zone—because who needs their internal clock or the next meeting thrown into chaos, right?

As for the weather in Playa del Carmen, if you plan to spend the winter in Playa del Carmen like a snowbird, rest assured that you’ll enjoy an eternal summer that will warm your soul.

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Also, since you’re not the only one escaping the cold, you’ll find a welcoming community of expats and digital nomads who have set up their base camp here.

With a stable and fast internet connection, friendly cafes to work in, and cozy coworking spaces, it’s no wonder that Playa del Carmen is carving out a spot as a hub for digital nomads.

Where to stay in Playa del Carmen?

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Downtown Playa del Carmen, aka centro, is THE place to be if you love being in the heart of the action. Plenty of options are just steps away from 5th Avenue, and you’ll be right next to the beach.

To give you an idea, most digital nomads settle around the Gonzalo Guerrero and Zazil-Ha neighbourhoods. But if you really want to be at the heart of the nomad mecca, aim for the area around 38th Avenue. It’s lively, vibrant, and where it’s all happening.

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Now, if you plan to rent a car and move a bit away from the centre, remember these names: Selvanova, Real Bilbao, Marsella 3, Los Olivos, Cielo, Playacar, Selvamar, Ciudad Mayakoba, Real Ibiza. These are new developments in what they call gated communities, so you’ll find yourself in a brand-new, quiet neighbourhood with a pool, green spaces, and several services nearby. Since it’s a practical turnkey solution, many digital nomad families will find a welcoming haven in these communities.

How to find accommodation in Playa del Carmen?

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To find your little piece of paradise in Playa del Carmen, Airbnb seems like the simplest solution, although the fees can add up. That being said, if you prioritize tranquillity and your budget allows, it’s an option to consider.

If you plan to work from home, before finalizing your reservation on Airbnb, ask the host about the perfomance of the wifi with a screenshot of the internet speed. This will ensure that the connection is top-notch!

Another good tip is to join Facebook groups to scroll through posts as if you were on Tinder for accommodations or write your own post indicating what you’re looking for, your budget, and your travel dates. Here are a few:

Nomad tip: Make sure the rent is all-inclusive, as in some places, you’ll have to add electricity and water, which can be relatively expensive in Mexico compared to Canada. Also, check that the internet is fibre optic.

How to get around in Playa del Carmen?

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From the airport, the easiest way is to take an ADO bus for 250 pesos (less than 20 CAD), and boom, you’re in the heart of Playa del Carmen in the blink of an eye!

Once you’re there, you’ll see that downtown Playa del Carmen isn’t super big. So, unless you have access to a car for your stay, everything can be done on foot or by bike. Moreover, you’ll find shared bikes everywhere, similar to BIXI in Montreal. Otherwise, Marketplace is there for you.

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For a truly local adventure, jump into a colectivo. It’s like Uber but with more soul and authenticity. The central station for colectivos is right in front of Mega Soriana, and you can get almost anywhere if you feel confident with your high school-level Spanish.

If your adventurous spirit pushes you to explore beyond Playa to discover the bohemian vibe of Tulum or the ruins of Chichen Itza, you can either rent a car for a road trip or book a guided tour.

Get your travel insurance for Mexico with soNomad

How much does it cost to live as a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen, Mexico?

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The Yucatan Peninsula is a bit more expensive than the rest of Mexico because it’s the number one spot for tourists. So you need to plan your budget accordingly, but no stress, we’ll break it down for you.

In terms of food, if you focus on local products and cook most of your meals, your wallet will remain happy. And for getting around, opt for public transportation; you’ll see it makes a nice saving.

Examples of costs in Playa del Carmen:

  • A latte at Ah Cacao for a work blitz: 76 pesos ($5.85 CAD)
  • A studio with a rooftop pool in Zazil-Ha: starting from 15,000 pesos/month ($1,150 CAD)
  • 3 tacos al Pastor at a street food stand: 50-75 pesos ($3.95 – 5.75 CAD)
  • Dinner at a restaurant on the 38th: 250-350 pesos ($19-27 CAD)
  • Groceries for a week at Chedraui or Mega Soriana: about 400 pesos ($30 CAD)
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According to Nomadlist, you should budget around $2,745 CAD a month to live in Playa del Carmen as a digital nomad, staying in a studio in the centre and eating at a restaurant three times a day.

How to get a SIM card in Playa del Carmen?

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Need a SIM card in Playa del Carmen? Nothing simpler! Head to OXXO or 7-Eleven, and for only 29 pesos, you have your Telcel SIM card. Then, you just need to add plans that cost between 50 to 300 pesos according to your needs.

For on-the-go internet sessions, you can also pay 15 pesos for 2 hours of unlimited internet. Telcel is truly the best option for digital nomads in Mexico, offering the best reception. You’ll see; you’ll always be well-connected.

Which visa do you need to be a digital nomad in Playa del Carmen?

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In terms of visas, upon your arrival in Mexico, you usually get a tourist visa that gives you a hassle-free margin of 6 months.

If you have longer-term plans, there’s the option of a temporary residence visa for 12 months that can be renewed. You just need to demonstrate a stable monthly income of $1500 USD from an employer or a source outside Mexico.

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

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If you’re wondering what to do in Playa del Carmen, here are some suggestions to keep you busy when you’re not working:

Relax on the beach: Head to Mamitas for a lively atmosphere at one of the beach clubs, Punta Esmeralda for something quieter, or Coco Beach for expat meetups around a game of volleyball or a yoga session.

Taste local cuisine: The best spot in town where you’ll find loads of street food stands is right next to Mega Soriana. From tacos to tamales, let yourself be tempted by a variety of delights.

Explore the Mayan ruins in Playacar: Discover the well-preserved ruins of Playacar, near downtown, for an immersion into Mayan history.

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Admire street art: Stroll through the city to discover murals on Fifth Avenue, between 54th and 106th streets, showcasing the work of artists from around the world.

Take a trip to Cozumel: Hop on the ferry to this small island known for scuba diving and snorkelling off the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the Western Hemisphere.

Swim in the crystal-clear cenotes: Dos Ojos, Zacil-Ha, and Car Wash are natural gems not to be missed.

Join a Temazcal ceremony: For a unique experience, try an Aztec purification ceremony. Picture yourself sweating in a pre-Hispanic sauna with medicinal herbs and ancestral rituals.

Connect with other digital nomads: Attend meetups where you can exchange ideas, share experiences, and build connections with a community that shares the same passions.

Best spots for digital nomads in Playa del Carmen

Immerse yourself in a unique working experience in Playa del Carmen, where every detail is designed for digital nomads. Imagine spaces offering fast Wi-Fi, plenty of electrical outlets, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, exquisite coffee, and a community ready to share and collaborate.

Isn’t that the good life?

To guide you in finding that perfect spot to set up your laptop, here’s a list of cafés we’ve personally tried and loved, endorsed not only by us but also by fellow digital nomads. Additionally, we’ve thrown in some coworking spaces where productivity meets a friendly atmosphere.

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Best cafes for working in Playa del Carmen:

Recommended coworking spaces in Playa del Carmen:

Is it safe in Playa del Carmen?

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Usual advice stands: steer clear of solo night strolls, keep tabs on your drink (we’re not planning any heroic rescues from overly lively nights!), and, of course, resist any cartel invites (you never know).

But joking aside, Playa del Carmen is as safe for solo female travellers as it is for families with little adventurers. Just be as alert as you would be in any major city.

You’ll also notice the constant presence of law enforcement. The patrols, with their flashing lights, aren’t looking to stop you; it’s just their normal way of moving around and showing their presence. Even the National Guard, with their big guns on the beach, aims more to intimidate and assert their presence to ensure tranquility.

Best resources for digital nomads

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If you’re curious or have any inquiries, tapping into Facebook groups can be a goldmine of insights. Here are your best resources to learn everything about the digital nomad scene in Playa del Carmen:

Playa del Carmen is undoubtedly a gem on the digital nomad map, offering not just a workplace but a lifestyle that blends work and play seamlessly. So, pack your laptop, sunscreen, and a sense of wanderlust; Playa del Carmen awaits with its vibrant community, breathtaking beaches and daily taco delights.

Of course, like a respectable digital nomad, don’t forget to get travel insurance before you leave for Playa del Carmen, Mexico!

Get your travel insurance for Mexico with soNomad

If you have questions, let us know! We’ll refer you to the right person!

Nomad Junkies’ founders are proud to be ambassadors for soNomad and on a mission to reduce travel insurance costs for all!

Safia Dodard
Safia Dodardhttps://www.nomadjunkies.com
Je voyage parce que je suis accro au mode de vie nomade . J'ai quitté mon emploi en agence de pub pour explorer le monde, d'abord en backpack solo et maintenant avec ma petite famille. Rejoins notre communauté de nomades sur Facebook, Twitter et Instagram.
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