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Specifically, I'm staying at the Blue Bay Grand Esmeralda. Is there anything I need to know when traveling to this area? Any laws that aren't apparent to a traveler? Anything I should do?

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This is a very broad question with no "one right answer". StackExchange usually discourages such questions. –  hippietrail Jul 20 '11 at 15:23
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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Playa del Carmen has a great location - about mid-way between Cancun and Tulum - both big tourist destination. Though, it can hold it's own...

We were there for a wedding recently, and can't wait to go back. Here's a list of things we enjoyed and highly recommend -

  1. The Beach at Playa Del Carmen - one of the best, and not as crowded or commercial as those in Cancun and Tulum.
  2. Tulum - The beach, the ruins (if you are into the Mayan/Aztec culture), The Mezzanine restaurant has THE most spectacular views you will ever see.
  3. The Coba ruins - not sure I'd go there again - a long drive, and Tulum and Chichen have more historic sites
  4. Chichen Itza ruins - An even longer drive, but worth it, if it's the only site you will see.
  5. Diving into one of the many Cenotes, if you enjoy snorkeling
  6. If you have young travelers, they'll love the "dolphin adventures"

With regards to safety, a lot has been made out about the drug wars. We found it extremely safe, with no issues. Just exercise common sense - don't venture out needlessly after hours. Eat hot food from established restaurants. If you plan on shopping at the city, make sure you are well aware of the exchange rate. We bought some art pieces, which we negotiated in US$, only to be charged in Pesos. Needless to say, on coming back we realized the exchange rate was ridiculous.

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Thanks, that's excellent info! –  BrandonV Jul 20 '11 at 14:37
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@BrandonV You should accept an answer if it seems to be enough for you. Try to avoid broad questions like this one. –  VMAtm Jul 20 '11 at 20:29
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