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Playa del Carmen is a coastal resort town right at the heart of the Mayan Riviera on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. About 50 miles south of Cancún, it offers a more relaxed, almost European atmosphere, and as the centre of town is small enough to walk around and very pedestrian friendly, it's a great place for a family holiday with a combination of great beaches, adventure activities and theme parks and other tourist attractions. And with a huge selection of condos, apartments and villas available as rental homes, it can be a surprisingly low cost trip for you and your family.
Although the beach will be the first thing many tourists think of, there is far more to do in Playa del Carmen than just working on a tan. Around the beaches are plenty of opportunities for snorkelling and scuba diving, and you can also try your hand at diving in cenotes (freshwater sinkholes which can be found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula). There are three major attraction sites in the area - Xcaret to the south is probably the most exciting - a celebration of the Yucatan Peninsula's Mayan heritage. It contains an archaeological site as well as orchid greenhouses, underground rivers and a jaguar island, and you can even experience the wonder of going swimming with dolphins. After all this excitement, the laidback European flavour of Playa del Carmen itself is great for unwinding after a hard day's enjoyment.
There are apartment rentals and villas to suit every budget in Playa del Carmen. A typical apartment large enough to accommodate a family of four or more costs around £740 for a week, which compares well with the cost of booking hotel rooms for the whole family, particularly when you take into account the extra money saving potential of preparing some of your own meals in the self-catering facilities rather than eating out three times a day or relying on a hotel restaurant's opening times. The vast majority of Playa del Carmen rental homes are also equipped with all modern comforts, often including flatscreen TVs and wireless internet access, so you can relax completely with extra privacy and much more space, which is great for kids. The youngest members of your family can run around and let off steam without you needing to worry that they might be disturbing other guests!