On full moon nights in Playa del Carmen, locals camp along the powdery white beaches and celebrate the moon. Originally named Xaman-Ha (waters of the north) and known as the capital of the Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen is located on the Caribbean coast some 40 miles south of Cancun. Playa was once a sleepy Mexican fishing village, but has been transformed into the world's fastest growing city.
From Playa del Carmen it is easy to take the ferry to Cozumel. It is also a convenient location from which to take one of the tours to visit various ruins such as Chitchen Itza and Tulum. Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), close to the beach, is closed to traffic and bustles with hotels, restaurants, and shops. With mariachi musicians entertaining in the streets, Playa is reminiscent of the colonial towns of Mexico. The beach at Playa is one of the most beautiful on the coast, with white sand and sparkling, clear water. A distinct advantage of this resort paradise is its compact size, which allows it to be easily covered on foot. Playa del Carmen is thought to contain the most vibrant and popular nightlife on the Riviera Maya.