Friday, July 12, 2024

The insider’s guide to investing in real estate in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is quickly becoming one of Mexico’s most attractive spots for tourism and real estate. It’s a place that has it all: a beautiful, light blue ocean and white sand beaches, a fun social and party scene anywhere you turn, and a vibrant cultural and gastronomic landscape. Given it’s proximity to Cancún, the city is also quite cosmopolitan and international. When you walk through the streets of Playa del Carmen, you find yourself surrounded by people and languages from all over the world. 

According to the federal tourism ministry, Sedetur, around 23 million people visited the Mexican Caribbean in 2019. Many of these visitors look for housing options outside of staying at a hotel, renting condos, or using apps like Airbnb. With 50 airlines and 100 international destinations, Playa del Carmen’s proximity to Cancún International Airport makes it an accessible destination, easy to fly to and from. Additionally, the Riviera Maya is amongst the 10 real estate markets with the most growth in the world, according to the Financial Times, growing 20% per year. 

Tourists from across the world flock to Playa del Carmen, and it isn’t hard to see why. (Alisa Matthews/Unsplash)

Alongside Cancún and Tulum, Playa del Carmen real estate offers a return on investment (ROI) of 11.5%, an impressive number and one of the highest in the country. To put it in comparison, a similarly vibrant city with an equally high tourist influx, Miami, hovers around 5.1% ROI. 

And, because this Riviera Maya town remains in constant growth, capital gains on a property do as well. 

Now that you’ve seen the financial opportunity of investing in Playa del Carmen, let’s look at some specific neighborhoods that you could one day be a part of: 

What are the best neighborhoods to invest in real estate in Playa del Carmen?


Between the ferry dock to Cozumel and fashionable Constituyentes street, lies the lively downtown neighborhood of Centro. It’s the most vivid and colorful part of the famous Quinta Avenida, with the highest concentration of stores, restaurants and bars. Here, you can eat delicious meals, go shopping and have a good time with your friends in the same block, while being just an 8-minute walk from the beach.

Its bus station also provides easy access to transportation to and from the area.

The Gallery Condos Studio, in the bustling Centro neighborhood. (Remax Maya)

You can find smaller, one-bedroom condos for US $170,000, or 2-bedroom properties from US $320,000 to $485,000. If you’re feeling fancy, penthouses can range from US $220,000 to $580,000. 


Playacar is a more exclusive area next to Playa del Carmen with a number of luxury all-inclusive resorts. It’s a more relaxing place where you can make the most out of the beautiful beaches, but still no more than a few minutes from the vibrant heart of Playa del Carmen. 

There are plenty of investment opportunities in condos and apartments in Playacar. Because of its luxury level and exclusivity, it’s on the more expensive side of Playa.

A cool US$ 2.5 million can get you a stunning beachfront property in the Playacar area. (Remax Maya)

This beachfront house listed by Remax Maya, with 3 bedrooms and 2 baths, for example, is listed for US $2.5 million. 

However, non-beachfront condos with 2-3 bedrooms are more affordable, listed between US $400,000 and $1 million. 

Playa Mamitas:

Located a little north of downtown, Mamitas Beach is one of the most attractive and famous destinations in Playa del Carmen. Apart from easy access to the ocean, where the waves are gentle and inviting, this beach has countless bars and restaurants. This area is particularly alluring for people looking to be where things are always happening while keeping close to the Caribbean shores. 


Mayakoba is located north of Playa del Carmen and has a similar exclusivity to Playacar. It hasn’t yet experienced a boom in tourism though, one of its most appealing qualities. The most attractive feature of Mayakoba is that its real estate is relatively modern, but still maintains a respectful relationship with the surrounding natural environment. Thanks to its exclusivity and distance away from the noise and activity of bustling Playa del Carmen, this area is ideal for rest and relaxation.

The Reserve at Mayakoba is the perfect destination for those looking to live in the heart of nature while retaining access to the amenities of a major beach city.  (The Reserve at Mayakoba)

Luxury condos, such as The Reserve at Mayakoba, offer 2, 3 and 4 bedroom apartments, ranging from US $1.2 to $4 million. While these are high in price, the development includes multiple amenities that are increasingly in demand as part of modern luxury complexes, with access to yoga rooms, gym, spas and food shops. 

Other properties in Mayakoba range from US $248,000 to $2.8 million. 

Other things to consider when investing

Playa del Carmen’s proximity to other attractive destinations in the Riviera Maya makes it an ideal midpoint. Additionally, tourism is the main pillar of the local economy, making it one of the 15 most popular destinations globally according to the Riviera Maya Hotel Association. Because of its high influx of tourists who rent as an alternative to staying at hotels or resorts, the real estate market offers some outstanding opportunities for investors.

One last note: If you are not a Mexican citizen, make sure you understand the real estate process in Mexico for a foreigner before you invest.

Montserrat Castro Gómez is a freelance writer and translator from Querétaro, México.

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