Xcacel beach - The Snorkel Shop

Top 5 Beaches around Playa del Carmen

Mamitas Beach Playa del Carmen - The Snorkel Shop

Mamitas Beach

The Mexican Caribbean coast attracts visitors from all over the world to explore crystal clear waters and sun-worship on some of the world’s most beautiful white sand beaches. It wasn’t easy, but we’ve managed to pick our top five beaches on the Mayan Riviera; from lively spots with beach clubs and live music, to peaceful, out of the way places for those looking to escape it all. Whatever your preference, you are sure to find a beach to suit you around Playa del Carmen.
1. Mamitas Beach, Playa del Carmen
Just down the road from the Snorkel Shop is our very own Mamitas beach; a beautiful stretch of white sand bright turquoise water. It is a popular spot to relax at the various beach clubs, and is also home to a several great events throughout the year, such as the electronic music festival, BPM. Surrounded by shops, bars and eateries, Mamitas has great facilities and is easily accessible from the heart of town. It’s definitely ‘the place to be seen’ in Playa del Carmen.

2. Paamul
Only 20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen is the sleepy residential village of Paamul. The quiet bay is open to the public and has a small reef. This peaceful beach attracts families and people looking to escape the crowds in exchange for quiet relaxation.

Xcacel beach - The Snorkel Shop

Xcacel Beach

3. Xcacel
This natural, rugged beach south of Playa del Carmen is great for body-surfing and iguana spotting. It also has a small cenote filled with fish, accessed by a path through the mangroves. Xcacel is the most underdeveloped beach around Playa del Carmen, known for its untouched natural beauty.
4. Xpu-ha
This lesser known beach is a hidden gem on the Mayan Riviera. Blindingly white sand, bright blue water and a few simple beach bars make this a great spot to hang out, especially on Saturday afternoons when a live band takes to the stage of La Playa beach club to entertain the chilled out crowd.

5. Akumal

Akumal - The Snorkel Shop


No visit to Playa del Carmen is complete without a day trip to Akumal beach, to snorkel with the sea turtles who feed in the shallow bay. There is also a small reef filled with colorful fish, rays, and even a resident barracuda! In between turtle spotting, relax under the shade of a palm tree, visit a beach front restaurant, or walk along the shore and spot silver fish darting through the translucent shallows.
The pristine coastline around Playa del Carmen is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. For more information on the area, or to arrange a snorkelling tour to the world’s second largest barrier reef, come in and see us, we are happy to help!

A Quick Guide To Mexican Food

Snorkeling with whale sharks and exploring underground cenotes can build up quite an appetite! Let us introduce you to one of the most delicious and flavorsome cuisines in the world, Mexican food. The word for food in Spanish is ‘comida’ and there are plenty of choices on offer around Playa del Carmen.

The good news is, you don’t have to spend very much to experience the best of Mexican cuisine – with just a little know how, you can eat like a king and experience the delicious flavors of Mexican food.




We’ll start with the most well-known star of the Mexican food scene. A tortilla, either made from corn or wheat flour, is wrapped around a delicious filling, either chicken (pollo), beef (bistek), pork (puerco) or al pastor (marinated meat shaved off a rotisserie).

Tacos can be garnished with onions, lime, cilantro, and of course, salsa! Make sure you test the salsas on the back of your hand first, as some of them can be muy picante (very spicy)!


The tostada gets its name from the toasted, crispy tortilla which acts like an edible plate for its delicious toppings. Tostadas generally have lettuce, cheese, avocado, tomato, sour cream, frijoles (beans) and sometimes guacamole, piled on top of the meat, usually chicken.

Tip: if trying to impress a date, do not eat tostadas! They are delicious, but extremely messy!




Chilaquiles are traditionally eaten for breakfast, and some people liken them to the Tex-mex dish, ‘nachos’. Whilst both contain crisp, dried tortillas, formed into ‘chips’ and drenched in delicious sauce, the similarities end there.

Mexican chilaquiles have other ingredients like chicken, beef, beans or eggs to compliment the flavour of the sauce, and therefore are more nutritious and flavoursome than nachos.

La Cueva del Chango on Calle 38 has a wide selection of chilaquiles styles which are a great option for weekend brunch thanks to their purported ‘hangover cure’ qualities. The Imprevist restaurant on 1st Avenue in the Porto Playa condo hotel also features chilaquiles on their breakfast menu.


The main distinction of sopes is the spongy base which holds the topping. Unlike a tortilla which is extremely thin, the sopes are thick and pancake like. They are a little more filling than a taco, yet equally delicious.


Salbutes consist of small round discs of fried dough, piled with meat, tomato and avocado. A great, simple snack when you’re on the go, salbutes can be found at most stands around town, and are absolutely delicious!


Usually sold from small street-side stands, tamales are made from corn meal, stuffed with a filling of meat or vegetable and then wrapped in a corn husk and steamed. They are one of the most popular forms of Mexican street food, known as ‘antojitos’.


If you have had enough of tortillas, then the torta is for you! Torta is the Mexican word for sandwich, and can be filled with just about anything. Our favourite is cochinita pibil, shredded pork marinated in a deliciously flavoursome sauce.


They look similar to a Cornish pasty, and are usually filled with cheese. Spicy sauces are piled on top, along with the usual suspects – onions and lime juice.

Now you’re well equipped for eating Mexican food in Playa del Carmen! Hopefully you will be more confident to try these local specialities and experience all the great flavours of this world famous cuisine.

Buen Provecho!!






Snorkel in the Riviera Maya, The Snorkel Shop

Snorkeling in the Riviera Maya

Snorkel in the Riviera Maya, The Snorkel ShopRiviera Maya, also known as the Mayan Riviera, was originally named the Cancun-Tulum corridor. It is located on the Caribbean coastline of the Mexican state Quintana Roo and runs on the eastern side of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Primarily developed for tourism, the Riviera Maya is known throughout the world for its coastal and reef aquatic activities largely dependent on the coastal water and the Meseoamerican Barrier Reef System. The reef stretches from Cancun to Guatemala and is the second largest reef in the entire world.

In addition to the obvious aquatic attractions that bring tourists to the Riviera Maya, archaeology and Eco-parks are a huge draw. Chechen-Itza, Coba and Tulum are the more popular sites run by the Instituto Nacional de Archeological. The Eco-parks, Xcaret and Xel-Ha include Mayan ruins as a part of their attractions also. These natural water parks are a huge tourist magnet because of the diverse range of activities provided, such as ATV riding, swimming in cenotes, riding down the “lazy river” in an inner tube, resting in a hammock, swimming with the dolphins, jungle tours, animal exhibits and snorkeling.

Important Tip:
When visiting the Eco-parks in the Mayan Riviera you must wear special Eco-friendly sunblock because the oils in the regular sunscreen can be harmful and damage the water-life ecology. Don’t worry if you forget to purchase Eco-friendly sunblock because it’s available for purchase everywhere.