Averages for Playa del Carmen in January
January is the coolest month in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, but this doesn't mean it is cold. In fact, it is still relatively warm with average temperatures of 23°C. Thanks to its positioning so close to the equator, Playa del Carmen experiences a mild winter, characterised by plenty of sunshine. January falls in the dry season, meaning there is hardly any rain at this time of year. The warm weather and dry days make Playa del...
January is the coolest month in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, but this doesn't mean it is cold. In fact, it is still relatively warm with average temperatures of 23°C. Thanks to its positioning so close to the equator, Playa del Carmen experiences a mild winter, characterised by plenty of sunshine. January falls in the dry season, meaning there is hardly any rain at this time of year. The warm weather and dry days make Playa del Carmen the perfect place for a winter break.
The days are very mild in January with high temperatures reaching 28°C and above during the hottest parts of the day. Even at night it remains fairly warm with temperatures rarely dropping below 19°C – making eating al fresco in the evening a very popular activity. It may well be winter, but you should pack lots of sun cream if you're visiting Playa del Carmen at this time of year as the sun is still very strong. Lightweight clothes like shorts, t-shirts and swimwear are ideal for the daytimes, but you might want to pack a thicker jumper or cardigan for when the temperature drops after dark.
Because it is in the dry season, January sees barely any rain in Playa del Carmen, with only around 17mm of rainfall throughout the entire month. On average, this is spread out over 3 days, so it's very unlikely you'll experience any showers during your trip and, with only a 16% chance of rain, you don't need to take up space in your luggage with an umbrella or waterproofs – you can always dip into a café or restaurant if it starts to rain.
Thanks to its central position near the equator, Playa del Carmen sees little variation in the amount of sunshine hours throughout the year. So, whilst it is technically winter and the coldest month, January still boasts around 8 hours of sunshine every day, giving you plenty of opportunity to get out and explore the beaches and cultural activities on offer.
Hitting the beach is hugely popular with visitors to Playa del Carmen, even in winter – and it's no wonder, with the sea temperatures basking at a tropical 27°C. With a great selection of beaches and warm water, it is ideal for a winter beach break. There is a 32% chance of a windy day in Playa del Carmen in January, though, so watch out for high tides and dangerous undercurrents. However, for the most part, the waters are very safe.
January may well be the coolest month in Playa del Carmen, but that certainly doesn't stop it being a great destination for sun-seekers. Characterised by long, warm days and barely any rainfall, it's great for soaking up some winter sunshine.
Where to Stay
The Rosewood Mayakoba is a luxury hotel resort set between the white sand shores of Playa del Carmen and the surrounding lush green jungle. The design is modern with a natural ambience and has variety of suites that overlook the private lagoons and swimming pools. Each one has its own individual outside area, complete with lounge space and dining area, and they all have a rustic spa feel to them, with rainfall showers and shimmering marble surfaces. In addition, there are three on-site bars and restaurants, including a specialised tequila bar, as well as a fitness centre, relaxing spa, and three swimming pools.
Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Richard Schatzberger
The Acanto Boutique Hotel is a traditional Mexican affair with terracotta walls and plenty of greenery dotted around. The rooms are elegant and comfortable, with smooth marble floors and thick wooden beds and furniture accented with crisp white walls. Textured abstract paintings hang from the walls, there is ambient lighting, and each room has its own private balcony with dining area and views out across the surroundings. Guests have exclusive access to the peaceful on-site courtyard, the charming rooftop gardens, the gym, spa, and pools, as well as a delicious continental breakfast served amongst the terracotta and greenery.
The Hotel Esencia is a luxury beach resort accommodation which was originally built as the private home of an Italian duchess. The regal nature of the building has been maintained, along with the unique privacy of the hotel which is tucked amongst beautiful scenery close to the beach. The décor is modern and stylish with a flurry of white washed walls and pops of vibrant colour, and the rooms are simple and contemporary with abstract art adorning the walls and private balconies overlooking the amazing landscape. Many of the rooms have their own individual pools and Jacuzzis, though guests have full access to the on-site organic spa, the fitness room, the communal heated pools and two Mexican-inspired restaurants.
Budget travellers should check into the Hotel Los Itzaes, an intimate boutique hotel in the centre of Playa del Carmen. The décor is charming and traditional with plenty of oranges, yellows and terracotta. There's a classic courtyard where guests can enjoy breakfast and a drink and the rooms are elegantly designed with thick wooden furniture, pastel coloured walls and floor-to-ceiling windows. Guests have access to the on-site solarium, Jacuzzi and rooftop swimming pool as well.
Things to do
For a fun-filled day head to Xcaret Amusement Park, which is set amongst beautiful jungle scenery. There are numerous trails where you can discover the Mayan way of life as well as a butterfly pavilion and several live museums showcasing the culture and traditions of early Mexican life. In addition, there are a number of watersports, including a series of fun and exciting swimming pools and water-based rides, and visitors can even try their hand at snorkelling and exploring underwater caves. If this isn't enough, there is also a selection of delicious restaurants and wine bars, as well as a shopping district selling handmade artisan crafts and a collection of archaeological sites for history buffs.
Tradidtional Mexican Fiesta Charra Show in Xcaret Park, Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Nature lovers should take a trip to Rio Secreto, a labyrinth of underground caves and rivers that are adorned with impressive stalagmites and stalactites. The mysterious surroundings are bathed in the glow of the clear blue water and there are plenty of unusual passageways and rocks to discover.
Xelha is a history buff's dream, showcasing a fascinating selection of ancient Mayan ruins. It was thought to have been founded in the 1st Century and remains an important part of Mexican history. Today, visitors can wander around the site, taking in the archaeological wonders and learning more about the rich past of Mexico.
Mayan ruins in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Hit the Beach
Playa del Carmen has two main beaches. The Central Playa Beach was the first beach to be developed in the city and is perhaps the most well-known. Covering a long stretch of shimmering white sand, it has everything you could want from a lively beach – there are plenty of restaurants and bars dotted along the shoreline, as well as numerous watersporting opportunities including scuba diving and snorkelling. Central Playa Beach is also the home of the ferry port where visitors can grab a boat to nearby islands and resorts further along the coastline.
The North Playa del Carmen beach is also a lively hotspot for beach-goers. Much like the Central Playa Beach, the northern section of the shoreline boasts a number of popular bars, restaurants and clubs, including the famous Mamitas Beach Club and Canibal Royal, which both have all-day DJs, night-time dancing and a collection of luxury beach beds outside the premises. There are also a number of resort hotels along this stretch of beach, each with a number of beachside pools and party atmospheres complete with all-day music. It's a colourful place to spend the day, plus the white-sand beaches and the glistening blue waters provide the perfect backdrop.
Where to Drink & Eat
Oh Lala by George is a relaxed restaurant that boasts a stylish, cosy design. The interior revels in a quirky décor, complete with exposed-brick archways, shiny marble floors, colourful, patterned furniture and a selection of unusual art installations, including a wall display of local wine bottles. There is also a modern, outdoor terrace with a backdrop of lush greenery which is perfect for al fresco dining. The menu features a selection of fresh dishes that use locally sourced ingredients, including delicious main courses like fillet mignon, butter soy tuna steak and rock lobster.
For an upmarket, stylish dinner, book a table at La Chique Restaurant, one of Playa del Carmen's finest eating establishments. With a unique, quirky décor draped in blacks, pinks and whites and boasting twirled, elaborate furniture, it's a great place to dine for a special occasion. The experienced and passionate team of chefs work around the clock to create beautiful looking and exquisitely flavoured dishes using only the freshest of ingredients. Try the tasting menu which features a selection of unusual treats like oyster leaf, Hamachi ribs and marrow brulee. It's not the place for picky eaters, but it'll certainly make for a night to remember.