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Common Questions about Vacation Rental Homes

  • What is the weather like in Playa de Carmen?

The consistently warm sea temperature makes swimming a pleasure year round, the area enjoys atropical climate with warm temperatures all around the year.  The humidity is high, it varies between 76% and 81% . The yearly average temperature for the region is around 26ºC and around 1400mm of rain falls each year. 

The water temperature averages about 27ºC for the year, fluctuating from 23ºC at its coolest around February, almost getting up to 30ºC in September.

February to May

Spring is a beautiful time of the year, with very little rain and flowers everywhere. The ocean gets quieter and warmer as the temperature goes higher! With warmer waters by May this is usually the time that the jelly fish, or "agua mala" come to our shores.

May is a perfect time of the year to go cenote (underground rivers )hunting! 

Nights can still be cool, but a sweater is rarely needed.

 June to August

Visitors can excpect hot sunny summer wheather with occasional rainfall. This is when the sea is more calm and when shows it best blue and turquoise shades…Water is so warm that you can stay in it for hours. There is some rainfall in the afternoon and evenings, but it never lasts very long. During this season there are some electrical storms… The nights do not get much cooler so for a truly good night sleep air-conditioning and a good fan are highly recommended.

September and October

These 2 months are the season of tropical storms and hurricanes.  There are not hurricanes every year, there actually very rare but it does rain a lot and there are some windy days during this season. You can have beautiful sunny days but you can also have many rainy days on a row.  It is still hot and humid with days and evenings registering similar temperatures.

November to January

This is the best time to visit Riviera Maya. November, December and January are the coldest months; this means that it´s very comfortable. There might be some rains but not daily. Nights can get to be cold (temperature descended until 12ºC) North winds usually find their way to Playa, but remember that the sun is still powerful, this allows you to enjoy the beach during the day…

 

  • What the general dress code is around Playa del Carmen?

Playa is a casually elegant town. Being located in the Tropic of Capricorn, it can get quite warm and humid so use light and casual clothes, preferably made of natural fibers. But during the winter months temperatures at night can get cold with evening temps in the 50’s and 60’s so sweaters or light jackets at this time of year would be a good idea.  Use sandals on the beach and the pool, and comfortable shoes for walking in the jungle or in the Archaeological zones, natural reserves and parks.  Few restaurants, mostly inside the hotels have dress codes that prohibit sandals and require men to wear long pants. 

We highly recommend using sunglasses and sunscreen. Insect repellent is also recommended. You will easily find any items here in local supermarkets and drug stores

 

  • Which is the official language?

The official language is Spanish, although natives in Maya villages and towns speak Mayan. English, French, Italian and German are also spoken in tourist centers.

 

  • Measurements

Speed limits are indicated in kilometres.  Diving Centers generally use both feet/psi and meters/bars when communicating dive data. The temperature is in Celsius.


  • What is the electricity voltage?

Domestic electric current is 110 volts, 60 cycles, the same as in all of Mexico and the US. You may need an adapter for some plugs that may not have a 3-pronged plug for the ground.


  • What are the business hours?

Most businesses and shops are open from 10 AM to 10 PM, closed between 2 PM and 4 PM for lunch time. The big stores don’t close for lunch and the banks are open from Monday to Friday from 9 am to 4 pm with no lunch break and Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. Supermarkets open from Monday-Sunday from 08.00-23.00 hrs.

 

  • About taxes & service charges

 There is a 11% value-added tax (VAT), called IVA (impuesto de valor agregado) imposed on all goods and services within the State, including rental cars and hotel rooms. Prices in stores and most restaurants include taxes.

Upon departure, international tourists can receive a refund on the VAT they paid on merchandise by presenting their receipts (valued at a minimum of 1,200 pesos) to customs for verification.


  • Which is the suggested Tipping?

In a restaurant, 15% is correct. But be careful, if in your bill says PROPINA or SERVICIO probably there´s an extra 10% charge and the tip is already included.

Probably your excursion guide will be expecting a tip, it´s not mandatory but if you´re satisfied with the service you can do it.

Tips are supplemental income to the low wages most workers earn. It is customary to tip anybody who provides you with a service, right down to the kid who packs your groceries.


  • Communication 

Phones

The phone system in Mexico is adequate and cellular and Internet services are available. To find an Internet café look for signs that say Acceso a Internet, Cibercafe or Cibernáutica. 

Local, domestic and long-distance and international phone calls can be made from any public phone with a phone card that you can buy in any grocery store or pharmacy. Otherwise, a number of shops have public phones (for international services look for the blue "Larga Distancia" signs). There are internet cafes all over town and coffee shops offer free wifi service

Cellular services are available all over Mexico. Check with your service provider to see if they have a roaming agreement with a company in Mexico.

Playa del Carmen area code is 984. Local numbers have 7 digits. If a number is written (984) 803 2582 and you ARE at the Riviera Maya, you should dial 803 2582. The international code is +52.  You should add +52 1  if you are calling a cellphone from outside. If you call to USA from Mexico you should dial 001 before the area code and the US number.

Internet

There´re many internet Cafes in town.

And wi fi connection is available almost in every restaurant and vacation condo.

Newspapers

Newspapers and magazines in English and also Mexican Newspapers in English can be found in many stores in Riviera Maya

Post Office

Main Post Office in Playa del Carmen is located in Juarez Av between streets 15 and 20. Opens from Monday to Friday from 8 am till 5pm and Saturdays from 9 to 12pm.

 Medical Attention

Playa del Carmen is equipped with a number of hospitals and medical centers located all over the city, such as Hospiten, Clínica Sanar and Clinica Médica del Carmen. Physicians and dentists in Playa del Carmen can usually speak both Spanish and Mexican.

Your home medical program may not provide payment for medical services outside your home country. Obtaining adequate medical/travel insurance, including air ambulance coverage, and consulting a physician or travel medicine specialist six to eight weeks prior to your trip to determine health risks and necessary vaccinations is recommended. 

Since scuba diving is a popular activity in the area, Playa del Carmen also offers medical services for diving accidents and injuries. Playa del Carmen has a hyperbaric chamber to help divers who experience decompression sickness. It is located along 10th Avenue and 28th Street.


  • Is Riviera Maya a safe place?

The Mayan Riviera is a very safe area to visit, you´ll be able to walk peacefully on the beach and touristic areas.

On the 5th and 10th Avenues you can stroll without any worries at any time of the day or night. 

If you rent a car, don't leave any valuables in it and buy the insurance add-on. Also, keep an eye on your stuff at the beach. It's a favourite haunt for bag snatchers.

 

  • At the beach

Swim in the Riviera Maya is safe since we have the second – largest coral reef barrier that protects the coast. If there is any ocean current, you can follow the flags system and you will be safe.

Green Flag – The water iscompletely safe for swimming, but always use your common sense. 

Yellow Flag - the water is somewhat rough so swim with caution

Red Flag – the water is very rough, swim with extreme caution and stay near the water´s edge.

Black Flag – Absolutely no swimming – It is too dangerous

  

  • Which is Playa del Camen Currency? 

The currency is the Mexican Peso (MXP), although the U.S. dollar is accepted almost everywhere. 

We would not recommend exchanging your money in the airport upon arrival. They typically do not have a very good exchange rate. You would be better to exchange once you have reached your destination. You can compare exchange rates at local banks vs the local exchange places (Casas de Cambio). 

If you pay for a purchase in US Dollars, your change will be in Pesos.  Many businesses set their own exchange rate and it is rarely to the advantage of the customer.  It is best to pay in Pesos, if you wish to get the best value for your money.  (Travel note:  US coins are useless in Mexico so only bring paper money) 

The exchange rate varies every day. Prices in Pesos will have this symbol $, do not confuse them with de Dollar Symbol. 

You can check the exchange rate at : http://dof.gob.mx 

MasterCard , Visa and American Express are accepted but we recommend to always have available cash. Traveler checks and American Dollars (just bills) are also accepted. 

If you´re going to change traveler checks don´t forget your passport. 

Some exchange houses won´t accept anything but US Dollars.

Exchange houses are open till 8 or 9 pm


  • Credit cards

Credit cards are accepted in most of tourist operators, some stores and many restaurants.

Many businesses require you to show a photo ID when using a credit card. It is for your protection, of course.

You´ll need one if you are planning to rent a car. Visa and MasterCard are the most popular. American Express is not always accepted. 

If you are planning to pay with credit card, don´t forget to check the exchange rate. Maybe it would be more convenient to walk a little to an exchange house and get some pesos


  • Traveler checks

Please note that as of May 2012, Mexican banks no longer accept travel checks to be deposited by businesses, thus we recommend you DO NOT BUY TRAVEL CHECKS as many hotels, stores, car rentals and restaurants will not be able to accept them when paying your bill. 

Traveler checks in dollars are accepted in some stores, but in few restaurants.

Rules vary in each establishment, so it is better to ask first. Anyway, it´s easy to change them in any exchange house, don´t forget your passport.

 

  • ATM

There´re a good number of ATM´S in Playa del Carmen, and they will provide you cash in Mexican Pesos. Usually you can dispose of USD 200 per day. Make sure not to forget your secret number. 

Not all ATMs in the Caribbean operate like those in your home country. Some may only accept a four digit PIN number, so if yours is longer you may want to change it before your trip. 

ATMs are called cajeros. Most of the towns along the Riviera Maya don't have banks, although most have ATM machines, which may be located in a local grocery store or such. ATMs generally accept Visa and MasterCard and dispense Mexican pesos. Be quick removing your card otherwise the machine may keep it.

No bank here in Playa will give you cash from your credit card, not even with your passport.

 

  • Bills and Mexican Coins 

Bills of Mexican Peso: $20, $50, $100, $200 and $500 

Coins : ¢5, ¢10, ¢20, ¢50, $1, $2, $5, $10