The present Playa del Carmen is relatively new development, so most of the structures you will find here are also new. The variety of architecture in the city varies greatly, though at the west of Quinta Avenida and in other developing areas, the look and feel adopts many elements of traditional building. They are characterize by a very relaxed style using rustic clapboard walls, rough-hewn wood, and thatched roofs. This design results in a very laidback atmosphere. Some structures have even hooks on the thatched cottages (cabañas) for people to hang their hammocks.
But in Playacar and areas along the coast, well-appointed buildings dominate. These areas are brimming with swanky hotels, stylish restaurants, and huge all-inclusive resorts. You will see an eclectic range of architectural styles that range from classic to modern and to the sybaritic. This part of Playa del Carmen also houses chic neo-classic buildings and beautiful Mediterranean-style structures.
Of course, there are also the ruins of the Mayan civilization, which still reflects the grandeur of the ancient civilization. They stand as a class of their own. Chichen Itza, houses a large concentration of Mayan ruins. You will find here the main temple of El Castillo, well-known because of the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. The sunlight bathing the western part of the main stairway of the pyramid is a sight to behold. It gives the illusion of a serpent’s body that moves lithely down the structure until it joins with the serpent head stone carving at the bottom.
Tulum, while not as grand as Chichen Itza, is still an imposing site. It is the smallest but also the most scenic Mayan site. Coba is a less known, but impressive site. It is rather large, having the tallest temple (140 feet) in the northern Yucatan as its major attraction. You can climb the remarkable temple steps and have a superb view of the surrounding lakes and jungle.