What started out as an unassuming trailer park on a beautiful stretch of beach has now become a seaside community all its own. Located about 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) south of Playa del Carmen , Paamul has everything from RVs with elaborate wood and palapa structures over them to hotel rooms, a restaurant, and even a dive shop.
Paamul stretches over a wide curving beach. It’s clean and classically pretty with white sand and turquoise water—perfect for swimming and exploring. Watch your step on the south end of the beach, as its waters harbor prickly sea urchin—consider wearing water shoes.
Scuba-Mex (Hwy. 307 Km. 85, tel. 984/875-1066, toll-free U.S. tel. 888/871-6255, www.scubamex.com , 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) is a full-service shop offering one- and two-tank dive trips to open-water sites and cenotes (US$39–80 including equipment). A variety of packages and dive courses are available at competitive rates. If you’re just interested in snorkeling off the beach, the shop rents snorkel gear for US$6 per day.
Offering a little bit of everything, Hotel Paamul (Hwy. 307 Km. 85, tel. 984/875-1053, www.paamul.com , US$12.50 pp tent, US$30 RVs, US$100 s/d cabañas, US$125 s/d with a/c, US$167 s/d with a/c and kitchenette) appeals to travelers of all budgets. Best of all are the hotel rooms. All are boutiquey in style, with muted colors, gleaming bathtubs, quiet air-con, minifridge and microwave, and gorgeous ocean views from private terraces. Next best are, surprisingly, the tent and trailer spaces. Although set up in the main parking lot, all have electricity, running water, and clean shared hot-water bathrooms just steps from the Caribbean. Dead last are the cabañas. Constructed in 2000, they look as if they’ve been through decades of wear and tear: wood floors with holes, cement walls with paint thrown on, and granny-style decor. All in all, this is a find.
Open-air, modern, and with a great view of the Caribbean, the Reefs of Paamul Restaurant and Bar (Hwy. 307 Km. 85, tel. 984/875-1053, 8 a.m.–8 p.m. daily, US$5–16) serves up classic Mexican dishes along with a variety of international meals. There’s something for everyone, which makes it an easy choice. (Good thing, since it’s the only restaurant in Paamul.)
For groceries, the very mini Mini Super Paa Mul (7 a.m.–8 p.m. Mon.–Sat., 7 a.m.–2 p.m. Sun.) sells basic foodstuffs. It’s located at the highway turnoff to Paamul.