The Complete Digital Nomad Guide Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Digital Nomad In Playa Del Carmen

Table Of Contents


The 5 Quick Scores

  • Internet Speed – 4/5
    • I ran about 10 wifi tests all over Playa Del Carmen, below are the averages. Here’s the breakdown
    • Avg. Download Speed = 51.73 MBPS
    • Avg. Upload Speed = 29.14 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 62.72 MS*
  • Ease Of Connecting & Making Friends– 5/5
    • There are a bunch of events and groups here, it’s super easy to also make friends with other digital nomads at hostels or even just at bars. From the perspective of a digital nomad, this has been my favorite city I’ve been to so far. I will be going to Medellin, Colombia this winter though, which is quite the mecca so stay tuned!
  • Nightlife – 4/5
    • Quinta Avenida has plenty of bars and lively spots, and even a couple rooftop bars.
  • Places To Work From – 4.5/5
    • There are a lot of great places to work from here, and I sat at multiple places for hours working without any issues More details on this below.
  • Affordability – 3.5/5
    • In comparison to other latin cities, this isn’t the cheapest place in the world. However, with the budget of an American city you can live super well here.

Wifi Speed Tests

Type / DeviceNameUploadDownloadLatency
Co-Working SpaceNukolo House280.0887.7767
CafeChoux Choux133.2057.5675
Co-Working SpaceSelina Co-Working44.2844.306
CafeBajo Cafe27.009.1355
CafeAh Cacao – Quinta Avenida between Calles 38 y 4025.9033.4479
HotelSelina – Guest Wifi22.6420.048
CafeStarbucks – Quinta Avenida & Calle 2813.1757.5292
CafeMarley Coffee9.348.1439
CafeStarbucks – Paseo Del Carmen Location1.63.3835
CafeStarbucks – Quinta Avenida & Calle 10.162.20165
Interested in seeing my wifi speeds across all of Mexico? Check them out here

Where I Stayed

Selina Playa Del Carmen

A video of me working from Selina In PDC. This was literally right outside my frontdoor
  • OVERALL4/5
  • Affordability – 3.5/5 – This isn’t the cheapest place in Playa. The cool thing about Selina is that they have a lot of different options though. At the time of writing this, their prices go from $15 a night to $124 a night depending on whether you want to be in a dorm, or a private suite. I did the suite, Micro Room and Standard Room. Personally I would recommend the Standard Room. The micro rooms are super Spartan, and the Suite’s weren’t really worth the price tag.
    • I also went with their Co-Live Program, which includes a room and access to their co-working space. This also allows you to stay at multiple locations all over Mexico. It’s a pretty killer deal, I stayed for a month at the Playa Del Carmen location, then split up my second month between Playa Del Carmen, Mexico City & Cancun. The Cost (for their Standard Room) was $1,000 – $1,300 a month, so a bit pricier for Mexico, but the peace of mind I had knowing that I’ll have fast, reliable wifi wherever I go, and a group of like-minded friends was invaluable.
  • Wifi – 4/5 – So if you look at the wifi speed table, you can see that there are two wifi networks. One is their Guest network, and one is their Co-Working network. The guest network really isn’t too bad at all. I did pull off a video call on it. Their co-working network is really good, and it’s also really well protected so there aren’t nearly as many people using it at any one time.
    • I wasn’t a huge fan of the co-working space, it’s honestly a bit depressing. So I would work in a hammock, then jump up to the co-working space for video calls.
    • Guest Network Speeds The shared wifi for anyone who’s staying at Selina
      • Avg. Download Speed = 22.642 MBPS
      • Avg. Upload Speed = 20.047 MBPS
      • Avg. Latency = 8 MS
    • Co-Working Speeds The protected wifi network for people using the Co-work space
      • Avg. Download Speed = 44.285 MBPS
      • Avg. Upload Speed = 44.301 MBPS
      • Avg. Latency = 6 MS
  • Sense Of Community – 5/5 – Their are a lot of other nomads, staying there, or just working at the co-working spot, or even stopping by for one of their events. Selina’s all have a long list of events going on everyday so you can meet people. I made a bunch of friends just cooking in the common kitchen area, so it’s super easy to make friends.
  • Location – 4/5 – Right off of Quinta Avenida, which is like the main artery of Playa Del Carmen. For me, I loved it, if you’re looking for a less touristy spot in Playa, then this isn’t the place for you though.
  • Cleanliness – 3/5 – I hate to say this because I did love the staff that helped clean the place. They were super friendly and helpful with anything I needed. However, that being said this isn’t cleanest place I’ve stayed at.

I didn’t stay anywhere else while in Playa Del Carmen, and I didn’t hear anything around about digital nomad friendly spots. I’m sure there are some, but I’m not going to recommend any unless I have stayed there, or someone I know well has stayed there.


My Favorite Places To Work From

Cafe Baj
Not the prettiest photo I’ve ever taken, but trust me it’s a killer spot

Bajo Cafe

  • OVERALL4/5 – This is a killer spot! All in open air. Super friendly staff and if you’re vegan there are dozens of choices.
  • Wifi – 3.5/5 – The wifi really isn’t too bad at all here. You could pull off most of what you’d want to do. A video call on a desktop may be a bit much, but otherwise I didn’t run into any issues.
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly. They were also totally cool with me camping out and working from there.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 4/5 – Plenty of outlets all around the place
  • Location / Ambiance – 5/5 – It’s located a few blocks off of Qunita Avenida. It was a bit of a walk from Selina, but totally worth-it. As mentioned it’s entirely in open air, but still pretty cool in the shade.
  • Ergonomics (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots) 3.5/5 – Not a whole lot of spots to stand up at, but the seats were comfortable and didn’t leave my back aching or anything.
Digital Nomad Cafe -
Photo taken by Carlos Garrido

Starbucks – Quinta Avenida & Calle 28 😱

  • OVERALL4/5 – I know, I know Starbucks is an evil multi-national corporation, but I did love this particular spot.
  • Wifi – 3/5 – This wifi isn’t anything to write home about, but it was sufficient for everything I needed to do (minus video calls of course)
    • Download Speed = 13.171 MBPS
    • Upload Speed = 57.529 MBPS
    • Avg. Latency = 92 MS
  • Service & Friendliness – 5/5 – The staff was super attentive and friendly.
  • Amount Of Outlets – 5/5– Plenty of outlets all over the place
  • Location / Ambiance – 4.5/5 – The ambiance is killer, it’s right off of Quinta Avenida. Lot’s of seats both inside and outside, and plenty of space on the inside so you didn’t feel cramped or anything. Also, it was just a couple blocks from my favorite gym in Playa Del Carmen, Evolve. Read more about this here.
  • Ergonomics (Comfortable Seating / Standup Spots) 5/5 – Lot’s of couches, chairs and spots to stand up at.

Places To Work From – Honorable Mentions

This is a section where I’ll add co-working places / places to work that I’ve heard a lot of good things about, I either didn’t make it to the place, or I went and personally didn’t like it. In service to you all, if the place seems to have enough buzz, I will still share it.

Selina’s Co-Working Spot

As mentioned in the Where I Stayed section, I didn’t love the design of Selina’s Co-working spot. It was a bit depressing for me. That being said, I met a lot of people who sat and worked in that spot for weeks or even months and didn’t seem to mind it at all. Furthermore, it had some good wifi speed, and I did use it for video calls.

Nest Co-Working

This is another spot that was talked about quite a bit. It’s super conveniently located, right off 10th. However, I didn’t get the hype, the inside felt super uninispired. The Wifi speed was pretty quick though (47 mbps upload speed), and the price included free cereal, which they had a couple different type, that was pretty cool.

The Super Cool Starbucks At Paseo Del Carmen Mall

Probably the prettiest Starbucks I’ve ever been to, near the Paseo Del Carmen Mall. However, the wifi speed wasn’t super fast so not recommending it

Finding Community / Making Friends

There were dozens of Whatsapp Groups. For everything you could imagine. Someone even made a spreadsheet of all the whatsapp Groups for nomads. Check it out.

My personal favorite Whatsapp groups

  • OG Playa Meetups – all kinds of events around Playa, I actually found out about a killer wine event in Playa Del Carmen, with 100 different Mexican wines, it was aweseome!
  • Happening Hoy – where events are added the day of, great spot to find last minute events of any kind
A Clip Of The Wine fest I found out about via the OG Playa Meetups Group
Interested In Building Community As A Nomad? I interviewed 9 other digital nomads to come up with a complete guide, check it out here.

Transportation

  • Getting There & Leaving
  • Getting Around
    • Walking – this is a super walk able place, and it’s really not that big of a town.
    • There are also plenty of spots to rent a beach cruiser bicycle. There was a rental spot just outside of the Selina Hostel actually.
    • Ubers are a bit harder to get here, as the taxi drivers don’t like them. It’s best to get at least a couple blocks away from Quinta Avenida so you’ll get a better deal on taxis.

What I Ate

While I was here I was trying my best to eat vegan, so here are my recommendations

Bajo Cafe

These guys had an entire menu of nothing but vegan food, which was incredible, I also loved working from here, check out my review on the place here.

The Pitted Date

This spot was a bit far from Selina, on the north east side of the main stretch of Quinta Avenida, but it was a killer spot, I would totally recommend

I also Cooked!

As mentioned in the Selina section, I did cook at the common kitchen area for most of the days. This was a great way to eat exactly what I wanted, and also get to know the other people in the hostel without having any awkward intros. Below is my vegan recipe while in Mexico.

Vegetales En Estilo Del Guero

  • An assortment of vegetables
    • Eggplant, cauliflower, carrots, peppers, mushrooms
  • Sautee the vegetables with spices & sauces
    • Chipotle peppers in the can, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, tomatillo hot sauce, regular hot sauce, really whatever seems nice (absolutely no idea on the amounts of each, just “go by vibes” in the words of Playa del Carmen hippies)
    • Start with the vegetables that need longer to sautee (i.e. eggplant / carrots)
  • Then boil up some quinoa & brown rice
    • However much Quinoa and brown rice seems reasonable for 3 – 4 days
    • Fill the pot up with water near the top, then boil and try the rice and quinoa every 5 or 10 minutes until it’s soft enough, then let it sit for a long time
  • Black Beans
    • To pour over the rice, beans and rice together create a complete protein, which is important for vegans who are more physically active. Black beans are my favorite beans, and they have a very low glycemic index.
  • Sliced Avocado & Tomatoes
    • To put over the rice and beans
  • And Voila! Vegetables En El Estilo Del Guero – you’re a professional cook!

Want to stay fit & eat healthy while traveling? Check out my guide to diet fitness while traveling here!


What I Drank / Nightlife

Quireme Mezcal Drink Review
I found Quiereme Mezcal at my favorite bar in Playa Del Carmen, check out my review video here.

Be Playa Rooftop

This is a hotel that also has a rooftop bar with a pool, and the pool has a table in it! Which gets me super pumped. I shot a drink reviews with a redneck video from the rooftop, if you’re interested in Mezcal, check it out here.

Chela La Playa – Cerveceria

Pretty killer beers here, in a very beautiful setting. My favorite place in Playa Del Carmen was Calle 38, it’s covered in greenery. I actually saw a monkey swinging through the trees while eating there once and apparently there are slothes too that hangout sometimes.

I shot this video below at the cerveceria actually.

Warning, I am not wearing a shirt, and if that’s offensive then please don’t visit anymore videos of mine, or my Instagram

Bar Loco

Right off of Quinta Avenida, a pretty cool spot, open air rooftop, It does get a bit packed but it’s a cool vibe and affordable pricing.

Santino Playa

This is the dance club in Playa, and everyone knows it. Admittedly I never made it, but I heard a lot of good things from multiple sources. So I think it’s worth a shot.

Restaurante Pez Vela

Cool restaurant with a bar with swings, right by Selina. I felt super welcome at this place. If you go and have Abrahim as your bartender tell him Lorenzeo Dije que ondas primo. Or if a friendly guy from Kansas City starts talking to you, tell Darren Loren says hi.


Exercise

Want to stay fit & eat healthy while traveling? Check out my guide to diet fitness while traveling here!

Evolve Fitness

I love this gym, lots of equipment pretty damn clean and there are beautiful men and women to admire while you’re there. I made a lot of good friends through this gym and it’s easily one of my favorite gyms outside of the US. At the time of writing this, they have daily, weekly & monthly packages, it is ~$45 USD for a month.

Yoga Loft

These guys had some killer classes and the facility is quite nice. It’s a bit more expensive but totally worth it in my opinion. Here are their plans and prices

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