If you're the sporty type, Playa will keep you busy, both above and beneath the surface of the Caribbean. No matter what level of thrill you are looking for there is something to do here, between hanging out on the beach and stomping around ruins.
With the fantastic Caribbean Sea being the center of attention for most visitors, a number of attractions are focused on the water. The amazing coral reefs with its multitude of marine life have made diving the number one sport around here. The reef along the coast is a part of the second biggest barrier reef in the world, exceeded only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. There are plenty of dive shops around Playa that offer one- and two tank dives, night dives, wreck dives, cavern and cave dives and dive courses of all levels. You don't have to be certified to dive. If you just want to try it out, you can do a Discover Scuba, which is a trial dive with an instructor, preceded by a lesson in the pool. Read more about diving.
Most dive shops also offer snorkeling tours, which is a great way to see the reef and all the tropical fish. Along the beach you will find windsurfing boards, little sailboats and wave runners for rent. Now you can even go kite surfing here - talk to Miguel in Explora, on the beach by Playa Tukan (Calle 26). A different way to see Playa is from above, while parasailing. Don't miss out on the possibility to catch a marlin or a sail fish when in Playa. Read more about that in Deep Sea Fishing. If you would rather just relax on the water, you can charter a catamaran for that day cruise with your friends.
Granted, it might be difficult for you to pull away from the water, but the fact is that there is more to this area than first meets the eye. Read more about the Mayan World in Mundo Maya, and about other ‘non-sporty' things to do in, that's right, Things To Do.
If you want to stay away from the water and the beach, but you want to do something active, Playa and the area has other sports to offer as well. As any true first class vacation spot, Playa has an excellent 18-hole golf course designed by Robert van Hagge. It is located in Playacar, just south of town. The loop around Playacar is also a good place to go jogging, as well as the beach of course. There is a 9-hole golf course in Puerto Aventuras, which also has a good reputation. Visit the nice gym on Calle 8 to work out those biceps; they also offer classes in aerobics, yoga and more.
The sports center on 10th Avenue, Unidad Deportiva, has tennis courts, basketball courts and a running track. Tennis court fees are 3 usd per hour and everything else is free of charge. A few different places close to Playa del Carmen offer horseback riding, usually through the jungle and on the beach. Different horse powers are employed on the ATV jungle tour, just south of Playa. On your drive through the jungle you'll get to see cenotes, caves and ruins! If you are a real thrill seeker you can throw yourself out of a airplane in an unforgettable tandem parachute jump over Playa.