Are you visiting Playa del Carmen and want to go on a catamaran? You’ve come to the right place!
As a long term Playa del Carmen resident and local travel blogger, I’ve had plenty of time to figure out the catamaran situation in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya.
Spoiler alert: it’s a pretty incredible experience! After all, who wouldn’t want to set sail on a luxury catamaran in the unbelievably turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean?
In this post, I’m sharing the best catamaran tours in Playa del Carmen whether you’re looking for an incredible snorkeling experience, a party boat, or something private and ultra luxurious.
Read on for my ultimate catamaran Playa del Carmen guide.
About Playa del Carmen Catamarans
First, let’s start with some of the basics on catamarans in Playa del Carmen:
What is a catamaran?
A catamaran is a large boat with two hulls of equal size that are connected by a bridge deck.
The two-hulled design enhances stability and allows the catamaran to be better balanced in the water and when sailing. It also allows for more deck space than traditional yachts.
As catamarans can venture into shallower waters, they have become very popular in Mexico and the Caribbean and are commonly used for Playa del Carmen sailing and snorkeling or scuba diving tours.
What can you do on a catamaran?
Catamaran tours from Playa del Carmen are typically a boat tour that will take you sailing around the bright turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean.
Each catamaran experience is different but they most commonly will include:
- Catamaran sail
- Paddle boarding
- Open Bar
- Dancing and/or DJ
- Some food and beverage
Why go on a Playa del Carmen catamaran sail?
Going on a catamaran from Playa del Carmen is one of the most unique things to do in the Riviera Maya and is one of the best ways to see and experience the stunning turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea.
It’s a fun and totally unforgettable experience if you love the ocean and being on a boat.
Who are catamarans not suited for?
If you tend to suffer from motion or sea sickness, then catamarans are probably not for you.
I know some people that have had luck using these sea sickness bracelets but if you’re not comfortable being on a boat, then it probably won’t be fun for you.
Where do the Playa del Carmen catamarans leave from?
Most catamarans do not leave directly from Playa del Carmen so depending on which catamaran experience you choose, you’ll need to go to the marina in nearby destinations such as Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, or Puerto Aventuras.
How much do Playa del Carmen catamarans cost?
There are catamaran tours available for every budget. You can expect to pay around $60-$120 USD per person for a group catamaran tour.
On the other hand, Playa del Carmen private catamaran charters can cost anywhere from $900-$2,000 USD depending on the size of the boat and duration.
Keep in mind you’ll also need to factor ground transportation costs into the total cost of the catamaran experience.
Catamarans don’t leave directly from Playa del Carmen so you’ll still need to pay for a taxi or transfer to get to the marina where the boat is leaving from.
Transportation is included in some of the tours or can be added for an additional fee so be sure to check for this when booking your catamaran experience.
How long do catamaran tours in Playa del Carmen last?
You can expect most catamaran tours to last around 4-6 hours. When you factor transportation time on top of that, it will likely be a full day experience.
Best Places Near Playa del Carmen to Go on a Catamaran Sail
As I mentioned, most catamarans do not leave directly from downtown Playa del Carmen as there is not a large marina.
So most catamarans will depart from nearby towns which are located about 30 minutes to 1 hour away from Playa del Carmen.
Although this requires a bit of travel time, this is honestly better because the water and snorkeling in these areas are much more impressive than right around downtown Playa del Carmen.
These are the best places to go on a catamaran sail near Playa del Carmen:
If I had to choose the best place for a catamaran sail, it would definitely be Isla Mujeres!
A tiny island off the coast of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a little further to get to from Playa del Carmen but definitely worth it for the unbelievably clear turquoise water.
It’s honestly the brightest turquoise color I’ve seen in the Riviera Maya and so unbelievably clear that it will leave you with a jaw dropping first impression!
If you can, you’ll want to choose an Isla Mujeres catamaran trip that includes a visit to Playa Norte, which is one of the most popular (and most beautiful!) beaches on Isla Mujeres.
Playa Norte is basically like a party cove and a popular hangout for catamarans, boats, and yachts. You might even be lucky enough to spot a celebrity super-yacht anchored there!
Isla Mujeres Catamaran Tours
These are some of the top rated group Isla Mujeres Catamaran tours:
- Sailing Experience to Isla Mujeres in a Catamaran with Open Bar: This larger group experience includes a catamaran sail to Isla Mujeres from Playa del Carmen, open bar, a lunch buffet at a private beach club, reef snorkeling, free time in Isla Mujeres, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel. BOOK HERE →
- Privilege Experience Isla Mujeres Tour: This smaller group experience (25 passenger max) includes a catamaran sail to Isla Mujeres, premium open bar, a lunch buffet at a private beach club, reef snorkeling, free time in Isla Mujeres, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel. BOOK HERE →
Want to ditch the crowds for a private catamaran experience? Click here to skip ahead to my private catamaran charter recommendations!
Coming in at a close second, Cozumel is probably the next best place for a catamaran sail after Isla Mujeres.
One of the most impressive snorkeling spots is at El Cielo, which is a sandbar on the southwestern tip of the island where you can snorkel with giant starfish in incredibly clear water.
Cozumel Catamaran Tours
Here are the top rated group Cozumel catamaran tours:
- El Cielo Reef by Catamaran with Beach Club: This Cozumel catamaran tour includes snorkeling at the famous Palancar and Columbia reefs, as well as El Cielo beach. Beer, margaritas, and drinks are included on board as well as ceviche and guacamole. You’ll also enjoy beach club access in Cozumel. BOOK HERE →
- El Cielo, Palancar Snorkel & Beach Party Experience: This Cozumel tour combines a snorkeling excursion, catamaran cruise, and beach party—allowing you to experience multiple island highlights in one day. Board a 65-foot catamaran and a cruise along the Cozumel coastline where you’ll enjoy reef snorkeling before heading to shore for an island-style beach party. BOOK HERE →
Located about half way between Playa del Carmen and Tulum and home to a large marina, Puerto Aventuras is another popular departure point for Playa del Carmen catamaran cruises.
Most Puerto Aventuras catamaran tours will include reef snorkeling at the nearby Inah Reef or Paamul Bay.
Puerto Aventuras Catamaran Tours
Here are the top rated group Puerto Aventuras catamaran tours:
- Riviera Maya Luxury Catamaran and Snorkeling: This half-day catamaran sailing adventure from Playa del Carmen includes a snorkeling stop at Inah Reef, stand-up paddleboarding, a gourmet lunch, open bar, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel. BOOK HERE →
- Sailing & Snorkeling Cruise with Freshly Grilled Lunch: This half-day catamaran cruise from Puerto Aventuras includes snorkeling, freshly grilled lunch onboard, open bar, a water slide, and sea fishing. The 65 foot catamaran is never more than 50% capacity, leaving plenty of space to lounge on the deck or relax in the nets. BOOK HERE →
Located just a few miles off the coast of Cancun, Isla Contoy is an uninhabited tropical island that can only be reached by boat so you’ll have to take a tour.
Isla Contoy Catamaran Tours
These are the top rated group Isla Contoy tours:
- Isla Contoy Eco Adventure: To visit Isla Contoy, you’ll have to book a tour which includes a large catamaran to Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy, reef snorkeling, lunch, and roundtrip transportation. BOOK HERE →
Best Playa del Carmen Catamaran Tours
Aside from the group tours recommended above, these are the top rated Playa del Carmen catamaran tours if you’re looking for a fun snorkeling, booze cruise, or sunset experience:
- Riviera Maya: Catamaran at Maroma Beach & Reef Snorkel: Consistently voted as one of the best beaches in Riviera Maya, Maroma Beach is a picturesque location to set sail on a catamaran. Enjoy Playa del Carmen catamaran snorkeling at the Great Mayan Reef, then relax at the Maroma Beach Club which includes a savory lunch, drinks, and beers. Hotel pickup and drop off are also included. BOOK HERE →
Booze Cruise Party Catamaran
- Adult-Only Cancun Party Cruise to Isla Mujeres: If you’re looking for a party experience, this adults only 7-hour booze cruise to Isla Mujeres from Cancun includes an open bar, live entertainment, snorkeling, and buffet lunch. Transportation is not included so you’ll need to get to Cancun on your own. BOOK HERE →
- Luxury Sunset Sailing Cruise in the Riviera Maya: Ideal for couples, this 2-hour sunset catamaran Playa del Carmen sail includes an open bar, snacks, and roundtrip transportation from your hotel. The luxury catamaran and evening hues will set the perfect scene for a romantic sunset experience. BOOK HERE →
Private Playa del Carmen Catamaran Charters
If you have a larger group or want a more exclusive experience, then definitely consider booking a private catamaran Playa del Carmen rental.
Why book a private catamaran?
With a private catamaran rental, you’ll be able to completely customize the experience by choosing your desired locations and the amount of time spent at each stop.
Plus, you can choose the food and beverage menu and even select all of your favorite food, drinks, and alcohol. Not to mention, tee up your favorite music and party tunes.
And best of all, the staff and service will be completely dedicated to your group alone so no waiting for drinks or attention. Sounds pretty great right?!
Who should book a private catamaran?
Private catamarans are the absolute best option for large or multi-generational families, groups of friends, and bachelor and bachelorette parties.
How much do private catamarans cost?
Playa del Carmen private catamaran rentals can cost anywhere from $900-$2,000 USD depending on the size of the boat and duration.
Yes, private catamaran rentals are much more expensive than group tours. But consider this–you have a group of 15 friends and it might only come out to around $100 USD per person, which is around the same price as the group tours.
And trust me, a private catamaran rental in Playa del Carmen is just so worth it! No dealing with obnoxious, annoying, or over intoxicated strangers ruining your catamaran experience.
Best Private Playa del Carmen Catamaran Rentals
Here are the top rated Playa del Carmen private catamaran charters:
- ISLA MUJERES: Set sail on a half-day or full-day completely customizable private catamaran sail to Isla Mujeres and Playa Norte. This private 37 ft catamaran holds up to 25 people and comes with a full crew and open bar. Unlimited alcoholic beverages are included and transportation can be quoted for an additional cost. BOOK HERE →
- PUERTO AVENTURAS: Departing from Puerto Aventuras, board this 38 ft catamaran to Paamul Beach for a private 4-hour catamaran sailing Playa del Carmen experience without the crowds. The catamaran rental includes a seafood lunch, open bar, and snorkeling for up to 8 people. BOOK HERE →
- COZUMEL: This luxury 39 ft private catamaran from Cozumel for up to 15 people is ideal for groups of families or friends. The 6-hour private charter includes a professional captain and crew where you can design your own sailing itinerary to the prime spots in Cozumel. Open bar, lunch, snorkeling equipment, and paddle boards are included. BOOK HERE →
- ISLA CONTOY: For an exclusive experience, book this private beach escape to Isla Contoy with snorkeling for up to 10 people. Although it’s not a catamaran, a speed boat will take you on a private tour away from the crowds to experience both Isla Contoy and Isla Mujeres. BOOK HERE →
What to Bring on a Catamaran Tour
Here are some of the essential items I would recommend bringing on a catamaran tour:
- Swimsuit: You will more than likely be getting in the water so you’ll want to wear a swimsuit and coverup.
- Sunglasses: Don’t forget sunglasses to wear on the catamaran–it will likely be very bright and sunny!
- Beach towel: Bring a beach towel to dry off after you get out of the water. These microfiber beach towels are great options because they are super light weight and dry quickly between the multiple stops.
- Biodegradable sunscreen: Any time you are going to be swimming in the ocean, it is so important to bring biodegradable sunscreen to protect and preserve the coral reefs. You can pick up my favorite brand on Amazon here.
- Snorkel set: If you’re concerned about comfort or cleanliness, I would recommend bringing your own snorkel set instead of using the one provided on the tour. I’ve been on snorkeling tours where my snorkel mask didn’t fit well and it totally ruined the experience so now I always bring my own.
- GoPro or waterproof camera: I would highly recommend bringing a GoPro or waterproof camera to capture your snorkeling and catamaran experience. I always bring my GoPro and am constantly amazed by the picture quality.
- Change of clothes: You’ll also want to bring a change of clothes so you can change out of your wet swimsuit before the ride back to your hotel or resort.
Tips for Playa del Carmen Catamarans
Follow these tips to make the most of your Playa del Carmen catamaran experience:
- Book in advance: I would highly recommend booking online in advance to reserve your spot as tours can fill up quickly. Most tour companies like Viator offer flexible booking options and allow you to cancel without penalty up to 24 hours before the booking date.
- Go private if you can: If you have a larger group or are willing to pay more for an exclusive experience, then definitely consider booking a private catamaran tour. The experience will be much more personalized and you won’t have to worry about obnoxious tour-goers ruining your experience.
- Bring your own snorkel set: If you plan to snorkel, I would recommend bringing your own snorkel set to ensure the best comfort and cleanliness.
- Wear biodegradable sunscreen: As I mentioned, don’t forget to bring biodegradable sunscreen. It’s absolutely essential if you need sun protection.
- Take lots of pictures: A catamaran is truly a bucket list experience you won’t want to forget! If you don’t have a GoPro or waterproof camera, bring a waterproof phone pouch to protect your phone and still take lots of pictures around the water.
So, what do you think–are you ready to set sail on a catamaran excursion from Playa del Carmen?!
I hope this catamaran guide was helpful if you’re considering a catamaran tour during your vacation in Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya.
It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience you won’t want to miss! And from my experience it has been worth every penny.