The Ultimate Playa del Carmen Paddle Boarding Guide for 2023
Looking for standup paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen? You’ve come to the right place!
I’m a travel blogger that lives in Playa del Carmen and it’s one of my favorite outdoor activities and the best way to experience the Caribbean Sea from a whole new perspective.
In this post, I’m sharing everything you need to know about paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen, including the top providers, the best areas for paddleboarding in Riviera Maya, and tips for making the most of your experience.
So whether you’re looking for a fun activity or low-key workout, I’ve got you covered! Read on for my ultimate Playa del Carmen paddle boarding guide.
About Playa del Carmen Paddle Boarding
First, let’s start with some of the basics on paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya:
MY TOP PICK
🏆 Best Paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen:
Aloha Paddle Club Sunrise Session
What is stand up paddleboarding like in Playa del Carmen?
Paddle boarding in Playa del Carmen is a unique and fun activity, offering the opportunity to paddle board right off of the beach.
It’s an incredible experience to be out paddling on the Caribbean Sea with bright turquoise hues and some impressive ocean views.
You might also be lucky enough to spot some tropical fish, coral reefs, and other marine life depending on the visibility.
Paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen can be done from providers on the beach, or many hotels and resorts also offer paddle board rentals for hotel guests.
What kind of activity level do you need for paddleboarding?
Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is a full body workout that challenges your balance, core, and upper body strength.
But with practice and proper instruction, paddleboarding can be enjoyed by most ages and fitness levels.
It can definitely be challenging at first to find your balance and learn how to stand but that is part of the learning process.
You’re inevitably going to fall, but the good thing is you can always paddle on your knees until you get the hang of it.
How are the sea conditions in Playa del Carmen for paddleboarding?
The sea conditions in Playa del Carmen will have a major impact on your paddleboarding experience.
If it is very windy, the waves will be larger, making it much harder to stand and maintain your balance.
You also have to be mindful of the wind direction, which will make it much more difficult if you are paddling against it.
It’s definitely preferable to go standup paddleboarding when there is little wind and the waves are calm. Trust me, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience!
If you’re going paddling on the ocean, it’s best to check the weather and wind forecast ahead of time here.
However, even on windier days, you can still give it a try for more of a physical challenge. And even if you can’t stand, you can still paddle on your knees.
Travelista Tip: If the sea conditions aren’t ideal during your stay, you can always try standup paddleboarding in a cenote or lagoon.
Best Time of Year to Paddle Board in Playa del Carmen
With hot temperatures all year round, it’s warm enough to go paddleboarding any time of year in Playa del Carmen.
However, keep in mind during the winter months of December-February, the sea temperatures will be slightly lower so you might want to wear a rash guard to stay warm.
I have gone paddleboarding during the winter months and honestly it has never been that cold.
Best Time of Day to Paddle Board in Playa del Carmen
Because the waters are usually pretty calm, you can do standup paddleboarding almost anytime during the day in Playa del Carmen.
I personally enjoy paddling the most at sunrise or sunset, when it’s not as hot and the sun is less intense.
If sunrise is too early for you, late morning is also a great time to be out on the sea.
What to Wear for Playa del Carmen SUP
You are more than likely going to get wet so wearing a swimsuit while paddleboarding is a must.
For ladies, I would definitely recommend wearing a one-piece swimsuit to be the most comfortable.
It can be strenuous and even a little awkward at times trying to get your balance so a one-piece will definitely give you more coverage to avoid any slip ups.
A hat and sunglasses can also be worn but only do so if you’re okay with the possibility of losing them if you happen to fall.
And if you’re visiting during the winter months (December-February) you might want to wear a rash guard for added warmth.
Life jackets are optional and are provided upon request with paddle board rentals.
What to Bring for Playa del Carmen SUP
Below are few items I would recommend bringing with you for paddleboarding.
Anytime you are going to be swimming in the ocean, biodegradable sunscreen is a must to protect the coral reefs.
It’s also nice to have a GoPro if you want to take your own photos but make sure you bring a floating grip or other hands-free attachment.
Sometimes it’s also possible to snorkel during your paddleboarding session, so bring to your own snorkel set if that’s an option.
- Biodegradable Sunscreen
- Change of clothes
NICE TO HAVE:
- Go Pro or Waterproof Camera
- Waterproof hat
- Snorkel gear
Where to Paddle Board in Playa del Carmen
Here’s my top recommendation for where to paddleboard in Playa del Carmen:
Aloha Paddle Club
Aloha Paddle Club is the absolute best place for paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen and the only place I would recommend!
Aloha Paddle Club operates out of Fusion Beach Bar, which is located on 6th Street and the beach in downtown Playa del Carmen.
Aloha is a friendly and welcoming community that offers a variety of options for paddleboarding for both tourists and locals.
Paddle boards can rented from Aloha Paddle Club at anytime during the day and include a lesson.
The instructors at Aloha are extremely knowledgable and super friendly so you can rest assured you are in great hands.
They’ll teach you everything you need to know including how to hold the paddle, how to enter the sea safely from the beach, how to stand up, and basic paddling techniques.
Aloha Paddle Club also offers a mixed group experience for sunrise, morning, and sunset sessions.
This is typically a group of about 5-10 people and you will all paddle out together for about an hour.
The instructor will also go with the group and take some unforgettable GoPro photos.
This is personally my favorite way to paddle board since you get to hang out with others in a fun and relaxed environment.
Mixed group sessions can be booked online here:
🏄♀️ Click here to book a Sunrise Paddleboard Session
🏄♀️ Click here to book a Morning Paddleboard Session
🏄♀️ Click here to book a Sunset Paddleboard Session
Travelista Tip: Sunrise sessions fill up almost everyday so be sure to reserve your spot online in advance.
Aloha Paddle Club also offers private classes for individuals or small groups looking for a personalized experience without the pressure of a group session.
These classes include instruction on the beach and 1 hour of practice out on the sea.
👉 Find more information and book a private class online by clicking here!
Aloha Paddle Club Membership
If you are a Playa del Carmen local, digital nomad, or tourist spending an extended period of time in Playa del Carmen, I would definitely recommend joining Aloha Paddle Club as a member.
I am personally a member of the club and it has been a fun and memorable experience, and a great way to stay active and meet new people.
You’ll pay a one time membership fee and then each time you want to paddle, you pay only $100-$150 pesos per session.
Once you are a member of the club, you can also bring friends with you for a discounted price. You can find more information on joining the club here.
Best Places to Paddle Board near Playa del Carmen
If you’re not staying in downtown Playa del Carmen, there are other places nearby where you can go paddleboarding.
In fact, many of the resorts in Riviera Maya will have standup paddle boards for hotel guests to use on the beach at the resort.
In addition, below are some nearby attractions and towns that are also great places for paddleboarding.
Day Trips & Excursions
These are a few places outside of Playa del Carmen that are perfect for a paddleboarding day trip or excursion:
Kaan Luum Lagoon
Located just south of Tulum, Kaan Luum Lagoon is a secret swimming hole and lagoon that is perfect for standup paddleboarding.
It’s one of the best places for beginners because the water is so tranquil and calm.
Paddle boards are not available for rent at the lagoon, so you’ll have to book a tour with Aloha Paddle Club, which includes transportation, tacos, and a couple of hours of paddling at the lagoon.
👉 Book the Kaan Luum Lagoon paddleboarding tour with Aloha Paddle Club by clicking here!
Playa Xpu Ha
Located about 30 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, Playa Xpu Ha is one of the best beaches near Playa del Carmen and a local gem.
It’s a great place to try stand up paddleboarding as it’s situated on a natural inlet and the waves are generally pretty calm.
Paddleboards can be rented directly from vendors on the beach. Then you can spend the rest of the day hanging out and relaxing on a super stunning beach.
Casa Cenote is an open lagoon type cenote located just about 15 minutes north of Tulum.
The water is the prettiest shade of emerald green and is surrounded by lush mangroves.
The calm cenote waters make it a great place for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding.
👉 Book a Casa Cenote standup paddleboarding tour with Aloha Paddle Club by clicking here!
These nearby towns in the Yucatan peninsula are also great places to go paddleboarding:
Located about 3 hours south of Playa del Carmen, Bacalar is a massive natural lagoon with unbelievably turquoise water.
In fact, it’s nicknamed “Lagoon of the Seven Colors” because of its many shades of turquoise blue water.
Since it’s technically a lagoon, the water is usually more calm, making it a great place to go paddleboarding.
👉 I recommend booking a sunrise paddleboarding tour for early in the morning when the water is more serene.
Located near Cancun, Isla Holbox is a stunning tropical island and popular overnight destination from Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya.
It’s a great spot for paddleboarding with calm shallow waters and very little waves.
When I visited Holbox, I stayed at Hotel Zomay, and they have paddle boards available for rent on the beach.
Playa del Carmen Stand Up Paddleboarding Tips
Follow these tips to make the most of your SUP Playa del Carmen experience:
- Don’t be afraid to fall: EVERYONE falls! Even the most experienced paddle boarders fall so don’t be embarrassed if you take a tumble. If you do fall, it’s best to fall off the side directly into the water to avoid hitting the board. The leash will be attached to your ankle tethering you to your board so it won’t get away from you. Just be sure to hang on to your paddle.
- Wear biodegradable sunscreen: As I mentioned biodegradable sunscreen is a must anytime you are swimming in the ocean in order to protect the coral reefs. There’s obviously no shade out on the water so you’ll want to wear it to avoid a sunburn.
- Practice as much as you can: Paddleboarding can be a challenging activity but practicing proper techniques can really make a huge difference in your speed and ability to maneuver the board.
- Go in a group: I always have the most fun paddleboarding when I go in the mixed group or bring a friend. It’s a great way to meet new people and share some laughs!
- Get there early: If you’re going in a mixed group, be sure to get there early to make sure you have time to store your belongings and get prepared.
Paddleboarding Playa del Carmen: FAQs
Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about paddleboarding in Playa del Carmen:
Yes, the sea temperatures in Playa del Carmen are warm enough to go paddleboarding all year round.
Sunrise in Playa del Carmen will depend on the time of the year but it is typically around 6-7:30AM. Sunrise is earlier in the summer months and later in the winter months.
Yes, it’s best to wear a swimsuit while paddleboarding as you will get wet while getting on the board. There’s also a chance you will fall into the water.
Yes, paddleboarding on the sea in Playa del Carmen is suitable beginners as the waves are generally calm.
Paddleboard sessions in Playa del Carmen are typically 1-2 hours long.
Conclusion: Playa del Carmen Paddle Boarding Guide
I hope this paddle boarding Playa del Carmen guide was helpful if you want to give it a try during your Playa del Carmen vacation.
My top recommendation for paddleboarding is at Aloha Paddle Club — the absolute best Riviera Maya paddleboarding provider.
Aloha Paddle Club offers sunrise sessions (most popular), morning sessions, or private paddleboarding lessons.
Or for a totally unique experience, consider booking one of their top-rated standup paddleboarding tours to Casa Cenote or Kaan Luum Lagoon.
No matter which option you choose, you’re in for a fun water activity, a killer workout, and a healthy dose of Vitamin SEA!
Give paddleboarding a try – you won’t regret it!
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