Have you ever done standup paddleboarding? My first time on a paddle board was in Hawaii, but I didn’t really fall in love with it until I moved to Playa del Carmen and started doing it on the regular. It’s such a fun experience and a great workout too! Read on for my Playa del Carmen paddle boarding guide to learn everything you need to know if you want to give it a try while visiting Playa del Carmen or the Riviera Maya.
About Stand Up Paddleboarding 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 and other marine life.
Standup paddleboarding (SUP) is a full body workout that challenges your balance, core, and upper body strength. It can be challenging at first to find your balance and learn how to stand. You’re inevitably gonna fall, but the good thing is you can always paddle on your knees until you get the hang of it. With practice and proper instruction, paddleboarding can be enjoyed by most ages and fitness levels.
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 harder to stand. 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 Playa del Carmen
In Playa del Carmen, it’s warm enough to go paddleboarding all year round. However, keep in mind during the winter months of December-February, the sea temperatures will be lower so you might want to wear a rash guard to stay warm. I have gone paddleboarding during the winter months and honestly it was never that cold.
Best Time of Day to Paddle Board Playa del Carmen
You can do standup paddleboarding almost anytime during the day. 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 is a must. For ladies, I would definitely recommend wearing a one-piece swimsuit for paddleboarding. 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 you might want to wear a rash guard for added warmth. Life jackets are optional and are provided 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.
- Biodegradable Sunscreen
- Change of clothes
NICE TO HAVE:
- Go Pro or Waterproof Camera
- Waterproof hat
Where to Paddle Board 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.
Paddle boards can rented from Aloha Paddle Club at anytime during the day and include a lesson. The instructors at Aloha are super knowledgable and friendly so 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. Prices start at $30 per hour and can be booked online here.
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. The instructor will also go with the group and take GoPro photos.
The mixed group sessions usually last about an hour. This is personally my favorite way to paddle board since you get to hang out with others in a fun and relaxed environment.
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 with dynamic rates starting at $35 per person. These classes include instruction on the beach and 1 hour of practice out on the sea. You can find more information and book online here.
If you are a Playa del Carmen local or even a digital nomad spending an extended period of time in Playa del Carmen, I would definitely recommend joining the 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 a great place 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. You can find more information and book online 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 great place to try stand up paddleboarding as 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 turquoise blue and is surrounded by lush mangroves. The calm cenote waters make it a great place for swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, and paddleboarding. You can go paddleboarding at Casa Cenote by booking a tour here with Aloha Paddle Club.
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 would 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 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 Paddleboarding Tips
Here are a few tips I’ve learned from my 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.
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. It’s such a fun water activity offering a killer workout and a healthy dose of Vitamin SEA! Give it try – you won’t regret it!
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