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Playa del Carmen is a popular destination for digital nomads and other remote workers, and rightly so. With good weather year-round, delicious food on every street corner, and an affordable cost of living, it’s no wonder expats flock en masse to this corner of the Mexican Caribbean.
If you’re planning to join their ranks, there are a couple of things you should know. First, bear in mind that the Internet in Mexico, although better than in neighboring parts of the world, is still a work in progress. Average connection speeds around the country reach 10Mbit on a good day, and Playa del Carmen is no exception. In rainy season, slowdowns and dropouts are a regular problem.
Second, due to the massive influx of US visitors to this part of Mexico, prices in Playa del Carmen are listed in US dollars as often as Mexican pesos. The symbol for dollars and pesos is the same ($), so don’t hesitate to ask if you’re not sure which is being used.
Your best bet for reliable and (somewhat) speedy connections are co-working spaces. There are several of them around Playa del Carmen, many with attractive ocean views motivating you to get your work done so you can head out for an afternoon swim.
Nest is one of the most popular co-working spaces in Playa del Carmen, due to its super-central location and social vibe. With an air-conditioned, 150 square-meter space, and very decent Internet connection at 60MB speeds, Nest is one of the biggest and best spots to get work done. Even better, it’s barely two blocks from the beach.
The drawback to its popularity is that it can get noisy, so isn’t ideal for those who regularly need to make calls. If you don’t, though (or if you’re happy to invest in a private office), you’ll appreciate the community vibe and accessibility of Nest.
There’s a kitchen with coffee, drinking water and cookies on the premises.
Found in 10 Avenida, one block south of Parque 28 de Julio, Nest is close enough to gringo-tastic Quinta Avenida to have plenty of food options available, but with fewer touts and better pricing than you’ll get two streets down.
Day pass: $15 USD
Weekly rate: $75 USD
Monthly rate: $250 USD
Private office rates start at $350 USD per month.
Monday through Saturday, 8 am to 10 pm
Launched in November 2016, Cowork In chose a less-central location, although it’s still just a few blocks from the sea. Found beside the airport in Avenida de Aviación, the area is a little grim, and lacks the charm of other parts of Playa.
However, if you decide to give Cowork In a try, you’ll find a functional, welcoming space, with a very attractive drawcard: it boasts the quickest Internet in town. They advertise a 100Mbps connection and, even though it typically ranges between 50-90Mbps, you’ll appreciate the extra speed when it comes to getting work done.
Coffee (including Nespresso), tea and cookies are up for grabs on the premises.
The surrounding area isn’t the most lively in terms of restaurants and bars, unfortunately. Two good options are Al Comal, with traditional Mexican food, and Estia, if you are in the mood for feta salad and moussaka.
Hourly rate: 50 pesos
Day pass: 245 pesos
Weekly rate: 1,249 pesos
Monthly rate: 4,499 pesos
Additional rates for conference and meeting rooms
Monday through Sunday, 7 am to midnight
Altus Business & Coworking
More serious-looking than other options in Playa, the airy common area and well-stocked meeting rooms at Altus attract the online entrepreneur.
Altus is located a half-block from the beach, which comes with both advantages and drawbacks. The biggest issue is the Internet connection, since this area of town gets the weakest service. Altus has two data lines to help ensure a consistent service, but speeds won’t go beyond 5Mbps, if they get there at all.
However, if your job doesn’t require much bandwidth, you’ll cherish having the ocean five steps away. It’s all about priorities, really.
Free coffee and cookies are available on the premises. For outside grub, you can walk four blocks to Calle 38, which has plenty of options, like the famous Cueva del Chango, offering homemade fare in a charming outdoor setting.
Day pass: $15 USD
Bi-weekly rate: $150 USD
Monthly rate: $235 USD
Multi-monthly passes: $635 USD (three months), $1,190 USD (six months) and $2,115 USD (12 months)
Additional rates for meeting rooms
Monday through Friday, 9 am to 6 pm
This space offers a different kind of working environment. Focused on offices (which can be private or shared), it is an excellent option for those who need total peace and quiet, or online entrepreneurs that need to meet clients, whether in-person or virtually.
Located in the business area of Playa del Carmen on Avenida 50, Enlaces Corporativos may not offer a beach view, but if you need total silence and privacy, it makes office-style working available at very affordable prices.
There’s no food available on premises. Enlaces Corporativos is a little removed from the thick of the Quinta Avenida action, which means less hustle and bustle, but a smorgasbord of inexpensive and delicious food options instead.
Hourly rate: $10 USD
Special packages for weekly and monthly passes available upon request, depending on the number of hours needed.
Monday through Friday, 9 am to 7 pm
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Work Zone Coworking
Work Zone set up shop in 2016 in Avenida Luis Donaldo Colosio, in the northern part of the town. It’s a solid half-hour walk away from the ocean and Quinta Avenida.
Being far away from the touristy areas has several advantages. You’ll be among the local remote working community (so if you came to Mexico looking to ramp up your Spanish, this a great choice), and it is far quieter than other options in town.
Prices are about half of those found closer to Quinta Avenida, too — both for the co-working space itself, and the food options nearby.
The on-site kitchen offers free coffee, tea and cookies.
Once you step outside, there are a wealth of options to choose from. From tacos de guisado and carnitas across the street, to traditional Mayan fare at Xnipek, to grilled fish and steak at The Elephants.
Day pass: 200 pesos
Weekly rate: 1,000 pesos
Monthly rate: 2,500 pesos
Monthly part-time rate (three days a week): 1,500 pesos