Playa del Carmen is a balneario resort city just south of Cancún on the coast of the Caribbean Sea, in the northeast of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The city is the seat of the Solidaridad municipality. In the 2005 census, the city had a population of about 100,383 people and it is rapidly growing in population. It is the third largest city in Quintana Roo, after Cancún and Chetumal.
Playa del Carmen is named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who is the patron saint of Cancún. The first recorded visitors to the beaches of what is now Playa del Carmen came during the Early Classic Period of the Mayan civilization. Then called Xaman-Ha, or "waters of the north," Playa del Carmen was a rest stop of sorts for travelers making their way from the great cities of the Mayan world to the island of Cozumel.