LivingSocial Adventures’ Playa del Carmen trip launched just over eighteen months ago. They recently gave my girlfriend, Alanna, and me the opportunity to check out the trip and share our experiences. Usually we travel by ourselves with a very rough itinerary (if any at all), so having a planned trip and being part of a larger group of travelers were both new to us.

We ended up having an absolute blast. Here are some of the reasons why we loved it:

1. Research

Mayan Bistro
The Mayan Bistro restaurant at Hotel Aventura served as our “home base”

One of the hardest parts of traveling can be finding the time to do research on a destination beforehand. LivingSocial Adventures has already done all the research prior to your trip, so you can rest assured that the activities and destinations they plan for you will be top notch—without having to spend countless hours reading reviews and guides.

2. Planning

Alltournative Guide
Our guide Robbie

Normally when I’m traveling, I like to plan every detail myself. However, I will admit that this can become very tedious. LivingSocial does all this legwork for you. After booking the trip, you don’t have to worry about planning at all. Everything from your accommodations to your activities and transportation are arranged for you.

On top of that, LivingSocial also researches small—but important—details. Our guides were able to recommend which banks had the lowest conversion rates, which convenience stores would have what we needed and the best places to grab a drink or bite to eat. If they didn’t know the answer to a question offhand, they would find out and get back to us. Having the entire planning process taken care of not only gave us peace of mind, but it also gave us a lot more free time to really take in everything the destination had to offer.

3. Destinations

Entering a cenote in the Jungle Maya
Entering a cenote in the Jungle Maya

While I can’t speak for all the destinations, Playa del Carmen was incredible. Our trip included a five-day, four-night stay and they managed to show us quite a lot of what Playa del Carmen has to offer. We got to experience the vibrant atmosphere and nightlife on 5th Avenue, and we also got to adventure through ancient Mayan ruins and zip line through the jungle. We got to do and see a lot in a beautiful part of the world—in a relatively short timeframe.

4. Activities

Jungle Maya
Rappelling into a cenote at Jungle Maya

When you book a vacation through LivingSocial Adventures, the cost includes all the major activities in the itinerary, along with the accommodations. The Playa del Carmen trip included a guided tour of Tulum, the Jungle Maya Expedition, and all-inclusive admission to Xel-Ha (including swimming with dolphins). All these activities were incredible—and we didn’t have to worry about paying for admission. All we had to remember was to bring our bathing suits and meet up with the group on time. On top of that, you are free to do as many or as few activities as you’d like, with no pressure either way.

Good to Know: Although admission is covered, buying pictures is an additional cost at most places. So either bring a waterproof camera (I brought my GoPro) or your credit card because the pictures can be expensive.

5. Group Aspect

Mayan Ceremony
Our LivingSocial Adventures group participating in a Mayan ceremony

I’ll be the first to admit that I wasn’t sure if I would like the concept of a group trip. When I found out our group would consist of roughly forty people, visions of “I <3 America” fanny packs and guides shouting through megaphones started running through my head. Much to my relief, this wasn’t the case at all. Over the course of our trip we got to know our group pretty well. In fact, throughout our adventures together, we actually formed some great friendships.

Our group consisted of a wide range of people from all types of backgrounds. Some were there to party, and some were there to adventure—and everything in between. LivingSocial offers the trip for two, so there were a lot of couples. But there were also pairs of friends; at no point did it feel like the trip was overly “couple oriented.”

6. Guides

LivingSocial Adventures Guides
From left to right: Ryan, Erin, Matt and Alanna

LivingSocial provides two guides for the group for the duration of the trip. Our guides were Erin and Matt. If all LivingSocial guides are like them, then you are bound to have a great time. Not only were they both young and energetic, they were knowledgeable and excited to be part of our adventure. Keeping over forty people together in a foreign country is no easy task, but Erin and Matt handled it well. It seemed that whenever anyone in our group needed help or had a question, they were right there to lend a hand. They also did a great job of giving everyone dedicated time when they needed it, so it never felt like we were in a large group.

7. Transportation

4x4 at Jungle Maya
Our bumpy 4×4 ride through the Jungle Maya

I actually enjoy the various forms of public transportation that can be found when traveling. However, I know this can be daunting to a lot of people. Luckily, if you take a LivingSocial Adventures trip you won’t have to worry about public transportation at all. Safe and reliable transportation is provided to get you to and from all the group activities. With that being said, you are also free to rent a car, take a cab or find whatever other form of transportation best suits your travel style.

Who This Trip May NOT Be For:

While I absolutely loved the trip, I also realize this type of vacation may not be for everyone. If you are the type who just likes to sit on the beach and soak in some sun, you might be better off staying at an all-inclusive resort on the beach. On the other end of the spectrum, if you are the type of traveler that likes to rough it a bit more, you might find more freedom by booking the details of the trip yourself.

Zenzi Beach
Alanna and Ryan relaxing on the beach at Zenzi

If you are looking for an active vacation where you can try some new activities, then I would highly recommend a LivingSocial Adventures trip. You can be confident in their research and simply go with the flow and enjoy yourself in an amazing location. Not only will the adventure activities give you a chance to step out of your comfort zone a little bit, you’ll also make some new friends along the way.

For more about our Playa del Carmen trip, read the articles below:

This trip was sponsored by LivingSocial Adventures

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