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Playa del Carmen is also known for its nightlife and the quality of its beach. Playa del Carmen: History The Maya archaeological site of Xcaret, located in Playa del Carmen The Maya archaeological site of Xcaret, located in Playa del Carmen In pre-Columbian times this area was part of the Mayan province called Ah Kim Pech (the Seven Temples). The town itself was founded by a family from Spain who settled here after spending time on Cozumel Island. In 1848 they were granted land to live here by Don Juan Álvarez de Abreu y Seijas, then governor general. He gave them permission to build their houses near his own so that he could keep an eye on them; however it wasn't until 1895 when these families received official title over their lands and began selling parcels off as private property. It became a municipality in 1914 with Manuel Gómez Morín as mayor.