|General Info||Playa del Carmen||$0.00||
Playa del Carmen has recently undergone extreme rapid development with new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques and entertainment venues. Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centers on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, which stretches from Calle 1 norte to Calle 40. A pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach, Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on and just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach.
Unlike Cancun, the main beach in Playa del Carmen is skirted by a multitude of bars and restaurants. That, of course, is a good thing if you’re looking for food and drink with a view. However, in recent years the hassle factor has intensified noticeably. And it’s not just the bar owners – masseurs, bracelet and fruit sellers are all getting in on the action. Solution: Head to the far right of the beach, towards where the Cozumel ferry leaves. The bars thin, the number of locals increases, the sunbathers are less prevalent and the hassle is that bit less intense.
So, 5th Avenue is most definitely the most touristy street in Playa del Carmen, but that doesn’t always have to be a bad thing. Whether you’re shopping for some Mexican memorabilia, looking for a photo of you donning a gimmicky sombrero, having a drink at a bar while sitting on a swing, watching the local performers or looking for the latest in designer Nike wear, 5th Avenue is the place to be.
When it comes to eating in Playa del Carmen, the best decision you can make is to step off 5th Avenue. For every street you stray from the strip, the prices decrease and the food quality increases exponentially. 10th Avenue (the street one parallel to 5th Avenue) has some of the best tacos and quesadillas I’ve tasted in Mexico. Although most tacos stalls don’t serve alcohol, if you ask nicely and are discrete, most will let you bring your own from the local OXXO (convenience store).Failing that you can probably pick up one of the tasty aquas frescos (flavoured waters).
|Bed and Breakfast||Cabaña Caribbean Frog||AirBnB||Playa del Carmen||$113.00||
Cabana Caribbean Frog is fantastic. It is quiet, private, clean, spacious and well-equipped. Rene provides a pool table, loaner bicycles, NetFlix, strong WiFi and water.
If you like being off the beaten path, this is the place for you. It is in a quiet area full of locals, 4km from the center of town, and all of the hubbub. If you want to enjoy a beach without pubs and throngs and barkers, you can easily walk to the actual beach nearby. From the house, walk down to Avenida 5 and hang a right. At the corner of Avenida 5 and 88 Norte is a little restaurant, La 88, which is good for coffee and breakfast. From Avenida 5, including opposite La 88, there are beach access trails that you can take down to the beach-ey beach (as opposed to the party beach).
We walked back and forth a few times from our place into downtown. Walking along Avenida 5 is great. As you head toward downtown, there are lots of interesting and beautiful wall murals painted on the buildings. There are walking/cycling paths in both directions.
There are a couple of restaurants nearby with local food and local prices, but no pubs in the immediate vicinity.
|So, today I discovered that Playa del Carmen really isn't the place for me. It's pretty much all tourist strip, crowded beach, and dance clubs. We had a nice day anyway, and I do really like the murals painted on a lot of the buildings, but I wouldn't want to book a whole vacation here. One day was enough. We had a good visit with Joerg and Barbara, too, who are in the area from Edmonton. They were passing through Playa today so we managed to meet up for lunch. Cool!|
Our cabana in Playa del Carmen
Colorful beach stuff at Playa del Carmen
An interesting/colorful building in Playa del Carmen