Playa del Carmen is located in the Riviera Maya area on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, and is around 60 km away from Cancun and Tulum.
We read that Playa, (as locals call it), it’s the fastest growing city in Latin America, what is by itself a big no no. As you already know, I don’t do package holidays, and don’t normally choose places that don’t have anything to offer rather than tourist traps around every other corner. Plus I’m not into shopping or night clubs at all. So you are probably asking ‘why on earth have you decided to go there?’
Well that’s a good question, with a pretty easy answer, we just decided to pop in for a day because we had time in hands and had visit all the places we wanted, so we thought, well we are going to see what is all the fuss about…
As you can conclude for everything I just said my expectations were very very low, so the good point was I couldn’t really get despoiled.. and I didn’t, not even surprised 🙂 unfortunately..
To reach playa, we took a colectivo (45pesos) from Tulum, which is very frequent route. Collectivos can get a bit cramped sometimes but are a great way to move around.
During the day we walked around, went to some art galleries, found some murals, street sculptures and luckily stumble into a wonderful Mexican performance ‘Los voladores de Papantla’.
The 5th Avenue (Quinta Avenida) is apparently the place to see and be seen. It is a very touristic place, packed with trinket shops and overpriced fancy restaurants… but who needs fancy? Leaving behind Playa’s tourist trail, is the only way to go off the beaten path and find the real Mexican flavors, and avoid paying inflated tourist prices. Ask for local restaurants and you won’t regret it.
We also explored the beaches that are easily accessible by foot.
I can’t say that we add a bad day, far from that, was an enjoyable day out, but not more than that.
There is a big difference between travelers and tourists. Playa is undoubtedly a top tourist destination with big resorts, fancy restaurants and a busy nightlife. But the question is just one … can Playa offer want you are looking for? if yes go for it, if not choose a different place.
photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha