Puerto Aventuras: "Gringo Town"
Favorite thing: Puerto Aventuras describes itself as: "the only gated community resort on the Mexican Caribbean coast." Now, I don’t know exactly why you need to be "gated" in one of the most tourist-friendly areas of the world--it seems a little excessive. Some web sites and travel agencies say it is "in" Playa Del Carmen, which is wrong--it is about 35 minutes outside of town, halfway between Playa and Akumal. Puerto Aventuras is basically a very large oceanside retirement community for Americans and Germans (yep, the old WWII vets living side-by-side), which also hosts several lavish all-inclusive resorts, a marina, golf course, and some nice restaurants and shops. Don’t get me wrong, the setting is absolutely stunning, the grounds and roads are superbly well kept, and everybody is really happy. But this type of place (with gates) never make me feel safe but instead make me feel trapped inside. Locals have nicknamed Puerto Aventuras "Gringo Town" (gringo meaning white person) and say it is "very American." I agree. I had a great time staying on a resort here but I’d rather hang out with the locals, they’re generally nicer than the foreigners. You could literally live in Puerto Adventuras for years and not learn anything at all about Mexico.
- Spa and Resort
Even better, book tours before you leave home
Favorite thing: We were not able to get on the Fat Cat catamaran tour as it was fully booked for our entire stay and after I got home I checked alltournative's website and you can get a 10% discount for booking online.
The only downside to this is the weather, the closer you are to the vacation, the more accurate weather forecast you can get so you know if it will be a good day for your trip.
Shopping in Playa del Carmen
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen is a really cute town to walk around in, but it can get annoying with all of the people trying to sell you things there.If you really hate to be harassed about buying things then don't bother coming to Playa, although it is better than other places, it can still become annoying.
Explore the area
Favorite thing: Some years ago this was a sleepy fishingvillage, but it's fast growing to be a popular touristresort. Still it is much smaller and calmer than Cancun which lies just one hour north. If you want a smaller place with less tourists you can head to Tulum one hour south. But Playa del Carmen has a lot to offer so you should stay a few days.
This is a good place to use as a base for exploring the rest of the Yucatán peninsula. Hop on a ferry and after half an hour you are at the island of Cozumel. Here you can find some of the best snorkelling and diving in Mexico, and some say of the whole world. In Tulum you can find some great ruins overlooking the sea and the beach. Three hours drive takes you to one of the most magnificent maya ruins; Chichén Itzá. It might be a long and bumpy ride, but believe me; it's worth it!
There are also plenty of cenotes, underwater wells, around. You can find both small and large, crowded and lonely. Tour organizers can take you on all kinds of trips around the area. There are two big "theme parks" nearby, one is Xcaret and the other is Xel-Ha. Other places nearby are Aktun Chen, the Sian-Kaan reserves and the ruins at Cobá. You could go on an organized tours to all of these places, but you could also just take the bus and go by yourself.
- Historical Travel
- Diving and Snorkeling
Make a sculpture in the sand
Favorite thing: If you get bored of bathing in the beautiful warm water, or taking sun on the paradisebeaches, this might be something for you. You don't have to be a child to play in the sand, you just need to bring out the child inside... ;) If you are more people you could make a competition and see who makes the best sculpture (it can be quite fun unless you are a horrible looser like me... )
Favorite thing: At night the stadium is filled with th days visitors who enjoy a spectacular show depicting the history of the Maya. Including an incredible display on the giant ball court. There is a normal ball court game where players only use their HIPS to hit the ball. Then fire is added to the mix for a round of...well, I can only call it fire hockey.
The candles given to the crowd only adds to the ambiance of the whole night.
After intermission there is a history of dance and music in Mexico. It's a long show. It's an amazing show with a cast of HUNDREDS and live music too!
- Historical Travel
- Family Travel
- Theater Travel
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen has one of the most beautiful beach/coast I have ever seen (and believe me, I’ve seen many in my time). The water is so warm and clear, yet the sand remains so cool and clean. It's amazing that such a paradise can exist on this rock, Earth.
- Family Travel
- Water Sports
Desert beaches and wild jungle
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen is a little town along the 'Riviera Maya' 68 kilometers south of Cancun. Not very time ago it was just a little fisherman's village. Time have changed and progress has touched it. Now Playa del Carmen is the second important tourist town on the coast. It has many shops, a wide variety of restaurants and accomodations that range from five-star quality to rustic.
Playa has some of the finest beaches and coral reefs on the coast. A peculiarity of its beaches is that the white fine sand is composed of shell and coral powder. That's why the sand is never hot.
Fondest memory: I like to walk on a wild desert beach, away from the crowded fitted out ones. Just you, the sand, the sea, the sky and a mysterious jungle in the backround...
Sandals to sinks
Favorite thing: Besides swimming and bar hopping, PDC offers lots of shopping opportunities. You can find Cuban cigars, T-shirts, beachwear, silver jewelry, and even Mexican styled sinks. Here's the proof!
Fondest memory: Playa del Carmen is friendly and a good place to relax and escape from the cold winters up north.
Where the living and the spirits meet!
Favorite thing: You are going to be on the beach, you can't resist that, however, please force yourself to get off the sand and off to some of the spectacular ruins. Tulum is a mere 30 minutes drive from Playa Del Carmen. It's the closest and possibly the most beautiful.
Fondest memory: At Tulum, which is a set of Mayan ruins on a cliff overlooking the ocean, dating back to the 13th century, it's very alive with Iguanas!
Click on the photo, you can't miss him! Life goes on everywhere, even amid the ruins.
- Hiking and Walking
Just the water alone is worth the trip
Favorite thing: Playa del Carmen is a port frequented by Cruise ships. Lucky you though, because if you didn't come by ship, you get to STAY here!
You can walk to just about everything, but there's plenty to do if you rent a vehicle and venture out!
This ship looks VERY close to shore, doesn't it? Well, it was stranded on a sand bar and stayed there for three extra days, much to the joy of the local merchants! Cha Ching!
Fondest memory: I loved waking up, opening the doors and being warm!
If you've never been to this...
Favorite thing: If you've never been to this area before, you simply must visit Chichen Itza. This ruined city of a lost civilisation is something not to be missed.
Fondest memory: My fondest memory of this holiday was taking our leisurely breakfast each day, overlooking the gorgeous white sandy beach. It was so peaceful, listening to the soothing lapping of the waves as we munched on our toast. Quite relaxed compared to our usual rush around the living room gas fire back at
home in rainy England!
The photo shows the view from our breakfast table. Fantastic isn't it.
Map - Photo from the Air
Favorite thing: I was lucky that te plane we took fley right over PDC and I snapped this picture February 15, 2007.
Favorite thing: This postcard shows it all.
Beautiful sparkling blue waters, miles and miles of white sand and jungle.
Favorite thing: Yes Xcaret has that too. With areas for sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling.
They even do weddings!
- Family Travel
- National/State Park