Favorite thing: My favorite thing about Playa del Carmen is my memory of how it used to be! Beware that Playa is not a sleepy fishing village with a few tourists (anymore) but more like a small Cancun (of 10 years ago). If you need t-shirts there is no shortage of shops that sell them but don't expect any local art or artisanal goods. And the food costs on 5th avenue are out of sight. If you want to eat for a reasonable price... eat a taco at a local place or at El Venado y el Faisan out on the highway (still the same great food after many years). The restaurants along the main drag (5th ave.) are spotty in quality, uniformaly over-priced and full of surly waiters. And the hawkers somehow think that being insulting will endear them to you. I aplogize to all Playa lovers but as a person who lives and travels regularly in latin america I think one can expect more.
Yes Playa del Carmen is safe, it's my home town. It's not crazy like Cancun, just laid-back. If you walk too fast, someone will tell you to slow down! There's lots to see and do, it doesn't have to be expensive if you get away from 5th Avenue. Maybe rent an apartment rather than a hotel.
For meals, I can tell you about 2 small cafes where you can get a meal and drink for around $US3, there are lots more in Playa. Margaritas during Happy Hour for $2. Movies in English at the cinema cost $3 too. Massages on the beach for $20. Swim in the cool waters of a cenote and feel the earth's energy. You can catch local buses instead of going on expensive tours to visit Tulum, and yes it's so worth it. Feel free to email me if you need help with anything. Enjoy!
Fondest memory: I love the beautiful turquoise Caribbean Sea, it's warm and inviting. I love wandering along the beach, watching happy travellers play beach volleyball, listening to live bands playing Santana music, stopping for a drink or a massage.
There's likely to be a wedding on the beach, or people dancing salsa on the pier.
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.
Last Weekend I went to Xel-Há and I swam with dolphins. Days before I bougth a Primax pass with Mexatlantica Agency and I got really sorprised when, once in Xel-Há, the staff from Delphinus Xel-Há repay me with $400 to used in any other activitie organized by the travel agency were I bougth the Swimming with dolphins ticket, Mexatlantica.
So dont let it go and aske for the Cash Back between Delphinus and various Travel Agencies.
Fondest memory: The sea color and the positive vibes.
Favorite thing: If you are concerned about violence and your safety in Playa del Carmen, don't be. A lot of the media reports are grossly exaggerated. Sure there is violence in parts of Mexico, but mostly in the border zones and amongst cartel members. Quintana Roo where Riviera Maya is, is amongst the 3 safest areas in Mexico. I recently spent 2 weeks there and didn't feel unsafe for a moment, and have even bought a condo there so I'm not concerned at all. The crime rate in parts of the USA are higher than Mexico, in fact the murder rate in Washington DC is 4 TIMES that of Mexico City. Do your own research and don't believe all you see on TV.
In case you are curious about the beach at Playa Del Carmen after hurricane wilma - the answer is "they are great!" I was there the entire month of november 05. Playa came back sooooo quickly. By the time i left even much of the leaves were back on the trees!
Fondest memory: The locals really pulled together to get Playa up and ready for tourists. I was on one of the first planes ot arrive in Cancun after the hurricane. I had Playa to myself for awhile, which was really pretty cool! But i felt for those who went without the tourist dollars - so y'all get down there and help make up for time lost!
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.
Favorite thing: Hi! I actually stayed at a resort called Barcelo a little south of Playa. However, we went there one night to hang out on 5th Avenue. I know the resort I stayed at was nice, plenty to do, and fairly close to Playa as well as not too far from Cancun where the airport is. From what I've heard most of the resorts are similar. The water is beautiful! I stayed at a 4 star resort and unless you just have the money to even though the 5 stars are nicer I don't know how much it would be worth. I mean yeah they have flat screen tvs, internet, and bigger bathrooms but when you go to a tropical place it makes more since to spend more time outside right?! Anyways that is my input. Hope this helps!
Locals are friendly and there is a way to meet them. You can use several sites but the safest one is couchsrufing.com You can find people that you can even stay with or just go out for drinks or coffee. Or simply show you around. The site is great because gives you feedback of people and profiles and reputation is hard to build. Completely safe and quite worth it for a real playa experience.
Going to a place such as playa as a tourist is one thing, but experiencing the culture and mingling from people from the community is another. Highly recommended.
Fondest memory: Going to a bar for locals called Hangover Bar Playa. We went there the last night I was there, with friend I made from Playa. It was just an amazing time. Sang karaoke, had a few drinks and made lifetime friends. Can't wait to go back!
Favorite thing: I just have one tip for you. Have a great time!!! Whatever you choose to do in Quinta Roo, I know you'll have a blast. Everyone I know who has ever traveled here has had a fantastic time, no matter how they choose to spend their time. So the big tip of the day is ENJOY YOURSELF!
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...
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.
This postcard shows it all.
Beautiful sparkling blue waters, miles and miles of white sand and jungle.
Walk through it and butterflies will actually land on you...and please be careful where you step.
When was the last time you saw a green butterfly?
Favorite thing: Xcaret has many opportunties to swim with the dolphins. Even a program that puts you in the water with th gentle, giant manatee. If you look closely, you can see one in the water.