Local traditions and culture in Playa del Carmen

  • Band of coatis (Dec 2009)
    Band of coatis (Dec 2009)
    by Dabs
  • Coati (Dec 2008)
    Coati (Dec 2008)
    by Dabs
  • Band of coatis (Dec 2008)
    Band of coatis (Dec 2008)
    by Dabs

Most Viewed Local Customs in Playa del Carmen

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    Pilgrims

    by Dabs Updated Dec 12, 2011

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    I took these pictures back in December 2003, eight years later we finally had someone tell us what they were doing and that it was connected to the December 12th festival of the lady of Guadalupe which we always seem to be in town for. Along the highway from the Cancun airport to Playa del Carmen we spotted the first of them, this on December 7th, 5 days before the festival. The van driver explained that they were pilgrims, later in the week when we saw dozens more, some of them running with torches or biking followed by a decorated van filled with people, some of them biking in packs. There's no prescribed time or distance they need to go, it's all based on their schedules.

    Pilgrims

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    Festival of Guadalupe

    by Dabs Updated Dec 12, 2011

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    The was the 2nd time we've been in Mexico for the Festival of Guadalupe which is held on December 12th and celebrates the Virgin of Guadalupe and her appearance to Juan Diego telling him to build a church in Guadalupe. It's not a public holiday but is said to be one of the most important religious holidays in Mexico.

    In Puerto Vallarta, there was a multiple day festival which included a nightly procession and street vendors selling food. In Playa del Carmen, we happened upon the procession with trucks decorated with pictures of the virgin followed by people singing and holding candles. Each resort in Playacar seemed to have a group of people in the procession, we saw several of them assembling as we were walking into town. Even though the groups were from the resorts, this didn't appear to be staged for tourists as it's held off 5th Avenue and we were among the few tourists seeing it.

    In the days leading up to the festival, you might see people running with torches or bicycling along the highway, these are pilgrims and the people in the vehicle trailing behind them trade places when they get tired. We asked how long or what distance they covered and they said everyone chose their own time and distance.

    Virgin of Guadalupe procession Virgin of Guadalupe procession The Riu staff assembling

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    Christmas in Playa del Carmen

    by Dabs Updated Feb 28, 2010

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    It's always makes me laugh, coming from a city that is cold and snowy in December, when I see Christmas decorations in warm climates. Frosty the snowman would be just a puddle of water in this heat. Then there's Santa, all dressed up in his heavy wool red suit and snow boots looking pretty overheated in the sun and heat of Mexico. And just where does he deliver the presents? Who needs a chiminey and fireplace in this climate?

    Santa is a bit overdressed Christmas tree and Frosty in Playacar Christmas tree in Playa del Carmen

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    Engagement beetles

    by tashka Updated Mar 20, 2007

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    When a Mayan boy wants to marry a Mayan girl he catches a beetle and decorates it with small stones, andl also attaches a small chain to it and them presents it to the girl. Then she puts the beetle on her dress as a brooch and wears it. The chain can be pinned to the dress, so the beetle can only crawl around, but cannot escape. The beetle can be fed with a piece of rotten wood and can live for some eight months. After it dies, the decorated "jacket" can be put on another beetle.

    A Mayan engagement beetle
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    VW Beetles

    by Dabs Written Jan 7, 2007

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    The first car I actually remember my family owning was a turquoise VW Beetle, my favorite memory was doing donuts in the snow in the parking lot while waiting for the school bus, so I always smile when I see them in Mexico. Long after production of the classic Beetle stopped in the US, they were still manufacturing them in Mexico, the last one rolled off the assembly line in 2003, so you still see quite a few of them in Mexico, almost all of them white.

    The new Beetle that is produced in the US has never grown on me, I don't know why they had to mess with a product that so many people were nostalgic about....

    VW Beetles

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    Tamales to go!

    by peggydaly Written Jan 23, 2006

    Walking down 30 Av on Thanksgiving brought me this yummy dinner...Tamales served from a bike! He had 3 different kinds and i opted for pollo verde (chicken w/ green chili). Ask for fixins before he wheels away!

    Tamales from a Tricyclero!
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    Fresh Squeezed Juice

    by peggydaly Written Jan 23, 2006

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    He'll squeeze it right in front of you. From morning until around noon he's on 10th Ave around Juarez. BIG cup for $1 US. What a way to start the day. Then head down Juarez to 5th Ave for a cochinita pibil taco for about $.60 US.

    Fresh Juice Squeezed For You
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    Eat at the Beach Square (main plaza)

    by peggydaly Written Jan 23, 2006

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    You can get GREAT, cheap food at the square by the beach (Main Plaza) at Ave Juarez and 5 Ave. There are ladies close the the beach with fresh fruit, nuts, popcorn etc. But my FAVORITE is the tacos or tortas one can get (on the 5th ave side of the square. Definitely get the cochinita pibil. It is the tenderest pork you ever will try. about $.60 US ea. I NEVER had a problem eating street food in playa - and i tried it a lot.

    Hit the taco stands from morning until afternoon - then they are gone. i found all the other restaurants on this plaza pretty crappy and about 100 times more expensive!

    fresh fruit and more from carts on the square
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  • Odd Bug

    by ncbcrazynyc Written Dec 7, 2004

    This bug was found on the beach of our resort.It has the head of an alligator (no kidding) it looks like the alligator part was painted onto a peanut shell or something.It is pretty wild looking.We asked one of the guys at our resort about it and he seemed a little baffled but he did call it a "butterfly"...not sure how true that is though!

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    Flaming coffee

    by kyoub Written Jul 30, 2004

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    You must have some flaming spanish coffee while you are in Playa.
    I think most of the restaurants have their own version of this show.
    It is the finale after dinner. Three guys pour the coffee from one han held pot to the other.
    Even if you don't like coffee this is a must see, at least once while you are there.

    The boys
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    La siesta

    by Joan58 Updated Jan 13, 2003

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    I like to know local customs. In Yucatan there are hammocks almost everywhere. I was enthusiastic about the 'siesta'. To take a little rest after lunch rocking under a palm tree while the sun is playing with the leaves. Wow!! This is the life!!

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    Money exchange

    by RJ1967 Written Jan 10, 2003

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    There are many money exchange offices, such as this one, up and down 5th street in Playa del Carmen. As you can see by the flags, they accept many different currencies.

    There are several ATM machines along 5th avenue as well.

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    Tacos Al Pastor

    by peggydaly Written Jan 23, 2006

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    These are yummy tacos served throughout MX. They are carved off a large spit, layered with beef and onion. A pineapple at the top at the top gets chipped off, too. Good stuff!

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Playa del Carmen Local Customs

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