Blue Parrot Beach Bar
Hands down this is the best bar I have ever been to! Oriental carpets lay on the sand, pillows are tossed around the low tables. A thatch roof adds atmosphere over head. Hanging rope swings surround the bar. This feels exotic. The sound of the ocean waves can be heard over the house music. Swaying Palm trees and fresh air complete the aphrodisiac. The evening dancing starts with what else but professional fire dancers. As far as I am concerned this bar is playa's crown jewel.Related to:
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Buy top shelf Tequila
First, a warning - if you go all the way to Mexico and still insist on buying Jose Cuervo gold, I *will* kill you with an ice pick.
Now, with the pleasantries dispensed with ...
If you have 20 minutes spare, take a hike up Av Constituyentes (the equivalent of Calle 18) and go and buy some great tequila on the cheap from Covi, a local liquor store. It's on the highway, which is less than 10 minutes walk up Av Constituyentes (it's on the far side of the highway, diagonally across from the Pemex).
I did some quick comparisons. My favorite tequila, Cazadores reposado, was almost 50% less than the shops on 5th Ave. I did see some deals on 5th Ave that were almost as good value (e.g. multiple bottles of Cuervo 1800), but only for a couple of types of tequila.
To give you an idea of the value, Cazadores costs US$13 a shot in Dos Caminos on Park Avenue, NYC. A 750ml bottle at Covi costs approximately the same.
The folks at Covi have a great selection, but speak no English and only take cash. If you need cash, there is an ATM at the Pemex across the road (which the Covi staff are oddly unaware of).
My understanding is that each individual can take 2L of spirits into the US duty free ... although you don't have to declare it and I've never been searched.
For a bunch of good information on tequila, click this link
Go to The Blue Parrot
The Blue Parrot is a night club which lies right on the beach at the edge of the town of Playa del Carmen. They have a fire show at night and their dance floor is right on the sand, this huge flat platform. It's very swanky. Staircase goes right up to another part of the bar which is a hut with more chairs where you can overlook the ocean at night...very romantic.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
You really must shop. Playa has a plaza that is just for walking, no cars. It is truly a very pretty spot with a tree lined coutyard. Under one of these big trees is where we found the ladies selling fresh sliced papaya, mangos, and other fruit every morning.. There is a nice bakery or two also. Many shops with local arts and crafts line the streets. Haggle until you agree on the right price.Related to:
- Road Trip
Dia Des Los Muertos Festival
Dia des los Muertos Or the Day of the Dead is a Latin American holiday the co-insides with All . Saint's day (Nov.1) and All Souls Day (Nov.2). It is a holiday in which family members gather together to honour and remember their ancestors, and other loved ones who have passed on. It also ties into Halloween when the veil that seperates the living from the dead is supposed to be the thinnest.
The festival for Dia Des Los Muertos runs for 4 days from Oct.30-Nov.2, and is held at an eco-park called XCaret. It begins around 9pm long after the park closes. My biggest fear going to this festival was wondering how the heck I was going to get back to my resort, but have no fear there are loads of cabs waiting around.
There are very few tourists at this festival but the locals are very receptive to those who are there to experience the festival. The pathways through the park are lined with large burning incense sticks and candles, and the grounds itself holds the most amazing cemetery labyrinth filled with revelers there to pay their respects. Children are not dressed up as spiderman or fairies but are put into their finest church clothes and loaded with food to leave for their ancestors.
There is enertainment around with live Mayan shows with drumming and re-enactments of sporting events in full regalia. The park workers are all painted up with the traditional sugar skull motif and altars are set up around every corner filled with flowers and food.Related to:
- National/State Park
- Theme Park Trips
Sit down, relax,.............have a beer
No one travels south unless they like two things. No.....make that three things! Beautiful blue waters, bright sun and........A VERY COLD BEER! Playa is just that kind of town. Everywhere you look you can find a cute place to sit, relax, and enjoy a cold one. If you find yourself there oneday, send a toast myway.
Visit the Xamen Ha Aviary for an hour or so
The aviary is a short 10 to 15 minute walk from 5th avenue into the Playacar gated community. It costs about 7 dollars to enter, but there's no time limit on how long you can stay. The ticket taker sprayed us with insect repellant (no charge) but at the end of October the only insects I encountered were an occasional butterfly and some ants. The ticket includes a set of pictures and descriptions for your self-guided walk throught the grounds, and inside are several pools of water, one for flamingos, another larger one full of ducks, pelicans, etc., a third that is mostly herons and egrets. Toucans, parrots of various types and colors and the flamingos make this a great spot for taking photos of birds.Related to:
- Jungle and Rain Forest
- Family Travel
Isla Mujeres great exploring
A beautiful Island to see when you are in Playa del Carmen is definitely Isla Mujeres meaning: Woman of Island. It's a small Island near the coast of Cancun.
To get to Isla Mujeres you have to take the bus to Cancun and then have a taxi drive you to the Ferry Landing at Puerto Juarez, located 15 minutes north of downtown Cancun (arrange the fare beforehand with the driver to get a good price). It takes around 25 minutes for the crossing to Isla Mujeres.
When you arrive at Isla Mujeres there are various ways for you to get around. You can explore by foot, rent a bicycle or motor roller. But we decided to rent a golf cart! The Golf carts are only for use on Isla Mujeres, and it's great driving one. You can explore the whole Island by riding a golf cart, which is great! Like Playa del Calrmen, Isla Mujeres have beautiful beaches and a crystal clear sea, that you can admire while cruising in your golf cart.
FYI you will be needing a valid drivers license to rent and drive a golf cart. But if you forget your drivers license, they can rent you a golf cart if you just leave your name, hotel you'r staying and roomno.
Ofcourse Isla Mujeres is also known for its amazing spots for Scuba diving and Snorkeling!Related to:
- Diving and Snorkeling
On the way to, or coming from, Chichen Itza you can stop by at a small Mexican town called Valladolid. The town doesn't have much to see (a church and a central garden with some funny "dating chairs") but it gives you a glimpse of how the daily life is, in this part of Mexico. And for us European, it was a fun experience because we felt a bit like being in a Zorro movie.
Chillin at Playa Toucan Beach Club
Not up for just throwing a towel in the sand? Want to be served drinks and food while you sit lounge in a chair, maybe under a palapa? Playa Toucan can help! Yeah, you'll spend more than in town, but YOU'RE on a BEAUTIFUL beach. Some prefer Mamitas, i like being closer to town. The drinks are decently strong, the munchies are acceptable. It's nice to have a shower to use, a chair ($5 US) and palapa ($3US). I'm not 100% sure i've remembered those $s right, but you'll get all the rentals, including towel, for less than $10US.
Or just hang out at a table if you want a drink and chill.Related to:
Check out the unusual Deseo Bar in PDC. Climb the stairs to the roof top beds. You can literally lay around and have your favorite drink in bed with your closest friends. There's even an outdoor movie and a pool up the stairs.
Get out at night!
Click on the photo for a better idea of what it's like at night!
Actually this is a little busier than usual. Holiday cruise lines had a ship stranded on a sandbar for three days. 1700 extra people were in the Playa for a few days, the restuarants and vendors had no problem accomodating them all! Plenty of room!
Just walk around 5th street. The only hawkers are the time share guys, and you know how to handle them, right?
There must be an ordinanance in the city prohibiting street sales, because we were never bothered by street vendors while we were at dinner, save for the rose vendors.
I'm not quite sure if every lizard I saw was an Iguana, but thats what I called them. From itty-bitty to pretty damn large, if you keep your eyes open you will be sure to spot some. I think they even pose and smile if you take their picture.
See some Folk Dancing
In Playa Del Carmen you can see some nice Folk Dancing shows, that show a little bit of the big country that Mexico is, through different dances and typical costumes, including the world famous Mariachi.
Sitting in the sun all day is too much inactivity for me. I studied Spanish at Solexico instead. I greatly enjoyed my experience. The class size was small - 5 students. The instructors were excellent. The classroom was open air but covered. Classes are purchased in one week increments. The student can choose from 3 hours per day to 5 hours per day to 8 hours per day. I selected the 5 hours per day. That left me plenty of time to explore the other charms of Playa del Carmen. The students were very international. In my class, we had five students from 5 countries. The ages ranged from 22 to 60+. They teach Spanish from the beginning (me) to the most expert. The class room environment also provided me with a ready base of friends for after class activities. There were very few Americans at the school when I attended. In general the students were a well educated group and successful in their chosen career. I enjoyed it. I plan to return and do it again.Related to:
- Study Abroad
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