Once an unremarkable fishing village, today Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular Mexican resorts. Located 70 km from Cancun, Playa wonderfully combines the cheeky atmosphere of a youth party and restrained European chic. The almost white fine sand typical of the Caribbean coast provides a steady pilgrimage for adept sun worshipers throughout the year, and active national and ecotourism lovers are attracted by colorful national parks, of which there is a great variety in the surroundings of Playa and lush tropical nature.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN PLAYA DEL CARMEN
• The main entertainment of Playa del Carmen, to which all tourists are without exception, is thoughtfully picking up a toe in alabaster and fine sand, lazily contemplating the immaculately flat blue horizon line.
• If the spirit of adventure drives you to the paradise beaches of Playa, you can go on an organized trip through the lagoons and secluded coasts of the coast under the shadow of tropical vegetation. Duration of the tour is about 7 hours.
• Evening mini-cruise Cancun – Isla Mujeres is suitable for fans of incendiary Caribbean rhythms. On board there is a bar with an indispensable tequila, and on the island there is a folk show and a nightly flare disco.
• History lovers should go to the Mayan cities of Chichen Itza and Tulum with their oldest stepped pyramids, gates and temples of a mysteriously vanished civilization.
• The national eco-archaeological park Shkaret offers a whole arsenal of activities: snorkeling and diving, horse riding, swimming in the company of dolphins, caves with butterflies and bats, a trip on an underground river and much more.
TYPICAL COSTS WHEN TRAVELLING
Accommodation – To rent a room in a hotel is from 20 to 180 USD per day for a double room;rent a room in a luxury hotel – 200-300 USD per day for a double room;rental apartments in the hotel (two or three rooms) – from 40 to 250 USD per day for four;rent a villa with a swimming pool – from 300 to 1500 USD per day for 6-10 people, usually 3 or 4 bedrooms;renting an apartment from a private trader for a long term through a real estate agency (for example, with an annual contract – from 200 USD per month for a small apartment or 600-1000 USD per month for a villa with a pool and nice furniture).
Food – Playa del Carmen is the city for those who like to walk around the bars and restaurants.El Fogon is a simple cafeteria with traditional Mexican cuisine. Be sure to ask for a few sauces in addition to your meal, or just always order something new. The average bill for lunch is 15 USD.
El Oasis – a cheap cafe-dining room with dishes of Mexican cuisine in a simple format. Decorated in the spirit of a tropical Caribbean hut. The average bill for lunch is 15 USD.
La Senda is a small cozy cafe that allows you to taste all the dishes of Mexican cuisine at the lowest price in the center of Playa del Carmen. The average check for lunch is 10-15 USD.
Zenzi is one of those places without which it is impossible to say that you have seen what this resort is. A chic restaurant right under the palm trees on the beach should be visited after 17 hours. The average bill for lunch is 20 USD. Kaxapa Factory – a restaurant of Venezuelan and Mexican cuisine, which is owned by a family of immigrants from Venezuela. Very authentic place! The average bill for lunch is 15 USD.
Piola is a fairly ordinary restaurant with a wide selection of pizza and other Italian dishes. The average bill for lunch is 15 USD.
Alux is a terrific restaurant right in the cave, with lighting and medieval charm! Be sure to spend here at least an hour! The emphasis here is on desserts and drinks. The average check for dessert is 8 USD.
Oh La is an amazing modern restaurant with amazing cuisine. It serves Mexican, Mediterranean and Spanish dishes. The average check for dinner is 20 USD.
Blue Lobster is another restaurant where it is worth trying seafood. The average bill for a fantastic dinner with alcohol is 20 USD.
Transportation – The only form of public transport is the bus; you can use them to get to not only to any part of the resort, but also to the nearest surroundings. Prices for travel are fixed, you can check them at any tour desk or at the hotel.
In the evening, the only available mode of transport is a taxi, the rate of which is also regulated by law. Travelers should not be afraid that drivers may take advantage of the ignorance of foreign guests and intend to inflate the price, serious punishment is provided for such violations.
Suggested daily budget – The price of staying in an expensive hotel is 150 USD on average, but at a low cost hotel around 50 USD, in one of the cheapest hotels it is 25 USD.The price of lunch in an inexpensive restaurant is 10 USD, dinner in an expensive restaurant is 30 USD, lunch with a meat dish in a traditional cafe is 5-15 USD.The prices of excursions are from 30 USD to 160 USD.The fare for a taxi in the city is 5-10 USD, by bus around the city – 1 USD. The budget for one day is nearly 130 USD.
MONEY SAVING TIPS
1 To go shopping visit the fifth avenue: The resort also owes its popularity to Fifth Avenue. Here you can find traditional Mexican souvenirs of silver and gold, paintings by local artists, wicker baskets, woven products with Indian embroidery and interior items in ethnic style.
2 Choose an inexpensive hotel: The price of a tour to Playa del Carmen cannot be called extremely high, because the resorts are not classified as elite. There are not many luxury hotels here, the main backbone of residential complexes is made up of hotels with a comfort level of 3 and 4 stars.
3 Opt for the right season! The most suitable time for arrival in Playa del Carmen will be the interval between December and April, these are the months when there is almost no rain in the city.
ON THE SCENE?
In total, in Playa del Carmen you can find three dozen night clubs, dance clubs, karaoke clubs, bars with dance floors. Below I present a selection of the most modern of them, since most of the available ones still have a small format.
In all clubs, there is no official dress code, but all local Mexicans dress quite presentable – you can see men in trouser suits, men in trousers and with vests. There is a double standard here – tourists are allowed in everything except sportswear, shirts and shorts (as well as sneakers and shale), and for Mexicans the dress code is very strict. So you, as a tourist, can come in (for guys) – pants, shirt and shoes, or (for girls) – shorts (but not beach ones), pants or skirt and any beautiful blouse.
Also in Playa del Carmen there is a rule of buying tickets only on the “all inclusive” system. Different packages are usually offered. For example: entrance + binge from 1 am to 4 am costs a standard amount.
Mandala is a great nightclub for those who are not used to dancing all night, but just want to go to the club to have fun late at night. Usually only young people up to 26-27 years old are resting here.
Coco Maya is a very modern club exclusively with DJs, without shows of dance groups, vocals and other artists. I would advise this club only for those who are 18-30 years old, as it is usually very crowded and inconvenient to relax in the traditional sense of the word – here, first of all, they dance, jump, actively participate in the music. The club is quite large, designed for 3,000 people.