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Playa del Carmen

Photo © JOSE_MARIA

Travel Guide North America Mexico Yucatan Peninsula Quintana Roo Playa del Carmen

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Introduction

5th Avenue - Playa del Carmen

5th Avenue - Playa del Carmen

© All Rights Reserved CainTravel

Playa del Carmen used to be a little fishing town on the Caribbean coast in western Mexico (state of Quintana Roo, but has grown tremendously the last 10 years. It is now a popular holiday spot. The beaches are beautiful; you will find shopping centers, great bars and clubs, and amazing diving/snorkeling possibilities.

Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) runs parallel to the beach and is closed off for traffic. You’ll find pretty much anything you would ever need here. This is the nicer part of town, it's clean, new and built for tourists.

If you head away from Quinta Avenida you’ll see it getting more local for every block you go west. There are many hotels and good restaurants on the smaller side streets, usually at a better value than right in the centre, but here you'll also get the non stop traffic, which can be a bit noisy.

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Neighbourhoods

Going south of town (a 10-minute walk) you’ll enter the “Zona Hotellera” with big resort hotels located one after the other in a nice neighbourhood, guarded 24 hours a day. The beach is not accessible along this area, as it is for hotel guests only.

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Sights and Activities

Xcaret

  • Xcaret - Xcaret (pronounced e-shcaret) is an ecological theme park located to the south of Playa del Carman. It is one of the area's most popular tourist attractions. The regular price for adults is US$69.00 and US$34.50 for children (based on height - between 1 metre and 1.40 metres tall). If you book online or go at night, it's cheaper.

Scuba diving

Playa del Carmen was traditionally a stop-over point for scuba divers on their way to Cozumel, but in recent years many of those same scuba divers have discovered that the waters around Playa del Carmen are great for diving. If you're learning how to dive, shop around a bit and see if you can meet your instructor before signing up for your course.

Dive shops:

  • Dive Shop Mexico - A really nice, small dive shop that only takes out small groups (less than 5-6 people) other dive shops take out larger groups. The instructors are really good and nice. You can go diving, fishing, snorkeling with them and be in good hands. Address: Calle 20, between 1 and 5 Ave

Beaches

The best beach is Mamitas. It costs 30 pesos for a sun bed under a parasol.

Shop

  • MEGA - MEGA is a supermarket / "big box store". You can easily find everything you need along Quinta Avenida including clothes, souvenir shops, tattooists, gyms, jewellery shops, internet cafes and tour agents. There are also many 24 hour shops/petrol stations a bit closer to the main road. Address: where Avenida 30 and Avenida Constituyentes meet

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Events and Festivals

  • Taste of Playa - An incredible annual culinary event that features some of the best chefs in the region. Foodies from all around the globe attend this event - where tastings of the latest culinary creations can be devoured. A Mexican event sure to impress any food and wine enthusiast.
  • Day of the Dead - Although the Day of the Dead is also celebrated in many Latin American countries (and also in parts of Europe, Asia and Africa), the Day of the Dead (Spanish: Día de los Muertos) is most intensily celebrated in Mexico where where it is equal to a National Holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. The celebration takes place on November 1st and 2nd, in conjunction with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day (November 1) and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed. Although it is about the Dead, it is also a celebration where eating and partying are enjoyed by the living.
  • BPM Festival - Featuring some of the most popular musical artists in the region, this concert is sure to impress a variety of musical tastes. Visitors can expect to see a selection of local and international artists coming to the stage for this great music event. Concert-goers should come ready to dance, drink, and have a great time!
  • Rivera Maya Jazz Festival - Attracting both locally known an unknown artists, along with the international jazz community, this festival is an extravaganza of musical talent and jazz performance art. Held every November, this festival lights up Playa Del Carmen's city centre with a variety of Jazz events that will satisfy many music tastes.
  • Festival Internacional de Cine de la Riviera Maya - This 5-day film festival (aka the Riviera Maya Underground Film Festival) is held every October in Playa del Carmen. This festival offers residents an opportunity to view local, national and international films that are shown in select theaters throughout the city. This festival gives local audiences an opportunity to view cinema before it reaches the international audience.

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Weather

In the winter months (November - April) the temperature on the Yucatan Peninsula is comfortably warm (23 to 26 °C) and the humidity is low. The summer months (May - August) are hot and humid. Showers can be fierce but are usually short. September and October are the most unstable due to the hurricanes that form off the Caribbean coast in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Getting There

By Plane

Cancun International Airport (CUN) is Mexico's second busiest airport and is located a few hours north of Playa del Carmen. It has numerous flights from other cities in Mexico, and cities in mostly North America and Europe.

By Bus

There are two bus stations in Playa del Carmen.

  • For services to/from Tulum, Cancun and the airport, the bus station is on 5 Ave between Calle 1 and Ave. Juarez.
  • For services to/from Mérida and Chichen Itza, the station is on Ave. 20 between Calle 12 Norte and Calle 14.

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Getting Around

By Car

Most of the street are one way streets, and there's quite a lot of traffic, so navigation is not always easy. You will find that many of the residents in Playa Del Carmen drive mopeds, and motorcycles as well. When driving you need to always be aware of these people as they will often split lanes, and cut through cars in heavy traffic. Also be aware that when you are driving north and south in Playa Del Carmen that you will encounter more traffic, the closer you get to the beach, or the infamous fifth avenue. It is known by locals, and residents that 30th avenue is the quickest route to drive a vehicle north and south through Playa del Carmen. 30th is also a main street that offers grocery stores, and big box stores such as Wal-mart, and Mega making it a useful road.

By Public Transport

Local busses go to the ourskirts of Playa del Carmen, but taxis are so cheap that it's probably a better (easier) option. Remember that taxis can't charge you over 40 pesos if it is in the Playa del Carmen area. However the most popular form of transportation getting around Playa, and anywhere from as far north as Cancun to as far south as Tulum are the collectivo's. Collectivo's are mid-size to larger vans that run a solid routes and pick up as many people as they can fit along the way. This shared ride method is very effective at keeping your costs very low. For instance you can catch a ride on a collectivo from Playa Del Carmen to Tulum or Cancun for approximately 25-40 pesos (2-4 US$). The largest collectivo pickup location is on the corner of 2nd (also referred to as Avenida Juarez) and 15th avenue. Here you will find a steady flow of collectivo's leaving every 5-10 minutes.

By Foot

You can get pretty much anywhere you want within Playa del Carmen by foot.

By Bike

If you have hired a bicycle it's a great way to get around town, but watch out for traffic as it's not always very predictable.

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Eat

  • La Parilla - Really good Mexican food, and there are live Mariachi bands playing songs every night. Address: 5 ave. on the corner of calle 12
  • 100 % natural - Really good fruit juices and good lunch. Address: 5 Ave. close to Calle 10
  • La Fe - This is a bar, but during the day they also serve good breakfast and lunch. The "tingas de pollo" are recommended. Address: 5. Ave. between Calle 26 and Calle 28.
  • La Vagabonda - Really good breakfast! They have omelets, fruit, eggs, bacon, sausages, pancakes. Anything you would want. The fruit juices are great too! Address: 5 Ave. around Calle 24
  • Alux - This is a bar and a restaurant. The food is not the best, but it's ok. You can go to the bar at night instead of going there to eat. They are supposed to have good cocktails. What's special about this place is that it is inside a beautiful Cenote. Just say Al OOSH (alux) to the taxi driver. Address: Avenida Juarez, between Manzana 12 and 13
  • Dr. Taco - Dr. Taco is a little taco place with real Mexican tacos. They are known for fish tacos. The tacos are good, but there is another place on the other side of the street around Calle 12 where the tacos are even better and cheaper. Address: Ave. 10, Calle 10

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Drink

Bars

  • Mambo cafe - This is a salsa bar. Address: Calle 6, between ave. 5 and ave. 10.
  • Kitxen - Kitxen is a great bar with live music on Fridays and Saturdays. Address: 5 Avenue between Calle 20 and Ave. Consti
  • Other bars on 5th Avenue are Santanera, Blue Parrot, OM, Bali and Coco Maya.

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Sleep

Budget

PropertyAddressTypePopularity
Hacienda Paradise Boutique HotelAv. 10 Norte entre calles 20 y 22 Fracc. Xaman-Ha, Playa del Carmen, Quintana RooHotel81
Happy Gecko Hostel10 th av. calles 6 y 8Hostel78
Hostel Rio PlayaCalle 8 Entre 5 y ave 10Hostel88
Hotel Alux PlayaCalle #14 Norte Entre Av.10 y 15Hotel82
Hotel Las GolondrinasAv Constituyentes Nª 178Hotel86
Hotel Playa Del KarmaAvenida 15 between calle 12 and 14Hotel90
Magic ExpressCarretera Cancun-Chetumal Km 291 Esquina 54 NteHotel76
Maria Sabina Hotel & Backpackers HostelCalle 6 Norte, n 796, (between 5th &10th Avenue)HOSTEL79
Bed & Breakfast Popol VuhCalle 2 norte con zona federal mar�tima y 5a Av. Col. Centro, Quintana RooHOSTEL85
Posada la PaduanaCalle 18 esquina Avenida 55 Norte. Colonia EjidalGUESTHOUSE80
Barrio Latino Hotel4 entre Avenida 10 y 15 Col. CentroHotel86
Hacienda Mariposa Boutique Hotel5ta Avenida y Calle 24HOTEL85
Hotel El Punto5ta Avenida y Calle 8 Colonia CentroHotel90
Aqualuna HotelAvenida 10 Entre Calle 12 y 14Hotel-
Posada B&B PicaluCalle 28 Nte e/20 y 25 #7 Colonia Gonzalo GuerreroGuesthouse-
Hotel Colorado Playa del CarmenCalle 4 nte. between 20 y 25 Av. Col. CentroHostel88
Residence MexicoNuvoleCalle 92 entre 5 y 10 Avenida NorteApartment-
Colores Mexicanos Hostel15 Ave. between 2nd. St. & Juarez Av.Hostel-
UH Urban Hostelav. 10 e/ 4 y 6Hostel69
Hotel CohibaCalle 12 y Primera NorteHotel85
Hostel PlayaAvenida 25 con Calle 8Hostel-
B&B Hacienda El SolCalle 26 between Ave 120 & 125APARTMENT-
Hostel Casa FairyCalle 3 sur entre 25 y 30 avenidas Centro. Playa d 3st between 25th and 30th avenues. Downtown.Hostel-
Hotel Lunata5ta Avenida, entre calles 6 y 8Hotel-
Hostel Vive la VidaCalle 2. Col Centro Playa del Carmen, QRooHostel84
White Elephant Hostel15th Av. 845 Almost corner with 2nd streetHostel-
Hostel 3BAve. 10 Esquina Calle 1a SurHOSTEL85
Apart Hotel CasaejidoC/3 sur entre 65 y 70 mza 11 lote 9Hotel89
Hostel CheCalle 6, entre Avenida 15 & Avenida 20HOSTEL87
Hacienda Real by EncantoAv. 10 esq. Calle 10Hotel-
Encanto Paseo del SolAvenida Xaman-Ha Mz. 12 LT.4 Y 5 Fase IIHotel-
Hacienda del Caribe2nd St. Between 5th Av. and 10th Av.Hotel-
Hotel Encanto El Faro1st. Av. North and 10th St.Hotel-
Hotel Encanto Corto Maltes1st. Av. North and 10th St.Hotel-
El Duende Del MarAv. 30 Sur esquina calle 3 Sur Colonia Centro C.P.HOSTEL89
Hotel IllusionCalle 8 Norte entre 5a Av y la PlayaHOTEL-
Blue Pearl SuitesFirst Avenue North 331Apartment-
Casa Kan BalamCalle 17 sur Lote 8 - Entre Av 70 y 75 Ejido surGUESTHOUSE91
Posada Mariposa Boutique Hotel5th Avenue between 24th and 26th StreetHOTEL88
Hacienda Maria BonitaAvenida 10 Norte No. 215 entre calle 10 y 12 Col. CentroHotel83
Playa Suites HotelAv 10 N°: 8 Entre 24 y 26 Colonia CentroHotel-
Hotel Copa5Ta Av. N° 209 Entre 10 y 12 Colonia CentroHotel-
Hotel CieloCalle 4 entre 5ta y 10ma Avenida Quintana Roo,HOTEL-
Villas Picalu B&B BoutiqueBahia Xcacel 18, lote 11 manzana 9 Puerto AventurasGUESTHOUSE-
Tres Mundos HostelCalle 6 Norte Entre Avenida 20 y Avenida 25HOSTEL77
Grand Hostal PlayaAvenida 20 Entre Calles 4 y 6Hostel82
Casa del ShivaCalle 2 Nte Mz 228 LT 6 Y 7 Entre Av 120 Y 125 Nte, Col EjidoHOSTEL87
Hostel Quinta Playa2nd Street Between 5th Avenue and OceanHOSTEL79
B&B Messico AmoreCalle Aruba n.14 Frac. Mundo HubitatGUESTHOUSE-
Old Jack's HotelCalle 12 Norte con 1.Ra Privada, n.195 Quintana Roo (MX)HOTEL-
Tequilita HostelCalle 6 entre Av.15 Y AV.20HOSTEL-
B&B Casa CoralCalle 110, Avenida 35GUESTHOUSE-
Hostel 6-15Avenida 15 Norte Esquina calle 6HOSTEL-
Suites Fenicia Playa del CarmenAv. 30 Norte por Calle 46 C.P.77720APARTMENT83
Hotel Plaza PlayaCalle 20 entre 25 y 30 No. Ext. 83 No. Int. 2.HOTEL81
Playa Beach HostelLot 5 XcalacocoHOSTEL-
Green Monkey Hostelprimera norte con 22 street Two blocks from MamitasHOSTEL81
Hotel White SandCalle 24 Entre 24 / 5ta 10a. Av. Col. CentroHOTEL-
Casa Felicidad MexicoCalle 6 y Avenida 40GUESTHOUSE-
Condo 46Av 46 CTM entre 25 y 30 NTE n°15APARTMENT-
Playa del KarmaAv. 15 norte Lte. 9 entre Calle 12 y 14 “Colonia Centro”Hotel-
The YakCalle 10 Norte Bis, entre Av. 10 y Av. 15HOSTEL91
Xtudio Comfort Hotel By Xperience Hotels5th Avenue, between 4th and 6thAPARTMENT-
The Spot Bed & BreakfastFuente de Cervantes, Lote 38, Residencial Santa FeGUESTHOUSE-
Casa del CarmenCalle 26 northe avenida 45 entres av 40Hostel-
Excel SensePaseo Xaman HA mza 16 Lt 16 PlayacarFaseHOSTEL85
Posada NaranjaAvenue number 20, corner with street number 28GUESTHOUSE-
Graffiti PlayaCalle 4,between 15 y 20 AvenuesHOSTEL-
Hotel Maya InnAvenida 10 Corner calle 12HOTEL-

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Work

In order to work in Mexico you will need a work permit. Depending on how long the work will go on for and where you’re from you’ll need different kinds of permits. These are gained from the Mexican Government and are issued to people who are sponsored by companies in Mexico (or foreign companies with Mexican operations/subsidiaries), or by people with specific skills required in Mexico. The rules are quite strict, and there’s a lot of paperwork involved in getting a proper work permit. It’s hard to do by yourself, going through a company that already has the procedure set up is much easier.

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Keep Connected

Internet

Internet cafe's are widely available and you generally can find one in the direct vicinity. Sometimes photocopy stores or photo processing stores will double as an internet cafe with a couple of computers. Look for signs reading "Acceso a Internet" or "Cibernautica" or "Cibercafe". Charges range from approx. US$1 an hour to US$3 an hour, depending on the location.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Phone cards can be purchased anywhere and are needed for the majority of public phones. To call any number outside your region you have to dial 01 then followed by the area code. If calling a cellphone from a normal phone start with with 044. If calling cellphone to cellphone just dial the 10-digit number. To make an international call dial 00 followed by the country code then the local number. To call to Mexico, also dial 00 (most of the times) followed by the national code 52.

Post

The Mexican postal service is operated by Correos de México. The post service in Mexico is pretty good although not very cheap. It is reliable regarding the sending of postcards, but it takes at least a week to send it to other countries (US/Canada), more so if you send it to Europe or Australia. For packages it is better to use international services like FedEx or UPS. If you are sending a package internationally with the Mexican postal service, take the package OPEN to the post office, they may want to inspect it. Seal it up at the post office. Post offices typically open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 1:00pm Saturday. You will find post offices (Oficina de Correos) is almost any town or city in Mexico. To buy stamps it is best to go to the post office, although you can also get them at stamp machines, located outside the post offices, at bus stations, airports and some commercial establishments.

Laundromat

Just a couple of stores down from Dive Shop Mexico (see above) you find a really good and trustworthy laundry place called PlayaLav. The couple who own it speaks English and you can wash 1 kilogram for 12 pesos.

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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 20.631299
  • Longitude: -87.073125

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