Playa del Carmen is a wonderful place to spend your vacation: lots of activities, gorgeous beaches, the picture-perfect Caribbean Sea and sunny weather almost all year long. But for some of us, our vacation just isn’t complete if we can’t share its highlights on Instagram. Therefore Playa Palms presents Playa del Carmen’s most instagrammable spots. For you to explore and take some of the greatest snapshots your feed has seen.Read More >>
If you only know her as the face printed on shirts, you should definitely visit the newly opened Frida Kahlo Museum in Playa del Carmen, dedicated to her work and life.
Because Frida Kahlo is way more than just a face on a cool hipster-shirt. The Mexican artist is one of the most remarkable and controversial female artists of the first half of the 20th century, showing a glimpse of the amazing woman and artist she was through her self-portraits.
Frida Kahlo, the woman who would always wear a traditional Mexican Tehuana dress, usually with decorative flowers braided in her hair, and who was known for her outspokenness and bravery. She managed to be a successful artist already during her lifetime, with her art being exhibited in New York and Paris, where one of her pieces was purchased by The Louvre in 1939.
Until recently, the only Frida Kahlo Museum was in her birth house in Mexico City. But last Sunday the world’s second Frida Kahlo Museum opened its doors in Playa del Carmen, giving people traveling to the Riviera Maya a chance to learn more about who Frida Kahlo really was and her controversial art. It takes you on an interactive journey through the artist’s tumultuous life, showcasing her art as well as copies of her diary, photos, personal letters and other objects that were of importance to her. All Displays are in Spanish and English.
The Frida Kahlo Museum in Playa del Carmen “is about getting to know the real Frida, the woman who would not be limited by the social norms of the time, who was politically active, and always true to herself”, says Alejandro Tamayo, the museum’s president. Although there are no original pieces of her art, the Frida Kahlo Museum makes you travel back in time and meet Frida in a very creative way. You learn about the history behind her art in a 270° cinema, in a beautiful multimedia show, replicas, or on interactive touchscreens.
The Frida Kahlo Museum in Playa del Carmen is located downtown on the 5th Avenue, just underneath the famous Frida Kahlo Restaurant. You really can’t miss it, with the huge Frida face looking over the Avenue.
Where: 5th Avenue with 8th Street
How much: $15 USD (10% discount for Mexicans, 50% discount for locals)
When: Daily from 9 am to 11 pm
Strolling down the 5th Avenue on your vacation in Playa del Carmen, you can’t ignore the many colorful handicrafts that are sold. Genuine works of handmade art abound, rich in colors and culture.
Sarapes & rebozos
These vibrantly colored blankets are among the most typical representation of Mexico. They come in different sizes, colors, and design patterns, depending on the region they are made in. The one coming to mind when thinking Mexican blanket, with colorful stripes, actually has its origins in the northern state of Coahuila. Traditionally, they are multi-used as clothing, blankets or pillows.
Similar to the sarapes are the rebozos, incredibly versatile shawls. They are used as a shawl, wrapped around as a blouse, or slung across the back to carry a baby. Many shops on the 5th sell sarapes, stop by Sol Jaguar on the 5th Avenue between 4th and 6th Street for beautiful rebozos. They also sell silver jewelry, gorgeous alebrijes, and other items.
Blouses, tunics, shirts, pillows, bags and whatnot ornamented with embroideries are one of the most distinctive aspects of indigenous handcrafted textiles. The different styles, colors, and patterns of clothing identify the groups and villages they come from. Mayan women in the Yucatan area typically wear a huipil. The tunic or dress is made from white cotton fabric, embroidered with cross-stitched flowers around the square neck and hem.
If you’re looking for a typical blouse or shirt, check out Guayabera dexorden, just two blocks from Playa Palms Beach Hotel, on the 16th Street between Avenues 1 and 5.
These adorable and colorful monsters are actually born in a nightmare. 1936 the artist Pedro Linares Lopez dreamed of a forest full of strange creatures. Waking up, he started to carve his visions from wood. Nowadays they are an inherent part of the Mexican culture.
Dating back thousands of years before the Pre-Columbian period, ceramics is one of the oldest arts in Mexico’s traditions. From tableware to kitchen utensils and figurines you find all kinds of colorful pottery, decorated with simple colors up to elaborated patterns. Nearly all souvenir shops on the 5th avenue sell a wide selection of ceramics.
Living in the Caribbean, hammocks are indispensable. May it be hanging between two palm trees at the beach, or inside a home as to replace the bed. Nearly every household in Yucatan is equipped with a hammock. No wonder you find the country’s best hammocks on the peninsula! They come in different sizes, styles, made of cotton or nylon, thin or thick cord, and a varying amount of threads. Along the 5th Avenue, many stores sell hammocks, to varying prices. If you want to be sure to get a quality hammock and good consulting, we recommend La Casa de Las Hamacas, a store dedicated to just hammocks, on the 30th Avenue between 52nd and 54th street.
The Mayans were one of the first civilizations in the Americas to make jewelry. Typically made of colorful stones, beads or silver, they are sold by Mayan women on the streets in Playa del Carmen, or even in fancy high-class stores. If you’re looking for silver jewelry, make sure to proof its authenticity.
Tired of the ubiquitous EDM and electronic music in Playa del Carmen? The town is famous for its nightlife, the clubbing scene and worldwide known events like the BPM Festival. But there are also plenty of places for those among us who are looking for live music of different genres.
A great spot to enjoy live rock music while people watching, and having an ice cold beer. They sure know about good music, since the owner is Saúl Hernández, former lead singer of the famous Mexican band Caifanes.
Where: 5th Avenue between Streets Constituyentes and 20
Music: Rock, Classic Rock
This bar and restaurant is a large open air patio and a great spot to hear live music while sipping on a drink or having a snack. It’s one of the oldest live music establishments, featuring mostly cover bands.
Where: 5th Avenue between Streets 8 & 10
When: Nightly, starting at 6 pm
The only thing Irish about this franchise is probably its name, but they have actually really good bands playing every night. Expect a good crowd, pub food and liter draft beer to reasonable prices.
Where: 5th Avenue with 22
When: nightly, starting at 6 pm
The bar is inspired by the club with the same name in La Habana. As soon as you enter it you really do find yourself in Cuba. The decoration, the food, the music and musicians – everything is Cuban. Good atmosphere and fun are guaranteed!
Where: 5th Avenue between Streets 34 & 36
Music: Latin / Salsa
This is the place to dance salsa, cumbia and other Latin rhythms in Playa del Carmen! They offer free salsa lessons every night from 9:30 to 10:30 pm, before the party starts with a live band.
Where: 12th Street with 10th Avenue
Enjoy a tasty Italian dinner while listening to a live Jazz band play. One of the bands performing frequently is the talented Footprints Jazz Quartet. On Wednesdays they host Stand Up Comedy Nights.
Where: 5th Avenue with 28 Street
Live music every night, good drinks and food, and, most importantly, right at the beach. What more could you ask for to spend a great evening?
Where: 10th Street on the beach
When: daily, starting at 5 pm
Music: Different, check their daily events here
This relatively new bar regularly hosts events with different bands playing. The bar is worth a visit because of its beautiful interior and tasty food alone. Once or twice a month, usually on Sundays, they host a movie night.
Where: 12th Street between 5th and 10th Avenues
When: Per event basis, check their events here
It’s difficult to describe this bar other than weird, magical and out of this world. But it sure shows you that Playa del Carmen has way more to offer than just EDM parties. Dive into a colorful world full of figurines, sculptures, and other artsy objects, while listening to live music, singing along at their karaoke nights, be part of poetry nights or art shows or even a burlesque show. During the day they offer different workshops and classes. Plus, they serve really good food at reasonable prices.
Where: Avenue 35 and Street 2
When: a few times a week, check their events here
Live music every night combined with probably the lowest-priced beer around the 5th Avenue. They usually host rock bands or live DJ’s, entertaining the mostly local crowd.
Where: 24th Street, just off the 5th Avenue (towards the beach)
Did you know that the Riviera Maya is home to the world’s second largest coral reef? This is only one of the reasons why snorkeling should definitely be on your bucket list when visiting Playa del Carmen. Live an unforgettable adventure in its colorful world offshore or explore magical underground rivers. Here are the snorkeling highlights of the Riviera Maya.
1 Cozumel – The Classical
Be prepared for a world class snorkeling experience! One of the most well-known and extraordinary spots on Cozumel are the Palancar Reef and the Columbia Shallows. Admire tropical fish dashing through the colorful reef, sea turtles, nurse sharks, and magnificent underwater gardens, canyons and caves. If you prefer going without a tour and like shore snorkeling, we recommend Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park, located inside Cozumel’s National Marine Park. Besides of the beautiful reef and the animals inhabiting it, the underwater statues make it a special experience.
2 Akumal – Place of the Turtles
You definitely can’t talk snorkeling without mentioning Akumal. Mostly famous for its abundance of sea turtles, it’s also a peaceful, picturesque town with a gorgeous white sand beach and some really good places to eat. If you want to see sea turtles up close, go to Akumal Bay. Another recommendable spot is the beautiful Yal-Ku Lagoon. Its calm waters make it the perfect place to snorkel with kids or beginners. Expect to see parrot fish, rays, barracudas and many other sea creatures.
3 Cenote Chaak-Tun – For Adventurers
Escape the heat and the crowded beaches to a secret underworld, realm of the Mayan god of rain. The Mayans believed that cenotes are portals to communicate with the underworld, and once you plunge into this magical underground world you’ll understand why it held them in awe. Chaak-Tun is just a 15 minute car ride from Playa Palms Beach Hotel. The spelunking cavern might not be the perfect place if you’re claustrophobic, but if you dare to enter this new world, an unforgettable experience is guaranteed. Swim in the cenote’s crystal clear, fresh water and discover its spectacular formations. An experienced tour guide will lead you through the caverns and explain you all the interesting details.
4 Cancun Underwater Museum MUSA – For Art Lovers
Be prepared for a unique snorkel excursion, discovering the surreal underwater world created by sculptures of the British artist Jason deCaires Taylor. The Cancun Underwater Museum features over 470 submerged statues, some solitary, others in groups, each representing different aspects of the human race. It shows the relation of modern art with man and the environment. See how numerous species have started making the underwater museum their home. The sculptures are slowly showing more and more coral growth, what makes the Cancun Underwater Museum the biggest artificial coral reef in the world.
5 Xel-Ha – Discover and Relax
If you’re looking to explore Riviera Maya’s underwater world, but also want to get a drink or two and relax, this is the perfect place for you. Xel-Ha is formed by a beautiful inlet that creates a multi-channel fresh water estuary. Over 90 marine species make their home here, including the parrot fish, barracuda and sea turtles. Also, if traveling with a group or your family, Xel-Ha offers activities for everybody’s interests. Even if you can’t swim, in Xel-Ha you can walk in the sea using the sea trek technology, a helmet that allows you to breathe comfortably. Read here for more information about Xel-Ha.
Ask our concierge or our staff at the front desk at Playa Palms Beach Hotel if you want more information or to reserve a tour.