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 >>
Your vacation in Playa del Carmen doesn’t have to be expensive. Here are 10 free and low-cost ways to enjoy the spectacular Riviera Maya.
1 5th Avenue
If there is one place in Playa del Carmen that never gets boring, it’s the 5th Avenue. The eclectic pedestrian street is one of the main attractions of the city. 22 blocks of shops, restaurants, bars, and street performers.
Enter an underwater world for only $15 USD! Nature lovers will enjoy the beautifully displayed tanks, exhibiting more than 200 species. The entrance is at the Plaza Corazón, between 12th and 14th Street, just off 5th Avenue. Opening hours are daily from 11 am to 9 pm.
3 Parque Fundadores
This park between the 5th Avenue and the beach, just next to the Cozumel ferry, is a very entertaining place. Watch the famous “voladores de papantla” fly, Mayan dancers performing under the “Portal Maya” statue, or just watch the beautiful Caribbean Sea. There’s also a playground for kids, and vendors sell snacks and fruits.
4 Playacar Ruins
You don’t need to play for a tour or drive far to see Mayan ruins. In Playacar, about 20 – 30 walking minutes from Playa Palms Beach Hotel, there are 2 small Mayan structures. The ruins are close to the entrance of Phase 1 in Playacar, across the street from the Fisherman’s Village Hotel. And the best thing is, you can visit them for free!
Did you know you can go to Cancun for as little as 36 pesos one way? That’s what a colectivo charges you. They leave from 2nd Street on the corner with 20th Street and between 20th and 25th Avenue (these are called Playa Express) and leave whenever they are full, usually every 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t want to eat at an expensive restaurant, we recommend you walk further away from 5th Avenue. Between 10th and 30th Avenue you find plenty of places! Try for example Nativo on 30th Avenue between Constituyentes and 20th Street.
7 Playacar Beach
Playacar has beautiful beaches, which usually are less crowded than the ones downtown. You can easily get there by taxi or walking, just pass the ferry to Cozumel.
There are also colectivos that bring you to Tulum, for about 40 pesos one way. They leave from the 2nd Street too, between 15th and 20th Street. Just listen to the guy shouting “Tulum! Tulum!”. They also take you to the ruins, if you don’t want to take a tour.
Just outside of Playa del Carmen are 3 gorgeous open cenotes next to each other: Cenote Azul, Cristalino and Jardin del Edén. Enjoy swimming in their crystal clear, cool water! Entrance fee is between 100 – 150 pesos, and they are open until 6 pm. You can take the colectivo to Tulum to get there, just let the driver know that you want to get off at Cenote Azul.
10 Laguna Yal-ku
This beautiful little lagoon in Akumal makes for a unique snorkeling adventure as well as for a relaxing afternoon in its calm waters. It’s an inlet from the ocean, where the salt and fresh water mix. Watch sea turtles, tropical fish and manta rays in their natural habitat! Entrance fee is 200 pesos (130 for kids), and they are open from 8 am to 5 pm every day.
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.
Music lovers listen up! How about excellent live music at the beach, with the moonlight reflecting off the sea and stars sparkling from above? Come visit the world famous Riviera Maya Jazz Festival in Playa del Carmen. And the best of all, it’s free!
The annual music festival is one of the top jazz festivals in the world, and one of the biggest events in Playa del Carmen. Since 2003 every year the finest artists are invited to the coastal town. Sergio Mendes, Benny Ibarra and Celso Piña are only a few of the performers that have enraptured the audience at Mamita’s Beach Club.
This is the first year the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival is held early December. The Festival lasts 3 nights, starting tomorrow, December 1 until December 3, from 7 pm on.
Mamita’s Beach Club is only about 10 minutes walking distance from Playa Palms Beach Hotel. Just walk along the beach and follow the rhythm!
Steve Gadd and his band are playing on the first evening. He is one of the most influential drummers of all the time, and has worked with popular musicians like Simon & Garfunkel, Eric Clapton and Joe Cocker. Phil Collins once joked: “How many drummers does it take to change a light bulb? Ten. And then another ten to talk about how Steve Gadd would have done it.”
Blood, Sweat & Tears (BS&T) formed in 1967 and is ever since successfully merging rock, blues, pop, and big band. They’re playing on December 2 and if you’re around you should definitely come by!
The Swedish band Dirty Loops closes the Riviera Maya Jazz Festival on December 3. They made a name for themselves touring as the opening act with Maroon 5 last year. We can guarantee, their funky jazz tunes mixed together with electronica, gospel and disco make up for a feast for the ears!
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)