Playa del Carmen is becoming more and more popular as a gay vacation destination. Besides of being a very open-minded town, its great climate, the gorgeous setting at the Caribbean Sea, and its vibrant party scene make Playa del Carmen the perfect getaway to relax, socialize, and get to know the Mexican culture.
You might be surprised about how open and tolerant Playa del Carmen is. in fact, Quintana Roo, the state where Playa del Carmen is located, is leading in terms of LGBT rights. For example, same-sex marriages are legal since 2012. Playa del Carmen itself is a laid-back, cosmopolitan town, with a “live and let live” mentality, where one can feel secure and just enjoy the beautiful beaches and the vibrant nightlife. This might be one of the reasons why it’s attracting more and more people from all over the world, with a growing LGBT community.
Talking about carnival, typically cities like Rio de Janeiro or Venice come to mind. But don’t underestimate Cozumel’s carnival, one of Mexico’s most spectacular.
In case you want to stay local, Playa del Carmen carnival is growing bigger and more popular every year. This year it’s held from February 4th to 9th, with colorful parades and a huge event on the Plaza Municipal. The parade rolls on the 10th avenue, from Juarez to Constituyentes, with spectacular floats, and people in costumes dancing to cheerful rhythms.
But if you really want to dive into Caribbean carnival feeling, visit Cozumel. Its carnival is the oldest on the Yucatan peninsula and the island biggest event. This year the Caribbean island turns into a cheerful mix of madness, parades, and parties from February 3rd to 9th. But pre-carnival activities already started in early January, with warm-up parties and Cozumel’s inhabitants electing their carnival kings and queens. Their coronation is celebrated on the first day of carnival, followed by dazzling parades along Cozumel’s coastline.
After the parades, the party goes on until the wee hours of the morning, with people battling in dancing competitions, showing off their gorgeous costumes and bands playing live music throughout all downtown Cozumel. Expect thousands of locals and tourists dancing and partying on Cozumel’s streets, to the music of top bands from Mexico and Latin America.
If you plan to visit Cozumel’s carnival, note that the biggest parades are on the evenings of Saturday and Sunday, which is February 6 and 7, and of course the final parade on Fat Tuesday, February 9, 2016. The carnival officially ends with the burning of “Juan Carnaval” after the final parade.
In a nutshell, get your ferry ticket already to Cozumel and sway your hips to the tropical rhythms!
The most memorable and pleasurable things to do on vacation aren’t the big ticket items, like touring Mayan ruins or swimming with the whale sharks (although those are pretty darn fantastic). You and your family may find that you enjoy seeing how different countries and cultures participate in normal, everyday activities. We have found that Playa Palms spend some of their favorite moments at our local Playa del Carmen markets.
Take Time Out to Visit Local Playa del Carmen Markets
There are several advantages to visiting some of the local markets, rather than the ones you find on the more heavily traveled tourist streets. You have access to delicious, locally grown and seasonal produce, can purchase artisan crafts and homemade goods from the artists themselves, and you get to enjoy the same non-inflated prices that we locals do.
Here is a list of some of our favorite Playa del Carmen market sites:
Kava Kasa. Kava Kasa is the first Kava lounge in Mexico and also a donation-only yoga studio where a weekly market takes place every Tuesday mornings. It’s a wonderful place to enjoy a respite from tourist life.
Coco Beach Eco Market. On Friday mornings, we recommend grabbing a reusable bag (or borrowing one from the hotel) and heading down to the Coco Beach Eco Market, which gets started at 9:00 a.m. and wraps up at about 11 a.m. It takes place in the pool area of Condo Alizes located on CTM avenue between COzumel and Flamingos Street.
Mercantino Trattoria del Centro. Didn’t wake up in time to get to Coco Beach? Not to worry. Mercantino Trattoria del Centro is another Friday morning market. It gets started at 10 a.m. and is a great place to stock up before heading down to the beach.
There are other weekly, occasional, and seasonal local Playa del Carmen markets that will enrich your vacation experience.
Book your stay at Playa Palms Beach hotel and our concierge will provide a weekly schedule and walking map.
Is there anything more romantic than a relaxing beach getaway in Playa del Carmen? How about a Playa del Carmen beach getaway that includes a day-long excursion to a hidden lagoon?
El Corchal is located in the Mayan village of Solferino, two hours northeast of Playa del Carmen. It offers a wonderful chance to break free of the typical tourist routine. On certain days, our guests have been some of the only visitors to El Corchal’s hidden lagoons, which adds to the area’s appeal and has led to the lagoon’s reputation as “The peninsula’s best kept secret.”
El Corchal Trips and Tours to a Secret Mayan Lagoon
Due to its adjacent proximity to the national protected area, Yum Balam, El Corchal has been able to maintain its pristine environment, rich with plants, flowers, and a diverse range of wildlife. The forest is lush and guests can enjoy hiking under the shade of the logwood and gum trees, a 7.5-foot high observatory and zip line adventures.
If you decide to take advantage of El Corchal trips and tours, you’ll be greeted by the area’s “Founder,” José Quintal, also known as Don Pepe. He is an experienced guide and an entertaining storyteller. A brief 7.5 mile ride in his pickup truck will begin the tour. Once you arrive at the starting point, don Pepe will lead you through mysteriously shaped gum trees and incredible wetlands all while telling traditional Mayan stories of how the many trees, plants, and animals originated.
The park is open from 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. We recommend getting there as early as possible since jungle life is at its peak during the early morning hours and then calms down during the heat of the day. Guests should wear pants and long-sleeved shirts, comfortable shoes, hats, and sunscreen.
If you book your stay at Playa Palms Beach Hotel, we’ll make all the arrangements necessary to ensure you and your party have the opportunity to enjoy El Corchal’s secret lagoons.