We usually give you a lot of ideas about what to see and do during your Playa del Carmen vacation and in the Riviera Maya in general. But today, we are focused on what you should not do in Playa del Carmen. Never. Ever.
Many guests ask us for recommendations of good restaurants. And honestly, given the sheer number of great eateries Playa del Carmen has to offer, narrowing it down to the 10 best restaurants wasn’t an easy task. But here you have it, a guide to the best restaurants in Playa del Carmen. If you’re planning on spending your vacation here, you’re going to want to bookmark this one.
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.
Even though you are probably visiting Playa del Carmen as a tourist, you might want to avoid an all too touristy experience. Our guests at Playa Palms Beach Hotel come here to relax, enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean, and get to know the Mexican culture. If that is your idea of a perfect vacation, make sure to keep it that way by staying away from these tourist traps.
Playa del Carmen’s most famous street itself is probably the biggest tourist trap. But, let’s be honest, would you expect otherwise? Some restaurants and bars have very high prizes that are unreasonable taking their food quality in account. But of course, there are also many very recommendable places. Our concierge at Playa Palms Beach Hotel knows the best places to have dinner or a drink.
Walking along the 5th Avenue, you will pass by many souvenir shops that advertise with “special prize” or “Sale” signs, or telling that they are closing soon, making you believe that they have an extra good deal for you. Only that it’s not true, they always have the same prizes. Better look at different stores and buy your souvenirs where you find the best price after comparing.
As in probably every city around the globe, the taxi drivers here usually try to rip you off. To avoid paying three times the actual prize, ask the staff at the front desk of your hotel how much a taxi should charge you for what distance or ask them to order a taxi for you.
Guests at Playa Palms Beach Hotel can explore the city center easily by foot, since restaurants, nightlife and entertainment are within short walking distance. For more information about getting around in Playa del Carmen, read here.
Playa del Carmen is surrounded by plenty of interesting places to visit, like Chichen Itza, Tulum or Xcaret. But not all excursions are created equal and if you asked different tour vendors, you’d find out that prizes vary widely. Talk to the concierge desk at your hotel to find out which tour guides and companies offer the best value for your money. The concierge desk at Playa Palms Beach Hotel knows the highest-quality tours in the area and can make the necessary accommodations for you.
Currency and exchange
You can pay pretty much everywhere in Playa del Carmen with US dollars. Just be sure to know the actual exchange rate. While for tours, parks or accommodations the prices in pesos or dollar usually are the same, at restaurants or bars they often use an exchange rate that doesn’t benefit you at all and you end up paying more using US dollars.
We recommend to always have Mexican pesos on you too. The best way to get pesos is by using an ATM. Make sure it’s an official bank ATM, not the blue ones on the 5th Avenue, since the exchange commission rate there is about 30%. For more tips about currency exchange, read here.
When you make your reservations at Playa Palms Beach Hotel, our staff will ensure you have the exclusive Riviera Maya vacation you were dreaming of.