When traveling to Mexico, many people worry about the safety in Playa del Carmen. But lately, it has gained a bad reputation and people are worried if it is still safe to travel here. Here is everything you need to know so you can enjoy your vacation in Playa del Carmen without worrying.
The Riviera Maya is one of the most beautiful destinations, with a unique and very diverse eco system and a rich cultural heritage. Just think of the many Mayan ruins, the cenotes or the fact that it’s home to the world’s second largest coral reef!
It is easy to just come a few days, have a good time and take photos without thinking of the impact we leave. Traveling is a great way to connect with people and to enrich our lives, but it’s also important to recognize that it can have negative effects on the places we travel.
If you want to travel more responsible, here are some very easy things you can do to help conserve the Riviera Maya’s environment and culture:
1 Use biodegradable sunscreen and bug spray
One of the easiest ways to help protect the natural ecosystem is to use biodegradable sunscreen and bug spray. Regular products contain harmful oils and chemicals that are toxic to coral reefs, marine plants, and animals in the cenotes. It’s a small change that makes a huge difference not only to the cenotes and the sea, but it’s also healthier for your skin. You can buy biodegradable sunscreen or repellent at any supermarket or pharmacy here in Playa del Carmen.
2 Reduce trash and recycle
At Playa Palms Beach Hotel we help you to recycle. All our rooms come with a drinking water dispenser for you to refill your water bottle rather than buying new ones.
3 Use less energy
At your hotel, you can take care of the environment by something as simple as turning off the air conditioning and the lights when you’re going out. At Playa Palms Beach Hotel we help saving water and energy by changing sheets and towels only when requested.
4 Know what you are supporting
Think critically when it comes to choosing your activities and excursions. Avoid local shows or parks that exploit animals, like swimming with captive dolphins. Rather enjoy and observe the animals in their natural habitat. For example, go swimming with whale sharks in Isla Mujeres or observe birds and marine animals in Sian Ka’an or Isla Contoy!
5 Shop smarter
Don’t buy souvenirs made of shells, starfish or endangered animals.
6 Stay at smaller, not all inclusive hotels
Staying at smaller hotels instead of big resorts gives you a chance to get around, eat at local restaurants, buy in local shops and thus support the local culture and economy.
7 Go local
Support locally owned businesses, restaurants, and other services whenever you can. Trying local food and drinks is fun, just think Tequila and Mezcal or tasty tacos!
8 Respect cultural differences and learn from it
So many countries, so many customs. Respect and value the culture you are visiting. Care for the archaeological sites you visit in the Riviera Maya and don’t pollute or damage them. Experience the place the way locals do, respect them and engage with the culture!
Mexico is a special place, extremely diverse with a whole lot more to offer than just tequila and good parties. You find the most beautiful beaches at the incredible 9330 km of coastline, volcanoes, 67 national parks, an extremely rich culture and don’t even get us started on the food… Each region has its own charms, and there sure is a reason why the Riviera Maya is so highly ranked among international and national travelers.
Picture perfect beaches
The Riviera Maya has not only some of the most gorgeous beaches in Mexico but in the world. What makes them special apart from the azure water and the palm-tree-framed beaches, is that the powder white sand is not burning hot. Since its composed of crushed coral, the sand stays cool to the touch regardless of how hot the day is. Look forward to not burning your feet, lay back in a hammock, sip on an ice-cold drink and simply enjoy life. These are the most beautiful beaches of the Riviera Maya.
Discover a magical underworld of turquoise pools! Cenotes are spectacular spots to swim, snorkel or dive. They are natural pits that developed over millions of years by the collapse of porous limestone bedrock, which has revealed groundwater pools. For the ancient Mayan civilization cenotes where the only source of water in the jungle. They were considered sacred, and portals to communicate with the underworld.Plunge into the crystal clear, fresh, and cool water in a cave or cavern, or swim under a jungle-framed sky! Check out the best cenotes of the region.
In Mexico, you find plenty of pre-Columbian ruins. Many of them on the Yucatan peninsula, like Chichen Itza or Cobá. They are all beautiful in their own way. But none of them has a breathtaking scenery like Tulum. Mayans weren’t really fond of beachfront properties. This makes Tulum’s setting unique, built on a spectacular cliffside, overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean. There is a reason why Tulum is the 3rd most visited archaeological site in Mexico! Learn all about Tulum.
Every summer, these peaceful giants make a stop in the pristine waters around Isla Mujeres and up north in Holbox. There are only very few things in the world that compare to swimming with whale sharks, and the Riviera Maya is one of only a few destinations where you can live this unforgettable adventure. Peak season is in July and August. Here’s all you need to know to swim with whale sharks.
Cultural Theme Parks
Yes, of course, there are great theme parks wit big names all over the world. But Xcaret and Xel-ha have their own unparalleled magic. The eco-archaeological park Xcaret highlights the best of Mexican and Mayan culture and the natural beauty of the region. More than 40 different attraction await you, like a Mayan village, forest trails, underground rivers, or even swim with dolphins! When the night falls, head to the on-site theater for a spectacular show featuring the best in Mexican culture, dance, and history.
Xel-ha, composed of lagoons, inlets, and cenotes, is known as the world’s largest natural aquarium. It has an enormous estuary with hundreds of tropical fish, featuring some archaeological remains of the Mayans, as well as caverns and cenotes.
Playa del Carmen’s nightlife
Sure, there are great parties in Cancun any many other Mexican cities too. But there’s something special about Playa del Carmen’s nightlife. Besides of the big and famous clubs like for example Cocobongo or Mandala, there are many special events and festivals and quirky places. One of our favorites are Playa del Carmen’s many beachside bars, to enjoy a tasty cocktail with a view. Here’s a guide to Playa del Carmen’s nightlife.
One of the first things that come to mind when you think of Mexico is the Mariachi music. With its beautifully dressed musicians playing this oh so very Mexican music. Mariachi is indeed such a fundamental element of the Mexican culture that in 2011 UNESCO inscribed it on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
This traditional Mexican music style is a result of indigenous music mixed with European and African influences. Its Mexican origins lie in Western Mexico, probably in the state of Jalisco. Originally Mariachis played only string instruments, and the trumpet, today an established component, was added until later. Still, the most remarkable instrument remained the guitarrón, a large, deep-bodied acoustic bass that’s solely played by Mariachis.
Initially Mariachis were associated with the rural lower class, since mostly ranch workers played this kind of music. In the early 1900 however, they began to gain acceptance in the upper class. Around the same time Mariachis started dressing in the particular black or white charro suits they are famous for today: a short jacket and high tight pants, both often with silver decorations, and a wide-brimmed sombrero. Women sometimes use a long skirt instead, with the same decorations.
In almost every city in Mexico you see them playing in restaurants and bars, serenading a señorita on her birthday, or waiting in a plaza for someone to hire them. They are the heart and soul of any real Mexican celebration. As anywhere in Mexico, also in Playa del Carmen Mariachis are often hired for weddings.
If you want to make your Mexico vacation real Mexican, you definitely can’t miss a Mariachi concert. We checked out the best places to listen to Mariachi music in Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya:
If you want to taste, listen and experience Mexico in the Riviera Maya, this is the place to go. Board one of the traditional trajineras, some kind of gondolas. You will be served Mexican dishes and Tequila while you listen to Mariachis play. At latest after the second Tequila you feel like dancing along.
2 5th Avenue
As you stroll along the 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen at night, you’ll sure stumble over some fancy dressed Mariachis playing outside a restaurant or on the street.
3 La Parilla
One of the most typical Mexican restaurants in Playa del Carmen, from the food they serve, to the decoration to the music. Every evening at 8 pm they have Mariachis play. On Constituyentes between Avenues 5 and 1.
4 Mi Pueblo
Taste authentic Mexican delicacies prepared in the open style kitchen while you sing along with the Mariachis. On the 5th Avenue with Street 8.
Are you planning your destination wedding and feel like Mariachis are a must? Contact us, we at Playa Palms Beach Hotel are happy to make your dream come true.
Playa del Carmen is mostly known for its beautiful beaches, vibrant nightlife, the cosmopolitan 5th Avenue, and the many Mayan ruins along the Riviera and the Peninsula. The word ruins may wrongly imply that the Maya people don’t exist anymore. But fact is, one of the largest groups of modern Maya call this region in Mexico their home. Throughout the changes that came with modernization and tourism, they held on to their unique way of life. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn about the incredible Mayan culture!
Besides many other attractions, the eco-archaeological park has a Mayan cemetery and village. The spectacular cemetery is located on a shell-shaped hill, called the “bridge to paradise”. Shell-shaped to remind of the shells Mayans used to communicate with their gods. A narrow path spirals up the hill, leading you through seven levels, representing the seven week days, passing by 365 beautifully adorned graves. If you speak some Spanish you will enjoy it even more, for the lovely and sometimes very humorous inscription they remember their ancestors by.
Next to the cemetery is an ancient Mayan village, where you can learn about their daily life, taste delicious Mayan food, watch Mayan artisans produce traditional costumes and let Mayan rhythms carry you away while you watch the rituals and dances.
And of course, don’t miss the show, where you’ll learn in the most entertaining way about Mayan history and costums, like their famous ball game.
We already wrote about this ancient Mayan capital with its beautiful pyramid here. But in Cobá, besides from the archaeological site, you can also visit a secluded Mayan village. Learn about Mayan customs, enjoy a traditional meal and take part in a Mayan Blessing Ceremony. An unforgettable experience!
In spite of the heat, the Mayas were big fans of the Sauna. The steamy stone saunas called temazcal, are used for health and spiritual reasons. Through the use of steam and healing herbs, ceremonies purify your body, mind and spirit. There is an authentic Mayan temazcal, called “Temazcal Natura”, close to downtown Playa del Carmen, where you can experience the fire ceremony and the vapor purification ceremony, performed by a shaman.
For more information or to book one of the experiences, ask our Concierge or our staff at the front desk of Playa Palms Beach Hotel.