June 28, 2010

Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen is located in the Mexican Caribbean coast, just 40 miles (60 kms.) south of Cancun, Mexico. The town of Playa del Carmen hugs the coast along blue Caribbean water and fine white sand.

Originally a small fishing town, tourism to Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and world-famous scuba diving destination.

Although most of Playa's population is local, many people come here from other parts of Mexico and the world. Among them you can find painters, musicians, dancers and actors who may surprise you with high quality performances in some local bar or café.

The city of Playa del Carmen is divided into several sections. Avenida Quinta, "Fifth Avenue", is a pedestrian only street running parallel to the beach north from the central plaza. Fifth Avenue is the heart of Playa del Carmen's cultural life, and is lined with restaurants, shops and hotels. The northern end of Fifth Avenue is called the "New Fifth". This is an upscale area with new construction, brick lined streets and a more European flavor. 

A Mayan-themed "ecological theme park", Xcaret is a popular tourist destination just south of the town. 

Most shops and establishments are attended directly by the owners; therefore, service in Playa's restaurants, dive shops and clothing stores is excellent. The Riviera Maya is well known for it delicious food and great variety of cuisine; Playa is specially diverse in it's cuisine, given the large amount of tourists and locals from South America and Europe.

The wide variety of activities offered along the coast is also available here: windsurfing, diving, horseback riding, bicycle rentals, snorkeling and gyms, as well as yoga, dance and drum classes. 

Nightlife is definitely important in Playa del Carmen, but is not as wild as its neighbor to the north, Cancun. Typically, Playa's shops and restaurants close around 10pm, but nearly all of the clubs stay open through most of the night. A number of the best nightclubs are located on the beach. If you are interested in nightlife, then be sure to visit Blue Parrot, El Pirata, Santenera, and Hotel Deseo.

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