I always wanted to live by the beach.
So last year I finally managed to move to Playa del Carmen and lived there for 6 whole months so I can basically declare I know all the best spots and must dos around there so that’s why I will share all those little details with all of you lucky readers...
First of all, you are at the beach so you want to swim in the beautiful waters of the ocean, of course!
So my recommendation is to go to Playacar Beach. If you want a silent and peaceful sunset, walk along 5th Avenue to the end until you get to Playacar (it’s a residential development) and just enter through the pedestrian gate and walk the jungle path to make it to the beach… and enjoy!
If you want more people around and music, enjoy the ocean at any of the many beach clubs Playa has. My recommendations from more party to less are:
2: Mamitas Beach Club
The first two have a minimum consumption amount, while the last one is just order-by-the-card and it has good food. I was a regular there so for breakfast I approve of the acai bowl for staying healthy and the goloso pancakes for indulging! Juices start at $2 so that’s pretty affordable, too.
Ok, the ocean is TOP and so pretty butttt… in Yucatan there are like 6,000 cenotes! You can find them anywhere.
I’ll share a secret one with you, right off 5th Avenue...
First, find a Mexican craft store called “Rosalia”—they sell a lot of traditional dresses from Chiapas to blankets and scarves—it’s all very local. Enter inside and there are stairs to the underground cave right off 5th Avenue. Neat, right?
Here is a list of my favorite cenotes and the approximate prices so you can make the choice when you’re around Playa:
Cenote Azul $80 mexican pesos (4 usd)
Jardin del eden $100 mexican pesos (5 usd)
Tajma-hál $50 mexican pesos (2.50 usd)
Cristalinos $100 mexican pesos (5 usd)
Rio secreto, largest cave system in Playa (I worked there) $1600 mexican pesos (80 usd)
Punta esmeralda, free (open cenote and pretty small)
Along 5th Avenue you’ll find plenty of places to try and a lot of typical Mexican spots too. You are allowed to drink and walk so, grab a beer from any store you see; they are only 1USD!
Alux: this is a restaurant inside a cave so make sure you RSVP before arriving.
Sonora Meat: if you are feeling like eating meat, this is my fave!
Los Hijos del Mar: please have the Hawaiian party tostada!
There’s also pizza slices everywhere along 5th Avenue and they’re like a dollar. My fave shop is called "Pizza Italia"—it’s super cozy.
Try Marquesitas for something more typical.
Or my fave ice cream shop along 5th avenue—Amorino.
Try the Coco Bongo show for fun, Club 01 for electronic music or Palazzo for a full-bottle service club. Mandala is good for bachelors, and last but not least I definitely recommend the ladies night at Selina on Wednesdays; if you’re a girl you'll love a night of free drinks.
Also remember while in Playa, you’ll have to dedicate a day to these places nearby:
Cozumel (El Cielo)
Written by Andrea Charms; Photos by Andrea Charms.
Ready to explore one of Playa del Carmen’s most magical cenotes? Rio Secreto is the best Mayan Riviera cenote and offers a narrow cave system to navigate, with crystal clear waters to wade in.