Taking on a friend’s invitation who hosted me, I finally had the chance to spend some days in Playa del Carmen in an apartment right on the noisy and Americanized 5th avenue.
Special mention on this post to my friend Lorena who manages personalized travel plans, literally for any spot on the planet. Please make sure you reach her if you’re planning to travel specially around Mexico, so she can recommend the best restaurants and activities based on your budget or tastes.
To start, definitively one of the best places in town for seafood is El Doctorcito. It is also one of the few places I’ve been in Mexico lately where you can have seafood without having to listen to reggaeton. Thumbs up guys!
On a not a very Mexican tip, an Italian friend of mine who lived and traveled in Mexico for some years recommended me one of the best Roman style pizzerias, probably in the whole country. Make sure you stop by Perchè No in Playacar.
If you have a car, try getting a bit away from Playa itself and try a nice spot called Xpu Ha, which is actually 30min south in direction to Tulum. You’ll find a few exits on the fedral highway, just get in, pay the parking space and walk towards the spot that suits better to your mood (mine was that of total and absolute joy).
Another getaway is to take a ferry to Cozumel island. Just note that there are no beaches where you arrive. You’ll probably have to take a cab to Mezcalitos beach, which is all the way across the island.
Survival tip: don’t book any rental, taxi or activity in Playa de Carmen, everything will be overpriced. Wait until you get to Cozumel you’ll be surprised how low prices can actually get.
What worked better for us was getting the rental and driving around the island on our own. We even had time to stop by a Mayan archeolgical site called San Gervasio. It is certainly not as impressive of other sites in Mèxico but still nice if you can offord $6usd (it`s free for Mexicans showing an Id).
Lastly we enjoyed an afternoon in a cenote 30mins way from Playa called Jardìn del Edèn. (It really honors its name).
As you can see Playa del Carmen is all about getaways, unless of course you like tourists. For more information on spots and activities visit: https://www.visitmexico.com/en/main-destinations/quintana-roo/playa-del-carmen