Playa del Carmen is one of the top destinations on the Riviera Maya and while I’d been through there several times on my way to other places, I’d never spent any time there. It was time to correct that omission.
We took the colectivo, a mini bus that shuttles locals and tourists along the Riviera Maya, from Puerto Aventuras north to Playa del Carmen for 25 pesos (around $1.40).
The bus dropped us a couple blocks from the beach. We passed the main shopping street, Fifth Avenue, but we were intent on finding a spot in the sand so we postponed any shopping until later.
Portal Maya, one entrance to the beach, was built in 2012 to commemorate the end of the Maya calendar. You may recall the Maya calendar ended on the winter solstice, December 21, in 2012, which resulted in many doomsday predictions but needless to say, they were wrong.
I’m a shade lover so we found beach chairs with an umbrella that we could occupy for free as long as we ordered food from Wah Wah Beach Bar. Gail, on the other hand, stretched her towel out on the sand in the hot sunshine.
As we explored the beach, we spied the pier to the south where the ferries to Cozumel arrive and depart. Next year maybe we’ll check out Cozumel for a day trip.
Walking the playa, Spanish for beach, is a good way to explore the area while getting some sun and exercise at the same time.
I’ve always had a special affinity for lighthouses so I was charmed when I spotted the one below, called Faro Lighthouse. Faro means lighthouse in Spanish.
At the end of a perfectly gorgeous day on the playa, we wandered back to Fifth Avenue. You can find all the usual souvenirs along this street but there are also some higher end shops and plenty of restaurants, too. Jim and Gail had to try out the gelato but found it was more expensive than their favorite, Jessie’s, in Puerto Aventuras.
Overall, I would recommend a visit to Playa del Carmen if you’re seeking a party atmosphere with lots of people and action. It was fun to visit for the day but at the end of the day, we were happy to return to quiet, laid-back Puerto Aventuras.
Based on events from January 2016.