Friday, February 10, 2012

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

First time I visited this city was almost 11 years ago, back then I had travelled to Cozumel for a 5 star scuba diving adventure, and one day we decided to visit Playa del Carmen, which was only a boat ride from the island.

If you believe love at first sight, this is exactly what I felt about this small city, and I promised one day to return with more time.  Yes, it took me more than 10 years but I returned and I'm glad I did.

I was flying to visit my parents in El Salvador and decided to add Playa to my itinerary, specially since the Arena Festival was on at the same time, and some of my favourite deejays were scheduled to be in different clubs of the city: Miss Honey Dijon, Javier Medina, Peter Rauhofer, Isaac Escalante, Chus and Ceballos, Ana Paula, Deko-Ze, Stephan Grondin and others.

The Arena Festival has a potential to become a major music festival, it just needs more exposure out there.  I know the BPM festival happens just a a couple of weeks before Arena, and many will prefer to go to BPM, but  if the organizers do a good job, then I really foresee a great future to Arena.  Nevertheless, Arena review is under another posting.

Having a beautiful time in Playa del Carmen was my initial posting, and let me tell you it was exactly what I needed.  The city has changed and grown since my last visit, and this is what happens when a place becomes popular.

I decided to stay in a non inclusive resort, the city is small enough and not too expensive, so I highly suggest a non inclusive hotel, this way you will get to enjoy all the city has to offer. I must say the beach is not one of the best I've seen in Mexico, but I had a great time.

The people are very friendly, and there are a lot of party goers, but not too many as in Cancun. Talking about Cancun, if your hotel does not offer a shuttle to Playa, nothing to worry about because there are cheap buses travelling from the airport to Playa, and they drop you off at the bus station, which is really a walking distance to everything.

The 5th avenida is exclusively pedestrian for almost its entire length, and I really enjoyed walking around without having to worry about cars.

Lots of restaurants to choose from and although drinks at the most popular bars are kind of expensive, you can always stop at the closest convenience store and get your drinks at much cheaper rate, and yes, there is always Walmart - you will know what I'm talking about when you get there.

Don't forget to visit the Pre-Columbian Mayan walled city of Tulum - and did you know Tulum was formerly known as Zama? Want to see an amazing sunset? Just make sure to be in Tulum, and it is not far away from Playa, and you just need to get a mini-van bus, way cheaper than the buses at the main bus station, and they drop you off at the entrance.  After a 10 minutes walk (or less) you will get to this beautiful location full of giant iguanas.  Don't forget to visit the Cenotes, what an incredible peace of natural beauty.

If you haven't visit Playa del Carmen in Quintana-Roo, book your trip today, you won't regret it - and yes, just book your flight to Cancun, way easier than trying to find a flight all the way to Playa del Carmen.

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