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. It did not take long for visitors to realize that some of the best beaches and vibes in Mexico were to be found in Playa. While passing through, many people realized that it was a nice place to relax away from the crowds of Cancún but with better quality beaches and turquoise waters. While it’s salt water scuba diving cannot compete with Cozumel, for the adventurous, Playa del Carmen’s fresh water cenote diving more than makes up for it.
Playa del Carmen, or just “Playa”, has one of the most laid-back main streets in the Americas. Fifth Avenue is a 2 mile long all pedestrian street lined with hotels, restaurants, bars and shops that can be walked without fear of cars. The restaurants to the north, in the neighborhood of Little Italy, are of exceptional value. This area has undergone rapid development over the past two years with many new luxury residential condominium buildings, restaurants, boutiques and entertainment venues. Currently there are plans to develop six luxury boutique hotels, several internationally recognized chain restaurants including PF Changs, The Hard Rock Cafe, Ruth’s Chris and the Cheesecake Factory as well as a small shopping plaza offering designer boutiques, a small cinema, luxury condominiums and the international House of Blues entertainment venue.
Playa is a stop for several cruise ships which dock at the nearby Calica quarry docks, about six miles south of the city. The Xcaret Eco Park, a Mexican-themed “eco-archaeological park”, is a popular tourist destination located just south of the town in Xcaret. Tourism in Playa del Carmen centers on Fifth Avenue, stretching from Calle 1 to Calle 40, a pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach. Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on Fifth Avenue such as Luna Blue Hotel & Bar, Fusion Beach Hotel Bar & Grill, La Tortuga and many others.
The Playa del Carmen local community and government have attempted to retain Playa del Carmen’s reputation and charm as a small fishing village and artists’ colony, without it becoming as large and metropolitan as Cancún. The city passed an ordinance limiting buildings to four stories, but a few five story buildings were built despite the ordinance.
There is a significant Canadian, European and Argentinean influence in Playa, with a number of local business proprietors drawn from the American, South American and European expatriate community. In addition a significant amount of Playa’s tourists include thousands of backpackers from around the world, who pass through Playa while touring Mexico and the surrounding region.
In October 2005 Hurricane Wilma passed directly over Playa del Carmen, remaining in the vicinity for two days and causing significant damage and a temporary drop in tourist arrivals. Fortunately most of the damage was relatively superficial and repaired within a few weeks of the storm.
So whatever you desire, Playa has something for everyone. Widely considered one of the best places to retire, it is also a nature lover’s paradise. Contact BajaBrokers.com to see firsthand why so many call Playa home.
This restaurant and cocktail lounge is located underground in a cave. It is well worth a visit for an appetizer and/or cocktail. You will be blown away, and we can guarantee you have not seen anything like it.
Bali NOW DUBAI
New in 2006 Bali Club has a 1,200 person capacity featuring a high-tech sound and lighting system. They mix up the dance floor with a high-tech light show and some crazy fire, water and balloon effects to add to the party atmosphere. Cover charge can vary depending on the mood of the bouncers. The same owners of Bali actually closed in December 2008 and re-branded the club as Dubai.
Upscale beach and dance club. Often features visiting international DJ’s.
Although Bar Ranita caters to the local community, it has an international following as well. People come from far corners of the world to come to Bar Ranita to enjoy a cool draft with the locals, which creates an incredibly fun and enjoyable atmosphere.
The newest venture from the owners of the Deseo Hotel and Lounge bring you Basico Hotel and Lounge. The rooftop cocktail lounge features luxurious lounger beds made from the backs of old trucks that combine industry with opulence. Two concrete tanks that serve as cool plunging pools only add to the industrial feel. Tranquil music combined with a wait staff straight out of Abercrombie and Fitch makes you feel like you are in with the” in” crowd.
A true local watering hole, the Beer Bucket is a great place to grab a chilled chela (beer), gab with friends, and enjoy tales from the old timers.
The Blue Parrot Hotel and Beach Club have been in Playa del Carmen for more then 20 years. The Original owner made it a house hold name, but the new owners, since 2004, have taken it to the next level. Now it is a trendy hot spot for visitors, travelers, and locals; young and old.
With multiple screens, betting, bar food, and beer. This place is packed all of the time for televised sporting events.
Captain Daves Bad Boys
Known for their kick ass Bloody Mary’s and great local live music; Bad Boy’s has been around for years ,and always has repeat visitors.
Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s
Part of the famous Andersen Brothers conglomerate Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s has been a long time favorite among young folk and spring breakers to drink by the yard, and party into the night.
Sit down and sip a top shelf tequila or buy some to take with you. A large selection of tequilas and mescals are available to choose form.
Playa del Carmen’s only “official” gay nightclub and bar.
Originally in the hotel zone in Cancun this very commercial night club has now opened a location in Playa del Carmen. They have a nightly Vegas styl show that keeps people coming back night after night.
This beach club and bar is located right next door to the Blue Parrot and offers a full bar and restaurant services. Open during the day for beach lounging, and features DJ’s and dancing at night.
More reminiscent of South Beach than Mexico the Deseo Hotel and Lounge is a trendy spot to enjoy a top shelf cocktail. This roof top bar has lounger beds surrounded by white billowy curtains that only add to the “seen and be seen” atmosphere and attitude.
Owned by the same company as the Glass Bar across the street, Di Vino serves up international cuisine and an even more extensive wine list.
Diabltos Cha Cha Cha
Owners of Santanera have opened this trendy, upscale lounge that serves gourmet fare, and high end cocktails.
Part of the Costa del Mar Hotel, El Pirata has been around for the past 20 years. Grab a swing by the bar at night and listen to reggae music until dawn.
Fah at Siesta Fiesta
Always filled with happy customers enjoying the great people watching and live music; Fah Bar is a great place to take a load off after an afternoon of beach dwelling. Low key, but festive.
Enjoy the calm ocean breeze and fantastic view from our restaurant and bar overlooking the Caribbean Sea while dining on international fusion cuisine and luscious tropical drinks.
Hangover Bar Playa
Do you have a Hangover? This is the place to go.
A great live music venue, The Jam Session, has created a hot spot for local and visiting musicians.
Local and loud, cheap beer, and lots of young people.
Although this hipster hang out is a Mediterranean restaurant it is also a favorite spot among the young trendy crowd from Mexico City. Stylish, and chic, this is part of the upscale lounge scene that has become so popular in, and around ,Playa del Carmen.
Live local music, attentive wait staff, and a full restaurant menu available has made Kitxen a hit.