(Besides Night Clubs)
Playa del Carmen is known for its fabulous nightlife. Droves of people party at beach bars and pack sultry clubs on any given night in this exotic paradise.
But what to do if the nightclub scene is not your style? No se preocupe! (Don’t worry!) Playa offers plenty of options as far as entertainment goes. It is an artistic hub, bulging at the seams with performers, painters, film buffs, musicians, and foodies with polished palates.
So if the days of downing tequila shots and dancing until sunrise are over, you may want to check out these alternatives. Here are our recommendations for nighttime fun and entertainment in Playa del Carmen!
1. Le Lotus Rouge
(Calle 2 and 35th Avenue)
The first time I entered Le Lotus Rouge, a.k.a. Art World, I was a bit taken aback by the multitude of images, circus figurines, sculptures and feathered boas that covered every square inch of the place.
I went for a morning painting class with the Natascha, the mastermind behind this very intriguing artists’ haven. As she led me to the open-air studio at the back of the property, mixed thoughts ran through my head. Had I just walked into the creepy lair of a psychopath? Or was this interesting (to say the least) concept the work of a creative genius?
Two years after discovering Le Lotus Rouge, I am so thrilled that I did not turn and run! Natascha has an undeniable charm and immediately makes you feel at home. She has a way of interacting with people that brings out their childlike awe and curiosity. She hosts painting and aerial acrobatic classes for children and adults, poetry nights, writing workshops, live music nights and many other special events.
You can visit her page on Facebook to find a schedule of upcoming events. Whether you are interested in a class or looking for something entertaining that is out of the ordinary, Le Lotus Rouge will whisk you away on an eccentric adventure of the imagination!
2. Teatro De La Ciudad
(Between 115th and 120th Avenue across from Walmart)
This beautiful theater was completed in 2015 and has become an integral part of the community of Playa del Carmen. In an effort to promote the arts, many of the concerts, plays, and performances are free!
On a weekly basis, the stage comes alive as musicians, actors, and dancers perform vivid shows before a delighted audience. Elaborate folk dances, dramatic theatrical works, ballets, and Cirque-du-Soleil-style presentations are just some of the spectacles that regularly take place here.
Some performances are advertised around town, but you can also check their Facebook page for a list of upcoming events. When the shows are free, you must go directly to the theatre box office after 12pm to pick up your tickets and the seating is first come, first serve.
3. El Cine Club
(Various Venues in Playa del Carmen)
This group of film enthusiasts shows film festival, Hollywood and documentary-type movies at cool venues around town each Wednesday and Friday night.
Some locations include Blue Parrot Beach Club (Calle 12 & the beach), the Thompson Beach House (Calle 8 & the beach) and Parque La Ceiba (1 Sur & 60 Avenue Diagonal in the Ejidal.) The films are sometimes foreign and sometimes in English, but always have Spanish subtitles. The entrance is free, but donations are accepted.
The enchanting movie experience at times takes place in an open-air setting, under a star-filled sky. Find your seat in front of an enormous projector screen and let your toes sift through the powdery-soft sand. See El Cine Club on Facebook for movie titles and locations.
4. Wine Tasting at La Casa Del Agua
(Calle 2 and 5th Avenue)
Featuring a menu of 140 wines from 12 different countries, La Casa Del Agua presents a wine pairing evening held every Friday night at 8pm. Patrons receive 5 samplings from the Mediterranean and Mexican menu, while learning how to pair wine from the in-house sommelier.
The unique ambience in each of the various rooms offers the perfect setting for a night out with friends or for a romantic evening with your partner. Choose to dine al fresco in the dining room overlooking 5th Avenue, in the more private, upper level back room, or sip on vino in the air-conditioned lounge area.
The cost is $350MXN or ($20USD) per person and reservations are recommended.
(Highway 307, 10 minutes South of the Cancun Airport)
For a lively evening of authentic tastes and sounds of Mexico, (including the signature call of the Mariachi!) we suggest a visit to Xoximilco!
Adapted from the original Xochimilco outside of Mexico City, passengers are guided through a series of canals on trajineras. A captain gently propels the flat-bottomed boat through the shallow waters with a long pole.
Along the way, guests are treated to a culinary and musical adventure. Various bands of different genres are stationed on the banks of the canals or playing on anchored trajineras.
A host serves 4 courses of traditional Mexican food. As visitors try dishes such as Huitlacoche dip (made from an edible corn fungus considered to be a Mayan delicacy,) nopal (cactus) salad, chicken in mole sauce and an assortment of desserts (including a delicious flan,) the gondola-like trajineras cruise by bolero, marimba and mariachi bands.
The animated host and captain are knowledgeable and offer pieces of history behind the music. There a games, dancing and oh yes, lots of tequila! The night lasts approximately 4 hours and is suitable for children 5 and over (they’ll love the Jamaica or Tamarind juice!) Tickets can be purchased online and discounts are given if you buy them 7-21 days in advance.
5. Comedy Night
Every Wednesday night, Playa del Carmen’s best stand up comics come out to entertain patrons on the main stage at Lucky Luciano on Calle 28 and 5th Avenue.
Enjoy a pizza, sip on one of their specialty cocktails and be prepared to laugh out loud! The show starts at 8:00pm and there is a $100 peso ($6US) cover charge.
6. Live Music
For a relatively small city, there is no shortage of world-class talent in Playa del Carmen. On any given night, you can find outstanding musicians singing their hearts out at intimate venues around town.
Bar Fah in the Siesta Fiesta Hotel showcases some of the most incredible live bands and acoustic musicians around. Located on 5th Avenue between Calle 8 and 10, this place always has a lively crowd and an upbeat atmosphere.
Kitxen between Constituyentes and 20th Avenue, has hosted high caliber artists on their dimly lit stage for over a decade. For rock fans, this is a great spot to hear modern and classic rock anthems while enjoying a Caribbean cocktail.
Zenzi Beach Bar presents bands of many genres including reggae, salsa, blues, contemporary and Mexican rock. Situated on the white sand on Calle 10 and the beach, every night is entertaining at Zenzi’s!
7. Cooking Classes
Co.Co’s Culinary School is an excellent way to bond with your significant other or to spend the night with a group of friends. Learn from the very personable owner and head chef, how to create authentic Mexican dishes from elaborate Chile Rellenos to traditional salsas.
The classes are fun and suitable for children. Also included is a basic mixology session, Mango Margaritas anyone? The school can be found on Calle Cozumel (half a block from the beach between Calle 26 and 28th.) Contact the school and register for a class at 984-803-0743 or visit their Facebook page for more info.
8. Cirque du Soleil
The riveting, acrobatic and theatrical performance, Joya, takes place within a phenomenal jungle setting 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen. On the lush property are restaurants and lounges along serene waterways, as well as a domed theatre in which the spectacular show takes place.
A cast of pirates, mystical characters, a young girl and her inventor grandfather take the audience on a dazzling, sensory adventure. Rain or shine, Joya makes for a memorable night out with the family.
If you are traveling with a friend or the one you love, the VIP dinner tickets include plush seating near the stage, unlimited champagne, pre-show entertainment and an intimate dinner before the main performance.
9. Cabaret Show
El Jardin meaning ‘The Garden’ is a hidden oasis in the center of Playa del Carmen. Tables and an intimate stage are engulfed in tropical foliage, while a cascading fountain adds to the serene atmosphere.
Every Friday evening from 6pm-9pm is Noche de Divas. Patrons can enjoy opera, jazz and other soulful performances by various local and visiting artists. A special menu of Mexican fusion cuisine and snacks are offered along with beverage service.
El Jardin is located on Calle 20 between 10th and 15th Avenue. For more info, visit them on Facebook (El Jardin Community Center.)
10. Walking Gastronomy Tour
If you’re new to Playa del Carmen, this tour option hosted by foodhoppers.com, is an excellent way to become acquainted with traditional Mexican foods.The tour starts in a convenient location on 5th Avenue at 5:00pm daily, and lasts usually 2.5 to 3 hours. Along with sampling authentic dishes such as Posole, Cochinita Pibil, Tamales, Esquites and even grasshopper tacos, you will have the opportunity to taste the finest tequilas at the end of the tour.
This is an excellent way to meet people and gain a deeper understanding of the Mexican culture. The walking tour takes place rain or shine, and is suitable for children. For more info or to make a reservation, call (984)165-0699.
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.