Top Summer Activities In Playa del Carmen

Summer in Playa del Carmen sizzles. Luckily for visitors, you can always find inviting turquoise waters or glistening pools within close range. Built upon shores of powdery soft coral, Playa borders the shimmering blue-green waters of the Caribbean. This Riviera Maya city is most popular for its picturesque coastline. However, vacations here offer far more than cocktails on the beach.

This article sheds light on five of the best things to do in Playa del Carmen during summer vacation. These sensational outings will fill your memory bank with epic Yucatan Peninsula travel stories to tell for years to come.

Discover Paradise at El Cielo

El Cielo, Cozumel

Located a few hundred meters off the southern tip of Cozumel is El Cielo, meaning ‘Heaven.’ From Playa del Carmen, a 45-minute ferry delivers you to the largest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Upon arriving in Cozumel, you will board a smaller boat to transport you on an unforgettable 4 to 5-hour journey. As you sail south along the island’s sublime coastline, you’ll anchor at two flourishing coral reefs of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System. During these snorkeling sessions, you will explore some of the clearest sea waters and meet a host of breathtaking aquatic animals.

No notice from the captain is needed, as it will become crystal clear (literally) when you arrive at El Cielo. The waters in this isolated diamond in the Caribbean rough are in the ranks with those of the Maldives. Although you won’t encounter over-the-water huts, majestic manta rays, starfish, and sea turtles will surely capture your attention.

When Mother Nature designed this extraordinary, aqua bay, she created a masterpiece too spectacular to really describe in words. Of all of the Playa del Carmen day trips available, El Cielo is a must to add to a Mexico vacation itinerary.

Tip:

This entrancing water excursion is available to individual travelers as well as large groups. You can search online for local tour companies or contact your Bric ambassador to help you arrange a sublime trip to El Cielo. Included in the price are snorkel gear, beverages, and a light lunch (usually ceviche, fruit, and/or sandwiches.)

Immerse Yourself in Incredible Nature at Aktun Chen Park

This surreal experience in the heart of the jungle is an amazing introduction to local wildlife. The nature reserve offers protection to spider monkeys, coatis, iguanas, boars, and vibrant green parakeets that live within it. In addition to an up-close view of the area’s jungle creatures, you will explore an awe-inspiring cave over 5 million years old. This guided trek, voted one of the top 10 Underground Walks In the World by National Geographic, is 100% worth the 30-minute drive from Playa del Carmen.

Aktun Chen Park, Playa del Carmen

After taking flight over the lush jungle landscape on a circuit of 10 ziplines, you will be ready to dive into the cool cenote waters. The ancient Mayan civilization believed were gates to the underworld. Even today, archaeologists and divers continue to make important discoveries of centuries-old artifacts within these limestone caves.

Tip:

Wear comfortable walking shoes and only biodegradable sunscreen is permitted. Although Aktun Chen is a smaller ecological park compared to others in the area such as Xcaret or Xplor, it  offers plenty of activities, at a more economical price. When you reserve with an excursion company using the booking link on the Aktun Chen page, lunch and transportation are included. 

 

Snorkel With Turtles and Sip Piña Coladas at La Buena Vida

In the seaside village of Akumal, just 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen, sits a tranquil bay inhabited by Hawksbill and Loggerhead turtles. One-hour, guided snorkel tours present a guaranteed opportunity to observe all sorts of marine species. Along with the turtles, you’ll see exotic fish, colorful coral fans, as well as an occasional stingray gliding across the seafloor.

Afterward, continue for 5 more minutes down the winding road to La Buena Vida, a beloved local beach bar. Request a table overlooking the bay and munch on delicious burgers, carne asada, or tangy ceviche.

La Buena Vida, Akumal

While the bartender prepares another round of Caribbean cocktails, find the hammock with your name on it and settle in. If you have kids, they will love the treehouse lookout tower and pool, which are surrounded by sky high coconut palms and face an endless turquoise horizon.

Tip:

Skip the hoards of vendors selling snorkel tours along the road leading to Akumal Bay. Book with Akumal Dive Shop and receive certified guides who are knowledgeable in the local laws and adhere to safety standards.

Test Your Culinary Skills At El Pueblito In Mayakoba

A cooking class with one of the country’s most engaging top chefs, Karla Enciso, offers a savory escape from the midday heat. In the air-conditioned commercial kitchen, you will learn time-honored recipes and taste unique regional ingredients. From robust salsas such as mole to guanabana (soursop) margaritas, you will be swooning over your authentic creations.

El Pueblito Cooking School at Mayakoba

Chef Karla is an expert at blending the warmth of the Mexican culture into every dish. Her passion is infectious as she introduces visitors to an impressive array of regional flavors. This outing also makes an ideal group activity and kids are welcome! For more information, visit El Pueblito on Facebook for a schedule of cooking classes.

Tip:

If you are traveling with a group, contact Chef Karla for a customized class. She is fluent in several languages and is a master at a variety of international cuisines.

Witness The Bioluminescence Phenomenon In Holbox

People from around the world flock to the Yucatan Peninsula to swim with the magnificent whale sharks. The sheer size of these spotted fish makes them intimidating. However, you have nothing to fear. Whale sharks are about as dangerous as the microscopic plankton they feed upon. Each year, these gentle giants migrate to areas off the coasts of Isla Mujeres and Holbox, an enchanting near Playa del Carmen.

Come nightfall on this sleepy island, a magical, natural phenomenon known as bioluminescence presents itself. As the water is near the shoreline is stirred, a domino effect of glowing blue light illuminates the surface. This surreal scene occurs only in the summer months from June to mid-September, when the whale sharks are in the area. Since Holbox is so close to Playa del Carmen, this once-in-a-lifetime summer outing should not be missed!

Bioluminescence, Holbox

Tip:

Kayak and paddle board tours are available after dark. To witness the full splendor of this sea of sparkling stars, try to plan your trip around the new moon.  

That rounds out our top 5 list of best summertime activities in Playa del Carmen. Together with its lush jungle tours, ecological parks, and pristine cenotes, the Riviera Maya appeals to travelers of all ages. Not to mention the limitless day trip options to magical towns and divine islands. In addition to its superb dining scene, year-round tropical climate, and luxury accommodations. It’s no wonder Playa del Carmen remains a fixture on TripAdvisor’s Best Destinations in the World.

Con vuelos directos desde $196 USD por viaje redondo desde Dallas y por menos de $400 desde Los Ángeles, Nueva York y Vancouver, puedes remojar las puntas de tus dedos en las aguas turquesas del Caribe por mucho menos de lo que piensas.

Mientras algunos se preparan para regresar a la escuela, otros tienen la oportunidad de aprovechar los increíbles descuentos de otoño en vuelos y hospedaje. ¡Precios rebajados más esta temporada del año son la combinación perfecta para unas vacaciones épicas en Playa del Carmen!

 

Día 1: Instálate con Bric

Si te sientes abrumado por las interminables opciones rentas vacacionales en sitios como AIRBNB, una opción que te puede ahorrar tiempo y dinero es acercarte a una compañía local de servicios completos como BRIC. Al reservar directamente con nosotros, nuestros huéspedes no solo ahorran dinero en el hospedaje, también reciben transportación complementaria a su llegada desde el aeropuerto y trato VIP durante el check in. Reservar directo puede ser un ahorro significativo para los viajeros.

Durante el otoño, los huéspedes pueden rentar condominios con increíbles vistas al mar tales como este 2-bedroom Elements luxury home por $1500 USD a la semana aproximadamente. ¡Dividido entre dos parejas o 4 amigos, una estancia en esta solicitada propiedad es un sueño manifiesto!

Para una estancia más económica, nuestro Bric Hotel and Spa en el corazón de la ciudad es la opción ideal. Con 14 encantadoras habitaciones para elegir, su inmejorable ubicación significa estar a solo unos pasos de los mejores restaurantes de la ciudad y del famoso club de Playa Mamitas. El hotel ofrece una refrescante alberca rodeada de un inmaculado jardín tropical. Un Spa de alta gama y un rico desayuno servido diariamente en la palapa junto a la alberca.

cuando se quedan con BRIC Vacation Rentals, los huéspedes reciben servicios excepcionales por parte de su Ambassador personalizado. Desde hacer arreglos de transportación, excursiones, ofrecer recomendaciones de restaurantes, hacer reservaciones en el SPA y asegurarse de que tu estancia es confortable, tu experto en Playa del Carmen te ayudara a coordinar las más memorables vacaciones en Playa tu vida.

Tip: Puedes pre ordenar por un costo extra paquetes de despensa a través de tu agente de reservaciones o ambassador de BRIC. Elige paquetes diseñados o personaliza tu propia orden y deja que el amigable personal de BRIC llene tu refrigerador con todo lo que necesitas (incluyendo un six de cervezas bien frio) a tu llegada.

Después de haberte instalado, estás listo para comer algo. Il Baretto (Calle 26 y 5ta Avenida) es una buena opción para una comida y bebida casual. Sus famosas pizzas en horno son lo más parecido a las auténticas pizzas italianas y su selección de pastas es simplemente divina.

Si prefieres una experiencia más elegante para cenar, Catch en el techo del Thompson Playa del Carmen ofrece mesas con vistas excepcionales al mar turquesa durante el día y la mejor vista nocturna de la ciudad. La suculenta comida es fresca y original todo dentro de un entorno perfectamente elegante.

Día 2: A la Playa!

Puedes escuchar a las olas llamando tu nombre y no puedes esperar para sentir la suave arena entre los dedos de tus pies. La mayoría de las rentas vacacionales de BRIC están a menos de 5 minutos caminando de la playa o justo sobre ella.

Uno nunca puede tener tanto tiempo de playa como quisiera, entonces, para cenar, tu mesa sobre la playa te espera en el Restaurante y Cantina Fuego en la Calle 30 (da vuelta a la derecha llegando a la playa). Las olas, las velas y las estrellas encima de ti crean el escenario romántico perfecto. Esta es una de los pocos establecimientos en Playa del Carmen con el certificado Wagyu de carne orgánica en el menú y una suculenta selección de mariscos incluyendo pulpo asado y langosta caribeña.

 

Día 3: Visita los sensacionales sitios de la Riviera Maya!

Durante este día lleno de diversión, visitaras 3 insólitos lugares que te darán una perspectiva de la historia antigua de México, su belleza natural y su cocina de renombre mundial.

Para este día, tienes un par de opciones de transportación. Un coche rentado a través de Orbitz cuesta aproximadamente $45 USD por día e incluye seguro. Si no quieres rentar auto, Travel Yucatán ofrece opciones de tours privados y transportación private tour and transportation accesibles a toda la zona. Si estas viajando con otra pareja o con un grupo de amigos, esta es tu mejor opción. Pueden dividir el costo y disfrutar de los beneficios que tiene personalizar tu propio itinerario. Una hielera con bebidas es incluida con el servicio. Sándwiches y equipo de esnórquel pueden ser incluidos bajo pedido por un módico costo extra.

Desde Playa del Carmen vas a manejar 40 minutos al sur hacia Tulum. La carretera está en excelentes condiciones y hay buenos señalamientos de las paradas, vueltas y de más en la ruta. A tan solo 5 minutos de la del pueblo playero de Tulum, se encuentra el Grand Cenote, un escénico estanque natural de agua alimentado por el sistema de ríos subterráneos más grande del mundo.

Por una cuota de $10 USD ($180 pesos), puedes pasar un par de horas recorriendo los impresionantes alrededores, bucear y nadar en las fascinantes aguas refrescantes y translucidas de este mágico lugar.

 

Hay hamacas dispersas por el lugar, baños y vestidores. Puedes rentar equipo de esnórquel y lockers, pero trae contigo tu propia toalla. Por favor asegúrate de usar protector solar exclusivamente biodegradable para ayudar a mantener sana la vida de las tortugas, peces y vegetación de esta gema de la Riviera Maya.

 

Después de una refrescante parada en el cenote, vas a continuar al sitio arqueológico encontrado recientemente de Coba. El costo de la entrada de $75 ($4 USD) pesos a este sitio arqueológico Maya de cientos de años bien vale la pena. Una vez adentro, tienes la opción de contratar un guía privado ($500 – $600 pesos), que es muy recomendable si te gustaría escuchar las increíbles historias de esta misteriosa cultura, o la historia de tras de cada estructura.

Hay posibilidades de avistar monos araña, y con toda seguridad vas a tener encuentros cercanos con una que otra iguana. El ambiente en el corazón de la jungla, es muy sereno y durante el verano hay menos visitantes.

Para aligerar recorrido, puedes rentar bicicletas, o triciclos con chofer también llamados “Limusinas Mayas” por $50 a $100 pesos. Alquilar cualquiera de los anteriores no son realmente una necesidad, ya que puedes bien caminar el recorrido de aproximadamente 30 minutos que conduce a la impresionante pirámide Nohoch Mul de 137 metros de altura. Este sagrado templo Maya es una de las pocas estructuras Mayas antiguas que aun puedes escalar. Desde la sima, puedes ver el pueblo de Coba y la basta selva que parece infinita. Pasar un momento en la sima de esta pirámide tiende a dejarte una profunda sensación de paz.

La última parada en tu increíble día, será Gitano, uno paradisiaco súper chic lugar a media Jungla en Tulum. Candelabros colgando de los árboles, vajillas originales y de acuerdo al ambiente y un personal profesional y amable se juntan para presentarte una experiencia de cena excepcional y única que no podras olvidar.

Este lugar es tu oportunidad de probar muestras gastronómicas de uno de los mejores chefs y tomar un coctel de mezcal ahumado preparado por innovadores mixologos. Puedes pedir a tu ambassador de BRIC que haga una reservación con anticipación para ti. Ten en cuenta que los precios son elevados, pero el ambiente, la música y el fresco entorno, hacen que Gitano sea una obligación en tu itinerario.

 

Día 4: De Compras en la Famosa 5ta Avenida de Playa del Carmen

 

Después de tu vehemente y emocionante excursión en el día 3, a ti y a tu compañía les encantara la idea de relajar sus pies en la piscina o recostarse bajo una palapa en la playa tomando una margarita.

Por la tarde, cuando el sol comienza a ocultarse y se lleva consigo parte del calor del día, cientos de tiendas boutique y de marca esperan tu visita a lo largo de la calle adoquinada más famosa de la ciudad. Este es un buen momento para comprar una pieza de joyería de Jula Luma como un lindo recuerdo de tus vacaciones en México. O agrega un camisón o vestido de diseño único a tu colección de ropa de playa en La Troupe.  En medio de los escaparates, hay muchos pintorescos bares en el camino donde puedes hacer una hidratante parada y observar a la gente pasar.

Un favorito de los locales para cenar, es Luma Taberna en la calle 38 poco antes de llegar a la Playa. El servicio es tan impecable como lo es su menú de mariscos frescos y otros destacados platillos. Prueba los deliciosos mejillones salteados, son exquisitos, también lo son el risotto y el bistec. ¡Totalmente recomendable!

 

 

Día 5: Un Día en un Hotel Todo Incluido más cena en Rauxa Show

 

25 minutos al sur de Playa en el hotel Catalonia Royal Tulum, Rauxa asombra a su audiencia semana tras semana. Con acrobacia, teatro, actuaciones y baile, este audaz espectáculo estilo cabaret burlesque ofrece el mejor show-cena de la Riviera Maya. La impresionante cena de 4 tiempos que se sirve compite con el festín visual que este show ofrece.

Tienes la opción de comprar boletos para atender al show solamente o puedes pagar por un day pass por solo $10 USD más y tener acceso a las instalaciones, restaurantes, bares y albercas del hotel durante el día y hasta antes del show a las 8pm.

Hay varias maneras de llegar al hotel Catalonial Royal Tulum desde Playa del Carmen. Puedes tomar el colectivo desde su punto de salida en la Calle 2 entre venidas 15 y 30 por la mañana. Asegúrate de abordar la van que va a “Tulum”. Asegúrate de decirle al chofer que vas al Hotel Catalonia Royal y asegúrate de decir “por favor”.  El costo es de $40 pesos por persona.

Una segunda opción es tomar un taxi. De 1 a 4 pasajeros el costo aproximado es de $300 a $350 pesos por viaje. Nuevamente, si estas viajando con un grupo de 4 personas, esta es una forma económica de viajar considerando dividir el costo.

Las puertas de Rauxa abren a las 7:00 pm y serás recibido con una bebida de bienvenida mientras te guíen a tu mesa. Este es un lugar íntimo, cada mesa dispone de vista completa sin obstrucciones al escenario principal. Durante las siguientes 2 horas y media, no hay un solo memento aburrido y saldrás impresionado. Si no estás listo para irte a descansar a las 10pm, los invitados al show son bienvenidos a quedarse al after party que se sigue hasta la media noche.

 

Día 6: Tour culinario Playa del Carmen

Ya sea que estas visitando Playa del Carmen por primera vez o seas visitante repetitivo y te gustaría tener una experiencia autentica y local, este tour culinario es una fantástica opción.

Hay diferentes compañías para elegir, pero el Food Hopper Mexican Street Food Crawl en Playa del Carmen es el mejor. Por $65 USD, el guía personalizado y amable que te acompaña en esta deliciosa expedición a populares puestos de comida callejeros. Tendrás la oportunidad de probar extraordinaria comida regional como cochinita pibil y tamales y terminara en una pequeña cata de tequila. Esta es la perfecta ocasión de salir de lo trillado y experimentar la verdadera esencia de la ciudad y su gente. Sin mencionar que puedes elegir (con costo extra) una botella de tequila de la mejor calidad para llevarte a casa.

El tour dura 3 horas y empieza en una conveniente locación céntrica. Esto te da tiempo suficiente antes y después del sabroso paseo para pasar unos momentos más bajo una palmera en la playa o tomar un daiquiri bien frio junto a la alberca.

 

 

Día 7: Disfruta de la vista y la vibra en Deck 5 Pool & Skybar

 

Para variar de escenario, toma un poco de sol junto a la alberca en la azotea del elegante Skybar Deck 5 en Calle 8 y Playa. Puedes adueñarte de un espacio junto a la alberca pagando consumo mínimo. Este lugar te garantiza espectaculares vistas de 180 grados al verde azulado del Caribe. Recorre su lista de exclusivos cocteles y mantén tu paladar ocupado con su menú de aguachiles de langostinos crudos, ceviches, camarones y otras comidas casuales estilo botana. Es un ambiente animado que presenta excelentes DJ’s locales que tocan casi todo el día.

Este bar se encuentra en la azotea del hotel Carmen y está abierto de 10am a 9pm. Si decides ir, el consumo mínimo requerido para usar los servicios como la alberca, las sillas y los camastros es más barato los lunes y miércoles.

¡Increíbles precios en vuelos y rentas vacacionales, tu propio Ambassador BRIC el itinerario perfecto para una semana, suenan a todo lo que necesitas para reservar unas inolvidables vacaciones en Playa del Carmen!

Existe una infinidad de razones por las cuales estoy enamorada de la vida en la Riviera Maya. La principal seria, que, con mucha frecuencia, un día ordinario puede convertirse en un día extraordinario. Uno no tiene que viajar lejos para encontrarse cara a cara con belleza natural tan fascinante que es imposible capturar en foto. Hay demasiado que ver y hacer en el patio de Playa del Carmen, que por cada aventura que borro de mi lista de deseos una más se agrega. Mientras más descubro, más ganas me dan de decir a todo el mundo sobre los cientos de maravillosos encuentros que tendrán en la Península de Yucatán en México.

 

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Ya sea que estas viajando con amigos, familia o en pareja, te sugiero ampliamente este increíble día de excursión. El viaje comienza en Playa del Carmen, continua hacia la antigua ciudad maya Ek’ Balam, después pasa por el cenote Hubiku y la última parada es en el colonial pueblo de Valladolid. Planea empezar muy temprano porque el tiempo vuela cuando la estás pasando bien! Quedaras tan enganchado después de la primera parada, que no querrás perderte ninguna de las siguientes actividades en esta intrigante aventura natural y cultural.

 

 

¿A Quién le Encantara Este Día de Tour?

 

Al atravesar este mágico día, tendrás la oportunidad de escalar los 115 escalones de los bien preservados remanentes de templos Mayas, nadaras en la intensa agua turquesa de uno de los cenotes más impresionantes y turistear por los antiguos conventos y la catedral de tiempos coloniales del Pueblo Mágico de Valladolid.

 

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Andar en lo alto de un templo puede sonar desalentador, sin embargo, no éramos los únicos en el paseo, en nuestro grupo, nos acompañaron escaladores de todas las edades. Un papa tomo la mano de su pequeño de dos años y personas de la tercera edad sin mayor complicación llegaron a la cima y todos disfrutamos de las espectaculares vistas.

En el cenote, hay chalecos salvavidas disponibles para que las refrescantes aguas se puedan probar desde cualquier edad, sin importar si se sabe o no nadar.

 

 

Cabe mencionar que, la experiencia dura aproximadamente de 8 a 10 horas, lo cual quizá sea mucho para niños pequeños. La parte de la escalada puede no ser adecuada para papas con bebes. El resto del día, no importa la edad, todos podrán apreciar y disfrutar los aspectos históricos y culturales de esta especial expedición mexicana.

 

 

¡Llegar Ahí!

 

La mejor opción es rentar un auto si estas de visita temporal en la Riviera Maya. Si prefieres relajarte y no conducir por ti mismo, hay varias formas de llegar a Valladolid desde Playa del Carmen.

 

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Manejar a través de la Península de Yucatán es muy seguro y disfrutable. Antes de la construcción de la autopista 305, te tomaba una hora extra de Playa del Carmen a Valladolid o Merida. Créeme cuando te digo que vale la pena pagar las cuotas de peaje, pues conducir por la autopista te libra de manejar por pequeñas ciudades y sus interminables “Topes”. Estos terribles reductores de velocidad aparecen cada 100 metros en los pueblitos y aumentan tu tiempo al volante (¡sin mencionar los daños que podrías causar a tu vehículo si no estás prestando atención y te saltas uno!)

 

Rentar un auto es ideal para explorar la Riviera Maya y sus alrededores. Personalmente, hemos tenido buenas experiencias con Hertz, ubicada al norte sobre la Avenida 10 en Playa del Carmen, o reservar a través de Orbitz.com

 

También hay suficientes servicios de van privados de buena reputación, que te permitirán personalizar tu itinerario. Si tu grupo es de 4 o más, un tour en van privada es tu mejor opción. Puedes dividir el costo con tus acompañantes y tener un chofer particular que está dispuesto a parar cuando sea y donde sea que se lo pidas durante la ruta. La tarifa es determinada al momento de reservar, usualmente te incluyen bebidas y equipo de esnórquel.

 

Una tercera opción es tomar el autobús ADO a Valladolid desde Playa del Carmen, cuesta aproximadamente $10 USD por viaje. En Valladolid, necesitaras tomar un taxi a Ek Balam y al Cenote Hubiku. El ultimo autobús de Valladolid Playa del Carmen sale a las 8:40 pm.

 

 

Ek’ Balam

 

Esta Antigua ciudad, cuyo nombre significa significa “Jaguar Negro” es el recinto Maya menos visitado entre sus vecinos, Chichen Itza, Tulum y Coba. Llegamos a las 10 de la mañana y encontramos el sorprendente sitio súper tranquilo, con apenas uno que otro visitante a parte de nosotros.

 

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Una de las cosas que más apreciamos fue que muchos de los árboles nativos de la región pero que son difíciles de identificar, tenían una inscripción con su nombre en para que pudiéramos reconocerlos.

El fascinante dúo del bien y el mal mejor conocidos como Chechem y Chaka, son árboles que crecen siempre uno junto del otro en la selva de Centro América. El Chechem libera savia toxica que al contacto con la piel produce inflamación y salpullido. Sin embargo, y por fortuita casualidad, la corteza del árbol del Chaka es el antídoto.

Otro árbol a notar es el Baalche, del cual los Mayas y aun hoy en día, hacen el vino balché ceremonial (levemente intoxicante).

La primera estructura interesante del sitio es el arco puntiagudo erguido junto a los restos de un sac-be (camino maya elevado) que alguna vez estuvo conectado a Coba y Chichen Itza.

 

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Aprendimos que Ek’ Balam fue habitado durante aproximadamente 1000 años y pudo haber sido ocupado desde el año 100-300 AC. La primera obra de excavación oficial inicio apenas en 1985 y se descubrió, no la más alta, pero si una de las construcciones más esplendidas de la civilización Maya: la Acrópolis. El notorio templo tiene 160 metros de largo por 70 metros de ancho y 31 metros de altura. Los arqueólogos descubrieron 72 habitaciones dentro de la estructura, uno de ellos contiene la tumba del emperador de la ciudad Ukit Kan Le’k Tok.

 

 

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Tallados en piedra intrincados a dos tercios del camino en la Acrópolis han revelado colosal jaguar que protege la entrada. En la plaza central del sitio se encuentran dos columnas talladas llamadas los Gemelos. Los dos pilares eran erguidos por los mayas para conmemorar fechas o eventos importantes. Los jeroglíficos en uno de los pilares, representan a Ukit Kan Le’k Tok con su enorme penacho de gala.

 

Aunque se han mapeado los 12 kilómetros cuadrados de esta milenaria ciudad, solo se alcanza a ver la plaza ceremonial central de aproximadamente 1 milla cuadrada. A un kilómetro y medio de este lugar está el hermoso cenote X’Canche. Puedes rentar una bicicleta o tomar un triciclo con chofer, también conocido como “Limusina Maya”.

 

La entrada al cenote X’Canche tiene costo adicional, pero la frescura del agua es tentadora después de haber recorrido el territorio de Ek’Balam. Puedes admirar la vista panorámica de la exuberante selva y el místico ambiente desde un Puente colgante que atraviesa el cenote. Si te atreves, reúne el coraje de tu niño interior y balancéate desde la cuerda o la tirolesa hasta la alberca natural.

 

 

Lo que debe saber:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Direcciones.

 

Si decidiste rentar un auto, toma la Avenida Luis Donaldo Colosio, que pasa por el mini súper Bodega Aurrera, dirigiéndote al oeste de Playa del Carmen. Esta avenida, se convierte en la Carretera Federal 305. Está en perfecto estado y se convirte en dos carriles por dirección poco después de haber salido de Playa del Carmen. El camino está bordeado por selva espesa, lo que hace este camino muy disfrutable. Pon mucha atención, a menudo podrías ver una que otra tarántula o un mono araña intentando cruzar la carretera.

Sigue la señalización que dice Merida Cuota, que gira a la derecha. Llegaras a la caseta de cobro, donde tendrás que pagar una cuota de $250 a $270 pesos ($15 USD) por un coche de chico a mediano. De aquí, toma toma la salida a Tizimin para salir a la Carretera 295. Justo antes de llegar al pueblito Temozon, hay un campo de agave, las espinosas plantas de las que proviene el tequila. Sobre la carretera puedes comprar ricas empanadas o parar en un puesto de tacos para probar autentica comida mexicana.

 

Continua sobre esta carretera y a las salidas del pueblo, vas a encontrar el Cenote Hubiku a tu derecha. Nosotros decidimos ir primero al sitio arqueológico de Ek’ Balam para evitar andar bajo el intenso calor del día. Está a solo 5 minutos más manejando sobre un camino sin pavimento, pero hay buenas señalizaciones. Continua hasta topar con pared, que es el estacionamiento de Ek’ Balam.

 

 

 

Hubiku Cenote Y Park

 

El siguiente en el itinerario:  Hubiku, un pintoresco oasis tropical 5 kilómetros antes de Ek’ Balam. Dentro de este tesoro natural, se encuentra un pueblo Maya con una exhibición de jardines con vibrantes flores nativas. Además, la colorida y serena zona, hay un cenote tipo caverna, un museo de tequila, hamacas, una estación de bebidas, una sala con bufet y una tienda de recuerdos.

 

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Esta no es una visita casual a un cenote. La bienvenida Maya que te dan los locales es excepcionalmente cálida, el campo amplio y en impecable estado. La cuota de entrada es de $250 MXN pesos para extranjeros, $200 para nacionales y ofrecen el 50% de descuento para niños menores de 10 años. La entrada incluye el bufete, una degustación de tequila, nado en el cenote y chalecos salvavidas.

 

El bufet ofrece una variedad de opines de carne, incluyendo la tradicional Cochinita Pibil Yucateca. Como acompañantes hay arroz, pasta, papas cambray, puré de papa con ensalada y verduras al vapor. La barra de ensaladas presenta riquísimas pastas frías, ensaladas verdes, ensalada de col, fruta fresca baguettes y bollos. Al terminal el abundante bufet, te esperan ricos postres como los típicos pasteles de Tres Leches, galletas y gelatinas.

 

El personal de servicio, de hecho, todos los empleados el parque que conocimos, fueron más que agradables y dispuestos a compartir su conocimiento, lo que hizo de nuestra visita una experiencia altamente disfrutable. A media comida, una pareja de artistas presento un baile cultural mexicano. De pronto la música comenzó a sonar más fuerte por las bocinas y al ritmo de una especie de waltz, salió una mujer con un hermoso vestido blanco y flores en el cabello, balanceando una bandeja de bebidas sobre su cabeza, a continuación, se unió a ella un hombre con una botella de cerveza cuidadosamente sostenida en su cabeza y procedieron a bailar con mucha gracias a través del salón de banquetes.

 

Después del almuerzo, realizamos una gira de tequila en la cual nos dieron una breve introducción sobre la historia del tequila y su producción. Dentro de la tienda, los adultos del grupo, tuvieron la oportunidad d aprobar al menos 10 variedades de tequila, incluyendo sabores como tequila de café, cacahuate, coco y los sabores más comunes, como tequila blanco, añejo y reposado. ¡El tequila blanco es lo suficientemente fuerte como para encender una fogata! Mi favorito fue el tequila de café.

 

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A continuación, procedimos al Segundo cenote del día. Siguiendo por un sinuoso camino de grava hasta que llegamos una escalera con dirección al subsuelo, esta te dirige a uno de los tres cenotes mas increíbles que he presenciado en la Península de Yucatán. Mientras bajaba por la escalera hacia Hubiku, me quede boquiabierta al llegar a la plataforma principal. En el techo de la inmensa cueva hay una pequeña abertura que deja pasar apenas la suficiente luz para alcanzar a iluminar el impresionante cenote exponiendo sus aguas transparentes casi de color esmeralda.

 

Hay chalecos salvavidas y lockers disponibles, ¡pero no tienen candado! Nosotros pusimos nuestras bolsas de playa en un rincón y nos fuimos a sumergir en el cenote. Flotar en mi espalda, mirando la luz natural filtrándose sobre las formaciones de piedra caliza, me dejo con una sensación de total paz y asombro. El emociónate nado dentro de esta caverna milenaria fue en definitiva el punto máximo dentro de todo un día lleno de memorables momentos.

 

 

Valladolid

 

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Los encuentros mágicos no terminaron ahí. El gran finale de nuestro día de tour es una visita a Valladolid, aproximadamente 12 kilómetros de Temozon. Esta pequeña ciudad colonial que fue designada como uno de los 112 Pueblos Mágicos del siglo en el año 2012 gracias a su rica historia y belleza natural.

 

Valladolid fue construida en 1545 en la villa Maya de Zaci. Se dice que es en esta ciudad donde se encendió la chispa de la revolución que dio origen a la Guerra de Castas. A las afueras del centro de la ciudad, hay un monumento dedicado a los 6 valientes jóvenes héroes nacionales que lucharon con su vida valientemente contra el Ejercito de los Estados Unidos en el Castillo de Chapultepec en la Ciudad de México.

 

En el centro de Valladolid, encontraras una pintoresca plaza con bancas antiguas y una fuente en el centro. El concurrido Parque Francisco Cantón, ofrece la oportunidad perfecta para echar un vistazo a la vida mexicana. Hay vendedores de helado y marquesitas (crepas doraditas rellenas de nutella y queso bola, típicas de Yucatán). Los locales disfrutan de relajarse bajo la sombra de los enormes árboles que hay en la plaza. En las calles aledañas al parque, hay hoteles de diferentes estilos, tiendas y la imponente Catedral de San Gervasio.

 

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Hay una historia que circula sobre un obscuro pasado de la iglesia. Durante la revuelta del siglo 19 entre los nativos mayas y los hacendados españoles, los terratenientes mayas y sus familias, que habían buscado refugio dentro de la catedral, fueron encontrados y masacrados. Se dice que la iglesia tiene una maldición debido a los cuerpos ensangrentados que cubrieron todo el piso hasta el altar.

 

Valladolid es una ciudad muy pequeña y transitable, con bonitas tiendas artesanales y mansiones restauradas que se convirtieron en hoteles y restaurantes. También hay un museo de propiedad privada con la mayor colección de arte popular mexicano llamado La Casa de los Venados.

 

Antes de partir de una de las ciudades más amigables de México, no olvides visitar el Convento de San Bernardino de Siena, ¡tienes que! La construcción de este edificio fue completada en 1560 y exhibe retablos finamente tallados, así como una liga hilera de arcos exteriores en la fachada frontal. Además de albergar Frailes Franciscanos Evangélicos, en este convento se encuentra la celda donde alguna vez estuvo prisionero el famoso pirata Lorencillos.

 

Lo que debes saber sobre el Convento de San Bernardino:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Este sencillo día de tour desde Playa del Carmen una experiencia tú y tus acompañantes no olvidaran. Con parte históricas y culturales y la perfecta mezcla de aventura, este mini escape es la forma ideal de pasar un día en la Riviera Maya.

Best Summer Vacation Destinations in the Yucatan Peninsula

Being based out of Playa del Carmen, Mexico has its advantages. Besides its central location, this area receives over 300 days of sunshine per year. Due to this ideal warm weather climate, kids can spend most of their time in the great outdoors. As any parent is well aware, children have boundless energy. Behaviorally speaking, they tend to operate at their best when they have a healthy outlet for that non-stop enthusiasm.

A Mexico vacation will not only do wonders for your little energizer bunnies but spending a week immersed in nature boosts moods all around.  They’ll get plenty of fresh air splashing in the pool, building sand castles, biking through the jungle, and engaging in a myriad of water sports. Furthermore, the dozens of eco-parks in the area offer enough exhilarating activities to keep a family busy year round. Most importantly, you’ll won’t hear those dreadful words, «I’m bored.»

Our troop has discovered an endless list of best places to travel in Mexico with family. But in this article, we will start with 6 top family-friendly summer vacation spots the Yucatan Peninsula.

Why Travel To The Yucatan Peninsula Is A Perfect Choice For A Family Vacation

 

Map of Yucatan Peninsula

Covering the Southeastern states of Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo, the Yucatan Peninsula is incredibly rich in scenic and historical routes. Scattered throughout the region are thousands of cenotes and ancient Mayan cities. Whether you plan a relaxing beach vacation, a spellbinding road trip, or a combination of both, there is no doubt your travel experience will be unforgettable.

Millions of annual visitors find that navigating this area is a piece of cake. Take for example the father and son duo I recently met in a restaurant in Tulum. The two were on their second trip to Mexico to explore lesser visited archaeological sites such as Kabah, Dzibilchaltun, and Calakmul. With toll roads cutting travel time, 6 Pueblos Magicos (Magical Towns) and 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites to discover, the Yucatan Peninsula is bursting with hundreds of activities to easily fill a weeklong vacation itinerary.

1. Merida, Yucatan

Things to do in Merida

Plaza in Merida

One of the safest cities in Mexico to vacation, you’ll fall in love with Merida and its unique union of historic, modern and artful appeal. The city’s downtown core is best discovered by foot. There are storefronts out of a 1940 country and western film, charming squares shaded by massive trees and surrounded by delightful cafes. The opera house, Teatro Peon Contreras, is an architectural masterpiece with opulent staircases. Furthermore, the Municipal Palace features stunning murals by Yucateco painter Fernando Castro Pacheco.

Located near the Northwestern edge of the Yucatan Peninsula, this captivating colonial city was built upon the former Mayan city of T’Ho. When the Spanish moved in to take over, the Mayan structures were dismantled. Those same stones were used in the construction of some of the 13 cathedrals still standing in Merida’s historical zone. On Friday nights, a free, video-mapping light and sound show is produced on the façade of the grand Merida Cathedral in the Plaza Grande.

If your children are fans of the popular movie ‘Coco’, they will definitely be enthralled with a visit to the Merida cemetery. Rows upon rows of multi-colored mausoleums laden with dried flowers, candles and photos give a glance into the lives of lost loved ones.

Day trips from Merida

Izamal, Pueblo Magico

Izamal, ‘The Yellow Town’

Uxmal, Archaeological Site

Yucatan Ring of Cenotes

 

Where to Stay in Merida

Hotel Victoria sits on Paseo de Montejo, a ‘Street of Dreams’-type avenue boasting awe-inspiring mansions. Built in the 1900s by wealthy henequen farmers, the stately architecture was intended to rival the most captivating Parisian streets of that period. Today, these homes operate as bank branches, office buildings, museums and one of the most gorgeous Starbucks you will ever drink a latte in.

Pasejo de Montejo, Merida, Yucatan

Airbnb is also a great option as you can stay in beautifully restored colonial homes with cathedral ceilings, chequered floors, and picturesque gardens. In the city center, Hotel Mision Panamericana offers the perfect location. Walk to the Santa Lucia for dinner, have an exceptional breakfast at La Chaya Maya, and shop for spices and shoes at the Lucas de Galvez Mercado.

If your budget allows, a stay in an elegant hacienda is an experience like no other. In the 1800s, when the henequen industry thrived, landowners built their own villages behind the walls of these sprawling estates. Peruse the chapels, doctors’ offices, school classrooms and impressive living quarters that have since been transformed into luxury hotel properties.

 

2. Cancun. Quintana Roo

Things to do in Cancun

While Cancun does have a notorious reputation for being a rowdy spring break destination, it still has many admirable features going for it. Vast, white sand beaches and a slew of exceptional family-friendly attractions continue to attract sun-seekers from around the globe.

Get wet and wild at Ventura Park, an all-inclusive outdoor arena for fun and adventure. Teenagers can be a tough crowd when it comes to planning activities they will not yawn over. However, Ventura’s wide range of installations from wedgy-inducing water slides to go-karts and riveting roller coasters, make this attraction a guaranteed winner. Young adults, preschoolers, and adults who are teens at heart will have a great time testing the array of installations within this ultimate fun zone.

Ventura Park

La Isla is a high-end outdoor shopping village within the hotel zone but offers much more beyond popular brand name stores. Dozens of restaurants line the serene canal and present a gorgeous view of the sunset. Thai Lounge is one such restaurant with a spectacular lagoon setting. Take in the awesome panoramic views from the Ferris Wheel and visit the interactive Aquarium where the kids can observe exotic sea creatures and dolphins at play.

Pirate Show & Dinner at Sea. Sailors of every age will become mesmerized when their ship encounters a pirate invasion. Both the actors and exquisite surf and turf menu make this sunset dinner cruise a delight. The show begins at 6:30 p.m. and last 4 hours. Tickets start at $70 USD; kids are half price, but book ahead online to save.

Day Trips From Cancun

Swim with Whale Sharks, Isla Mujeres

 

Xavage Park, Riviera Maya

Xavage Park 

Crococun Zoo

 

Where to Stay in Cancun

The hotel zone is an optimal Cancun location if you are staying with your kids. Incredible all-inclusive hotels at every price range line the splendid Caribbean shores. Our top picks highlight the best kids clubs and offer an abundance of activities from cooking classes and a flying trapeze school to water sports. Even your teens will enjoy clubs that separate the little kids from the big ones, so they can have their own space to relax and have fun.

For the best all-inclusive family vacations in Cancun, our votes go to Club Med Cancun Yucatan, Paradisus Cancun in the heart of the hotel zone, and Moon Palace just south of the airport.

3. Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

Things to do in Playa del Carmen

One of the things our visiting relatives love is walking along Playa del Carmen’s famous 5thAvenue, a cobblestone street blocked to traffic. It’s the perfect spot to indulge in an upscale dinner, window shop and enjoy an ice cream or a churro (a Mexican pastry sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon).

Danza de los Voladores

At the south end of 5thAvenue, is Parque Fundadores, where the iconic Portal Maya structure stands looking onto the majestic Caribbean. Every day, there are free cultural performances such as the ‘Danza de los Voladores’ as well as Mayan warrior ceremonies. Just 3 blocks up the street, on the corner of 15 Avenue and Benito Juarez, try the best authentic Mexican street food including tacos and empanadas.

In the heart of downtown between Calle 12 and 14, just steps from 5this El Acuario. This a chance for an up-close encounter with tropical creatures such as lionfish, seahorses, stingrays, and jellyfish. In the same neighborhood, on 10th Avenue in between Calle 8 and 10, is the 3-D Museum of Wonders. Get your camera ready to capture the amusing illusions that invite visitors to become part of the artwork.

Joya Dinner Show takes place at the beautiful Vidanta jungle venue approximately 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen. This highly entertaining resident Circle du Soleil spectacle features theatrics, acrobatics, and contortionists. Tickets for adults start at $77 USD. However, if possible, splurge on the dinner option, which features creatively designed courses to accompany the outstanding show.

Day Trips from Playa del Carmen

Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park

Akumal Monkey Sanctuary

Chikin Ha Park

 

Where To Stay In Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen has a modest all-inclusive hotel zone and a handful of oceanfront hotels in the downtown area. The downside of an all-inclusive stay it that guests are less inclined to leave the confines of the property. Many visitors miss the chance to discover the friendly local feel and delicious authentic tastes of this magnificent region. Besides the monotony of an all-inclusive stay,  parents are forced to succumb to the same bedtimes as their young children.  A condo rental allows for your own privacy to unwind in your own space after the juniors are asleep.

Oceana Luxury Condo Hotel

Staying in a vacation rental does not mean that you must sacrifice amenities. Bric Vacation Rentals provides a superb inventory of properties featuring beach clubs with snack bars as well as lavish, resort-style pools. Most importantly, you receive 24/7 access to a designated or on-site Bric ambassador. This Playa expert can answer any questions you have, as well as help to arrange transportation, grocery delivery, dinner reservations, and tours. Having a trusted and knowledgeable person to show you the way to the best the city has to offer, ensures your holiday’s success.

4. Holbox, Quintana Roo

Things to do in Holbox

Jade green waters of the Gulf of Mexico surround this sleepy, little island. It is our go-to weekend getaway for relaxing and unplugging, as it is only 1 hour 20 minutes from Playa del Carmen. Consider a three nights stay in Holbox a perfect accompaniment to a few nights in the Riviera Maya.

Holbox Rustic Island

From June 1st to September 15th, whale sharks feed off the rich plankton source in the Yum Balam Biosphere near Holbox. One of our family’s most memorable weekends since living here was an excursion to swim with these spotted goliaths. On that unforgettable Holbox boat tour, we saw sea turtles, dolphins, flying fish, whale sharks and flamingos in their natural habitats. Finally, we parked on the rustic shore of a heavenly island boasting astoundingly clear, blue waters that left us speechless. As we sipped on cold cervezas, the captain prepared us freshly prepared ceviche.

Another not-to-be-missed summertime activity in Holbox is witnessing the glowing blue nightly phenomenon. Select the guided kayak tour option, or investigate to find the best location for viewing the plankton on your own. As the water along the shoreline is stirred, these fascinating microorganisms begin to glow. This natural wonder is known as bioluminescence.

Day Trips From Holbox

Chichen Itza Mayan Ruins and Cenote Ik’il

 

Where To Stay in Holbox

A place we return to time and time again is Ensueño Holbox Apartments. The tropical oasis provides accommodations to fit a family of 5, with a kitchenette. The booking comes with breakfast, access to a palm-fringed swimming pool, and a discount at the nearby Carolinda Beach Club. The Caribbean vibe inspires nothing more than basking in the sun and cooling off in the hammocks in the shallow waters a few feet from the shore. There are bike, paddleboard or golf cart rentals just a 10-minute walk down the glorious coastline.

Ensueno Apartments Holbox

When it comes to dining, the lobster pizza at Cariocas Pizzas is a must. One of our favorite off-the-beaten-path island eateries for casual Mexican and seafood dishes is El Crustaceo Kascarudo. For lunch, sample some of the best local cuisine such as tamales, ceviche, and tacos at the quaint, 100% authentic Las Panchas.

5. Cozumel, Quintana Roo

Things To Do In Cozumel

On account of the extremely high water clarity, Cozumel became known for its superior diving and snorkeling conditions. Moreover, the close proximity of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest in the world) presents coral reefs teeming with colorful Caribbean Sea life. In these waters, it’s highly likely to have a run in with Nemo and Dory, along with more hair-raising creatures like sea spiders. The best aspect of staying in a Cozumel hotel or condo rental is that you can snorkel right from your property.

Cozumel Island, Mexican Caribbean

In the center of the western shoreline of Cozumel is Chankanaab Adventure Beach Park.  Within the pristine natural setting are white sand beaches, tropical gardens, manatee and dolphin exhibitions, sea trek and snuba excursions, zip lines, and a tequila tasting experience.

Also in Chankanaab Park is the Atlantis Submarine adventure. As a passenger, you will sink to depths of 100 feet to explore the local reef. The one-of-a-kind underwater expedition gives you the chance to peer out the portholes at sunken ships, manta rays and sea turtles.  If you’re lucky, you may even see a mermaid!

Where To Stay In Cozumel

Towards the southwestern shore is theReef Residences. Choose from stylish 1 to 4 bedroom vacation homes, some of which boast their own plunge pools. Engulfed in exotic foliage, the communal pool sits at the heart of the substantial, oceanfront property. A silky sand beach is speckled with lounge chairs shaded by thatched-roof huts. Paradise Beach is just a short stroll away and has restaurants as well as an inflatable water park. You can relax and savor the view, while the kids to burn off some of their energy reserves.

Reef Residences is about a 15-minute drive to the city center, so we rent a jeep during our stays in Cozumel. Spend a full day touring laid-back beach clubs such as Palancar, The Money Bar, and Coconuts. On the southern tip of the island is Punta Sur with its lighthouse, maritime museum, and lagoons, home to toothy local residents, the American crocodiles.

Day Trips From Cozumel

El Cielo, "Heaven" in Cozumel

El Cielo (Heaven)

6. Bacalar, Quintana Roo

Things To Do In Bacalar

Breathe deep. You’ll want to savor every magical moment of your time in Bacalar, a.k.a the Lagoon of 7 Colors. This small town, approximately 3 hours from Playa del Carmen, was once a tiny village frequently pillaged by real-life pirates of the Caribbean.

While in Bacalar, you will want to spend as much of your two or three-day visit (max) on the water. Boat tours take you to two cenotes that feed into the lake. The kiddos can spend time swinging from a rope into the refreshing waters, and then head over to the Pirate’s Canal for more dips in water as blue as the Maldives.

Pirate's Canal in the Lagoon of 7 Colors, Bacalar

At Fort San Felipe Museum is an intriguing display of artifacts and historical information of the area. Read reports on the infamous pirates who once ransacked the town. Plus, be sure to get a photo next to the cannons, which line the stone rampart and overlook the dazzling lagoon.

Day Trips From Bacalar

Los Rapidos, Bacalar

Los Rapidos

 

Where To Stay In Bacalar

Villa Pehaltun is an expansive property offering a friendly atmosphere similar to that of a charming Mexican camping adventure. Yet the 3 cabanas have all of the convenient amenities you need. The hosts have every water toy you can think of and will gladly take you on the lake for an exhilarating afternoon of water skiing and wakeboarding. Go for an early morning paddle and relish the tranquillity of the calm waters in front of this prime piece of Bacalar real estate.

For an unbeatable ambiance and picture-perfect setting, request a table at La Playita. Enjoy casual Mexican and seafood dishes and choose from a vast drink menu. It’s a superb spot to end an enchanting day and to create lasting childhood memories in the Yucatan Peninsula.

 

Uno de los destinos mas bellos en la Riviera Maya es la pintoresca ciudad costera de Tulum. Con amplios tramos de blanca y suave arena y agua azul traslucida, es una perfecta fotografía. ¡Muchos locales concuerdan en que algunas de las mejores playas de las costas del Caribe están en Tulum!

Tulum También tiene un estilo relajado y una atmosfera propia. ¡Este ambiente bohemio y fresco te atrapa! Con tan solo unos minutos de abre llegado a este lugar, sientes como si tus preocupaciones y estrés de alguna manera desaparecen.

No importa quién eres, o cuál es tu estilo preferido de vacacionar, ¡hay algo aquí que complace a todo el mundo! Vale la pena echar un vistazo durante tu estancia en Mexico; ya sea para un tour de día o una estancia de un par de noches. Dentro de la ciudad y a sus alrededores, hay mucho que ver y que hacer. Entre los íntimos hoteles boutique y los tramos de prístinas playas, hay restaurantes y tiendas, estudios de yoga, actividades culturales, y por supuesto, deportes acuáticos.

Como Llegar

Tulum está a 45 minutos al sur de Playa del Carmen en auto (130km / 80 millas del Aeropuerto internacional de Cancun). Es un recorrido directo sobre la Carretera Federal 307. La carreta de dos vías atraviesa la propia ciudad, y la playa esta a 5 minutos de distancia. ¡Toma en cuenta que se hace un poco lejos desde el aeropuerto y puede parecer como un largo día de viaje!

Si no quieres rentar un auto, puedes tomar el autobús ADO desde el aeropuerto y deja que ellos te conduzcan. También puedes tomar el ADO desde la terminal en Playa del Carmen, localizada en la esquina de la Avenida Juárez y 5ta Avenida. El precio del autobús es razonable, son cómodos, y tienen sanitario y aire acondicionado. La opción más económica de llegar a Tulum es tomar el “colectivo”. Estas van colectivas van y vienen todo el dia sobre la carretera, subiendo y bajando pasajeros a lo largo de esta. Son rápidas, comodas y si, si tienen cinturones de seguridad y un poco de espacio para tus maletas! Puedes agarrar una de estas directamente en la Carretera o en su base que esta sobre la Calle 2 entre Avenidas 15 y 20.

Antiguas Ruinas Mayas

Quizá el mayor atractivo de esta ciudad son las Ruinas Mayas. Cuando llegas a la ciudad, el sitio arqueológico esta inmediatamente a tu izquierda, esta bien señalizado sobre la carretera. (¡No hay forma de que pierdas la entrada, los topes reductores de velocidad te harán si o si darte cuenta!)

Esta santa ciudad pre-Colombina, que se alza sobre acantilados en el mar caribe, es un deber. El precio de la entrada es de $40 pesos por persona (un poco mas si eliges un tur guiado o poder tomar fotos). Esta maravilla arqueológica abre de 8 de la mañana a 5 de la tarde. El sitio en si es bastante amplio con estructuras aun de pie. ¡Está prohibido escalar las estructuras, sorry! Prepárate en su lugar para una buena caminata.

Te sugerimos traer una sombrilla contigo si no quieres mucho sol, también trae botella de agua y repelente de mosquitos sobre todo en días nublados. ¡Recuerda que estas en la jungla caribeña después de todo! Los caminos son fáciles de recorrer, con facilidad puede andar una silla de ruedas de ser necesaria. Hay una increíblemente hermosa playa disponible para que te refresques bajando el acantilado, así que también trae tu talla contigo. Toma tu cámara y toma las mejores fotos estilo postal desde el acantilado al impresionante turquesa del Caribe.

Hay estacionamiento, alimentos y bebidas en la entrada principal (Algunos tienen Aire Acondicionado, otros son puestos de pizza y tacos.)

Tip – Evita la multitud de turistas que visitan de los cruceros, llegando a primera hora en la mañana si te es posible. ¡Vale la pena! También evitaras la intensidad del calor tropical del medio día y la resolana que rebota en las ruinas.

Si lo que tu quieres es admirar la pirámide mas alta de la Península de Yucatán (y darte el luego de escalarla ya que si está permitido), el sitio arqueológico de Coba esta a una hora de Tulum. Este en si es un excelente tour de un día.

Las Playas de Tulum

Una ves que terminaste tu aventura en los sitios arqueológicos, probablemente estés listo para recostarte en un camastro o en una hamaca bajo una palmera. Tulum tiene algunas de las mejores playas de la Riviera Maya. Del estilo de los comerciales de Corona han sido tomados aquí. ¡Encuentra tu favorita!

Cuando llegas a la intersección para Boca Paila / Punta Alen te preguntaras hacía que lado ir? ¡Si estás buscando aventuras y las playas vírgenes de tus sueños ve al Norte! ¡Si lo que quieres es estar en el centro de la acción con muchas actividades y clubes de playa, ve al Sur!

Protegidas por el arrecife, las playas en el extremo norte del camino, ¡son verdaderamente increíbles! Algunas fantásticas opciones son Playa Maya y Playa Paraíso (muy cerca de las ruinas). Toma el camino a Boca Paila desde el centro y da vuelta a la izquierda (norte) en la intersección sobre la carretera donde ves el Pilar de Tulum. Un poco más adelante, encontraras señalamientos y estacionamientos que marcan la entrada.

Estas playas públicas en el norte, son la opción perfecta si eres del estilo de viajero independiente. ¡Solo empaca una hielera con tus bebidas favoritas y unas sillas de playa, quizá una pelota de fútbol y estás listo! (Puedes comprar casi todo lo que necesitas en el Chedraui sobre que esta sobre el camino. Esta en la avenida a Boca Paila, antes de llegar a la Intersección T. también sobre esa ruta hay un Oxxo con botanas, bajaras, ¡cervezas, hieleras, equipo de esnórquel y otros accesorios necesarios para la playa!)

A los niños de todas las edades les encanta pasear y jugar en la amplia orilla de arena bañada por las suaves olas del mar. Disfruta de un momento de calidad en familia: aquí tienes un montón de espacio para lanzar un balón de futbol o un frisbee.

A la temperatura perfecta, puedes caminar lejos dentro del agua antes de llegar a lo profundo. ¡O acomoda tu silla de playa en la orillita y mantén tus pies frescos! El agua es super tranquila y transparente aquí. ¡Realmente es la playa de tus sueños!

Restaurantes en Tulum

Recomendación – Para comer y cenar, checa el hotel Mezzanine boutique para autentica cocina Thai y un extenso menú de Margaritas!

Si tu estilo es relajarte en un elegante club de playa, hamacas y camastros te esperan en Ziggy’s en el extremo sur del camino a Boca Paila. ¡La comida y el ambiente son espectaculares! ¡El menú es gourmet y no encontraras un mejor paisaje!

Prueba el ceviche de mango o los slabutes de camarones y chipotle. Para tener acceso a sus instalaciones hay un consume mínimo de $25 USD por persona. (¡Esto te cuesta un par de mojitos y una orden de tacos de camarones! Nada mal para un día extraordinario para posteridad) Ellos abren de 9am hasta el atardecer.

Otra exclusiva opción, pero más romántica es Villa de las Estrellas. ¡Este lugar es absolutamente mágico al ocaso!

Hay más actividades en el extremo norte, incluyendo esnórquel, pesca, kite-boarding y muchas más. También puedes rentar una bicicleta y pedalear sobre el camino hasta el extremo sur donde empieza la reserva de la Biosfera de Punta Alen. Casi todos los hoteles rentan bicicletas; no te costara trabajo encontrarlas.

Si te convences de abandonar la playa, hay muchos lugares mas que ver en los alrededores de Tulum. ¡Cuando estas en el Caribe, tienes que comer mariscos! Asegúrate de hacer una parada para una merienda en El Camello, operado por la cooperativa de pescadores local. Sobra decir que aquí la comida es fresca y deliciosa. Otra alternativa es la Piola para pizza y pasta. Esta cadena de restaurantes es moderna y divertida, con un horno forno. Ambos están ubicados en el boulevard paralelo a la carretera federal, justo en el corazón de Tulum.

¿Compras después del lunch? Las compras aquí son una gran y única experiencia, con una amplia variedad de artículos artesanales, ¡ropa y regalos hechos a la medida que no entontaras en ningún otro lugar! Advertencia: ten cuidado con el uso de cajeros automáticos independientes (las comisiones por retiro son ridículamente excesivas). Adquiere pesos en cualquier banco de la ciudad. Muchos establecimientos aceptan dólares americanos (a un tipo de cambio descuente, pero no el mejor), y algunos también aceptan tarjetas de crédito. ¡Asegúrate de verificar las anteriores antes de sentarte a comer o empezar a elegir recuerdos!

Tortugas, Cenotes y Eco-Turismo

Tulum se enorgullece de su eco-turismo. De mayo a noviembre veras nidos de tortugas protegidos sobre las playas. ¡Ver a los bebes nacer y buscar su camino al océano es una experiencia inolvidable! Todos los hoteles y las tiendas sobre la playa funcionan con generadores y paneles eólicos o solares.

Si siempre has querido ver un cenote, estas en el lugar indicado. Estas albercas naturales de aguas fresca abundan en la Península de Yucatán. Con aguas cristalinas e impresionantes cavernas, son una verdadera maravilla natural. ¡Algunos de los mejores están aquí! ¡En Tulum!

El Grand Cenote es increíblemente hermoso y tiene extraordinarias cavernas submarinas llenas de pilares y estalagmitas. Definitivamente traer o alquilar equipo de esnórquel para este cenote vale la pena. Cuenta con estacionamiento, área de picnic, vestidores, casilleros y baños. ¡Es una opción ideal para tu primera experiencia en un cenote! Le encantara a toda la familia. (si tienes niños pequeños, hay áreas arenosas poco profundas para que puedan explorar. Una característica de este cenote es el área de tortugas). Este paradisiaco lugar está ubicado sobre la Carretera a Mérida, a un par de millas al oeste de la primera intersección importante en Tulum. No te lo pierdas!

Casa Cenote, está a 10 minutos al norte sobre la carretera a Playa del Carmen y es un buen y refrescante paseo. Este cenote profundo está rodeado de mangle y es favorito de buzos. $40 pesos te permitirán el acceso. No es una mala idea rentar un kayak y remar por el lugar. ¡Ningún otro cenote de este tamaño tan cerca de la playa (literalmente pasando un caminito de tierra) ese es su mayor distintivo! Algunas casas y restaurants salpican la bahía de este lugar.

¡Sin duda alguna, esta pintoresca y acogedora villa caribeña te está llamando! ¡Experimenta los paisajes marinos naturalmente extravagantes y el ambiente relajado de Tulum!

Christmas in Playa del Carmen

So you decided to celebrate the holidays at the beach this year. You look forward to spending some uninterrupted, quality time with those who are most important to you. However, just because you’re in a different country, doesn’t mean you have to forego the festivities.

We’ve put together a list of current events happening in Playa del Carmen during the week of Christmas. We hope the information provided will give you some ideas for fun, while seeing some areas of the city you might not have thought about visiting. But our biggest wish is that these activities will help to keep you in the spirit of the season!

  • Taste a Marquesita at Plaza 28 de Julio

    (15th Avenue between Calle 8 & 10)

    This city center plaza is the location of the Municipal building where residents and visitors often gather to celebrate special events. During this time of year, the park is adorned with deep, red poinsettias and is lit up with Christmas displays including a giant tree and a manger scene. Within the open courtyard at the entrance of the Palacio Municipal building is a massive, detailed mural depicting aspects of the ancient Mayan culture as well as native animals.

    Throughout the park are food carts selling authentic nibbles like Marquesitas. This thin, rolled, crispy wafer-like crepe is filled with your choice of nutella or cajeta (a toffee syrup) and sometimes sprinkled with grated cheese. It is a sweet, Yucatecan treat that you can savor while strolling through the park and taking in the festive sights and sounds.

  • Say ‘Hi’ to Santa at Playacar Center

    Located within Playacar on the south end of the city across from the hotel zone, this shopping plaza hosts many free events. On December 22nd and 23rd, grab an ice cream, check out the artisan shops and get a photo with the jolly old man in the red suit! Santa will be on-site from 7pm – 9pm.

  • Christmas Celebration at El Pueblito in Mayakoba

    (Along the 307 Hwy 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen)

    On December 22 from 6pm – 11pm, the charming, little Mexican village within the gates of Mayakoba, will host a holiday event. Taste Christmas cuisine prepared by renowned chefs from the prestigious Mayakoba resorts. For drinks, mezcals, tequilas, wines and craft beers will be available and live music will set the festive mood.

    The admission price is $100 pesos ($5USD) and the drinks are $50 pesos ($2.50US) each. If you feel inclined, you can donate a toy to the collection for disadvantaged children in nearby communities.

  • Hot Chocolate and People Watching at Quinta Alegria Mall

    (5th Avenue and Constituyentes)

    Every night, the Quinta Alegria shopping center shines bright with its festive colors. Nearby stands a huge decorated tree and inside are brand name stores like Sanborns, Forever 21, Bebe, American Outfitters, and Aldo.

    With ample outdoor seating at the Starbucks, this is a prime spot to take in some live entertainment scheduled almost every evening at this lively spot in the heart of the city. There are often artisan vendor booths set up as well in the center courtyard, which makes it convenient if you’d like to pick up some local, original products to take home as a souvenir.

    Just around the corner from the mall, one block south on 5th Avenue, local artists set up shop along the cobblestone street. You can view the exhibit of striking paintings and photographs most evenings (except for Mondays).

  • The Jingle Run at Mayakoba

    (Along the 307 Hwy, 10 minutes north of Playa del Carmen)

    This event will make you feel good any way you look at it. It’s a 5km run through the scenic grounds of Mayakoba. The registration costs $100 pesos ($5USD), which will be donated to a local charity. Plus, after all of this exercise, you can treat yourself to an extra Lindt chocolate or helping of mashed potatoes without the guilt!

    The run will take place on December 23 from 8am – 10am and all ages are welcome.

  • Christmas Day Buffet at Wah Wah (Calle 2 and the beach)

    Every year, Wah Wah Beach Bar puts on a fantastic buffet of traditional holiday favorites. Enjoy turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, fresh bread and delicious, buttered, local chayote (in the squash family).

    The holiday buffet will be on the 25th from 4pm – 7pm and the cost is $300 pesos ($15USD) per person.

  • Casa Sofia Christmas Eve Dinner

    (Plaza Coba on Aviation Road near Playacar)

    This popular eatery is serving an exquisite 4-course dinner, with your choice of cream soup, crustacean ravioli or pansotti, stuffed turkey or fillet of salmon and dessert. The price is $590 pesos ($29.50USD) per person and includes a glass of wine. For more information or reservations, please visit their web page.

  • Imprevist Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Dinner

    (1st Avenue between Calle 14 and 16)

    For two days, Imprevist is offering a stuffed turkey breast dinner with cranberry sauce, brussel sprouts, mashed potatoes and gravy for a cost of $17USD.

    Reservations are recommended, as tables at this delightful, intimate eatery are some of the most sought-after in town. The festive dinner will be served from 6pm 11pm on December 24th and 25th.

  • Christmas Eve Dinner at La Casa del Agua

    (Calle 2 and 5th Avenue)

    We love the elegant setting at this fine dining establishment overlooking the vibrant 5th Avenue. On the 24th of December, La Casa del Agua has put together a special menu, which includes a welcome cocktail, salad, stuffed turkey dinner and dessert.

    Choose from a list of over 300 select wines from 9 countries to accompany your holiday meal. The price is $550 pesos ($27.50USD) per person and reservations are recommended.

  • Christmas Eve Mass

    If you’re interested in going to a Christmas Eve church service, there are three masses at the Catholic church on 15th Avenue and Calle 12 at 6pm, 8pm and 10pm on the 24th. At the chapel on south end of 5th Avenue at Benito Juarez, there are also three masses at 6pm, 7pm and 8pm on the evening of the 24th.

  • Stay In And Celebrate With Your Loved Ones

    Opting to stay in to indulge in chocolates and a Christmas movie marathon might be just what a usually insanely busy family is looking for. The majority of Bric Vacation Rentals’ homes come with a fully equipped kitchen for preparing a holiday feast with all the fixings. An added bonus? Call our friendly ambassador team to have the fridge stocked with the items you’ll need and skip the lines at the grocery store!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a joyful, prosperous New Year from the BRIC team!

Merida is full of delightful surprises as well as a familiar charm one would anticipate to encounter in a Mexican town. There is a history that the people of Merida are proud to share with visitors and a passion for cultural preservation that is evident in every meticulously restored colonial building and every exuberant festival.

Not envisioning anything of the dazzling sort, we approached the outskirts of the city with mediocre expectations. We zigzagged through the maze of narrow streets towards our downtown hotel. Eventually we arrived, thankful for the guidance Google maps had provided.

Hotel Mision Panamericana Merida was the first of the many pleasant discoveries on our weekend getaway. For any of you who have experience booking a hotel online, you know it can go either way. We’ve stayed at some that far exceeded our expectations, while others utterly disappointed and completely failed to portray the actual conditions of the property. This restored hotel was a gem, with helpful staff and a lovely courtyard with a central fountain. Its convenient location allowed for us to set off each day on foot, to discover Merida’s magic.

Hotel Mision Merida

Tip: It’s not always easy to find a room that accommodates a family of 5. This hotel offers a spacious family room with 2 doubles and a twin bed so we were all able to sleep comfortably.

Merida has a personality like no other city I’ve experienced in Mexico. It’s a bustling urban center, with a fascinating contradiction of vintage meets modern. You can spend some time in the colorful city center amongst the centuries old cathedrals, perusing the grand mercado (a typical Mexican market) or drive along the north end of Paseo Montejo and find sprawling, ultramodern shopping centers, galleries and luxury car dealerships.

The colonial city, located just under three hours from Playa del Carmen on the new 305 Federal Highway, has become a desirable landing-place for expats from the United States, Canada and Europe. Woven through the tight-knit fabric of the Yucatecan community, a large conglomerate of international artists thrives.

Tip: The 305 Highway is a toll highway with two tollbooths from Playa del Carmen to Merida. You can expect to pay around $320 pesos ($16.40USD) one-way.

Merida Market

Our first order of business was the Lucas de Galvez Mercado, a 2-level market with hundreds of merchant stalls spanning several blocks. The vendors were peddling every item imaginable from flowers to apparel to jewelry. You could buy your produce and meat for the day, pick up a cloned Kate Spade bag and get a new pair of sandals in a matter of minutes. The place was a buzz with vendors enticing passersby with their wares and buyers leaving the crowded shops with a bag filled with goodies. To give you an idea of the prices, my two daughters and I came back with six pairs of shoes for $580.00 Mexican pesos, which is the equivalent to about $30USD (or 5 bucks per pair!)

Tip: The market opens early, so try to get there in the morning as the narrow aisles become jammed with people by the afternoon.

There are 13 parks within the old city center, each featuring a cathedral engulfed by an army of trees standing tall against azure skies. The picturesque trees provide nice shade for the couples, families and elders seated contentedly on the benches catching up or watching their little ones chase pigeons. Plaza Grande is the main park or zocalo in the downtown core. We came upon this area our first evening on our search for a restaurant.

Merida Mexico square downtown

This busy plaza is the location of the Palacio Municipal building of Merida. The building is a vibrant green hue with halls featuring curved archways. Inside is a gorgeous courtyard flooded by sunlight. The natural light accentuates the remarkable details of the paintings that cover the walls of the building’s interior. On the second floor, you can have respite from the heat and rest on the benches or take advantage of the prime position to view the bustling square below.

Tip: There is no admission fee to enter the Palacio Municipal. It is open from 9-6pm Monday to Friday.

Free, 90-minute walking tours with bilingual guides are offered at 9:30a.m. from this government building. Visitors are guided through the plaza and introduced to the principal historic buildings and a few other points of interest.

We opted to take in some sights via horse and carriage through the old town center. On the 45-minute tour, the driver explained each block as we passed through and told a story of Merida’s first saloon which is still operating today. The old-time bar is complete with the outdoor poles and troughs, which were used to fasten the horses and keep them watered, while their owners were inside enjoying refreshments of their own.

Tip: The cost of the horse and carriage ride was $400 pesos for the whole family. We boarded in Plaza Grande in front of the OXXO convenience store.

Merida Mexico horse and carriage ride

At dusk, people began to gather in the square in front of the stately church with its two bell towers. Curious, I asked a local about the crowd that waited outside the Merida Cathedral. He informed me that before it had been built, a Mayan city had stood in that same area. On the site and surrounding perimeter were various stone structures including a pyramid said to be taller than El Castillo at Chichen Itza. Spanish conquerors had ordered the Mayan inhabitants to dismantle their city and its palaces, and then use those sacred stones to construct the cathedral. He said that large groups assemble every Saturday evening for a viewing of the light show, which highlights the history behind the church and illuminates the massive cathedral.

By this time, we were in the mood to sit down for a cocktail and try some authentic Yucatecan food. We found a place bordering Plaza Grande on the opposite side of the cathedral, where a woman sat at a fire warming hand-made tortillas. The tortillas were great, but unfortunately the food was not. We tried dishes like cochinita pibil, marinated pork in an orange and achiote rub that is usually to-die-for but just didn’t cut it at this place. Perhaps we would have been better off sampling the tacos from one of the carts set up within the park.

Merida Mayan tortilla maker

Plaza Grande was a happening place that weekend. As we sat and dined, dozens of competing runners jogged by towards the finish line of the Rock ‘n Roll Merida Half Marathon. There was also a throng of Meridians erecting special tables, altars and mini palapas for Hanal Pixan. This event begins on October 31 each year and is the Mayan people of the Yucatan’s unique version of the Dia de los Muertos Festival (Day of the Dead.)

On the way back to our hotel, we quickly peeked into the impressive Teatro Peon Contreras and were awed by its grandeur. The staircases, the pillars and the early 1900s design were magnificent. In addition to hosting events such as cultural dances, children’s festivals, operas and theatrical performances, it is the main venue for the Yucatan Symphony Orchestra.

The next day while half of our crew went for a round of golf, we decided to visit the historical center of Paseo Montejo. This nearly 5 mile, immaculate main avenue is where you’ll find a striking mix of new and old. On its modern north end are sprawling shopping centers, (The Galeria Mall even has an ice rink!) Costco, and typical American restaurant franchises like Chili’s and TGI Fridays. However, as we headed south, our eyes lit up at the sight of one outstanding, restored mansion after another.

Casa Montejo Merida Mexico

The cultural society of Merida has done an excellent job at preserving the historic legacy of these splendid buildings. Many have been converted into office buildings, business centers or museums. Banamex operates out of Casa Museo Montes, for example, which was built around 1902. A few of the rooms are open to visitors and guided tours in both English and Spanish are available for a cost of $75 pesos ($4USD). The exterior of the pristine palace alone is extraordinary, while inside are ornate furnishings, original to that time period made from precious woods.

Tip: The tours last approximately 40 minutes between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday and 9 and 1 on Saturdays.

Continuing along the scenic, tree-lined Paseo Montejo, we came upon the Monument to the Homeland. The masterpiece depicts through a great number of intricate carvings, various important aspects of the country and its history. There are images of the Maya, the eagle (Mexico’s national symbol) as well as the shield of the city of Merida.

Tip: Uber driver service successfully operates in Merida and is an economical option for getting around. Just download the app and choose from the list of available private drivers in your area.

We spent the afternoon taking hundreds of photos, sipping coconut infused horchata (a creamy, sweetened rice milk with cinnamon), and shopping near our hotel in the downtown area. It was incredible to see merchants still operating modern day businesses out of what looked like a film set from a country and western movie way back in the day.

A friend from Playa was also in town attempting to finish her project of restoring a hundred year old home. She invited us to visit her and welcomed us at the oversized metal door, which was surrounded by a concrete exterior wall with peeling paint. To our amazement, we entered the property, which seemed to go on forever. There were cathedral ceilings with exposed wooden beams, newly polished floor tiles from the early 1900s and a serene garden in the back with fruit trees and a pool.

On our last night, we ate at the highly recommended Oaxacan restaurant, Apoala in the trendy Santa Lucia plaza. The menu was vast and offered traditional Mexican dishes like mole (a rich dark salsa made with a variety of chiles, chocolate and nuts), arrachera (tender skirt steak) and even flavorful fried grasshoppers!

 Plaza Santa Lucia Merida Mexico

After dinner, the girls and I followed an enticing aroma that led two doors down to the Ki’Xocolatl Chocolate Shop. We checked out some small pieces of Mexican folk art and took our time deciding which delicious sample of fine chocolate to take home with us. Through this charming café and store, you can book a tour that takes you on an expedition to their factory and cacao plantation. Although we didn’t book this tour, it would be interesting to see the groves of cacao trees and all the work that goes into producing one of my all-time favorite treats!

My friend’s home was a perfect example of the treasures you encounter in Merida. This is just one of the city’s enamoring characteristics I fell in love with. Around every turn was an enchanting surprise. The shopkeepers, hotel staff and pedestrians we met, all presented an approachable aura. When asking for directions, one kind soul not only pointed the way, but also proceeded to walk about 8 blocks to lead us to our destination. While maneuvering through the city, other cars on more than one occasion, allowed us to cut in when we found ourselves in the wrong lane. Our Uber driver stopped a handful of times without me asking, so that I could take photos along Paseo Montejo. He seemed to be quite familiar with the history and was happy to share what he knew.

After spending a significant amount of time in Mexico and taking in the sights and sounds of several of its magnificent cities, I have to say that the colorful, colonial architecture of Merida turned me into a trigger happy photog like never before.

Merida Colonial City in Mexico

Unfortunately, we only caught a glimpse of the Hanal Pixan festival. But the enthusiasm to keep the Mexican and Mayan culture alive and thriving is clearly noticeable in the many free performances. The city’s packed calendar of events is also proves the city’s passion for their culture.

The deep sense of pride and the hospitality of the Yucatecan people that we witnessed on the streets, in the markets and even in traffic were as warm and as addictive as fresh out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies and I will definitely go back for more!

Izamal, Yucatan Peninsula Mexico

Tip: Make sure to leave time in your Merida itinerary to stop at the town of Izamal. Known also as ‘The Yellow Town,’ this quaint colonial city is most definitely a sight to see. There is a historic Franciscan convent constructed so that it appears to tower above and keep watch over the town. All of the buildings’ facades are painted a deep yellow and there is a street market, horse and carriage rides as well as cultural festivities on a regular basis. It was given the honor of being one of Mexico’s ‘Magical Towns’ and it is 45 minutes from Merida.

A Week in Playa del Carmen

Now that Playa del Carmen is on the map as a world-class beach destination, you may be familiar with it or at least know of someone who has spent time here. Once travelers have the opportunity to absorb the majestic air of Playa del Carmen, most become repeat visitors.

Whether you’ve never been to Playa del Carmen or you’re guilty of spending an entire Riviera Maya vacation in the confines of an all-inclusive, don’t worry, we’re not going to hold that against you. But you should know, there are literally hundreds of fun-filled, enriching experiences to be had within this vast area of sublime, exotic wilderness.

The region bursts with jaw-dropping natural beauty and offers a long list of stimulating diversion for visitors of any age. Moreover, Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, where Playa del Carmen is located, features a safe and well-maintained highway system. Exploring the area on your own is as easy-breezy as a day at the beach.

The options for family fun and adventure are endless. Here is a sample of what your clan can see and do on a weeklong getaway in Playa del Carmen.

Where to stay

Vacation Rental - The Elements - Playa del Carmen

For families, a vacation rental is the highly recommended accommodation option. Younger kids can go to sleep in their designated room, while parents can still enjoy down time at night in their own space versus being cramped together in one hotel room.

Have no fear! You can still count on amenities such as a pool, beach clubs, concierge and cleaning services. But you benefit more from having the freedom to determine a schedule that works for your family rather than revolve around the hotel restaurant and activity schedule. Plus, by staying in a vacation rental, chances are better that you’ll explore beyond the property. By engaging in the local mix, you’re more likely to taste authentic flavors and encounter sights or special events that give you a true sense of the spellbinding city and its people.

Condo-hotels such as The Elements, Magia Playa and Paseo Del Sol are superb family-friendly options in Playa del Carmen. Services are available to help you plunge into vacation mode as soon as you step off the plane. Before you arrive, have your booking agent arrange for a convenient airport transfer as well as have your fridge stocked with every item you might need. You and your children will appreciate the comfortable home away from home feeling, while still being able to savour the heavenly, tropical vacation setting.

Day 1: Hit the beach!

Once the crew has settled in and slipped into casual Playa del Carmen attire, head to Los Aguachiles for a bite to eat. There are two locations, open for lunch and dinner, one on Constituyentes in between 5th & 15th Avenue and the other is on Calle 34 and 25th Avenue. The fresh menu features a variety of seafood tacos and crispy tostadas shells heaped with combinations of fish, octopus and jumbo prawns cured in lime. To compliment the delicious eats, these guys make the best carbonated lemonade (limonada mineral) and Micheladas (cold beer with lime and spices).

Tip: For a list of top restaurants on and off of 5th Avenue, check out our staff’s guide to their personal favorites.

Xpu Ha Beach Riviera Maya Mexico

After everyone has had their fill, pack your beach bag! It’s time to check out the glorious stretch of Riviera Maya coastline that Playa del Carmen sits upon. If you do choose to stay at The Elements or Magia Playa, the beach is a stone’s throw away. Your family will love the food and beverage service, volleyball court and ample shaded loungers at the exclusive beach club at The Elements. At Paseo del Sol, guests have access to the beach via The Reef Hotel located across the street (under a 10-minute walk away).

There are a few points in the city at which you are able to access the public beach. From the north end of Playa del Carmen, there is CTM near Canibal Royal Beach Club and The Elements. Right down from the BRIC offices on Calle 38, there is a nice stretch of beach to spread the blanket on. Mamitas Beach Club at Calle 28 offers beach beds and lounge chairs for rent and includes pool access. Lido Beach Club is located on near Calle 12 and offers a perfect beach vibe with good food and music. Zenzi is another amazing ocean front beach club and bar that features live music throughout the day and into the night. INTI Holistic Centre at Calle 4 offers a terrific zen vibe. Finally, at the south end near the ferry terminal to Cozumel, the beach is wide and the turquoise views continue on forever. As you meander past Señor Frogs, the beaches tend to become less and less crowded the farther south you go.

Wherever you choose to park yourself for the day, it is bound to be the ideal start to your Playa del Carmen beach vacation.

Day 2: Swim with turtles and see a cenote.

Just 25 minutes south of Playa del Carmen along the federal 307 highway, are a string of limestone sinkholes known as cenotes. The crystal clear, natural swimming pools present a wonderful opportunity to keep cool in our warm Riviera Maya climate. The cenotes are fed from the largest underwater river in the world so the water always provides a welcome cooling sensation.

We recommend going early in the day around 10:00 a.m. to avoid the crowds. Two hours is plenty of time to explore, snorkel and jump from modest stone ledges into the refreshing waters. Your family will be awed by these extraordinary phenomena which conceal themselves within the thick jungle brush throughout the Yucatan Peninsula.

Grand Cenote

Three top choices near Playa del Carmen are Cenote Eden, Cenote Azul and Cenote Cristalino. Most have bathrooms, change rooms, lifejackets and snorkel gear rentals. Be sure to bring pesos with you for the entrance fees, which are around $70-100 pesos ($4-5USD). Since they sit along the highway, you cannot miss them. If you do not have a vehicle, you can take a van taxi or Colectivo from Playa that will cost you approximately $40 Mxn ($2.50 US) each way per person. Just notify the driver where you want to go and he will call out your stop and let you off there.

Taxi service is convenient in Playa del Carmen, but not always the most economical. A private van that typically can transport up to nine passengers averages about $3000 pesos ($176 US) for the whole day. The service is door to door and the driver often provides a cooler with bottled water and pop. At your request, sometimes beer and snorkel equipment can be included as well. If you are traveling with a group or two families, this is the way to go as you can split the cost. The drivers are very flexible and can help you customize a memorable adventure.

Next on the itinerary is swimming with sea turtles in Akumal Bay, only 5 minutes down the road from the cenotes. This tranquil bay is protected by a portion of the Mesoamerican Reef System, where sea turtles, stingrays, a variety of coral and reef fish make their home. Being able to view such a colorful array of marine life up close and personal is a surreal encounter with nature your family will talk about for years to come.

Tours from Akumal Dive Shop on the beach offer experienced guides and snorkel equipment for children and adults. Since there is a bit of a current around the reef, this activity is recommended for children 6 and up. The guides have a life preserver ring for the children to grab hold of as they take the group to all the best locations in the bay where the underwater life thrives. Furthermore, the dive shop provides lockers for storing your valuables while you are out on the hour long tour.

A few restaurants that sit along the powdery sand serve casual fare like fish tacos, ceviche, burgers, fries, pizza and pasta. The picturesque scene from these open air eateries will captivate you as you enjoy icy cocktails and tales of your reef encounter.

Tip: Please remember to wear eco-friendly sunblock in order to preserve the vitality of the reef. Touching the turtles and the coral is prohibited. It is strongly advised that visitors keep a distance of 2 meters from the marine life.

Day 3: Enjoy down time by the pool.

Magia Playa vacation rental Playa del Carmen  

After a fun-filled day on the road, your group will appreciate the relaxed setting around the pool. Prep a thermos of minty mojitos and laze about with a good read as the children spend hours splashing around in the pristine pool.

If you are staying at an ocean front property, bring a body board to the beach and ride the ways with the kiddos. Comb the shore for rare seashells or build a Mayan pyramid in the sand. Have a photo session and let the kids take turns capturing a shot or two. This afternoon of uninterrupted quality time will be something aIl of you will remember fondly.

If you have older kids, they will love a game of beach volleyball. While you are at the nearest superstore, pick up a couple of floating rings or mattresses for the pool. Your teenagers will be set for the day, content to lie back and soak up the sun.

For dinner, La Parilla on Constituyentes and 5th Avenue offers a lively atmosphere and great service. Try authentic Mexican food like enchiladas in a rich, mole sauce or tender arrachera (flank steak) accompanied by a mango margarita. We especially like this restaurant because while you dine, you’ll be entertained by live music courtesy of a traditional mariachi band.

After your delicious meal, stroll down the cobblestones on the vibrant 5th Avenue. There are plenty of shops from which you can pick up comical t-shirts or handicrafts for friends and family back home. Or if you are looking for a little something for yourself, there are endless boutique and jewelry stores as well as galleries presenting a vast selection of mementos to choose from.

Grab a sweet treat at Chez Celine (Playa’s best French bakery) or one of the many gelato cafes and that line the pedestrian-only avenue. As you walk back to your vacation home, watch the impressive street performers who dazzle the crowds with their dance shows every night in Playa del Carmen.

Day 4: Explore Xcaret Park

Xcaret Park

There are dozens of options for family-friendly eco-parks in the Riviera Maya. However, there is one that covers all the bases as far as an introduction to the culture, history, fauna and spectacular nature of this region. Xcaret Park is located just five minutes from Playa del Carmen and has so many fascinating activities and attractions that you may need two days to visit them all.

For nature-lovers, you can float along Paradise River, an underground river system that takes you through mangrove areas and stunning limestone caves. The kids will be blown away by the array of wildlife in the park, including flamingos, scarlet macaws, tapirs, monkeys, butterflies, sea turtles and over 5000 marine organisms in the Coral Reef Aquarium.

There is a replica, multi-hued Mexican Cemetery as well as a Mayan village in the heart of the jungle. In World of Children (for ages 0-12), the little ones will squeal with delight on the water slides and appreciate the refreshing waters of the cenotes.

The vast park also has a schedule of cultural shows throughout the day. The family can partake in one enriching experience after another as you learn about the history and culture of Mexico and the ancient Mayan civilization. Watch the Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flying Men), a ceremonial dance that takes place on top of a towering pole. As well, there is a remarkable equestrian show put on by stately horses and their riders – las adelitas and los charros, or traditional Mexican cowboys.

There are chapels, archaeological sites and a sensational two-hour grand finale in the evening. This awe-inspiring spectacle depicts the country’s significant historical events and cultural pride through song, dance and theatrics. To experience Xcaret Park to the fullest, requires an entire day. The crew will be exhausted by the end, but you will be glad that you made time to visit. You can explore, eat and drink to your heart’s content since the park is all-inclusive. There is a general admittance that includes the majority of the park activities. However, additional attractions such as an adrenaline pumping speed boat ride, sea trek, stingray and dolphin encounters are available for an extra cost.

Tip: To get a 15% discount, book your passes online 21 days prior. Children 0-4 are free and kids aged 5-11 are 50% off the adult price. Present your Mexican passport and you can also receive the Mexican national discount during select periods.

Day 5: Soak up the sun.Inti Beach Club

 

Quiet days on the beach are just what the doctor ordered after a full day of activities at Xcaret. One of the many fabulous aspects of Playa del Carmen is that there is ample opportunity to connect with nature and rejuvenate.

INTI Holistic Center and Beach Club is one of those sublime spots that transports you to a new and heavenly dimension so beautiful, it’s difficult to leave. Located at Calle 4 on the beach, INTI offers oceanfront yoga and paddleboard classes. Sander from Aloha Paddle Club is great with children and often takes his own 10-month-old daughter out on the water with him.

There is plenty of comfortable seating where the family can kick back, share plates from the fresh healthy menu and sip on cocos frios (cold coconut water right from the shell). Since you’re on vacation, ask your friendly server to bring an adult version of the coco frio with an ounce of Malibu rum. Salud!

Once the sun goes down, a visit to Alux is next on the agenda. This marvelous restaurant and bar was featured in a Buzzfeed article for being one of the 21 most insanely unique bars in the world. It’s situated beneath the earth’s surface with tables set amidst a series of caves. Chandeliers highlight the extraordinary stalactites that have formed from thousands of years of calcium deposits.

There is a lounge setting towards the back with DJs and bistro tables for drinks, but the restaurant area near the entrance is family-friendly. Alux presents a non-typical dining atmosphere you will surely only experience once in your lifetime.

Day 6: Coba Ruins and Valladolid

The Yucatan Peninsula is filled with treasures and getting to them is quite simple. If you have rented a vehicle for the week, Coba and Valladolid are an easy day trip from Playa del Carmen (under two hours away.) Begin your day at the Coba Mayan archaeological site with an optional hour and a half tour. The guides are knowledgeable and help to bring the remnants alive with their stories and historical facts.

Coba is one of our favorites for several reasons. There are many trees that provide shade from the relentless Mexican sun. Bike rentals are available for both adults and children, as well as tricycle taxis for those who would rather be chauffeured from one structure to the next. Thirdly, visitors are able to climb the main pyramid at the end of the tour. Ascending up the ancient steps of Nohoch Mul then standing at its peak, overlooking the vastness of the jungle will take your breath away.

Coba Mayan Ruins

After a couple of hours at the ruins, you’ll be ready for lunch in the colonial city of Valladolid, only a half hour drive from Coba. This Pueblo Magico (one of Mexico’s Magical Towns) has earned the reputation for being the friendliest city in Mexico. Not exactly a cosmopolitan, urban center, Valladolid, has much to offer its visitors.

Two gems worth stopping by for a bite to eat are El Meson del Marques and Yerbabuena. Previously a mansion of one of the area’s wealthy families, El Meson del Marques has been converted into one of the city’s top choice hotels. Its restaurant boasts an elaborate, open-air courtyard where tables surround a tranquil fountain and a woman dressed in a traditional Mayan huipil sits at a stone fire pit warming handmade tortillas. The cochinita pibil (pulled pork) or chile relleno (poblano chile stuffed with ground beef and cheese bathed in a mild red salsa) are two popular regional dishes to try.

Yerbabuena is a second Valladolid eatery where you can taste some of the region’s typical fare. It is open for breakfast and lunch and features delicious menu options such as chayote squash stuffed with quinoa, Oaxacan mole, and fresh chia lemonade. Choose a table in the lovely garden patio and enjoy the fresh flavours and local dishes.

Find parking near the main plaza, have lunch then walk across the bustling plaza to Valladolid’s famous colonial cathedral, La Iglesia de San Gervasio. There are dozens of artisan shops and quaint little stores to peruse around the square as well as boundless photo opportunities to remember this mini Yucatan Peninsula road trip.

Valladolid Mexico

Other points of interest to add to your list of things to do in Valladolid are Casa de los Venados, which hosts a large, private collection of Mexican folk art and the Convent of San Bernardino. Last but not least, take the family to Cacao, a Mayan factory and store where you can observe how chocolate is produced from cacao nibs. If your children love cenotes as much as the local kids in Playa del Carmen, there are several in the town and near Valladolid including one of the most famously photographed cenotes, Ik Kil.

Day 7: Get up early and stay out late.

Since your final day in paradise has arrived, you are going to want to soak up every last bit of sunshine, beach time and Mexican ambiance you can. The enchanting city of Playa del Carmen faces east, which means you can enjoy some spectacular Caribbean sunrises. Slide into your flip flops and make yourselves comfortable on the silky sand to watch Mother Nature put on an explosive show of colors over the turquoise sea.

For breakfast, Cueva del Chango (The Monkey’s Cave) on Calle 38 in between 5th Avenue and the beach is one of our beloved local hangouts. Try all-star Mexican brunch dishes such as chilaquiles, sopes or juevos divorciados (eggs cooked to your liking topped with half green and half red salsa.)

 

This long-standing eatery is known for having the friendliest staff in town and serves a delicious blended house juice made with nutrient-packed Chaya leaves. Half of the tables are outdoors, engulfed in a tropical garden setting. The others sit under a domed roof decorated with colourful glass bottles embedded within its mortar. In the center of the restaurant is a pond replete with Koi fish, lily pads and turtles.

Absorb every ray of warm Mexican sunshine in the afternoon. Breathe in the sea air and savor the blue-green views with your toes in the sand. Have a massage by the pool or finish off that book you’ve finally had the time to delve into this week.

You cannot leave Mexico without trying some authentic tacos al pastor. Eating tacos in good company is an all-time favorite pastime for Mexicans. El Fogon is our go-to taqueria with three downtown locations. The experienced cooks know how to make excellent tacos and slow roast the marinated pork on an upright spit all day long. The tender pork is shaved into a taco shell and served with a slice of pineapple, onions, cilantro and your choice of spicy green or red salsa on the side.Your taste buds will thank you, but your tongue may curse you if it is not accustomed to hot sauce. If this is the case, we encourage you to wash down the tacos with an ice-cold glass of horchata (a sweetened rice milk with cinnamon) or jamaica (a sweet hibiscus tea.)

If you can squeeze it in, Joya by Cirque du Soleil is an incredible live show that takes place in a magical venue just 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen. The riveting show is a feast for the eyes and presents an array of colorful theatrical performers as well as contortionists and acrobats.

If you want to stay close to home, there is much to see at night along the lively 5th Avenue. Witness fire jugglers, Mayan warriors and marimba bands providing entertainment on this bustling street that stretches across the city’s downtown core.

If you have an upcoming beach vacation in Playa del Carmen, we hope these ideas serve you well when it comes to planning activities to keep your family engaged. This is a great starter guide if you have never been to the Riviera Maya. However, there are so many more options to choose from if you are looking for new experiences you will never forget. Contact our office and one of our friendly Bric ambassadors will be happy to make suggestions or help you coordinate the trip of a lifetime.

Playacar is a gated community comprised of two phases within the charming city of Playa del Carmen. Playacar phase 1 was first established in 1979 along the region’s pristine, undisturbed coastline.  At that time, Fernando Barbachano, development company owner, often hosted beach barbecues inviting his own employees as well as potential investors, including George Bush.

Playa del Carmen Beach
Playa del Carmen Beaches

These outdoor gatherings prompted a surge in visitors to the region as word spread about this virtually untouched paradise in the Mayan Riviera. Phase 1 became the first high end residential community in Playa del Carmen. Eventually two condo-hotels were constructed facing the breathtaking Caribbean Sea.

FISHERMENS-UNIT-341-005
The stunning Caribbean Sea views from Playacar Phase 1 beaches

A few years later, the second phase in Playacar was developed around a championship golf course, now The Hard Rock Golf Club Riviera Maya. Today, the largest all-inclusive hotels in the city speckle the white sand beaches of Phase 2 and the budding residential area has sprouted several businesses, including two schools.

Hard-Rock-Golf-Club-Riviera-Maya
Hard Rock Golf Club Riviera Maya in Playacar Phase 2

One of the many advantages of living in this endless summer climate is that the weather, for over three hundred days a year, is favorable for outdoor living. Walking or cycling the scenic, six kilometer trail which encircles Playacar phase 2, is an excellent way to begin the day. The nearby mesmerizing, turquoise waters, the glorious Mexican sunshine and the palm-fringed sidewalk offer many opportune moments to connect with nature and attain a tranquil respite from the hustle and bustle of a busy schedule.


The scenic 6km Playacar Phase 2 path

Following the paved path painted fuchsia and red with bougainvilleas and hibiscus blooms, trekkers will come upon town home developments, striking, luxury villas, and some of Playa del Carmen’s most exquisite condo-resorts. Also lining the walkway is a bird sanctuary, home to flamingos, toucans, parrots, and over 60 other feathered species, two ancient ruin sites, spas and an outdoor shopping center. Plaza Playacar offers guests and residents convenient access to tour and rental car companies, money exchange services, and artisan shops.  From time to time, cultural performances and other family friendly events are held in the plaza’s main square.

Playa Playacar
Plaza Playacar

Another aspect of Playa del Carmen which makes it an ideal permanent or vacation destination, is the minimal traffic. Although the effervescent urban center is only a five minute drive from Playacar, the quaint community offers almost every convenience within walking distance.  At the furthest point within the exclusive phase 2, guests can access the famed 5th Avenue by foot in thirty to forty minutes.

5th Ave
The Famous 5th Avenue

Inside this suburban heaven is a dozen restaurants featuring authentic Mexican cuisine and standard North American menus, two pizzerias, a French bakery, an organic restaurant,  spas, a Gelato shop, two pubs, two Oxxo convenience stores and yes, even a Starbucks for those who cannot live without.

La Vaqueria restaurant in Playacar
La Vaqueria – one of the many eateries in Playacar Phase 2

With a resident card, guests and Playacar occupants can access the glistening sea via the Reef Hotel which offers complimentary beach and poolside lounge chairs with umbrellas. There is also one other access point in the area which passes by an archeological site and leads to the world-class beaches of Playacar Phase 1.

Road in Playacar
The road to paradise

Four secured stations offer admittance into the desirable residential community with many services just beyond the gates. One of the city’s top hospitals, a shopping mall with a Soriana superstore, a movie theatre, hair salons, and two bulk membership stores are a leisurely walk from the Playacar highway entrance.

Playa del Carmen Vacation Condo Rentals
One of the many beautiful villas you will come across in Playacar

For those seeking a serene environment bursting with natural splendor, where golf carts are a common mode of transportation and local wildlife roams free, Playacar is a tropical haven like no other in the Mayan Riviera.  

Dac

I remember the good ol’ days, when we first arrived in Playa del Carmen. On a cultural mission to test out the waters, (literally: those glistening, turquoise waters… ahhhhh) our family wished to understand and partake in Mexican traditions, to live the beach life for a year or so, and to learn Spanish. I imagined that by immersing myself into the community, I would be completely fluent in a couple of months. Four glorious years have come and gone. Yet, there are still times when my brain feels as though it’s being squeezed in a vice when attempting to converse or remember the Spanish word for kale.

Grocery shopping in those initial months was particularly excruciating! I bought the necessities and prayed that the cashier would say nothing more than ‘Buenos Dias’. The greeting I could handle, but beyond that, he could have spoken Martian and I would have understood as much. Embarrassingly for me, more questions similar to «Tiene usted una tarjeta de puntos?’ (Do you have a points/rewards card?) or ‘Le gustaría donar?’ (Would you like to make a donation?) would leave me with a blank stare and flushed cheeks.

Eventually, after spending a few consecutive months or years here, expats such as myself, are able to commune with the locals just fine, albeit in a rough Spanglish dialect. However, for visitors who are new to the area and to the language, a simple trip to a Mexican supermarket can result in utter frustration. For this reason, we have compiled some helpful suggestions and tools intended to alleviate some of the stress that may occur when navigating through a grocery store in Playa del Carmen.

Grocery Store Jargon

Translator apps can save some anguish when traveling in a foreign country. Two helpful offline apps used for quick translation are Yocoy: Intelligent Translator and WayGo. If you have a Wifi connection, Itranslate and Google Translate can help to make your experience more pleasant. But just for fun, here is a short list of common words you can keep in mind that will serve you well when perusing the grocery superstores.
 

English – Spanish Grocery Store Translation Terms
Leche- Milk Huevos – Eggs Queso – Cheese
Sal – Salt Pan – Bread Pescado – Fish
Galletas – Crackers/cookies Sour Cream –Crema Papel Higienico- Toilet Paper
Pollo – Chicken Jamon – Ham Res- Beef
Cebolla- Onion Ajo- Garlic Lechuga – Lettuce
Arroz – Rice Frijoles – Beans Fresa – Strawberry
Pimiento – Pepper Café – Coffee Platano – Banana
Manzana- Apple Naranja – Orange Naranja – Orange
Mantequilla- Butter Azucar – Sugar Harina – Flour
Pepino – Cucumber Jitomate -Tomato Firma – Signature
Efectivo – Cash Cambio – Change Tarjeta – Card

Where To Find Food Products In Playa del Carmen

The gorgeous variety of vibrant, exotic fruit is as abundant as the ‘fruterias’ (produce markets) in Playa del Carmen. These corner stores often have fresh cut, multi-colored fruit salads for your convenience or delicious blends of freshly squeezed concoctions, such as carrot and orange, beet or vitamin-packed green juices.

Dac on 30 Avenue, between Constituyentes and Calle 20 offers quality fruits, vegetables and an assortment of international grocery products. If you are willing to venture out of the way somewhat, Pasca Deli on Constituyentes between 70 and 75 Avenue in the Ejidal is an excellent source of hard to find international items, baking supplies and quality food products.

Mega
Mega – Comercial Mexicana

For more selection, there are several superstores around the city including Walmart, (30 Avenue and Calle 10) Comercial Mexicana (also known as Mega), (30 Avenue and Constituyentes), Chedraui (45 Avenue and Calle 2 Sur) and Soriana (in the Centro Maya Mall on the South end of town or on 30 Avenue, between Calle 38 and 40). Sam’s Club and City Club, also on the South end of town along the Carretera Federal, provide a wide variety of bulk goods, but a membership card (usually $300 – $400 pesos annually) is required.

An Introduction To Mexican Products Worth Trying

Visiting a foreign country presents a terrific opportunity to introduce your taste buds to new flavors. Although supermarkets around the world are beginning to supply consumers with more choices in exotic and imported goods, there are many mysterious Mexican products worth getting acquainted with.

  • Nopal

    Nopal

    This thick, flat, oval shaped pad from a cactus plant is packed with fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. Consuming nopales has shown to boost immune systems, optimize metabolic functions, regulate the digestive system and protect the skin from certain cancers. These firm, green paddles can be diced and added raw to salads or juiced, fried or roasted and added to tacos, scrambled eggs and stews.

  • Chayote

    Chayote

    The Chayote is from the gourd family and provides an adequate source of vitamins including C, riboflavin and thiamin as well as minerals such as iron, copper, zinc and manganese. Incorporating this low calorie, high fiber veggie can help to control cholesterol and aid in weight management. Julienne this pear-shaped vine vegetable and add it raw to salads and slaws or dice it in stir-fries, soups or casseroles.

  • Tomatillos

    These green tomatoes are roughly the size of apricots and are packed with vitamins and minerals known to reduce the risk of diabetes, increase digestive health, boost the immune system, improve vision health and increase energy levels. The sweeter, citrusy flavor goes well with slow cooked pork and is a staple in tangy, green Mexican salsas.

  • Jamaica

    These dried red leaves from the hibiscus flower are found packaged in clear plastic bags or in bulk bins near the dried chile section of the market. Consuming agua de Jamaica or hibiscus tea has been proven to regulate blood pressure, as well as increase HDL or good cholesterol, which in turn lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  • Chaya

    Known as the Mayan green super food, Chaya has incredible health benefits including aiding with diabetes, acne, digestion, obesity and kidney stones. Studies have shown that chaya contains more protein and calcium than kale, while possessing twice the amount of iron and fiber than spinach. This nutrient-rich leafy vegetable can help to improve memory, vision and also prevent coughs. Simply chop it and add it to scrambled eggs or blend with whole limes, a natural sweetener and water for a refreshing beverage.

  • Piloncillo

    This natural sweetener is derived from the sugar cane and is an unrefined sugar. Since it has not undergone a heavy processing stage, vitamins such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and potassium remain intact. This unprocessed, raw sugar can be shaved and substituted for brown sugar in baking or used as a sweetener in coffee and tea.

Farm Markets, Organic and Vegan Products

Every week, vendors gather to sell local, organic and homemade goods at farmers markets around Playa del Carmen. Organic produce, fresh, homemade baked breads, empanadas, French tarts and pastries, jams, nut butters, bar soaps, lotions, and honey are just some of the products offered at these popular community markets.

On Tuesdays from 11a.m. – 1p.m, Kava Kasa (Calle 22 between 5th and 10th Avenue) hosts the first weekly market. El Papalote (25th Avenue between Calle 30 and 32) is the chosen location on Wednesday afternoons from 1-3p.m. Fridays, the market moves to Coco Beach (pool area of Condo Les Alizes on CTM and Flamingos) from 9-11a.m. Finally, every third Saturday of the month, Parque La Ceiba (Calle 1 Sur and 60th Avenue) opens its door and invites vendors to present their wares from 12-6p.m.

For organic and health food stores, Bio-Natural (10th Avenue between Calle 16 and Constituyentes), Bio Organicos (Calle 26 between 5th and 10th Avenue), Dac (30th Avenue between Constituyentes and Calle 20), Organik Boutique (Plaza Paseo Playacar in Playacar Fase 2) or Frutalesa in Paseo Tulum in Playacar Fase 2 across from the Centro Maya Mall offer the best selection in town.

Ideal Edenic offers delivery service of organic produce to Playa del Carmen. Each week they post a list of available products on their Facebook page and website. For more info or to place an order, call (998) 225-2342.

Grocery Shopping Tips

  • The supermarkets here offer a high US dollar exchange rate, so save your dollars for groceries!
  • The bigger chain stores are open from 7:00a.m. – 11:00p.m. Dac and the smaller markets close earlier.
  • Taxis are readily available outside every main supermarket.
  • It is customary to tip the people who bag your items. A rule of thumb to follow is $1 peso per bag.
  • The sale of alcohol products is prohibited after certain hours but the time varies from store to store. Typically between 9a.m. and 5p.m, you can buy alcohol anywhere, except for on Sundays, many places stop selling alcohol at 2:00p.m.
  • Wednesdays are commonly a much busier day than usual in Playa del Carmen supermarkets due to the specials on produce. If you are not keen to waiting in long lines, you will save yourself some time by choosing to shop on an alternative day.
  • For fresh herbs such as dill (eneldo) or basil (albahaca), ask the clerks at Dac to retrieve some for you. They almost always carry herbs but they are kept in the cooler in the back of the store.
  • If you find an imported product that is not easy to find in Playa del Carmen, stock up! Chances are, you will not see the rare item again for months, if ever!

Eco Market at Kava Kasa
Eco Market at Kava Kasa