What could possibly be more fun than a music festival? How about a music festival on the beach? Picture yourself on the soft sand. The moonlight is glistening on the sea, casting shadows of the palm trees along the shore. You and your favorite travel companion sit on a blanket, which faces the open-air stage. You let out a relaxed sigh and smile as Nora Jones belts out ‘Don’t Know Why’ under a star-filled sky.
It’s no wonder why renowned musicians, chefs, and professional athletes flock to the Mexican Caribbean every year. We get it. Not only are these Riviera Maya events entertaining, but they just happen to take place in a tropical oasis.
If you’re looking for things to do in Playa del Carmen on your next visit, this calendar of upcoming events will come in handy. From notable art festivals to highly-anticipated concert events, you won’t want to miss the Riviera Maya’s most celebrated occasions.
Alejandro Sanz in Concert
(October 26, 2019)
The stunning Teatro Gran Tlachco at Xcaret Park will welcome international superstar, Alejandro Sanz at the end of this month. The Spanish guitarist and songwriter has collaborated with the likes of Marc Anthony, Camila Cabello, and Alicia Keys over his decades-long career.
The 3-time Album of the Year Latin Grammy winner will treat fans to his long list of chart-topping songs beginning at 9 p.m. It is a not-to-be-missed concert event of the year in Playa del Carmen.
Oktoberfest at Thomson Playa del Carmen
(October 26, 2019)
Celebrate the first annual Oktoberfest at The Thompson Beach House on Calle 8. Taste over 20 artisanal beer varieties accompanied by music and traditional German bites. The party starts at 1 pm and tickets are available on Eventbrite.
(October 29, 2019)
This sensational music, wine, and gastronomy evening takes place at the Grand Hyatt in downtown Playa del Carmen. As the stellar band Babasónicos plays, patrons can to sample an exquisite array of fine food. Furthermore, your palate will be pleased when it encounters the best in Mexican, as well as Monteviejo wines from the esteemed Argentinian winery.
Halloween Tiki Party
(October 31, 2019)
The Tiny Tiki Hut is always a great idea for a night out in Playa del Carmen. But the staff has devised something really spooktacular to celebrate Halloween this year. Costumes are a must, and the theme is ‘Stranger Things’. Your creativity and festive spirit will be rewarded. Perks for showing up dressed include a welcome “Zombie” cocktail and prizes for the most inventive masqueraders at the ball.
Festival of Life and Death / Festival de Tradiciones de Vida y Muerte
(October 30 – November 2, 2019)
This intriguing festival celebrates the time-honored tradition, Day of the Dead for people of Mexican heritage. It is the movie Coco come to life at Xcaret Park. As a spectator, you’ll see vibrant cultural plays and dances. You’ll visit candlelit altars adorned with orange marigolds, fruits, as well as photos of loved ones who have passed. Continuing on, you’ll awe at the elaborately painted calavera (skull) faces parading through the scenic grounds.
In addition to cultural aspects, there are interactive workshops for children and adults. Plus you’ll discover food booths serving traditional cuisine such as creamy esquites and cochinita pibil. Two Gala Concerts, which take place on one of the most exotic stages on earth, top off the list of outstanding events. The indigenous festivities, inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, will undoubtedly captivate you.
MTB Fest Riviera Maya
(November 3, 2019)
This adrenaline-fueled mountain bike race happens within Dos Ojos Cenote Park, one of the most spectacular natural settings in the Riviera Maya. For the advanced and elite groups, the 50-kilometer trail is a thrilling adventure over lush, jungle terrain. The day closes with a celebratory party with DJs, drinks, food, and raffles.
Sabor Latino Social
(November 9, 2019)
If you love Latin rhythms including Salsa, Mambo, and Bachata, this night is made for you! The sultry social outing takes place on the roof terrace of the Hotel Fiesta Inn. Fans of Latino dance styles can expect 5 hours of dance floor fun.
Mayatlón Playa del Carmen
(November 10, 2019)
Come and show your support for the inspiring participants in the 1st edition of Mayatlón. The sprint triathlon commences in Parque Fundadores in the heart of Playa del Carmen. From this perfect vantage point, enjoy the Caribbean views and the festivities as you cheer on the competing athletes.
Mayakoba Golf Classic
(November 11 – 17, 2019)
Join thousands of golf aficionados at one of the most spectacular golf courses in the world, El Camaleón near Playa del Carmen. The popular PGA-tour stop is set along the tranquil canals and beaches of the luxurious Mayakoba property.
Some of golf’s most recognizable stars, including Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, and Abraham Ancer are confirmed. They will join returning champion Matt Kuchar at the prestigious golf tournament that draws thousands of global golf enthusiasts annually.
Mazda Ironman in Cozumel
(November 24, 2019)
The late-season destination race invites endurance athletes and their entourages to the Mexican Caribean paradise of Cozumel. Just a 45-minute ferry ride from downtown Playa del Carmen, the enchanting island is known for its flourishing coral reefs and white-sand beaches.
Crowds gather to cheer on Ironman participants as they swim, bike, and run along the pristine coastline of San Miguel de Cozumel. It’s an inspiring sporting event, at which crowds of locals and supporters convene to enjoy its lively Mexican music, authentic cuisine, and festive atmosphere.
Bushido El Camino del Guerrero
(November 30, 2019)
This vibrant Japanese cultural show will take place at the intimate Teatro de la Ciudad venue in Playa del Carmen. In an effort to promote the arts in the Riviera Maya, many of the concerts and theatrical performances are free. Visit the Teatro del la Ciudad Playa del Carmen Facebook page for a calendar of upcoming shows.
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival
(November 29 – December 1, 2019)
The 17th annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival returns to Mamitas Beach Club in downtown Playa del Carmen. Chucho Valdés, famed Cuban composer and pianist, as well as the Grammy-nominated Reggae band UB40, are part of this year’s exciting line-up.
Mind-bogglingly enough, organizers host this extraordinary talent at no cost to attendees! Bring your blanket or beach chairs and enjoy 3 phenomenal days of jazz music. Performers hit the stage at 7 p.m. each evening. It’s best to go early to claim your spot on the sand.
Vegan Market Playa
(December 7, 2019)
This popular local market takes place on the first Saturday of every month in Parque La Ceiba. Local growers along with small business owners and artisans gather to showcase natural and alternative medicine products as well as delicious vegan fare. Market organizers invite visitors to experience delicious food, listen to live music and learn from experts speaking on the topic of veganism.
Canvas & Cocktails Mexico
(December 11, 2019)
Join beloved Riviera Maya artist Jesse Montenegro, for an engaging painting class. Whether a beginner or advanced, Jesse guides his students through the process with patience and expert instruction.
The fun, 3-hour classes are given in Spanish and English and the location is convenient, in the heart of the city. The Tiny Tiki Hut, a popular Playa hangout, offers the perfect setting for your creativity and new friendships to blossom.
Day Zero Tulum
(January 10, 2020)
This iconic night of electronic dance music returns to the majestic jungle of Tulum. Featuring extraordinary venues and an all-star line-up of prominent DJs including Damian Lazarus and Audiofly, Day Zero sells out quickly. EDM lovers can’t get enough of the sandy, outdoor dance floors, endless beats, and sunrise after-parties along the magnificent coastline.
(January 29 – February 4, 2020)
This is the most highly-anticipated dance music festival in Mexico catering to the LGBTQ community. The 6-day beach party features legendary DJs and the most impressive circuit parties on the continent.
Marking its 9th edition, the Arena Festival is the biggest gay event in the country, attracting attendees from all over the world.
Parades and Brazilian beats take over the cobblestone streets around the third week in February of 2020. Grab your feather boas and join in the colorful celebrations that appeal to growing audiences year after year.
Although the official date has not yet been released for Carnaval 2020 Playa del Carmen, it typically coincides with Cozumel’s grand carnival fiesta. Mark your calendars in February from the 19th to the 26th. With over a week of lively parades, concerts, and fantastic food, it is an ideal time to plan a trip to Playa del Carmen.
Art With Me *GNP Tulum
(April 22 – 26, 2020)
This remarkable 4-day event boasts striking installations by sculptors, painters, photographers, and phenomenal visual artists. Participants can attend workshops on themes such as sustainability and better business practices. Also on the daily agenda are films, children’s activities, and panel discussions. Due to its mindful planning and engaging attractions, inspired attendees gain a thought-provoking outlook on a wide range of environmental issues.
Some of Mexico’s finest culinary masters take the opportunity to showcase their creative genius along with chefs from Tulum’s top restaurants. Tantalizing pop-ups appear in the most divine locations. Dine on delectable bites at verdant jungle or breathtaking beach settings within the area of this Mexican Caribbean gem.
DJs covering a realm of genres from folk to electronic dance music hit the stages to perform before blissful audiences. Larger-than-life artworks combine with a series of unforgettable moments. For those fortunate enough to be part of this epic event, the art, the people, and the atmosphere culminate to form impressions that last forever.
Sacred Mayan Journey
(May 25 – 26, 2020)
To witness this meaningful race, which commemorates an ancient pilgrimage, is to be a part of the fascinating history of the Mayan civilization.
Each May, Xcaret Park is the scenic starting point of the Travesia Sagrada (Sacred Mayan Journey). The day begins at dawn with Mayan ceremonies of blessings and gratitude. As the sun begins to rise over the Caribbean, several groups of steel-willed men and women embark on the challenging 7-hour voyage. Paddling replica canoes similar to those used centuries ago, the teams set off towards Cozumel. In the massive, wooden canoes, they bring with them offerings for Ixchel, the Goddess of Fertility. After paying homage to Ixchel and resting for the night, they depart the island and return to Xcaret Park. It is an exhilarating welcoming, courtesy of the hundreds of cheering spectators. Unwinding from the 19 km trek, the participants, join in to celebrate with live music and cultural dances.
Zouk MX 2020
(July 24 – August 5, 2020)
This dynamic event has beckoned attendees to the Riviera Maya for 5 successful years. ZoukMX is an all-encompassing and interactive dance festival featuring some of the most influential artists in the business.
On the stimulating 2-week itinerary are 100 hours of instruction led by the International Brazilian Training Team, in addition to workshops, teacher training, and competitions. Throw in a couple of cenote, yacht, and rooftop parties, and the schedule becomes irresistible. Not to mention the elite international DJs, beachfront venues, and an invigorating retreat, which brings the festival to a memorable close.
Sure, lounging by the sea on sunny days with a few margaritas never hurt anyone. However, there is much more to this Caribbean paradise than its glorious beaches. Explore more when you choose to stay with Bric Vacation Rentals. Our hospitality team works hard to take your vacation from great to extraordinary!
For more information on upcoming Riviera Maya events, visit our Facebook Page. Likewise, you can sign up to receive our monthly newsletter at www.bricrental.com.
Perfect Days Begin With Perfect Mornings
In Playa del Carmen, locals spend as much time possible in the great outdoors. The region’s warm, tropical climate lures people from around the globe to set down roots near its silky shoreline. This year-round summer weather makes outdoor living a way of life. Offices are set up on terraces perched over the Caribbean. Hockey sticks are traded in for golf clubs. Dinners are prepared on grills, and savored on patios engulfed by lush gardens.
This Riviera Maya jewel is a natural paradise. If you’re planning an upcoming visit to Playa del Carmen, you won’t want to waste a single second indoors. Enjoy your Mexican vacation to the fullest with these 7 ways to kickstart a perfect day in Playa del Carmen.
Enjoy Coffee With A View
One memorable highlight of staying in an ocean view condo with Bric is that you can wake up to some of the most spectacular sunrises in the world. Sip your morning brew on the balcony. From this privileged position, get a front-row seat to a kaleidoscope of oranges, reds, and pinks bursting across the sky. Add the Caribbean hues from the sea below into that mix, and well, there aren’t really words to describe that kind of beauty.
Breakfast at Bajo Cafe
Shaded by the umbrella of a massive flamboyant tree, Bajo Cafe is part of Mercado 30. This quaint little conglomeration of eclectic stores and eateries is located on Calle 30 and 25th Avenue.
Local artists feature their prints and artisanal works throughout the cafe. But the remarkable decor is not the only reason to visit Bajo. You’ll discover the best coffee in town, derived from coffee bean plantations in Chiapas. Try a breakfast bagel or a warm pastry, both ideal accompaniments to their robust coffee.
Sunrise Paddle Board Session
The seasoned instructors from Aloha Paddle Club are experts at reaping the benefits of beach life in Playa del Carmen. Every morning, they offer Stand Up Paddle classes from the glorious white sands at Fusion Beach Club on Calle 6. The company, who has a loyal following of locals and expats, recently signed on to offer Stand Up Yoga classes from the stunning infinity pool at Grand Hyatt.
Join Sander and his team for a safe and remarkable 1.5-hour journey to local reefs a couple of hundred meters off the silky shores. You’ll have a blast gliding over and diving into the crystal clear waters. A sunrise paddle presents one of the most exhilarating experiences you can have on the Caribean Sea.
Birdies and Breakfast Balls
Since Playa del Carmen is lucky enough to have summer weather year-round, hitting the links is a highly recommended way to start the day off right. Nothing beats teeing off in the early morning when the air is fresh, with no distractions but the local wildlife scurrying about.
Playa del Carmen is a top golf destination due to its climate and pristine, PGA tour-worthy courses. Go for birdie at championship golf courses such as El Camaleon in Mayakoba, Gran Coyote Golf in Grand Coral, or Hard Rock Riviera Maya, which sits in the center of the gated community of Playacar.
Get Your Om On At Yogaloft Playa del Carmen
Pose and meditate your way to a magical morning with a class at Yogaloft Playa del Carmen, situated on Calle 10 and 10th Avenue. Renowned instructor Michael Gannon and other guest teachers from around North America offer a schedule of classes designed to get the blood flowing and the mind centered.
These challenging and impactful sessions will help to set the mood for an excellent day. Additionally, next door to the studio is a yoga-based store selling gear and Liquid Prana. A rejuvenating line of raw, cold-pressed juices, Liquid Prana will give you the healthful jolt of energy to power through your unforgettable day.
Who’s Up For A Road Trip?
There are a thousand and one fantastic adventures to be had around Playa del Carmen, so get in the car and hit the road! Among the vast array of riveting sights are the Yucatan Peninsula’s longest underground river and cave system, cenote swimming holes, and ancient Mayan cities.
Tucked within the lush jungle are centuries-old pyramids and dozens of ecological parks, including Xcaret, Xplor, and Emotions Native Park. Within a couple of hours, you can drive to Magical Towns (Pueblos Magicos) such as the Yellow Town of Izamal and the colonial city of Valladolid.
In Bacalar, you’ll be amazed by the pirate history and the Fort of San Felipe, which overlooks the astounding Lagoon of 7 Colors.
Alternatively, head to a nearby island like Isla Mujeres or Holbox to experience island life at its finest. Ride along rustic roads lined with multi-colored buildings on a golf cart. Dine on fresh catches of the day. Furthermore, drop by a welcoming Caribbean beach bar. Listen to Reggae music as you enjoy the view consisting of turquoise and palm trees as you sip on a fruity cocktail. This dreamy island vibe will surely stick with you forever.
Additionally, you can jump on board a boat for some of the best snorkeling in the area in Puerto Morelos. Not so far off the shore is the second-largest barrier reef in the world, the Mesoamerican Reef. You’ll relish the opportunity to swim alongside turtles, parrotfish, and fascinating reef sharks.
Cozumel, just a 45-minute ferry ride from Playa del Carmen, boasts a long list of unique activities. First of all, it’s a renowned diving destination due to its extraordinary underwater visibility. Consequently, exploring sea life and sunken ships via a submarine is certain to be a grand adventure. Next, climb to the top of the lighthouse and savor the divine views at Punta Sur. Be sure to taste tequila and authentic Mexican cuisine on a food tour with a local chef. Lastly on the itinerary for things to do in Cozumel is visiting a pearl farm in the picturesque waters on the island’s north end.
No matter which direction you set out on, you are sure to collect travel stories that will make a lasting impression on your heart.
Take A Sunrise Stroll
Is there anything better than the feeling of cool sand under your feet and warm, salty waves lapping your toes? Picture an early morning walk along the powdery sand toward the sun as it rises over a turquoise seascape. It’s a picture that you will want to hold in your mind forever.
Considering all of the benefits of spending time at the beach, it is no surprise that this breathtaking activity makes it on our list. However, let’s face it, if you wake up in Playa del Carmen, you already have a huge advantage for starting the day off right!
Through Sustainable Tourism, Passionate Guides at Cenote Chikin-Ha Park Introduce Us To Some Of The Most Spectacular Nature On The Planet
One of the top Riviera Maya activities, especially when the heat turns up from May to September, is taking a dip in the cool waters of a cenote. These extraordinary sinkholes have been around for thousands of years and enhance the already extraordinary beauty of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
What Is A Cenote?
At 8:30 a.m., in the most peaceful of jungle settings, our expedition begins at Chikin-Ha Park (20 minutes south of Playa del Carmen). After selecting a bike for the first part of the tour, we peddle alongside David, our enthusiastic guide. As we approach the first of two dry caves, the kids are glued to David’s side as he shares with us the fascinating history behind a cenote. The Yucatan Peninsula, once an expansive coral colony beneath the sea, became exposed when the water receded during the Ice Age. Unable to survive, the coral fossilized to form a limestone platform about one mile thick. Throughout the years, acidic rainwater caused the porous limestone to collapse, forming thousands of remarkable caverns. At the end of the Ice Age, the glaciers melted and flooded these caves resulting in crystal clear, turquoise-tinted pools and the world’s longest underground river system.
David goes on to explain that many of the Mayan cities were constructed around cenotes, as they provided a freshwater source for the community. Moreover, these unique wells were considered a sacred passageway to the Maya underworld. Many human sacrifices were offered to the gods, believed to reside within the dark depths of these geological phenomena. In 2001, the oldest remains in the Americas were found in Quintana Roo and date back some 13000 years.
Chikin-Ha Park’s Captivating Caves
Throughout the caves, lamps shine spotlights on the hundreds of dripping stalactite formations. As we regress back to the steps of the entrance, he points out glow-worms living within the crevices; the children are in awe.
The early tour is highly recommended as it feels as though you have the serene jungle sanctuary all to yourself. Wear natural mosquito repellent for the dry cave exploration portion of the excursion. Regular repellents and sunscreens are prohibited.
Partaking In A Time-Honored Mayan Tradition
The third stop takes us to a breathtaking pita-shaped cave. The sun’s rays pierce through the lush wilderness and paint a mystical scene. From the branches of massive Ceiba trees, we hear the calls of bright orange and turquoise Mot Mot birds. Partially concealed by flowing vines is the entrance to the cave. David pushes aside the natural curtain of flowing vines and instructs us to follow a candle-lit aisle.
At the end of the pathway, a Shaman stands at an altar with a welcoming smile. The Mayan priest motions for us to sit down. A beautiful cleansing and gratitude ceremony commences, aiming to rid us of any negative feelings we may be harboring.
Each of us takes turns placing copal incense inside the smoking chalice. As we do so, we make a silent, intention for the betterment of the universe. In Mayan, the Shaman gives thanks to the earth for all it provides and sends our blessings (from the smoking chalice) up through a small opening in the ceiling of the cave. The sacred ceremony seems to work and we are left feeling a deep sense of peace.
A View From The Top
We return the bikes, grab our towels from the lockers, and proceed to the zip lines. Traveling with an apprehensive nine-year-old, we were relieved that after a quick survey, she determines to give the modest zip line circuit a go. One by one, we soar over blue-green ponds and finally above the vast canopy of the jungle. The powder blue sky and the verdant vista from the hundred and twenty-meter long zip line are extraordinary. Everyone in our group is eager for a second round on the circuit.
You are allowed to bring your camera or smart phone to take photos. They also have a professional photographer escorting you through the park. The photo package is $65.00 USD. The park operates on a cash–only basis. So even if you skip the photo package, you will need cash for the entrance fees, refundable locker deposit ($50 pesos) and tips.
The tour concludes with a refreshing swim in two unique cenotes. With our snorkel gear and the help of David’s expert eye, we are able to spot the catfish, turtles, and divers swimming beneath us in the picturesque sinkholes. He invites us to stay and use the facilities as long as we like. But our stomachs are signaling that it is time to eat.
We opt to dine at La Buena Vida in Akumal, one of our favorite seaside beach clubs in the Riviera Maya. The restaurant and bar sits facing the Caribbean and offers bean bag chairs, plenty of tables with a view, and hammocks tied to coconut palms. This laid-back little piece of heaven is the ideal end to our adventurous morning.
Without a doubt, you can expect similarly inspiring encounters at any one of the many eco-parks in Playa del Carmen. But above and beyond the awesome nature, this half-day excursion hits the bullseye for affordable, family-friendly fun. For $650 pesos ($36 USD) each, our group of five was pleasantly surprised with the personalization of the tour complete with cultural aspects, history, and thrilling elements. For these reasons, our Chikin-ha experience emphatically receives 10 thumbs up!
Book online in advance by PayPal and save 15%. There are various packages to choose from. The basic entrance fee is $350 pesos and does not include the zip lines. The full package included bikes, snorkel gear, and all activities (dry caves and rappelling, cenote swims, zip lines and Mayan ceremony.) In addition, you have the option to pay $100 pesos per person for a buffet lunch in the on-site restaurant.
Travel offers a wide range of life-enhancing benefits. From teaching tolerance and problem-solving skills to decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety a vacation does the body good. A getaway allows for an escape from the ordinary. It’s an exciting and necessary break from the mundane trap of a monotonous schedule.
A holiday in Playa del Carmen is no exception! Here are 12 evident ways that a beach vacation has a positive effect on your body, mind and soul. Life moves fast. It’s time to slow down the pace and spend time in one of the Riviera Maya’s most award-winning destinations.
Develop A Feeling of Pride and Confidence
Along with the good memories, you’ll also carry back with you a sense of pride. It takes courage to successfully navigate a foreign airport and city. Small wins such as boarding local colectivos to swim in a magnificent cenote can give your confidence a huge boost. Moreover, renting a car to explore ancient architecture, ‘Magic Towns’ or quaint islands can further develop a sense of accomplishment.
Sure there’s a multitude of things to see and do in Playa del Carmen’s downtown core. But try meandering one or two blocks north of 5th Avenue for a change. You never know when you’ll stumble upon a fantastic eatery – there are hundreds of them! As you venture off the well-trodden path, you may just come across the most sensational meal of your trip. If you’re staying in a vacation rental, regular outings such as a trip to the grocery store present prime opportunities to increase your Spanish vocabulary. Developing the ability to converse in a foreign language, even at a basic level, can cultivate a feeling of pride.
Become More Open-Minded
We understand that foreigners are bombarded with negative press about Mexico every other week. Of course, without firsthand experience, the country seems like the wild wild West. But for those who get that most news stories are highly sensationalized, travel to Playa del Carmen garners huge rewards. By foregoing the advice of skeptics, you’ll find your risk will pay off more than you could have ever imagined. Each year, millions of visitors are so delighted with their vacation experiences that they return to the Riviera Maya again and again.
Travelers gain insights through encountering a welcoming nation. Mexicans are very proud of their heritage, their music, and their food. They’re more than happy to share the enchanting side of their beloved country.
If you come at the end of October, there’s a good chance you’ll meet paraders with elaborately painted faces in the streets . The skeleton make-up is part of the deep-rooted festival, Dia de los Muertos. During Day of the Dead, families decorate altars, prepare customary foods, and organize cemetery processions to remember loved ones who have passed.
Traveling to a new county and meeting its citizens allows a glimpse into their way of life. You comprehend better their value system and why the culture is the way it is. One thing that Mexicans hold most dear besides their families and their Mariachi music, is their tequila. While Jose Cuervo is at the center of many college parties, Mexicans opt to sip their cherished national treasure.
If you can, resist the persuasive tequila-slinging bartender at Coco Bongo, and instead stop by a specialty store on 5th Avenue. An introduction to some of the nations finest tequilas will develop an new appreciation for the distinctive spirit.
Relax, Rejuvenate and Be Inspired By The Great Outdoors
Spending your days immersed in breathtaking nature, your soul cannot help but be soothed. Plus, long walks on the beach or scaling Mayan pyramids are perfect for incorporating some feel-good exercise into your vacation. Not to mention, the activity will help burn off the extra taco and piña colada calories.
In addition to the benefits of exercise, you’re body will benefit without exerting much effort at all. Lounging on the sun-soaked beaches of Playa del Carmen, will give your body its required dose of Vitamin D.
Be Exposed To Authentic Tastes Beyond The Burrito
Mexican cuisine is a delightful mix of complex flavors. (Think mole, which boasts a list of over thirty, perfectly blended ingredients). Just as chicken balls are not authentic in Chinese cuisine, burritos are not exactly a staple on a Mexican menu.
One well-known chef, Rick Bayliss, has travelled throughout Mexico and his popular TV show documents his culinary adventures. His passion for Mexican cuisine is highlighted in each episode as he explores the traditional dishes of each region.
Since Playa del Carmen’s community consists of a wonderful mix of residents from around Mexico, you can be sure to discover a diverse range of enticing plates. For breakfast try chilaquiles, juevos rancheros or saucy enchiladas. For lunch, a light ceviche or seafood tostada with an ojo rojo is a popular combo here in Playa. As for dinner, tender arrachera flank steaks or tacos al pastor are both delicious options.
Step Outside Your Comfort Zone For Unforgettable Experiences
There is no better way to grow and challenge your regular threshold of comfort than to take an international trip. Things like losing your luggage and facing language barriers tend to uncover new character traits you never knew you had.
Here in Playa del Carmen, there are several ways to ease you past your comfort boundaries. For example, one of the most exhilarating ways to overcome a fear of heights is to take the leap from the modest platforms at local cenotes. It may take several repetitions of ‘I think I can, I think I can’ to cliff jump or to climb to the peak of Coba’s highest temple. But the feeling of satisfaction is worth the initial discomfort. Besides, the view from the top is pretty spectacular. Each time you do something that extends beyond your comfort zone, the world seems to open up just a little more. Around each corner, new facets of its extraordinary beauty are revealed.
Diving in the open sea is another extraordinary way to test the borders of your comfort level. Thanks to its close proximity to the second largest barrier reef in the world, Playa del Carmen is a renowned diving destination. Scattered throughout the city are excellent dive shops with certified instructors. With decades of experience under their belt, they’ll guide you towards plenty of surreal underwater moments that will be hard to forget.
See Mexico In A Different Light
Every culture has its fair share of stereotypes. But to allow labels to deter you from visiting a country will cost you some priceless travel experiences. During my family’s first year in Mexico, my mother and sister visited. The group was up for an adventure. So we booked a hotel in Valladolid, a charming colonial town located an hour and a half from Playa del Carmen.
On the way, we took a short cut in search of a new toll road that would trim the traveling time. It wasn’t long before our van load of precious cargo was bouncing over a rough, jungle path surrounded thick brush.
Just as we were trying to figure out how to turn back on the narrow trail, a teenage Mexican boy appeared from nowhere – carrying a machete. Given the situation, it was just like a scary movie and our first thought was we’re in trouble. This wasn’t going to end well.
The scruffy kid asked if we were lost and offered to lead us to the highway. He hopped on the running board, slung one hand around the mirror to hold on, and from the other hand, hung the rusted machete. As our crew recited prayers under our breath, we approached a clearing. It was the highway! Just as quickly as he had appeared, our guardian angel was off again. The kind stranger asked for nothing and simply waved before the jungle swallowed him once again.
Although Mexico was once considered a ‘Third World’ country, it is now listed according to the UN, in the ‘Upper Middle’ category in relation to its economy per capita. In fact, it’s rare to see donkeys strolling dirt roads or roosters riding the city bus. In Playa del Carmen, you can expect to find high-end dining establishments, Wi-Fi and modern accommodations comparable to any other cosmopolitan city in the world.
Encounter New Adventures
Due to its central location, Playa del Carmen offers convenient access to the hundreds of exhilarating adventures that abound in the Mexican Caribbean. For yogis, a class atop of paddle board on a scenic, jade-colored lagoon might sound alluring. Photography enthusiasts can brush up on their skills National Geographic-style. Envision capturing the perfect sunset over the jungle from the most unordinary vantage points, including the peak of a Mayan pyramid.
All-be-it a thrill of a lifetime, skydiving may not be for everyone. However, you might have a change of heart when you arrive in Playa del Carmen. There are few descents in the world more spectacular than Playa’s turquoise seascape. If scuba diving is not your thing, you might love snorkeling alongside graceful turtles and stingrays in picturesque, tropical bays. The list of ideas for fun and adventure is as ceaseless as the warm weather in the Riviera Maya.
Make Lifelong Friendships
Playa del Carmen is one of those magical places that spawns repeat visitors. One reason being that it’s an easy flight from most places in North America. The snowbird community continues to grow each year because it’s a perfect spot for retirees. The city is easy to navigate by foot and you can enjoy the beach lifestyle without being fluent in Spanish. There are exceptional restaurants with impeccable service. Staff such as the bartender at your favorite beach club or our Bric ambassadors remember your name and welcome you back as part of the family.
If you like to hit the links, Playa del Carmen offers several championship and PGA Tour courses. Golf presents a fantastic opportunity to form lasting friendships. Undoubtedly, you’ll meet other like-minded individuals who appreciate the game and the endless summer climate.
Develop Passion For Experiences Over Things
After traveling to stunning destinations like the Riviera Maya, you begin to reconsider material purchases. Justifying the purchase of a $400 wallet is hard when you know that instead, you could be diving off the picturesque shores of Playa del Carmen for less than that.
When people envision the beach, they think sun, sand, and margaritas. But the more time you spend near the sea, the more you realize the mystical powers of nature. There is no denying that nature enhances your life in ways material things cannot. The priceless beauty of a sunrise over the Caribbean, the rhythmic sounds of the waves, happy people all along the shore, without a television, an X-box, or a cell phone in sight. The treasures you find in Playa are far more valuable than anything money can buy.
Although you can find a fantastic selection of luxurious products in the designer stores and boutiques that line 5th Avenue, it’s easy to be steered away from the material life. In this little piece of paradise, there are endless simple pleasures to indulge in.
The easy-breezy lifestyle is one of the many factors that transform so many temporary visitors to residents. Being surrounded by endless opportunities to live in a peaceful harmony with nature, incites a passion for exploration beyond the shops on 5th Avenue.
Make Memories And Receive Real-life Education All In One
If you come to the Riviera Maya in the spring, you can witness a re-enactment of the sacred Mayan Journey. This lively three-day ceremony begins at the remarkable ecological park, Xcaret near Playa del Carmen. Besides swimming in underground rivers, seeing jellyfish and seahorses at the aquarium, or feeding tropical birds in a man-size birdcage, you can watch history come alive.
The popular event is held in remembrance of the pilgrimage Mayan women and men made hundreds of years ago. Groups would cross the Caribbean towards the island of Cozumel in hallowed out Ceiba trees. They’d travel a grueling seven hours to bring offerings for Ixchel, the Goddess of fertility.
As a spectator, you have a chance to view the festivities surrounding the sacred journey. Not only are the rowers, who have trained for months prior, an inspiration, but the event also shines an enlightening perspective on the area’s first civilization.
Provides A Change Of Scenery During A Long, Cold Winter
Winters can drag on with incessant freezing temperatures making you impatient for spring. Planning a trip to Playa del Carmen can give you something to look forward to. Most importantly, an exotic getaway provides a much-needed break from the overcast skies and frosty windshields.
If you daydream of waking up to sunshine and palm trees, our professional Bric hospitality team can help with that. With pleasure, we’ll offer guidance as you design your ideal version of a trip to paradise. Trade in the clunky winter boots for a pair of flip-flops. Even if you can only manage a few days away from the office, a long weekend getaway serves the body, mind, and soul well.
A Great Conversation Starter
It is said that travel makes you speechless then turns you into a storyteller. Striking up a travel conversation is always a safe and engaging topic no matter the occasion. Travelers love to recall their most memorable moments from their trips. Even for those who have never left their hometown, everyone has a bucket list with a special destination they’d like to see and experience.
A trip to Playa del Carmen will give you more than enough fuel to stoke a stimulating conversation at your next event. From the tope (infamous Mexican speed bump) that snuck up on you and sent your rental car soaring, to a night of dancing under the stars, each trip provides more than enough entertaining anecdotes.
Making Mole With Mayakoba’s Executive Chef
Since its opening, El Pueblito’s cooking classes at Mayakoba have garnered the reputation for being three hours of delicious fun. Being a Mole fanatic, (one of Mexico’s most complicated and flavorful dishes) I’ve always wanted to learn the recipe. So when Mole appeared on Chef Karla’s schedule, I didn’t hesitate to sign up!
The origin of this complex Mexican dish remains a mystery. But one legend dating back to Colonial times gives nuns from a Puebla convent the credit. An unexpected visit by the Archbishop sent them into panic mode. Agonizing that they did not have anything to serve him, they prayed for inspiration. An angel appeared, directing them to cut, chop, and combine the random inventory of items they had on hand. Nuts, chiles, bread, and even chocolate were sauteed, blended, and simmered. The Archbishop ate every last spoonful of the saucy sensation. The recipe became a national treasure in Mexico and is one of the country’s most distinguished dishes.
Pronounced MO-lay, the rich and slightly spicy sauce is typically served over chicken and has a lengthy list of savory ingredients. Perhaps its most surprising component is chocolate. Did someone say chocolate? Count me in!
Class Is In Session
Upon entering the gorgeous, Mexican tiled industrial kitchen, we were greeted by two friendly assistants/bartenders. After directing us to our seats, we were offered a choice of welcome cocktail. The drink menu featured fresh maracuya (passion fruit), guanabana (soursop) or tamarindo (a brown tamarind pea pod) muddled with a splash of tequila. Each of the exotic elixirs was enticing but I opted for the guanabana— fabulous.
Our group consisted of enthusiastic students from Monterrey, Poland, and the United States. Beyond her native Spanish, Mayakoba’s executive chef Karla Enciso also leads classes in Italian, English, and French.
This gourmet kitchen provided the perfect space for our class of nine. Each station was well organized with pre-portioned ingredients laid out for us. But the best part? There was no cleanup and no pots to scrub at the end!
The Secrets To Mexico’s Most Sophisticated Sauce
We began by preparing the various dried chiles such as ancho and pasilla. First, we fried them in lard and then boiled them in chicken broth before being added to the blender. Pecans, pumpkin, and sesame seeds were sauteed with fragrant anise, cloves, and thyme, The golden nuts joined the chiles in the blender with a touch of broth.
Gorgeous Mexican clay pots hosted sizzling green tomatillos, onions, tomatoes, garlic, and sliced green apples (a substitute for plantains). After browning this batch of ingredients, we blended them with a spoonful of chicken broth and a blackened tortilla. Chef Karla explained that the blackened tortilla produces a similar effect as that of activated charcoal in aiding digestion.
Slow Cooking, Sipping And Savoring The Experience
After sautéing and blending, browning, and more blending, we had produced three thick liquids. The smooth pastes were poured into one olla (pot) and stirred over a low gas flame for half an hour. Karla revealed that the secret to a rich and savory mole is to slow cook it for as long as possible, stirring often. Some chefs have been known to stir their mole for 2 hours a day for almost a week prior to serving it. In doing so, the sauce is reduced and the delightful flavors develop to perfection.
Sipping our cocktails, we continuously stirred the deep-red colored mole sauce. Next, the cacao, which we had ground midway through the class was sprinkled into the mix. During periodic tastings, a pinch of salt, a dash of sugar, and a second fistful of chocolate were added. Chef Karla shared that a great mole should acknowledge a perfect fusion of flavors. If the saltiness, the sweetness, and the spiciness can all be detected, you know you’ve created an immaculate blend.
At Last, We Eat!
Once the aromatic sauce was ready, we added pre-cooked chicken breasts. In yet another exquisite, hand-painted olla, we fried a cup of white rice. Along with the water, a few sprigs of cilantro, peas, chopped carrots, and salt enhanced the steamed rice, making it a perfect accompaniment to the mole.
Finally, the time came to plate our savory creations, garnished with cilantro and toasted sesame seeds. I couldn’t wait to taste the explosion of rich mole flavors! Chef Karla had selected a bottle of Mexican red to pair with our meal. Our taste buds rose to a standing ovation with every bite. Not one person left even a single grain of rice on their plate.
Overall, the El Pueblito cooking class experience was a 10. And no, this is not the tequila talking. Our expert host was very engaging. With her encouragement and practical instruction, she gave us the confidence to believe we might actually be able to pull off this sophisticated dish.
A Culinary Adventure Of Your Own
Weekly classes are offered within the picturesque El Pueblito village at Mayakoba. Chef Karla is undeniably passionate about promoting Mexican cuisine. However, the notable culinary artist is open to leading themed classes upon request. Ever wondered about the secret behind a delectable Thai curry? Would you like to try you hand at rolling your own pasta dough for a hearty Italian dish? She is all for celebrating culinary curiosity and sharing her expertise, which was honed in the south of France.
For a schedule of upcoming classes or to reserve your spot you can contact El Pueblito through their Facebook page. Chef Karla is also available at (998) 214-3402 to arrange for private classes for groups of up to 20 people.
As a guest of Bric Vacation Rentals, your designated ambassador is happy to assist in booking one of these highly entertaining and rewarding experiences. Salud!