Summer is the perfect time of year to host festivals! Outdoor parks come alive with concerts, fireworks and activities surrounding such themes as Independence Day or Peach Fest in Canada’s Okanagan.
The Mayan Riviera, known for its world-class beaches and picturesque Caribbean coastline, is also host to a vibrant array of festivals. The surreal beauty of the region makes for the optimal setting for magical events including those held under a night sky glowing under a blanket of twinkling stars. The intriguing mix of cultural communities has resulted in an exuberant, cosmopolitan city with a progressive mindset and an ever-growing fascination for the arts.
Cities like Playa del Carmen, with its year-round, warm climate and palm-lined beaches are appealing to both event coordinators and attendees. This seaside location has become renowned for fantastic one-day only and weeklong parties celebrating the love of music, film, food and even tequila!
If you are a fan of Dance or Jazz music, international film, or gastronomy, we recommend that you check out this list of annual festivals that take place in Playa del Carmen. The popularity of these festivals is growing every year. Promoters are producing unforgettable events in one of the most stunning, natural venues in the world!
The BPM Festival (January)
Each year, tens of thousands of dance music aficionados come to Playa del Carmen to enjoy performances by hundreds of renowned DJs. During this world-class, electronic music event, fans flock to this breathtaking region to hear the best underground music talent from around the globe.
Throughout the 10-day festival, international crowds gather around open-air stages constructed on the silky, white sand, palapa beach bars, and even within stunning cenote caverns! In 2015, this sensational festival drew over 60,000 sun and EDM worshippers.
The Arena Festival (February)
This stellar house music event unites the gay community like no other dance festival in Mexico! Attendees and DJs from around the world come for the ultimate dance party at venues speckled along the powdery shores of Playa del Carmen.
Everyone from students to companies to state government officials, join together for the grand, Brazilian inspired Carnival! Each year, organizers create an awesome schedule of events including live music performances, parades and contests.
It is a fun time to be in the city! During the celebrations, bongo drummers are out in full force, participants are clad in feathers and bejeweled bikinis, astonishingly tall 5th Avenue pedestrians walk by on stilts, and decorative floats coast along the downtown streets of Playa del Carmen.
Spring and Autumn Equinox Festival (March and September)
Each year, spectators can witness a truly remarkable occurrence at Chichen Itza in the Yucatan Peninsula. Near the time of the first days of spring and fall, the descending sun casts a shadow of a giant serpent along the corner of the famous Kulkulkan Temple. The shadow gives the illusion of a snake slithering down the staircase until it unites with a large stone serpent head at the base of the pyramid.
The festival celebrates the advanced astrological genius of the Maya culture with concerts, sound and light shows on the sacred archeological site.
Wine and Food Festival Cancun-Riviera Maya (April)
This four-day event draws top chefs and sommeliers of the world to the Riviera Maya. Those who appreciate fine food and wine will have a chance to meet renowned chefs and taste their exquisite creations at events such as the celebrity catamaran cruise and lunch or the star chefs dinner. Daily conferences, wine tasting city tours and seminars are also part of this sumptuous food and wine festival.
Corona SunSets Festival (May)
This sun-soaked, dance music festival happens each year in ten different countries around the world and on four sublime beaches in Mexico.
In Playa del Carmen, an impressive line-up of DJs spin from the explosive main stage at Mamitas Beach Club all day, and into the night. This annual fiesta takes place along the shores that border some of the most stunning blue-green waters found in the Americas. There is no shortage of cold Coronas and the atmosphere is electric!
The Riviera Maya Film Festival (June)
The international film industry aims to join a love for the people of Quintana Roo and its culture with universal art through contemporary film. Mexican and foreign movies are featured during this 6-day event, which takes place at magnificent locations throughout the Riviera Maya.
In Playa del Carmen, award-winning films are showcased in spectacular outdoor settings as well as within restored cinemas. Over the past 5 years, the festival has featured almost 1000 free showings and has attracted approximately 81,000 spectators.
Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret (October)
This vibrant cultural festival takes place over 4 days around the 31st of October at the eco-park, Xcaret, just 5 minutes South of Playa del Carmen. Inside the stunning nature park, festivalgoers can enjoy typical regional foods, such as cochinita pibil, tamales, and a esquites (a creamy corn dish with mayo, lime and chili.)
A designated area features elaborately decorated altars adorned with candles, flowers, photos and food. Stages showcase theatrical and musical performances. Parades and an abundance of family activities create a fun-filled, educational environment for people of every age.
Riviera Maya Jazz Festival (November)
Pack a beach chair or blanket and a picnic basket and you are set to enjoy this free festival on the alabaster beaches of Playa del Carmen. Fans gather on the sand to hear some of the biggest names in the Jazz music industry perform.
Open-air venues and world-class entertainment make this one of the longest running festivals in the Mayan Riviera. If you are just discovering the soulful sounds of Jazz, this popular event will leave you spellbound.
Heineken Winter Beach (December)
This annual event combines a love of music and fashion at exclusive venues throughout the effervescent city of Playa del Carmen. Top-rated electronic dance music DJs perform while crowds gather at fashion shows presenting the latest in spring-summer trends.
Of course, at the Heineken-sponsored event, you can sip on cold ones as you enjoy the turquoise views from the palm-speckled beaches of the sunny Mexican Caribbean!
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About the Author
Juanita grew up in a small town in the middle of Canada. Having experienced twenty years of ruggedly cold climate, she had seen enough snow to last her a lifetime. After moving to and working in Vancouver for thirteen years (where she was ecstatic to see the odd palm tree) she jumped at the opportunity to move with her husband and three children to Playa del Carmen. She calls it a ‘dreamy existence’ and cherishes year-round, backyard barbecues with friends, road trips and watching the sunrise over the Caribbean. She writes for Bric Vacation Rentals.