It’s known globally as a tropical paradise, with seductive Caribbean waters that roll in to kiss a sprawling, white-sand shoreline. Beyond the scenic beaches of the Riviera Maya, travelers are drawn to the region’s spectacular nature courtesy of two main draws - the vibrant Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System and the area’s hundreds of breathtaking cenote sinkholes.
Recently, the Riviera Maya was highlighted yet again when it received Travel Weekly’s 2017 Reader’s Choice Award for ‘Best Destination in Mexico’. In September at the World Travel Awards, Playa del Carmen won for ‘Mexico and Central America’s Leading City Break Destination’.
Close to 30 million domestic and international passengers arrived at the Cancun International Airport in 2017 and that number continues to escalate each year. It is no wonder that developers and entrepreneurs are eager to establish projects in this popular sunny destination.
Whether you are planning your next vacation, considering purchasing a second home, or are in the process of designing your dream retirement in Mexico, this article provides information on the latest events and growth of the city. You will discover what’s new in Playa del Carmen and how it is forging ahead with its transformation into a world-class city.
New Terminal 4 at Cancun International Airport
At the end of October this past year, the new 2-level terminal plus mezzanine with food court, retail stores, 18 boarding gates and 36 self-service check-in kiosks celebrated its inauguration. Currently, T4 is equipped to handle 9 million additional visitors, while further expansions expected to be completed by 2020, will enable the airport to manage up to 40 million passengers.
With state-of-the-art technologies, the airport authority has eliminated outdated systems such as customs forms and the random traffic light baggage check system. These modern and more efficient methods mean smoother airport interactions, which allow travelers to arrive at their final destinations much sooner than in the past.
This infographic displays the airlines currently arriving and departing out of Terminal 4.
Gandhi Books Opens
A grand opening of a bookstore is not exactly a breaking story elsewhere in the world, but in Playa del Carmen, it’s big news! Bookstores are few and far between in these parts, and books sold in English are even rarer.
So when we heard that the popular chain store opened its doors in Plaza Corazon (5th Avenue at Calle 14), the community was thrilled to have more convenient access to literature published in several languages.
SOMA Delights With Sophisticated Asian Flare
If you have a ravenous obsession with sushi as a few members of our Bric team do, you will love the stylish SOMA Urban Sushi Bar, which opened in December on the corner of Calle 10 and 5th Avenue.
Top-notch DJs set a New York City-style elegant meets upscale Playa vibe. The sleek, two-level eatery features air-conditioning on the upper level and walls adorned with exquisite murals of dueling samurais and graceful geishas.
Two of their chefs come from the distinguished Nobu Mexico and the superior sushi grade fish arrives fresh from the Pacific. In a city offering so many options for exceptional cuisine, it can be difficult to stand out amongst the crowd of options. However, the phenomenal SOMA Playa del Carmen is in a league of its own.
ADO Bus Adds More Routes From Cancun International Airport
In 2017, the Cancun International Airport experienced nearly a ten percent increase in passengers compared to 2016. In order to meet the increased demand for airport transfers, ADO added more routes to their schedule.
The spacious and air-conditioned buses now offer service to Playa del Carmen every 25 minutes. Tickets can be purchased in advance at ado.com.mx. for $190 pesos/adult and $95 pesos/child (approximately $10.50/$5 USD). Since Uber is not yet operating in this region, ADO is the next best option if you are looking for economical transportation.
Cuidado Con El Perro Finds A Home On 5th Avenue
This famous Mexican clothing brand recently established itself in Playa del Carmen’s famed dining and shopping district, 5th Avenue. On opening day, a crowd of excited shoppers gathered in the street, anxious to check out the trendy line of clothing and accessories geared towards fashionable adolescents.
If you have a teenager, this is the place to shop for unique apparel at very reasonable prices. The store opens at 10 a.m. and is located on the north end of 5th Avenue near Calle 34.
Authentic And Ethnic Aromas From Mi Ranchito Food Truck Village Fill The Air
In early December, Mi Ranchito Playero opened for business with 11 food trucks offering fantastic street food fare. From seafood and meat tacos to tortas, wings and Arabic dishes, people are impressed with the quality and variety of menus at this lively gathering spot.
At night, when strings of bulbs are lit above the rows of picnic tables, it creates a whimsical and fun-loving atmosphere within the food park. There is an assortment of domestic and imported beer brands to quench your thirst, with mojitos and other popular cocktails for non-beer drinkers.
If you have children, they will love the entertainment at the kids club. For adults, they have salsa dance and movie nights. The on-site restaurants open at 2 p.m. daily, while the food trucks open from 5 p.m. to midnight.
Playa del Carmen’s City Center To Undergo Major Changes in 2018
A new mobility plan is in the works in an effort to decongest the city’s center. Playa del Carmen’s mayor announced the addition of bicycle lanes and parking meters in the initial portion of the upcoming year. As well, urban transportation stop points and the 5th Avenue ADO bus station will be moved to alternate locations.
The municipality has also added over 700 square meters of new sidewalks. Moreover, several hundred linear meters of new zebra-type designated pedestrian crossings have painted throughout Playa’s downtown core. The goal is to make the walkable city safer for pedestrians.
Largest Theme Park In Latin America Set To Open In 2018
Amikoo theme park is coming to the Playa del Carmen area at the latter part of 2018. The 300-acre complex, currently under construction 20 minutes north of Playa, will showcase 24 modern attractions, a Museum of Mayan Anthropology and Archaeology, a hotel, shops, restaurants, a ‘Fly Over Mexico’ theatre, interactive exhibits and simulators, a concert hall along with water sports and activities.
The inspiration for the massive project was based upon Mayan cosmology. Park creators aim to provide cultural and historical representations of the Maya in several forms, in an enriching and sustainable manner conducive to the land upon which it is being built. Amidst the 300 acres will be 85 hectares of protected nature reserve.
Notable Playa del Carmen Chef Opens A Second Restaurant
Chef George, the culinary mastermind behind Oh Lala, has opened a second restaurant in Playa del Carmen. The delectable Yum Yum by George presents a menu with Thai and Vietnamese influences. A rich curry, seared tuna with Jasmine rice and tangy pork served in hollowed pineapples are some of the delightful dishes that will please your taste buds.
Like Oh Lala, your dining experience at Yum Yum is an intimate one, with limited seating and most often, a personal visit from the chef himself. Located on the corner of 10th Avenue and Calle 6, the charming restaurant is open daily from 1 – 11 p.m. Reservations are recommended.
That concludes our latest edition of current news in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. For more details on upcoming projects and events in the Riviera Maya, stay tuned!
Wishing you a happy, healthy and prosperous 2018!
From all of us at Bric Vacation Rentals
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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.