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Playa del Carmen’s Culture And Entertainment

Museums

Museo Mexicano

The Museo Mexicano is the very first museum in Playa del Carmen. Located in the center of the city and just four blocks away from the beach, this museum has been open to the public since March 25, 2003. It will give you the opportunity to gain a deeper and better understanding and appreciation of the culture, customs, lifestyle, and traditions of the people of Playa del Carmen.

The Museo Mexicano is open from Monday to Saturday from 10 in the morning to 6 in the evening. On Sundays, the museum opens at 10 in the morning to 2 in the afternoon. There are guided tours in English, Spanish, and a few other languages. There is an entrance fee (minimal), but children under 12 are free.

Cedam Maritime Museum

The Cedam Maritime Museum in Puerto Aventuras houses a fascinating display of wreckage and artifacts from shipwrecks along the coastline. You can find this museum in the northern part of the marina.

Playa del Carmen Museum

Playa del Carmen will soon be opening a new museum. Once it has moved offices from the old city hall, the remaining structure will be converted into a new museum. The museum’s theme is currently focused on “THE CITY HISTORY OF PLAYA DEL CARMEN”. It has a centralized location. It is located on the corners of 20th avenue, 25th avenue and between the 8th street and 10th street. It is three blocks from the world-renowned 5th avenue. It sits next to an outdoor auditorium and a large park. The Playa del Carmen museum is expected to be the city’s central tourist point.

Architecture

The present Playa del Carmen is a relatively new development, so most of the structures you will find here are also new. The variety of architecture in the city varies greatly, though at the west of Quinta Avenida and in other developing areas, the look and feel adopt many elements of traditional building. They are characterized by a very relaxed style using rustic clapboard walls, rough-hewn wood, and thatched roofs. This design results in a very laidback atmosphere. Some structures have even hooks on the thatched cottages (cabañas) for people to hang their hammocks.

But in Playacar and areas along the coast, well-appointed buildings dominate. These areas are brimming with swanky hotels, stylish restaurants, and huge all-inclusive resorts. You will see an eclectic range of architectural styles that range from classic to modern and to the sybaritic. This part of Playa del Carmen also houses chic neo-classic buildings and beautiful Mediterranean-style structures.

Of course, there are also the ruins of the Mayan civilization, which still reflects the grandeur of the ancient civilization. They stand as a class of their own. Chichen Itza houses a large concentration of Mayan ruins. You will find here the main temple of El Castillo, well-known because of the autumnal and vernal equinoxes. The sunlight bathing the western part of the main stairway of the pyramid is a sight to behold. It gives the illusion of a serpent’s body that moves lithely down the structure until it joins with the serpent headstone carving at the bottom.

Tulum, while not as grand as Chichen Itza, is still an imposing sight. It is the smallest but also the most scenic Mayan site. Coba is a less known, but impressive site. It is rather large, having the tallest temple (140 feet) in the northern Yucatan as its major attraction. You can climb the remarkable temple steps and have a superb view of the surrounding lakes and jungle.

Mayan Ruins

Some of the major attractions in Mexico are its stunning archeological sites. You can reach a number of well-known Mayan ruins in the country from Playa del Carmen. Some of the more popular sites near Playa del Carmen include Xel-Ha, Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba, and Ek Balam.

Xel-Ha

The Mayan people used Xel-Ha as a port of call to other sacred destinations. It has some stone temples. The Groupo Lothrop is made up of platforms with stairways. You can also see some panels collected from this Mayan ruin, like images of birds as well as colorful rectangles.

Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza was founded by the early settlers Maya-Itzas led by Itzamna after splitting from Acalon. The ancient city was occupied twice – from 495 A.D. to 692 A.D. and from 948 A.D. to 1204 A.D. The first period’s architecture is considered to be authentically Maya, while the architecture in the second period is considered to have a large influence from Toltec.

Chichen Itza houses the largest concentration of Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula. The sunlight bathing the western side of the central temple of El Castillo’s main stairway is truly a sight to behold. It gives the illusion of a snake’s body that moves nimbly down the pyramid until it joins with the snake headstone carving at the bottom of the structure.

Coba

Coba is a unique archeological site – it was constructed in between two lakes. Its main pyramid is world-renowned because it is the tallest in all of the whole Yucatan Peninsula. It towers 140 feet and overlooks the rainforest area. You can climb the amazing temple steps and will be treated by a magnificent view of the surrounding jungle and lakes.

Tulum

While not as majestic as Chichen Itza, Tulum is still an imposing sight. In fact, it is the smallest archeological attraction, but it is the most scenic Mayan site in the peninsula. Considered by many tourists as the most beautiful Mayan site, Tulum is exquisitely poised on the 15-meter-high cliff overlooking the shimmering Caribbean. When the Spanish conquistadors first set foot on Tulum in the early 1500s, they considered it as beautiful and divine as Sevilla in Spain.

Ek Balam

Founded by the great Mayan king, Ek Balam, this ancient place used to be part of the Talol empire. One of the most popular structures housed here is the Acropolis, a spectacular building that has fascinating sculptures and is quite tall. You must also see the Ball Court and the Oval Palace.

Shops

Playa del Carmen is a paradise because of its cuisine that bursts with flavor, beautiful beaches, exhilarating water sports, and a unique pedestrian street. It is also a wonderful destination because of the incredible variety of shops, specialist stores, and boutiques perfect for shopaholics from different parts of the world.

Quinta Avenida

Quinta Avenida is a dazzling cobblestone pedestrian street where the most popular international-designer shops and boutiques, the best bars and nightclubs, and the most delicious restaurants in Playa del Carmen come together. You will enjoy the cosmopolitan feel provided by this shopping district. Popular among tourists are handicraft shops, where you will definitely find a nice souvenir or gift to bring home with you. Quinta Avenida is only one block away from the beautiful beach.

Soho

Soho has the most outlandish, urban chic couture, retro and cyber trends, plastic vogue, among many others. In this exotic boutique, garments are as fashionable as astonishing. is what this Playa del Carmen shop is all about. Soho will surely fit your style and personality if you are a fan of the crazier side of high fashion.

Handicrafts stores

While browsing the numerous shops in the city, you will find a wide variety of stands that feature different kinds of detailed and colorful handicrafts and other items made by artisans from different parts of Mexico. You may want to buy a beautiful decorative piece or take home a souvenir. There are handicraft stores that sell traditional masks, silver and amber jewelry, onyx pieces, hand made dresses, wood items, seashell souvenirs, and many more.

Paseo del Carmen

The spacious and inviting open-air Paseo del Carmen mall is located between Playacar and Quinta Avenidar. Its design has a modern Mediterranean feel to it and combines with the eastern design influences of Feng Shui. It has a sophisticated and relaxed atmosphere appreciated by even the most discerning shoppers. High fashion shops, fine art, exclusive handicrafts, jewelry, and souvenirs make Paseo del Carmen a great starting point to start your shopping experience in the city.

Markets

If you love a good market, then Playa del Carmen is the place to be. This popular tourist destination has all the sights and sounds, the hustle and bustle, the smell of the freshest and delicious native food, as well as the products that you would never find anywhere else. Playa del Carmen markets give you the excitement of bargaining, which can give novice and experienced market-goers alike an experience of a lifetime.

This Mexican destination is a heaven full of quality handicrafts, souvenirs, and other products. The world-famous Quinta Avenida showcases the best of Mexico. You will find here wonderful handicrafts made by artisans from the YucatanChiapas, and Baja California.

There is no definite market in Playa del Carmen where all these handicrafts are displayed. However, Quinta Avenida is market enough. You will find here a profusion of items from Africa, Brazil, India, and Indonesia, to name a few. You will also find here carved wood decorations, Cuban cigars, and beachwear with Mayan designs.

The best source for produce in Playa del Carmen is the DAC market. It is located on the corner of Ave. 30 and Constituyentes. DAC is only one of the few markets where you can get a frozen kilo of arrachera Mandi. It also has an impressive selection of bulk spices and chilies.

Another good source of produce is Marsan, located on the corner of Ave. 30 and 1 sur. It has a great selection on display. Many products are kept upstairs or out at the back due to a lack of floor space. Both DAC and Marsan markets have a small deli in the rear with a wide variety of cheeses and meats.

Mexican Eateries

Craving for an authentic taste of Mexico? Follow the divine smells that will take you to numerous restaurants along La Quinta Avenida. But these eateries are more international than local since they are mostly owned by foreigners. So if you want the real Mexican flavor, color, and atmosphere, head to the less “touristy” districts. Here are some eateries in Playa del Carmen that serve Mexican food:

Aca Los Tacos
Location: 5th Avenue and Constituyentes
Serves: Burritos, tacos, salsas, and grilled meats
Telephone: 984- 803-4482

Carboncitos
Location: Calle 4 between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

Cocteleria el Paisano Veracruz
Location: West of Highway 307 on Juarez Avenue
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

Don Emilione
Location: 5th Ave between Juarez and Calle 2
Serves: Full, varied menu of Mexican dishes with vegetarian and seafood dishes

Dona Mary
Location: 30th Avenue and Calle 28
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

El Almendro
Location: Calle 4 between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves Mexican dishes and seafood.

El Chino
Location: Calle 4 between 10th and 15th Avenues
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

El Fogón
Location: Highway 307 near Juarez Avenue and, 30th Avenue near Calle 4
Serves: Traditional Mexican food

El Pastorcito
Location: 30th Avenue between Calles 28 and 30
Serves: Tacos Pastor and local Mexican fare

El Sarape
Location: Juarez Avenue and 20th Street.
Serves: Traditional Mexican food and spicy salsas

La Adelita
Location: Calle 10 between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

La Caprichoza
Location: 5th Avenue between Calles 12 and 14
Telephone: 984-879-3852
Serves: Upscale Mexican restaurant that also serves seafood and flambé food

La Casa de Piedra
Location: Calle 6 between 5th and 10th Avenues and 35th Avenue between Calles 30 and 32
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

La Malquerida
Location: 34th Street between 25th and 30th Avenues.
Location: Contemporary Mexican cuisine
Telephone: 984-803-5794

La Taberna
Location: Corner of 10th and 4th
Serves: Authentic Mexican food

Las Brisas
Location: On 4th St. between 5th and 10th Ave
Serves: Traditional Mexican restaurant very popular with the locals

Las Delicias
Location: 5th Ave and Calle 22.
Serves: Traditional Mexican dishes

Los Almendros
Serves: 10th Avenue and Calle 6 or 8

Makech
Location: 1st street south near 10th Avenue
Serves Authentic Mexican dishes.

Pancho Villas
Location: Calle 10 between 5th Avenue and the beach.
Serves: Traditional Mexican food

Tacos Arabe-Isreal
Location: Corner of 15th Avenue and Calle 10
Serves: Great tacos

Tango Taco
Location: Calle 10 between 10th and 15th Avenues

Yaxche
Location: Calle 8 between Aves 5 and 10
Serves: Mayan cuisine in a fine-dining setting

Traditional Cuisine

Playa del Carmen cuisine gives every visitor a wonderful dining experience. The culinary delight is an exotic mixture of flavors, aromas, and colors unique to the city. It will satisfy even the fussiest and hard-to-please taste. So one of the first things you should do in this gastronomic city is to find restaurants that will please your demanding palate.

Comida corrida

Most people in Playa del Carmen have a hearty lunch at about 2 in the afternoon called Comida corrida, which is actually very good value for your money. For only 30 to 40 pesos, you will enjoy soup, a plateful of food with beans and rice, tortillas, as well as all the fruit juice you can drink. You will have a menu of traditional dishes to choose from for the main course: beef tips in onion and tomato, chicken with sauce, meatballs in a chipotle sauce, or puntas a la Mexicana.

A great place to have a Comida corrida is La Casa de Piedra, located on Calle 32 and Avenida 35, but there are many other excellent Comida corrida places in the city. Some taquerias in Playa del Carmen are open during the day, but they are traditionally more of a night thing.

Antojitos

Antojitos are authentic Mexican fast food. They are available from restaurants, street carts, and booths, and by wandering vendors – this gastronomic delight is never far away. A nice place to sample antojitos is at taquerias, offering an eclectic mix of different dishes. Antojitos are very fun to eat. They are not only tasty, but you can also get one at a time and then find your favorite.

The tostadas, salbutes, sopes, panuchos, and papadzules

Some antojitos are based on a corn tortilla, but they differ to some extent in execution. Playa del Carmen has tostadas, salbutes, sopes, panuchos, and papadzules. One is stuffed with beans, one is hard fried. One comes with grated cheese, another with lettuce. One thing is for sure, they are all good and you must try them. Simply add a little hot salsa and try them all. Shredded pork or chicken is the usual topping. The taco is also a good friend of these delectable foods.

Quesadilla, gringa, flautas, and longaniza de Valladolid

Try the ubiquitous quesadilla if you never tried one before. The juicy gringa – two flour tortillas with al pastor meat in between – is also a must-eat food in Playa del Carmen. Another food that you should not miss eating is the Flautas, which are made of corn tortillas filled with meat or chicken. They are rolled up to a tube and then fried hard. They are often served with lettuce and cream on top. If you have an adventurous palate, try the scrumptious longaniza de Valladolid.

International Cuisine

When we talk about international cuisine, Playa del Carmen is proud to have a very wide selection of restaurants that serve food from all over the world.

Argentinian cuisine

Buenos Aires
Location: 6th Street between 5th and 10th Avenue
Telephone: 984-873-2751
Serves: Grilled meats and fresh Argentinean cuisine.

El Asador de Manolo
Location: 10th Avenue between 24th and 26th Streets
Serves: Argentinean grill and great Angus Beef
Telephone: 984-803-0632

HC de Monterrey
Location: Calle 1 between 20th and 25th Avenues

La Faroloa
Location: 8th Street between 5th and the beach
Serves: Mixed brochette, meats, grilled sausages, and fish
Telephone: 984-803-3929

Tango Taco
Location: 10th Street between 10th and 15th Avenues
Serves: Argentinean grilled meats, tacos, and empanadas
Telephone: 984 803 1859

Arabic cuisine

Kartabar Restaurant
Location: Corner of 12th Street and 1st Avenue
Serves: Mediterranean food such as hummus, babbaganush, and stuffed grape leaves
Telephone: 984-873-2228

Maktub
Location: 5th Avenue between 28th and 30th Streets
Serves: hummus, babbaganush and other Arabic delicacies

Viva la Vaca
Location: 5th Avenue between Calles 6 and 8

Chinese cuisine

Babe’s Noodle House and Bar
Location: 10th St. between 5th and 10th Ave. and
5th Ave. between 28th and 30th St.

Hong Kong Car
Location: HWY 307 by the turn about.
Serves: Chinese buffet
Telephone: 984- 110-5555

Lotus
Location: 10th Ave between 6th and 8th Streets next to Captain Dave’s
Serves: Chinese buffet as well as al la cart ordering.

Mr. Lau
Location: 10th Ave. between 8th and 10th St.
Telephone: 984-873-2020

Shanghai
Location: 10th Ave. between 22nd and 24th St.
Telephone: 984- 879-3443

Asian cuisine

Babe’s Noodle House and Bar
Location: 5th Ave between 28th & 30th Streets and 10th St between 5th & 10th Ave
Serves: Thai noodle dishes, curries, and much other oriental foods
Telephone: 984-804-1998

Nubambu
Location: Calle 8 between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves: Thai food

Playasia
Location: 5th Avenue between 10th and 12th
Serves: A variety of Asian food in a fine dining setting
Telephone: 984-206-3350

Sushi Tlan
Location: 5th Avenue between 28th and 30th
Serves: Miso soups, tempura, and fresh sushi, all for reasonable prices

Thai Mid
Location: Constituyentes and 10th Avenue
Serves: Thai food.

French cuisine

La Palette
Location: 8th Street between 5th Avenue and the beach
Serves: French fusion food like escargot, confit de Canard (duck), and foie gras
Telephone: 984-879-4802

Le Bistro
Location: Small building on 2nd Street between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves: French, international, grilled food, vegetarian, and seafood

Le Petite Merveilles
Location: 8th Street between 10th and 15th Avenue
Serves: French pastry
Telephone: 984-803-1188

Limones
Location: 5th Avenue at Calle 6
Serves: French and international cuisine.

Petit Marrakesh
Location: Calle Corazon
Serves: French Moroccan restaurant

Italian cuisine

Da Gabi Ristorante
Location: 5th Ave. Calle 12
Serves: Homemade fettuccini, brick oven-baked pizza, grilled vegetables, fresh salads and seafood, New York & T-bone steaks, espresso and cappuccino, and great desserts

Il Baretto
Location: Corner of 5th Avenue and 26th Street
Serves: Pasta dishes

La Famiglia
Location: 10th Avenue between 10th and 12th Street.
Serves: The best lasagna

La Pummarola
Location: Between Calles 38 and 40 on Calle Flamingo

La Rucola
Location: Calle 26 between 5th and 10th Avenues
Serves: Italian and seafood dishes

Mandarina’s Café
Location: 5th Avenue and 14th street
Serves: Gourmet pizzas and salads
Telephone: 984-803-1249

Rolandi’s
Location: Paseo del Carmen Local #43
Serves: Handmade pasta, gourmet pizzas, tender beef cuts, and fresh seafood
Telephone: 984-803-4121

Spanish cuisine

La Tasca
Location: Constituyentes between 10th and 15th Avenues
Serves: Spanish Cuisine

Tintos y Tapas
Location: 5th Ave between Calles 28 and 30
Serves: Excellent wine and delicious tapas

German cuisine

Mannes Biergarten
Location: 4th Street between 10th and 15th Avenues

Nightlife Etiquette

All social situations, wherever you are, follow a set of rules and guidelines that you need to strictly observe to make your vacation hassle-free. As in other nightlife scene, night parties in Playa del Carmen have sets of rules to keep people from starting a brawl, throwing food around, offending the sensibilities of other people, or drawing swords.

You can get ahead if you know how to behave properly in the nightlife events in the city. You will definitely suffer if you do not know these rules. Bars, nightclubs, restaurants, and entertainment venues in Playa del Carmen are no different than other social environments; there are certain ways to do things.

Common sense says we must follow nightlife etiquette. But, as they say, common sense is not that common, so read on just to make sure. Before you go to the hottest nightspot in Playa del Carmen, it always pays to be ready. Below is a list of nightlife etiquette you must follow:

  • Decide where you are going and make sure to have back up plans.
  • Know the dress code of the place you intend to go to and respond accordingly.
  • Know how you will get in – whether you need to reserve well ahead of time, contact connections, or just stand in line.
  • Be extra nice to the bouncer when you get there. Give them a hard time and you might ruin your own night in Playa del Carmen.
  • Once you get inside your goal is to enjoy.
  • It is always a good idea to be nice to the staff; it is nice to be treated importantly, but it is more important to act nicely.
  • Unless your ultimate goal is to get a nasty hangover, we suggest that you drink and do something else. Hit the dance floor, flirt, talk, eat, or whatever makes you have a good time.
  • The key to making new friends in Playa del Carmen is to help them feel good about themselves, not using these people to feel better about themselves.
  • When it is time to leave, cap off a great night by thanking the staff that served you. This is to your advantage as they will remember you when you come back.
  • Before you blackout on the road to a hangover, make sure your old and new friends actually got home or to their hotel in the city. This shows you care.

Bars

Sexy and fun equal nightlife activities in Playa del Carmen bars. Whether you just want to hang out with friends or rub elbows with impossibly gorgeous people, this popular tourist destination will give you some of the hippest bars in the Caribbean.

First down to the Dragon Bar at the Blue Parrot Hotel for 2 for 1 drinks on the beach at Calle 12 (try to get a swing). Blue Parrot Hotel has live music some nights, a sports bar with the best BBQ in town, and the only sushi in the area. From there you can stagger down the beach to dance at Captain Tutix on the beach at 4th.

For the trendiest bar in Playa del Carmen, hit Fly Bar. It features outdoor seating that overlooks the beautiful 5th Avenue, a jacuzzi, swimming pool, and pool deck. You will appreciate the bar’s excellent attention to detail and design. Location: Hotel Deseo, on the corner of 5th Avenue and 12th Street. Also, La Rana Cansada is one of the places where locals and foreigners go out for fun and drinks. Nice atmosphere. Location: 10th St. between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

For a perfect drink, hit the Tequilaria on 5th Avenue. You can do shots for $5 or have a bottle of tequila for $300. Tequila Cascahuin is the best for the price. Another nice Playa del Carmen bar is Cabalova. It screens movies on some nights. Location: Next to the Mosquito Blue Hotel.

Sharky’s and Jaime’s Beer Bucket is the perfect venue to be merry. This bar will rock you. Big games are shown and it is particularly lively on Fridays. The Beer Bucket is very popular among locals and tourists. Location: Calle 10, between 10th Avenue and 15th Avenue.

If you are a sports fan, you will not be disappointed as Playa del Carmen has some nice sports bars. These venues show sports events such as NHL, NBA, NFL, soccer games, and Major League Baseball. Most of these sports are broadcasted in English.

The Dragon Bar has long been a favorite in Playa del Carmen nightlife. The older crowd might enjoy this edgy bar better in the afternoon for a drink on the beach or for lunch. When the sun goes down, younger people start to crowd the venue, dancing to techno music on the outdoor beachside dance floor. The bar stays open until the party people go home. Location: Blue Parrot Hotel on the beach at Calle 12.

Clubs

The party environment in Playa del Carmen is quite a sight with its hip, trendy and spectacular crowd. Socialites, celebrities and self-proclaimed gorgeous guys and girls flock the city’s night clubs. There are many jumping and thrilling places where you can party hard, sway to the beats of Latin music, and drink the best tequila in Mexico.

Dubai Night Club

Formerly the Bali Club, the Dubai Night Club offers an excellent alternative in nightlife entertainment. It is for those who want to take pleasure in Playa del Carmen’s natural and unique atmosphere – and if you are willing to shell out some extra cash. Dubai Night Club is an upscale club where young and hip Mexicans and tourists come together to see and be seen. Location: Calle 12 between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

Bliss

Bliss is an indoor dance club that has an outdoor balcony. It plays live rock music from Thursday to Saturday. Ladies night is on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday, from 10 pm to 12 am. On Sunday, the club plays the 70s-80s music. No cover charge. Location: Calle 4 between the Beach and 5th Avenue.

La Bodeguita del Medio

If you want salsa music, then you will get it in La Bodeguita del Medio. This Havana style venue will give you more than just great music, excellent drinks, and delightful food – it also gives you the opportunity to observe and meet new people. La Bodeguita del Medio offers free Salsa lessons every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 pm. No cover charge. Location: Paseo del Carmen, near Carlos ‘N Charlies.

Coco Maya

Coco Maya breathes with calmness and serenity during the day and becomes wild and loud at night, with DJ’s playing nonstop music and party animals dancing their hearts out. You can dance on the beach without having to pay a cover charge from 6 pm to 3 am. Nightlife at this beach club does not leave you wanting to jump to the next club. Location: On the beach between 12th and 14th Streets, between Blue Beach and Blue Parrot Hotels.

Mambo Cafe

Like La Bodeguita del Medio, Mambo Cafe is also a great venue to go Latino/Latina. You must visit this dance club if you like Cumbia, Mambo, Salsa, and Merengue. It is also a nice place for people who have no idea how to dance but willing to learn and for those who only want to watch people dancing. The atmosphere sizzles around 11 pm. Mambo Café is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 pm until sunrise. Cover charge is $5 and the Open Bar is $27. Location: At Calle 6, between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue.

Sandy

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