Mexico is full of hidden gems and the weather is always great in the Yucatan peninsula.
WILL EDMOND | NOVEMBER 13, 2018
Located only one hour from Cancun, Mexico, Playa del Carmen is a bustling city with beautiful beaches, amazing restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene. Over the last few years Playa del Carmen has become a destination for travelers from all around the world. This small town was once known as a fishing village but the secret is out of the bag now, Playa del Carmen attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Take a stroll down 5th Avenue to get a feel of the energy of the city or go off the beaten path and explore the local neighborhoods in Playa.
The busiest and most well-known streets in Playa del Carmen is 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue. On 5th you’ll find local artist selling a variety of goods and the street is lined with restaurants and souvenir shops. During the high season the street is jam packed with tourists from all around the world, so be prepared to push through the crowds.
While exploring in Playa del Carmen, you’ll find it’s the gateway to Cozumel and Tulum. You can take a ferry to Cozumel by buying a ticket on the beach and the kiosk. The ferry ride only takes between 30-45 minutes. The cheapest and most efficient way to get to Tulum is by hopping into a Collectivo. Collectivos are mini bus/vans that travel around the entire state and they’re inexpensive. This is a great option for independent sightseeing of the area.
Here are a few of my favorite things to do while in Playa del Carmen.
Cenote Chaak Tun
The beautiful cenote and caves of Chaak Tun is one of Playa’s hidden gems. Swimming in a centote can be life changing. But, what is a cenote? These magical swimming holes are actual natural pits and sinkholes resulting from limestone collapsing. There are over 5,000+ cenotes in the Yucatán Peninsula. Chaak Tun is known for its mysterious caves and the Mayans used the caves for rituals and to bury their relatives. As you enter the caves you can feel the energy and you will be in awe when you witness the formations. A guide will take you through several caves and you also swim in a group. If you aren’t the best swimmer, each guest is required to have a life jacket on while exploring.
You can’t get any fresher than this! A smoothie, Acai bowl or a juice from Fresco Habito will give you kick that will last a week. Promise! This juice bar is always popping and it’s the most Instagrammable juice spot in the city. Try their delicious and colorful Acai bowl to give you the boost you need to survive the heat on the beach.
Pic Nik Playa
Pic Nik Playa is a vibrant restaurant located on Calle 24 N with authentic Mexican food, a cool atmosphere and it’s within walking distance of 5th Avenue and the beach. Sometimes the best places for food or the small places that are tucked away. The breakfast at Pic Nik is fulfilling and has that Mexican flare. I recommend the chili relleno, enchiladas and the flurry homemade pancakes! If you are staying at the Soho Playa around the corner your breakfast is included in your stay.
When it coms to fresh, delicious and filling eats, Bio-Organics on Calle 26 N has it all! The menu is Vegan and Vegetarian friendly and they also have a natural food store at this location. Watch the video below to get a behind the scene experience of what it’s like to eat at Bio-Organics.
If you aren’t into diving in underground caves then Chikin Ha is a beautiful cenote in between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum with open blue waters. Chikin Ha has several cenotes and it’s also a guided tour. You will walk through the jungle on a dirt road that leads you to the welcome center. Here you can rent all your gear for swimming and they have lockers to store your valuables, showers, and changing rooms.