Activities in Playa del Carmen
The Riviera Maya is known for its spectacular beaches, and Playa del Carmen is no exception. The city has an extensive coastline dotted with beaches. Playa del Carmen’s beaches are covered in soft white sand that doesn’t heat up, so you won’t have to worry about burning your feet as you walk into the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean Sea.
It should come as no surprise that the beach is one of the most popular areas of Playa del Carmen. There’s plenty to do in the area, from strolling along the promenade to relaxing in a lounge chair on the sand under an umbrella. The beach is also home to several popular beach bars and clubs where you can enjoy a refreshing drink, play a game of beach volleyball, get a massage, dance to lively music, or watch an evening fire spectacle. There’s no need to stay in a beachfront hotel since most accommodation in Playa del Carmen is less than two blocks away from the beach, but if you’re eager to have unobstructed sea views from your room, there are plenty of places to choose from.
Quinta Avenida / 5th Avenue
If you’re looking for shops, restaurants, and nightlife in Playa del Carmen then Quinta Avenida is the place to go. This avenue, which is also often called “La Quinta” or “5th Avenue” in English, is the heart of the city, always bustling with activity. It’s one of the most popular places to go for a stroll due to its wide selection of boutiques, cafes, shops, bars, and restaurants.
La Quinta is pedestrianized, so there’s no need to worry about traffic. The beautiful paved avenue stretches all the way from Calle 1 to Calle 40, and is lined with hundreds of shops that sell souvenirs, handicrafts, silver jewelry, clothing, and nearly anything else you can imagine. Bargain hunters can enjoy the thrill of perusing its flea market stalls, while those willing to spend a bit more can explore upscale boutiques that feature items from the world’s most famous brands.
You can’t go wrong dining along La Quinta either, where you can choose from a diverse selection of international cuisines. There are cute cafes where you can sip your morning coffee outside while enjoying the fresh sea air, bars where you can dance ‘til you drop in the evenings, and a seemingly endless list of restaurants where you can find everything from local seafood to traditional Mexican favorites.
In terms of nightlife, Playa del Carmen offers something for everyone, whether you want to party all night or just sip a drink and read a book in a quiet bar. Most of the city’s nightlife is centered around La Quinta, where you can find bars of all kinds, nightclubs, and discotheques.
The choices are endless – you can enjoy the beauty of the beach at night with a cocktail at a beach bar, watch your favorite team play on a big-screen television in a sports bar, chat with a friend in the relaxed setting of a quiet bar, or sing along with popular music in a loud bar. Several bars in Playa del Carmen have pool tables and dartboards if you want to play a game or two, and there are also places where you can listen to live music. Most bars close around 2:00 a.m., while the discotheques and nightclubs where you can dance the night away stay open until 4:00 a.m. or later.
Playa del Carmen provides visitors with a huge selection of restaurants to choose from. Many of the city’s most popular establishments are located along La Quinta, but if you venture away from the avenue you’ll be rewarded with cheaper, quieter restaurants where the food is equally delicious. Since the city has such a large population of expatriates, its restaurants offer a wide variety of cuisines that span the globe.
In terms of cost, you can find great traditional Mexican meals for around 100 pesos if you’re not dining on La Quinta, where everything is a bit more expensive. Most main courses in restaurants along La Quinta cost between 150 and 250 pesos. Beers usually cost 35 to 60 pesos, while cocktails are about double the price. When it comes to selection, if you’re not interested in eating delicious traditional Mexican dishes, you can choose from the long list of cuisines that includes French, Italian, Spanish, Thai, Japanese, Cuban, Chinese, Argentine, and American restaurants, many of which offer vegetarian and vegan dishes.