Sure,you could spend a ton and experience a totally over-the-top vacation in Playa del Carmen if you want to... But one of the beautiful things about this gorgeous little gem of a town overlooking the Caribbean Sea just south of Cancun is just that – you could,but you don’t have to spend a bunch to experience what life is like in Playa – which is probably why more than 15,000 visitors are expected to flood the streets this coming weekend.
“Pubs and restaurants are anticipating the summer influx of holiday visitors to hit the area,” reported the Riviera Maya News on June 17,2015. “Starting next weekend,local establishments in Playa del Carmen are expecting approximately 15,000 tourists to walk,eat and shop along the store-lined downtown streets.”
The timing marks the beginning of what is always Mexico’s high season,when Playa is flooded with visitors from the U.S.,Canada,and around the world,as well as from Mexico’s interior. According to local business owners in Playa,the busiest nights of the week are typically Thursdays,Fridays and Saturdays,but Sundays are also unpredictable and can be very busy during this time,with the busiest areas being the three blocks downtown from 10th Avenue to the beach.
“The area will be flowing every night,not only by those looking to go to bars,but also those out to walk,” shared Ricardo del Valle Prieto,who is secretary general for the local business association in Playa del Carmen. “The average age of visitors this time of year range from 20 to 35,so they are looking for fun at night and there are currently about 38 places in Playa del Carmen that offer different concepts of nightlife.”
Prieto went on to reveal that businesses in Playa were operating at an average of 60 percent to capacity during May and June this year,which was a great start,and that this number jumped to 70 to 80 percent so far in July,which always brings the beginning of the high season. Considering the success of tourism in the region so far this year,combined with the steady increase of visitors seen annually in recent years,Prieto said operating projections have been set as high as 90 percent for the coming weeks.
“The area of bars and nightclubs are part of the promotion for international travel destinations [like Playa],but in a complementary manner to its natural beauty,the hotels and gastronomy,” he added.
The Trust for Tourism Promotion of the Riviera Maya announced that current hotel occupancy rates in the region are at 86.7 percent and climbing to where it’s expected to hover this year at around 90 percent throughout the high season.
Yahoo! Travel has already pointed out one of the benefits of choosing to vacation in Playa del Carmen instead of various other popular international hotspots,and that’s the fact that you can visit on a much friendlier budget than,say,Paris or London. In fact,Playa is even more affordable than nearby Cancun,which lies just to the north along Mexico’s only Caribbean coast,and it offers a lot more breathing room for your money than Cancun’s infamous Hotel Zone.
“Hotels in the Riviera Maya are designed around the existing mangroves,limited to four stories and more spaced out than Cancun,” writes Yahoo! Travel. “’Cheap eats’ are basically synonymous with ‘tacos’ in Playa del Carmen.
And according to the Toronto Star,Playa is infinitely cooler than Cancun – perhaps not in actual temperature,but definitely in trendiness and an ever-present hipster factor. To become a believer,look no farther than Playa del Carmen’s ever-buzzing 5th Avenue (Quinta Avenida),with its gently swaying palms and whitewashed stucco,which feels – indeed is – at least one world away from its New York namesake.
“Today,Playa del Carmen is multi-cultural,art centric Mexico,” writes the Toronto Star. “The little town has managed to avoid generic gentrification in favor of channeling its inner Frida Kahlo.”