Playa del Carmen has had a rapid transformation in the last few years. Between our first two visits to this popular Mexican destination the town was almost unrecognisable, with high rise malls popping up, chic new resorts and trendy chain restaurants moving in on the traditional taco and tequila favourites that previously lined the main streets.
Nevertheless, Playa del Carmen is still one of the most visited destinations for people travelling to Mexico, especially on their first visit.
Here are some of the best things to do on your first visit to Playa del Carmen.
Relax at the beach club
There are so many beach clubs in Playa del Carmen. They literally line the white sand beaches, providing travellers with an awesome location to kick back, relax and soak up that Caribbean sunshine!
We spent the day at Zenzi Beach Club, which was the perfect place to unwind and regroup. The atmosphere was so friendly and relaxing, the staff were so lovely, always checking if they could get us anything, and overall we just had a great time!
Beach beds line the shores of the ocean where you can order amazing food and drinks from your sun bed and DJ’s play during the day, and there is nothing better than dancing in flip flops. Sun bed and umbrella rental is normally free when you order food or drinks, and you can stay for as long as you want!
Some of the best beach clubs in Playa del Carmen include –
- Zenzi – Calle 10 Norte y La Playa
- Kool Beach Club – Calle 28 y Zona Federal Maririma
- Mamita’s Beach Club – Calle 28 Norte Mza 10 Lote 8
- Coco Maya Beach & Night Club – Calle 12 Norte & Beach Front
Book now: Best places to stay in Playa del Carmen
Watch the Ritual Ceremony of Voladores
There are several places in Mexico where you can see the traditions of The Flying Man. Known as the ritual ceremony of the Voladores (the flyers); it is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNSECO. What an astounding and historical tradition to witness. Being UNESCO listed is nothing short of an impressive accomplishment!
The Dance of the Flyers is a ritual that is related to fertility, performed by four flyers and a musician, named The Corporal. Legend has it that many years ago, a severe drought wrought considerable havoc among the peoples in the Señorío de Totonacapan Region (which today comprises parts of the states of Puebla and Veracruz).
To remedy this trouble, a wise group of elders instructed some of the young men to locate and cut down the tallest, straightest and most robust tree from the mountain, for the purpose of satisfying the Gods, so that they would grant them rain.
The custom of Mesoamerican origin expresses respect for nature and the spiritual universe. During the ceremony, four Voladores de Papantla climb a pole while one more flyer remains sitting in the centre of the pole, while playing flute melodies in honour of the sun, the four winds and the cardinal points.
After this act of invocation, the dancers launch themselves from the platform (if you can call it that), to which they are tied by long ropes, imitating the flight of birds, and drop down to the ground.
Grab a cocktail on a swing at Pez Vela
Pez Vela was probably our favourite dining place in Playa del Carmen. From the international currency that lined the roof of the bar along with international number plates, to their cocktail menu and the swinging chair that surrounded the bar, we loved everything about it. We originally stopped just for a drink and the novelty, but we ended up staying for dinner because we were having such a good time.
One of the security guys even made everyone personalised tequila bottles. Such a smart, novelty item to suck in tourists like us! I’m not sure what exactly that green cocktail is that I’m drinking, I just asked for whatever they thought was best, but it was amazing. Pez Vela is worth the trip just for those green cocktails!
Pez Vela || Quinta Avenida, 77710 Playa del Carmen, Q.R., Mexico
Playa del Carmen is a great place to visit along the Yucatan Peninsula. There’s so much to see and do around the little town, plus you’re also in close proximity to Tulum and Cancun if you want to explore a little more of the Mexican Coast Line.