Playa de Carmen has incredible natural beaches and a laid-back atmosphere that offers a more realistic experience than other popular spots in Riviera Maya. However, this is attracting more and more visitors every year. As a local, I really enjoy the diversity and mixture of cultures that the touristy influence is bringing, but I also have my own list of more unknown places avoiding the crowded 5th Avenue’s shops and much-frequented restaurants. I’ll spill the beans here.
1) Visit a Cenote
Going to a Cenote is great option to spend a day. There you can practice snorkelling or scuba diving, or just swimming in incredible clear water. Near to Playa del Carmen are cenotes like: Cristalino, El Jardin del Eden and Cenote Azul that worth a visit. If you arrived early you can have these magnificent places all to yourself.
2) Eating out as a local
When you live in a tourist destination and want to eat out, you’re going to have one priority: get great-taste food with a good price. So, getaway from the famed restaurants on Quinta Avenida and go to the downtown area.
Obviously the first option here, is the seafood. There are unpretentious restaurants offering fresh dishes with a superior taste. Some of the favourites are El Oasis Mariscos and Los Aguachiles. You can enjoy varied menus including the worldwide famous Tacos (They offer the seafood version). When we talk about tacos, the residents enjoy going to Tacos De Barba-Birria or Don Sirloin, if the willing to enjoy the most traditional versions.
3) Bust a groove at the beach
One of the most popular places with great music to dance with involving atmosphere on the beach at night is the Zenzi. On weekends, this place offers on live music, where you can show your best moves on the dance floor.
4) Fancy a coffee
There are a lot of option to get a warm drink here in Playa, one of the local’s favourite is the Bakery Chez Cheline. They have a superb coffee and delicious fresh bread.
5) Let’s go to the beach
According to the playenses (Locals of Playa del Carmen) the best beach to go is Playacar, it’s ideal for a relaxing experience. It’s quiet and it’s far away from the noisy areas. Another great option is Punta Esmeralda Beach, it’s a beautiful beach with clear water surrounded by palm trees. Also there is a cenote with shallow water, great to rising off after a bath on the beach.