Mini-Guide | Playa del Carmen

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A two-hour flight from Houston, followed by a one-hour taxi ride, and you'll find yourself a world away from that which you came. Playa del Carmen, Mexico on the Caribbean tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, practically due west of Cuba. Chad and I don't take beach vacations, in fact this was our first beach vacation together, ever. After that first evening walking barefoot along the beach at sunset, we found ourselves wondering why it took us so long. It was also our first time staying at an all-inclusive resort. I'll admit I had my doubts, truthfully it's not the way we travel. I take pride & immense enjoyment in finding obscure tiny hotels and the best hidden eating spots. But in a way I was excited to just Go and not have to think too much. There would be no planning, no shuffling from here to there.

Our days consisted of waking up at will, toddling to the beach, maybe taking a cab to town for lunch, bit of shopping, napping, eating. But mostly resting. I'd never seen Chad so relaxed, and not once did I fret over what was going on in the office back home. I read underneath a beachside umbrella all day, with no regrets about what I may be missing up the road. If I got hungry, I raised the blue flag and moments later cocktails & tacos appeared. Chad swam in the ocean for hours on end, he napped underneath that same umbrella beside me. We hugged more, we talked more. I truly believe couples need some time like that here and there.

I did manage to stumble upon a few really cool spots when we did venture downtown. Here's a roundup of my Top 3 along Playa del Carmen's touristy 5th Avenue,

No. 1
Mayan Food at Yaxche
5th Avenue at Street 22
This was a tip from my friend over at Yaxche is a lovely modern restaurant, with patio seating to people-watch as you dine. The food, cocktails, and atmosphere were spot on. Definitely start with the lime soup, though it's large enough to share. And if you like rum, try the Mayajito - the Mayan take on the Mojito, with crushed native chaya leaves.

No. 2
Jewelry at Fernando Rodriguez
5th Avenue, between 10th & 12th Streets
You'll find shop after shop of the same looking jewelry along 5th Avenue. Until you reach Fernando Rodriguez, a really narrow boutique tucked in between two larger shops. The jewelry by a local designer is spectacular - earrings, necklaces, cuffs. I easily could have walked out with several pieces but I refrained and chose my favorite- dainty gold drop-earrings (50 USD).

No. 3
Textiles at Sol Jaguar
5th Avenue between Lanes 4 & 6 North
Similar to the jewelry situation, you'll find the same looking fabric everywhere you look. Until you reach Sol Jaguar. The vibrant and subtle prints stopped me in my tracks - pillow covers, table linens, hand towels. I got to talking with the owners, who come to find out, adored New Orleans. Really is a small world. I could have walked out with much more than my carry-on would allow, but I again controlled myself and chose my favorite- a grey & white throw pillow cover (40 USD).

And a bit of Lagniappe,
If you're looking for traditional Mexican pottery, you'll again find the same looking stuff everywhere you look on 5th Avenue. My suggestion is to walk all the way to the end of 5th Avenue, and catty-corner to the small park you'll find a shop on the corner with the best selection & prices. I cannot remember the name, but find the park and you'll find this place.

Playa del Carmen was a lovely respite. Such friendly people, impeccable service, wonderful food, amazing views. So much to do if you want, or so much not to do if you want that too. We both agreed that we'd return one day, especially given the fact that it's so easy to get to from here. Do you have any beach vacations planned this year? If so, where to?

Images, are mine If you'd like to see many more from this trip, visit my Facebook page & browse the Mexico Album, or just click here.


  1. Lila! I am in love with those earrings! I may steal them from you.

    1. aren't they great? & so light. i loved everything in that boutique. she had so many dangly earrings, one side different from the other, which i loved!

  2. G and I have been talking more and more about brief little trips like this to get us out of our routine and out of everything!

    Since you mentioned it was an all-inclusive resort, it made me think: do you ever check out Groupon or those sites for travel deals? Have you ever used one? I see them occasionally, esp. for Mexican/South American resorts and wonder if they'd be worth it... the prices seem so good! Esp for a trip where I don't want to do it all myself, but just want to relax...

  3. it's so good for relationships Ashe!
    we actually just bought a Groupon for 2 nights + a discount at the spa at Cypress Bend Resort in Toledo Bend, going in June. i'll let you know how it works out, but the good thing about buying those Groupon coupons is that if something happens & you can't make it, the value of the Groupon is still valid to use on Groupon for something else. win, win in my book!


, All rights reserved © Blog Milk Design Powered by Blogger