After spending a week in Cancún and exploring Isla Mujeres and Chichén Itzá, we decided that our next stop would be Playa Del Carmen (also called ‘Playa’ which means beach). So, on Sunday the 30th of September, we took a collectivo (local mini bus taxi) from Cancún to Playa. We prefer using this type of transport because not only is it adventurous but it is cheap and also used by locals. For a distance of 70 km, it cost us 38 MXN (R 30) pp. You could also rent a car, use a bus or hitchhike, there are several options available to get to Playa from Cancún.
Playa is a coastal resort town along the Yucatan Peninsula’s Riviera Maya strip of the Caribbean shoreline. Smaller and less touristic than Cancún, it’s becoming a popular travel destination for people looking for travel experiences that are more substantial than your typical all-inclusive resort. We initially planned to stay in Playa for about a week but ended up staying for a month, until the 1st of November.
1 October 2018
The 1st of October is our anniversary and this year we celebrated 5 years together! Yes, this was a big deal, for me more than for Frederik of course, haha! Look, in all these years, this was our first anniversary spent together so there was no choice but to go all out. Since we enjoy being in the water, we decided to rent a boat for about 2000 MXN (R 1400) and spent the morning cruising in the Caribbean sea.
Our day started at sunrise, I snorkelled and Frederik spearfished. While I was on the boat, taking a break from being in the water, Frederik came up to the surface, screaming with excitement, he caught a Barracuda! This is his biggest catch to date, with a total weight of 15.3 kg and 142 cm in length!
When we arrived back at the harbor at 12 pm, we asked a restaurant along the beach to prepare half of the fish for us. Later, we enjoyed the catch of the day with the locals, feasting on ceviche and Barracuda fillets. For the next 3 weeks, we ate the rest of the Barracuda almost everyday. Our excitement ran out after a few days but hey, we saved a lot from not eating out often that month. At least now I know that if we’re ever stranded on a small island, I will not go hungry with Frederik by my side!
Meeting new people
Playa is a vibrant town and offers a fun nightlife. Many bars and restaurants offer free drinks to ladies, usually between 8pm – 12am everyday of the week. I feel at times it can be difficult to fully enjoy a place when you don’t know any locals, travelling as a couple or in a small group.
One Friday evening I decided to go out alone to one of these Ladies Nights and I met Inès (from Belgium) and Grecia (from Mexico City). We instantly got along and danced the night away. You know how it goes, after a few drinks and excitement in the air – we made plans to meet up the next day and we explored Akumal, a small town nearby.
There are so many incredible things to do in Playa and I am so happy I had Inès an Grecia to show me around.
Soliman Bay beach is nestled just 15 minutes north of Tulum, 20 minutes south of Akumal, and 40 minutes south of Playa del Carmen. On the 27th of October we went on another spearfishing and snorkelling trip.
This secluded beach is perfect for a stroll, snorkelling on the reef or just laying under a palm tree. Being semi-private in a gated community, Soliman Bay beach is hardly ever crowded and the best part is they offer free massages right at the beach.
Día de los Muertos (Day of the dead)
The Day of the Dead is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico on the 1st -2nd of November and is not a Mexican version of Halloween, although Halloween is a big deal and is also celebrated in Playa. During this time, Mexicans remember and honour their deceased loved ones. It’s not a gloomy or morbid occasion, rather it is a festive and colorful holiday celebrating the lives of those who have passed on.
For those of you that want to see a lot of costumes and stroll around for free, 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen becomes one big parade of scary and funny creatures. It is a very popular night to be out on 5th Avenue. If you are in Playa Del Carmen during this time of year you should definitely plan to go out that night.
I have experience many special memories in Playa which I will certainly not forget. During our time in Playa we also explored Cozumel Island and Tulum, I will be writing about these places next.
Thank you for reading!