discover Playa del Carmen’s 24-hour vibe
If you're looking for a truly special vacaciones, Playa del Carmen – on the Riviera Maya strip of Mexico's Yucatan peninsula – has plenty to offer. Laidback beachside bars, tropical beats, and a dusk-till-dawn nightlife: this effortlessly cool coastal resort has everything you need for a chic fiesta. And when your dancing feet need a rest, you can escape to the Senses Riviera Maya by Artisan hotel. This boutique oceanside retreat fuses modern luxury with breath-taking views of the Caribbean Sea.
A STROLL DOWN FIFTH AVE
Running parallel to the beach, Playa del Carmen’s central pedestrian street, Quinta Avenida (‘fifth avenue’) is the resort’s heart and soul. A major draw for all of Playa’s discerning tourists, its Caribbean-style buildings, palm trees and lively atmosphere makes it an irresistible destination. Elegant boutique shops, art galleries and bars sit alongside artisan craft stalls and street performers, with traditional food vendors providing a delicious – and decidedly Mexican – flavour. People-watch and take it all in at a leisurely pace before heading to your sun lounger, perhaps enjoying an ice cream or shrimp taco on the way. And when the sun begins to set, drop into one of the many bars for an ice-cold cerveza or a michelada (beer, salt, lime and Clamato juice).
HIPS DON’T LIE
If you’re in need of a holiday with a soundtrack, you’ve come to the right place. Playa del Carmen is sure to get you moving. Brush up on your merengue and salsaat Salon Salsanera, which hosts free dancing lessons every night. Learn the fundamentals of Colombian-inspired cumbia, with its soul-stirring African beat. And, to take your night out into the early hours, taste the tequila at the authentic Cantina Don PP before getting your golden ticket to Coco Bongo, Playa’s high-octane nightclub.
If mambo isn’t your thing – or you just want to rest those tired legs – take advantage of Playa’s fantastic live music scene. As rich and varied as its delectable food culture – and open day and night – it’s got everything from reggae and electronica to mariachi bands and contemporary Mexican rock. Chill out to Cuban salsa while sipping at smoky mezcal at La Bodeguita del Medio. Or hang with the hip crowds at Fusion, where live bands jostle for position with belly dancers and fire eaters. Playa is also host to the three-day Riviera Maya Jazz Festival every November, which attracts both local and world-renowned musicians alike.
AND WHEN YOU’VE DANCED THE NIGHT AWAY…
Playa del Carmen’s bright lights are a draw for many travellers. But its daytime charms are just as beguiling. As a part of Mexico that’s renowned for its beautiful beaches and Mayan history, it’s the ideal place to explore vibrant worlds of a different kind. Scuba dive on the stunning coral reefs to see tropical fish, rays, and giant sea turtles. Bike out to Cristalino or the Punta Vendao Caribbean Eco-Park and cool off in the emerald waters of a cenote (limestone sinkhole). And, if you’re feeling especially adventurous, you could even visit the ancient capital of the Mayan Empire – Chichen Itza – or the ruins of Tulum. That sun lounger – and delicious cocktail – will always be waiting on your return.