As we are learning to live this travelling life, we find that every so often we need to stop and rest. So after travelling around the US and Canada for 6 weeks and covering huge distances, we were looking for somewhere warm by the beach where we could do a bit of home cooking and exercise more regularly to recover from all the melted cheese we had enjoyed! Enter Playa del Carmen, a small town on the Caribbean Sea south of Cancun, Mexico.
It’s very much a beach destination and the whole coastline is stunning however there are also colonial towns and ruins to explore and cenotes (fresh water sink holes) to swim in.
Tourism has exploded over the last 15 years and it’s no longer a quiet fishing village. 5th Avenue, the main tourist drag is side-by-side t-shirt shops and bars and restaurants catering to tourists however a few blocks further away from the beach it feels like a regular Mexican town with a taqueria (taco restaurant) on every street corner.
It’s Nick’s first visit to Mexico and it met his expectations fully when one evening we encountered a lone mariachi playing to an audience of two stray dogs!!
It was Halloween during our stay and local kids and their parents (and dogs) went ‘trick or treating’ on 5th Avenue. The US expats also put on a good show.
Malene meets the Little Mermaid / Catrina, a symbol for Day of the Dead / Undernourished Chihuahua
About a week into our stay, we got the bus down to Tulum, about an hour south. We first visited the Mayan ruins right by the beach.
The ruins themselves are not the most amazing however their location by the beach is spectacular and after wandering around, we were very happy that the sea was nearby for a dip.
From there we went to the main beach in Tulum to see Papaya Playa Project (that I worked with at Design Hotels). The whole coastline suffers from sargassum seaweed invasion (which in the last two years has affected beaches from Florida and Texas all the way to Brazil) however it’s a beautiful setting. If I was still living in London I couldn’t think of anywhere better to come and chill for a week!
We’ve now spent a month by the beach in Mexico… From Playa del Carmen we have gone to Isla Mujeres, a tiny island 20 minutes by boat from Cancun and if possible it’s even more chilled here. Will share some photos soon.