Playa: hard to hate.


Miles of perfectly bright blue water stretching in both directions, white sand so subtle and soft it feels like a cloud. The sky and ocean seem to meet in perfect unison. Pelicans play tag in the marine breeze, the sun coats bronzing bodies and outlines the shape of offshore reefs. Playa del Carmen’s stretch of coastline is so phenomenal, it was destined to attract global attention. The tourism that has grown up around this stunning landscape was always inevitable. But the beauty is real, and there is no denying why so many across the world come here to vacation.

Mexico has received a lot of negative press in recent times, and in many pockets, the warnings are legitimate. But break the surface of the media uproar and you’ll find that there are plenty of places that are ready for travelers. Playa del Carmen is one of them. Playa is the smarter, better looking step child of Cancun. It has all the amenities of a big oceanside destination city without the noise and skyscrapers. With a carefully planned mix of tourist chic, small city flair, Yucatan tradition, and seaside lifestyle, it is hard to not fall in love with life here. Playa is one of those places with a bit of everything.


For us, readjusting to modern North America is easier in a city so alive with multiple cultures. To walk around town here is to experience an array of languages and an array of foods and cultures, all brought together by the shared love for the beautiful land of Mexico. There are many who came here on vacation and never left– people who opened restaurants from their family traditions and have grown together with this city. There are Italian eateries, German Gasthauses, and traditional Taquerias, all of which emanate authenticity– you can speak seven languages in a single day if you wish. Of course, there are the tourist shops and the big box club venues, yet the feel of seedy tourism is not what takes center stage. Playa has developed a balance that is undeniably welcoming no matter who you are. There are people here from everywhere. Yet the beach, the little streets outside of the promenade, the traditional foods, the music– all still so very distinctly Mexico.


Comments are closed.