Since yesterday was such a long day, I decide to spend the day casually exploring Playa Del Carmen town…. souvenir shopping, eating, drinking. Although it’s a relatively small town, it is the center of everything fun in this area. Lots of places to eat drink and party, or if preferred… one can enjoy relaxing on the beaches. I always do my research so I have a list of places I want to check out!
Today’s forecast – cloudy, then massive downpour for 10 minutes, then super hot but add some wind to make it more bearable. But also too much wind (when you’re wearing a dress). And then downpour again. Fun! I head out for breakfast, a short walk to a place called Nativo…this place comes highly recommended.
It’s been around since 1989, and they specialize in super fresh and tasty smoothies. I order the one with a variety of flavors – banana, apple, melon, papaya, orange, strawberry, pineapple. And it’s huge! I definitely need a take-home cup for this one. For food, I order the chilaquiles verdes…omg, how have I gone this far in my life without eating these?
It is a plate of fried tortillas smothered in a green salsa, shredded cheese and a fried egg with avocado on top. It’s so rich I can’t even finish it! Overall, one of the best breakfasts I’ll enjoy this entire trip.
I then head a few blocks south to get to the famous 5th Avenue. This is where the action is…shops, eats, parties.
It is a pedestrian only zone and as I walk down the street, I have a few guys calling out to me saying “Hey do you remember me? I was your waiter last night”. Nice try, I didn’t go to any restaurants yesterday. This seems to be a common phrase to lure you somewhere to buy something Also, I get a lot of comments about my tattoos and blue hair and invitations to get high or do I want a Mexican boyfriend. Ha-ha this is exhausting.
My first stop is Ah Cacao, a chocolate café. Everything chocolate….it is heaven. I order a Chocolate Frio. Heaven.
The staff is really nice; one girl gives me a couple of samples of chocolate to try. And there are all kinds of chocolate products to buy such as shampoo, soaps and body oil. I snatch up a body oil…it smells amazing.
As I’m about to leave the café, a massive downpour begins! I don’t have an umbrella so I wait until it clears up. It does this a couple more times today, but It’s no big deal to wait it out…or just get a little wet! The streets are pretty quiet…maybe it’s because of the rain? Playa Del Carmen also has many cool murals, and I am able to find a few of them on my wander.
Next, I end up at a place called Bip Bip. They offer massive cheap margaritas with lots of different flavors to choose from. I pick the mango one. I sit back and relax for some people watching with giant margarita in hand.
At this point I’m needing to have some lunch to soak up some of the tequila but the menu here doesn’t look super appealing. So, it’s off to the next destination. On my way to the beach I run into Giancarlo, this cute dude who works at a tequila shop. He wants me to come check it out…I tell him that I’m not in the market to buy any tequila today…he says no problem, just come have a taste. Ummm ok…I’m not a huge fan of tequila but I’ll give it a go. Did I mention he’s cute? So, Giancarlo and I shoot a couple of types…a chocolate one and a vanilla one. It’s more like artisan tequila. I’ll admit they taste good and consider buying a bottle…but nope, they are way too pricey!
I say bye to Giancarlo and walk over to Parque Fundadores, a popular park right on the beach that has shops, street stalls, a playground, Mayan dance performances, and a cool statue called Portal Maya. Fun Fact: the statue celebrates the Mayan calendar, and the date of December 21, 2012.
I imagine this would be a great place to watch the sunrise. I walk down to the beach to check it out. There has been a seaweed problem plaguing these beaches as of late, and as I said before, it is a cloudy windy rainy hot day.
So not ideal conditions to sit and relax on the beach! But back in the park I spot a street stall that sells churros so I figure that’s a safe bet for an afternoon snack. Except they are all out of churros so I have to wait 15 minutes for the next batch! Sigh. Ok fine I’ll hang around a bit longer. And OMG these things are worth the wait. I’d say probably the best churros I’ve EVER had.
I head back to the hotel to relax before meeting my tour group for the first time. It is a small group…Aegean is from Canada, Brigitte is from Switzerland, Aimee from Australia and Dwain from New Zealand. There is one more girl joining us at a later date. Our tour leader, Pedro, gives us an overview on how the next 17 days will go and then we head out for a night on the town. First stop for dinner is Don Sirloin. This place boasts the best and cheapest beach tacos and of course they specialize in sirloin tacos. It’s a pretty simple place with a fun atmosphere and good service. Pedro recommends the tacos pastor, which is a shawarma style pork taco.
Fun Fact: this style of tacos was developed from Lebanese immigrants that came to Mexico. They taste great and I wash it down with a michelada, which is a beer poured into a salt rimmed glass filled with lime juice, assorted spices and sauces, tomato juice and chili peppers. It’s alright—definitely an acquired taste!
After dinner we feel like having a few more drinks and there are almost too many options here in Playa De Carmen! We choose a bar with live music called Fah Bar, and the guy performing tonight is either American or Canadian…he’s playing the kind of songs you can sing along to. The rest of the group decides to go back to the hotel, but Aegean and I want to have another drink. We find a place called Karen’s Bar…it looks cool, it’s really colorful and there is a live band playing traditional Spanish music.
Another cool perk…. the bar has swings! So of course we spend the rest of the evening on the swings, enjoying the tunes and sipping an ice-cold beer. What an end to a fantastic day in Playa Del Carmen!