- Drink till you drop. I hear from people all the time that they go to all inclusives because of the free booze (it isn’t really free, but we’ll get back to that later). At this point in my life I don’t need to drink till I drop
- Same people every day. It’s like being on a cruise ship and seeing the same people every day. If you like them it’s good, but if you don’t (and how many people have you met on vacation that you want to remain in touch with?) you start dodging areas like the pool because you don’t want to have to spend another minute with them.
- Time to play a game!! I don’t want to hear a guy over the loudspeaker, again and again, organizing a team for a game of something, then announcing the game and cheering people on. I want to sip my margharita, read my book, and watch people as they stroll the beach. Boring? Not to me and my friends.
- Most of the guests are Americans. I was born and raised in the USA, but I’ve traveled the world and love other cultures and countries. I don’t want to sit next to another American who tells me how much better everything is in the US than the country we are in. I can stay home and have that conversation.
- They want to keep you on the property! In many areas the all inclusives have a deal with the taxi drivers. It’s about $50 to take someone from an all inclusive to the downtown area of Playa or Puerto Vallarta, but only $10 to ride back. The properties don’t want people to see what they are missing in town so they jack the prices up for guests to leave.
- All-Inclusive resorts tend to be isolated.
- The “sprawling resort” becomes small, fast.
- The guests are a…certain type of traveler.
- The food is good but forgettable.
- Visiting and leaving a country without ever seeing it.
Le Cinq is my new favorite restaurant!! It’s located on 10th Ave. between Calle 12 and 14. We went early last night because we’d been cooped up with an all-day rain. I love French food and this place is incredibly good. We were the first to arrive and in addition to the menu, they showed us pictures on an iPad of all the dishes and wines. They have an extensive wine list with descriptions of each wine. You’ll see numerous French wines in addition to other wines. We started with escargot surrounded by thin slices of tomatoes and potatoes that was one of the best I’ve ever had. My husband had the best french onion soup he’s ever had. He followed that with lobster risotto and I had shrimp on a skewer with pineapple and other vegetables. Of course the sauce was out of this world. We finished with a warm chocolate dessert. Our waiter, Selomit, spoke French, English and Spanish and was attentive, very informative, and friendly. This is one of the best French restaurants I’ve been to including ones in France. Love it. Not the most expensive restaurant in Playa, but a little above average in price. Beautiful interior with outside seating as well.
Although they have a couple of locations, all the locals go to El Fogon on Constituyentes in Playa del Carmen. Be prepared – the menus are in Spanish only but the wait staff will help you. There’s a line waiting to get in from 7pm till closing. Food is really good, atmosphere is authentic and thijere’s usually a singer or a band that will pass the hat for tips. It’s a Playa experience and one that I recommend. #PlayadelCarmen #LaurasBeachfrontCondos #PlayadelCarmenBeachfrontCondos.com
Good morning, world! #PlayadelCarmen #El Taj Ocean
The following Riviera Maya Beach Lover’s Guide
Picture yourself on a white sandy beach, trade winds rustling in the palm trees while you swing in a hammock. Build sand castles with your children, or enjoy evening strolls with your loved one at sunset. Riviera Maya beaches turn your vacation dreams into reality. You’ll be enchanted by the beautiful beaches, warm translucent waters, and picture-perfect weather that lasts all year long.
Riviera Maya Ranks in the Worlds Top 10 Beach Vacations
The photos don’t lie. The Mexican Caribbean is that blue, and the beach sand is that dazzlingly white. With 72 miles (116 km) of beach stretching along the Caribbean coastline, Riviera Maya has something for everyone. The beaches are one reason why we decided to call the Riviera Maya home, and why so many visitors return to this paradise.
Beach areas in the Riviera Maya are public spaces bursting with activities. If you are looking for evening beach activities under an star filled sky, Playa del Carmen offers a vibrant, hip nightlife once the sun goes down. Couples and families looking to embrace the day together from sun up to sun down will enjoy . The magnificent bays that define these beaches provide an endless list of water activities like snorkeling, kayaking, diving, beach combing, or simply relaxing in a hammock.
Sun-worshippers will discover their tropical paradise on any Riviera Maya beach, but
For true paradise seekers, the raw and unspoiled beauty of the unpopulated Caribbean will lure many travelers to Sian Ka’an Biosphere beaches.
No matter what kind of beach holiday you prefer or what slice of the Riviera Maya shoreline suits your needs, you will find what we call ‘heaven’: pearly-white sand, natural shade from slender palm and coconut trees, crystal-clear waters, and fragrant sea air.
Two miles of white powdery sand make the beaches of Playa del Carmen a hot spot in anyone’s book. Enjoy the sunshine at one of the trendy beach clubs or meet up with seasoned Playa visitors on the central beach. Either spot provides ample opportunity to people-watch on the shores of this popular Caribbean destination. Looking for more than the sun? Water sports are in abundance and easy to reserve right on the beach!
Miles of beach in a trendy Playa del Carmen
The beaches in Playa del Carmen are not as tranquil as other Riviera Maya towns, but Playa’s great location, hip beach life and long stretch of beaches puts it at the top of a dream vacation list. Beach clubs, beach hotels and beachfront condos share the shores of Playa del Carmen making these beaches the public place to be during day. When the sunrises, beach goers are on it, picking their favorite spot and getting ready for an all day beach session. When the sun starts to set, the crowds move to 5th Ave for dinner and join up again for some beachfront nightlife. The beach is the center of Playa’s activity and there is lots to do.
Central Playa beach and North Playa beach
The 2-mile white sand beach of Playa del Carmen is divided into two areas; Central Playa del Carmen beach and North Playa del Carmen beach. The symbolic division point is the second ferry pier located at the bottom of Av. Constituyentes, a main traffic route into the city. The feel is very different on each beach, with ‘Old Playa’ felt on the central beach and ‘Trending Playa’ felt on the north beach.
The Central Playa del Carmen beach was the first beach developed in the city. Here you’ll find the Ferry dock to Cozumel, numerous beach clubs, restaurants, dive shops and water sport vendors offering a wide range of fun water activities. There are also a number of snorkeling, dive and fishing boats ready to take you out at the bottom of 14th Street. Popular beach clubs owned by long-time Playa residents are Zenzi, Fusion, and Wah Wah’s.
North Playa del Carmen is known as the location of Mamitas Beach Club and Canibal Royal, two trendy beach clubs with DJ’s, dancing and beach beds. Great food, large beachside pools and music sets these area of Playa del Carmen apart from the central area. The evenings are quiet on this beach, but the days are full of visitors and locals enjoying talked about beach vacations in paradise.
What many Playa del Carmen visitors love about this city is the diversity of beach vibes. We are not sure if anyone gets tired of the beach, and from the look of the daily activity that goes on, we don’t think anyone does. With so many venues to entertain you and over 2 miles of beach to discover in the city limits, (there are more beaches just outside the city limits within walking distance), there is more entertaining than one could hope for.
There is little outer reef break but great protection from the Island of Cozumel making Playa del Carmen a place of tranquil sea
I don’t like all inclusives: Give me the real thing!
I’m sorry if I am offending anyone when I say, I don’t like all inclusives. I love to travel and I love to eat at the best places that the locals go to. I love watching people whether it’s sitting in an outdoor cafe in Paris, or walking through the farmer’s market in Bangkok or the Central Market in Phnom Phen, or strolling down 5th Avenue, La Quinta, in Playa del Carmen and stopping for a gelato, a drink, or a latte at a cute little place. It’s real, it’s unique and it’s what makes travel such a fun learning experience.
Don’t get me wrong, the all inclusives can be beautiful properties with lots to do, but I need the real thing when I travel.
Why I don’t like all inclusives
In Playa del Carmen there are all inclusives that have thousands of rooms on the property – Barcelo has 5000 rooms. Are you kidding me? Is this someone’s idea of a romantic get-away or a relaxing vacation? You look at pictures for the all inclusives and you only see a few romantic couples on the beach or in the pool. The reality is you’ll never find a quiet place with 5000+ people.
Here’s additional reasons for my not liking all inclusives:
I’ve tried all inclusives and was turned off by the every day sameness of the surroundings, people and food. This isn’t Disney and I don’t need a sterilized setting when I travel out of the country. This morning I happened to stumble on someone else’s blog post, Pin the Map Project, that summed it all up for me. Here’s a link to it, Why I Hate All Inclusives
I love this website and blog, and I hope you do too. Enjoy the day!!
Here’s the 5 main lessons of the article, but read the article
So who wrote this blog I am in such synch with? Here’s the blogger team:
Nikki is the Founder of The Pin the Map Project and started her blog four years ago as a way to flex her travel writing muscles and see the world.
Staff Travel Writer
You can find her either on the trail, re-reading East of Eden by John Steinbeck, or planning her next great adventure: www.beckykivlovitz.com.
Staff Travel Writer
. Learn more at WordsmithChristine.com.
Staff Travel Writer
Camha also blogs at Curated by Cammi. Follow her on Instagram at @curatedbycammi or on Twitter
Best Chefs of Mexico
There is no shortage of fabulous places to eat in Playa del Carmen and foodies can celebrate with the Best Chefs of Mexico . For more information, see the The Daily Meal
The four-night October fiesta called “The Best of Mexico Riviera Maya” will be held Oct. 5 – 9 in Playa del Carmen. The prestigious event will feature 10-course tasting menus of original dishes honoring the richness of Mexican cuisine through the use of ingredients, seasonings, and techniques from the country’s different regions. The 5 world renowned chefs participating in the event are:
Chef Carlos Gaytan from Chicago!!!!
Chef Carlos Gaytan was named “Chef of the Year” in 2011 by the American Culinary Federation. He created a revolution in Mexican gastronomy with his Chicago restaurant Mexique, which has been celebrated with a Michelin star and awards from Michelin Bib Gourmand. Mexique opened in May of 2008, in Chicago. Now world renowned, Chef Gaytan is one of the Best Chefs of Mexico and with great creativity, love, and dedication he applies his knowledge of French cooking techniques and ingredients to his roots of traditional Mexican cuisine, creating a revolution of Mexican gastronomy.
Mexique has received much recognition since its opening, including one of Chicago magazine’s top new restaurants of 2009, best restaurant of 2010 and received its first star in the Michelin Guide in 2013.Most recently Carlos was awarded “Chef of the Year 2011,” by the American Culinary Federation.
Check out the Mexique website for menu and reservation information.
Chef Francisco “Paco” Ruano, Guadalajara
Chef Francisco “Paco” Ruano began his culinary journey in Spanish Basque Country at the Escuela de Cocina Luis Irizar, then throughout Europe in some of the best restaurants in the world, such as Spain’s Mugaritz and El Celler de Can Roca, and Noma in Denmark. In 2013, he opened Alcalde restaurant, widely considered one of the best in Guadalajara’s exciting new dining scene. He’s considered one of the Best Chefs of Mexico.
Chef Mikel Alonso
Chef Mikel Alonso’s restaurant, Biko, is regularly named among the world’s 50 Best Restaurants. Biko is all about ‘techno emotional’ cooking – a term commonly associated with Spain and the progressive cuisine of chefs such as Ferran Adrià – the stuff most diners familiar with the style used to call molecular gastronomy.
Under executive chef Xavi Perez Stone (“Best Chef in Mexico” 2013 and winner of “Iron Chef 2014”) and alongside chef Bruno Oteiza, Alonso, one of the Best Chefs of Mexico, created the singular menu at Velas’ Cocina de Autor, in Playa del Carmen, the first all-inclusive restaurant to earn Five Diamonds from AAA. Food & Wine also named it among the world’s “100 Best New Food & Drink.
Chef Ricardo de la Vega, Mexico City
Chef Ricardo de la Vega’s passion for the culinary arts has taken him to leading Mexican hotels and restaurants in Puebla, Oaxaca, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo. As executive chef of Frida in Playa del Carmen, he focuses on modern explorations of Mexico’s culinary riches. He is widely considered to be one of the Best Chefs of Mexico
Chef Zahie Téllez, Mexico City
Chef Zahie Téllez’s culinary style blends her love for Mexican and Italian cuisine, enriched by her Lebanese and Mazatec roots. She’s greatly admired for her cooking skills as demonstrated for six seasons on television’s “El Gourmet,” as well as her popular restaurant, Jose Guadalupe Platos de Cuchara in Playa del Carmen and is considered one of the Best Chefs of Mexico .
The tastings take place at the Grand Velas Riviera Maya. Nightly rates start at $393 per person per night based on double occupancy, and include a luxury suite, à la carte gourmet meals at a variety of specialty restaurants, premium beverages, 24-hour in-suite service, and more.
Caminarte Art Walk
I have always loved buying paintings by local artists that depict the natural beauty or culture of an area. In Playa del Carmen there are lots of opportunities to buy lovely pieces. My favorite artists are Marco Pat, Jaccobo Roa and Jose Llehi Sol, and my favorite place to buy local art is on Fifth Avenue at the Caminarte Art Walk.
Every Thursday night there are artists that set up easel on 5th Avenue at the Caminarte Art Walk. This program has successfully been going for years, supporting artist and the arts in Playa. It’s not just some mediocre artists – some of the artist are internationally recognized and just show here on the side. This is a great opportunity to buy from local artist as well to take a stroll and enjoy the vibrancy of 5th Avenue.
Where is Caminarte Art Walk?
The location is mostly from 24th Street until 32nd Street on 5th Avenue. Although the big night is on Thursdays, there often are smaller displays, often on Sunday nights next to Quinta Alegria Mall on Calle 16 between 5th Avenue and 10th Avenue, just a block from Porto Playa Condo Hotel and Magia Beachside Condo Hotel.
What can you find at the Caminarte Art Walk?
You will find paintings, photographs, small sculptures and more. Often artists work on their pieces during the show. They will greet you with a big smile and be happy to tell you about themselves or a particular art piece of theirs. Continuing your walk along Caminarte you might find glass blowers, airbrush painters and much more. Many times you will find musicians walking up and down serenading the visitors to Caminarte.
Caminarte” is a combination of two Spanish words, camino (walkway) and arte (art). Thursday nights on 5th Avenue, the main shopping and restaurant avenue in Playa del Carmen, you can walk and find yourself among the local artists participating on this special night. See more at Loco Gringo or What to Do In Playa
Let’s all Celebrate Tequila Day! Oh, Wait, that’s June 24!
Who doesn’t love a good Margarita? But then again, who doesn’t love an outstanding tequila to just sip? The most important ingredient, of course, is the tequila. Here’s how to find the best and make the best tequila drinks!
Tequila is the Champagne of Mexico! Made from the blue agave plant, tequila was named after the small town of Tequila in a valley west of Guadalajara in Jalisco, Mexico. Mexican law actually states that no liquor can be labeled tequila unless it comes from the western state of Jalisco (or select districts of other Mexican states).
While many of us enjoy tequila cocktails such as the margarita, tequila sunrise, and mojito, a good tequila can be savored like a good whiskey. Tequila is experiencing a renaissance of sorts as savvy drinkers discover it can be sipped like a fine brandy or whiskey.
List of Best Tequila’s In The World
Try these links for lists of the best tequila in the world
How do you pick the best tequila’s to sip, not mix?
Avoid mixto tequilas; they’re fermented with a mix of blue agave cactus and other sugars, such as cane or grain alcohol, and tend to be rough stuff. Instead, seek out tequilas made completely from agave — they’re much smoother.
Watch out for brands that don’t cite “100% agave”, as those brands have added coloring and sugar to obtain the gold color. Gold tequilas are not typically aged, and usually contain only about 51% agave tequila. Sometimes 100% agave gold tequila is made by combining silver tequila and an aged tequila, such as reposado or añejo. Since quality aged tequila has a gold hue, the addition of the coloring was a marketing tactic to improve one’s perspective of cheaper brands.
For zesty or spicy flavors, go for blanco or silver tequilas, which are virtually un-aged and retain the punchy agave flavors. Silver tequila, sometimes referred to as blanco, is rarely aged more than a couple of weeks, making it the purest form of tequila. It is often considered the best type of tequila to use in mixed drinks, and is commonly seen in margaritas.
Another type of tequila is Reposado, which means “rested” in Spanish, and reposados rest anywhere from two months to a year before they are bottled. Reposados take on the gold hue from the barrels in which they are aged. They are typically aged in oak or white oak barrels, and the type of barrel changes the flavor of each distillery’s tequila.
If you are going to sip tequila instead of mixing it with other ingredients, Añejo tequila is best. Añejo means “vintage”, and they are darker than reposado tequilas. Añejo tequilas are aged from one to three years, and are considered the best type of tequila for sipping because of their smoother flavor.
Best Margarita Recipe
2 oz tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1 oz lime juice
1/4 oz simple syrup
lime wedge and course salt for garnish
Other Tequila drink recipes
How Is Tequila Made?
Tequila is produced by removing the heart (piña) of the plant in its eighth to fourteenth year (depending on growth rate and whims of harvester). Harvested piñas normally weigh 80–200 pounds (40–90 kg). This heart is stripped of its leaves and heated to convert the starches to sugars, which is fermented and distilled.
Laura Winfree from Playa Realty Executives put together a great list of Playa del Carmen open air markets in or near Playa del Carmen. Her blog is reprinted below. Click here to go to her website
List of Playa del Carmen open air markets
Kava Kasa Market
Where: Kava Kasa at Calle 22 between 5th and 10th Avenues, Playa del Carmen
When: Every Tuesday from 11am to 2pm
Facebook pages: Kava Kasa Local Market Kava Kasa
Primarily a yoga center, the charming open-air palapa at Kava Kasa also serves as a local market on Tuesday mornings. Here, you’ll find all kinds of local products, including artisanal bread, coffees, handmade jewelry, artisanry, eco-friendly alternatives and healthy cuisine (like vegan tamales!). One of the best Playa del Carmen open air markets
Sábado de Tianguis
Where: Parque La Ceiba, Calle 1 Sur and Diagonal 60 in Colonia Edijal Playa del Carmen
When: 3rd Saturday of every month
Facebook page: Parque La Ceiba
The serene and lush setting of Playa del Carmen’s famed Parque La Ceiba provides the ideal backdrop for a nature-inspired local market. These weekend events not only feature a market selling local food and products, but also family activities like book readings, craft workshops, games and more. One of the most family friendly of Playa del Carmen open air markets
Puerto Morelos Market
Where: Casa Caribe B&B in Puerto Morelos, Avenida Rojo Gomez
When: Several events a year during high seasons (6 events coming up this 2016-2017 season: November, December, January, 2 in February, March, with the 1st market of the 2016 high season will be Saturday, November 26 from 11am to 5pm)
Facebook pages: Puerto Morelos Market Casa Caribe
This bright and colorful indoor-outdoor market is hosted in the garden area in the town of Puerto Morelos, a 30 minute drive north of Playa del Carmen. Each event has over 40 vendors selling jewelry, clothes, arts and crafts, and all kinds of delicious food. Best of all, the Puerto Morelos Market features 3 – 4 food trucks at the entrance. There’s not much mmore in Puerto Morelos, so it’s a popular Playa del Carmen open air markets. Organizer Jorie Germann Maloney tells us, “This year, we will be adding live music and a craft class at each market. (Each time it will be different.) Since we got perfect weather at all 3 last season we know that won’t be the case again, so we are renting shade/rain protectors for the whole property so it’s a rain or shine event!!”
Farmer’s Market at El Pueblito
Where: El Pueblito area of Mayakoba resort about a 20 minute car ride north of Playa del Carmen. One of the more higher end of Playa del Carmen open air markets
When: No set schedule, but roughly once a month (next Farmer’s Market is Saturday, September 17 2016 from 5pm to 8pm)
Facebook page: El Pueblito at Mayakoba (El Pueblito posts a calendar for upcoming events on their Facebook page at the beginning of every month)
This charming Mexican-style square has become a gathering place for Riviera Maya locals thanks to their frequent family events, with outdoor movie nights, yoga, concerts and more. Over the past few months, their Farmer’s Markets have provided a beautiful atmosphere for an evening of Mexican cuisine and locally sourced products. El Pueblito says this is “an event for the whole family, where local producers offer a wide variety of gastronomic products, artisan products, and healthy products.
All this surrounded by good music and activities for children.” Even though it’s located at the luxurious Mayakoba Resort, entrance is still free!
Coco Beach Eco Market
Where: The pool area of Les Alizes condos, Calle 46 and Calle Flamingos, Playa del Carmen
When: Friday mornings from 9am to 11am (the market is currently taking a break for the summer, but they will be back starting October 7, 2016)
Facebook page: Coco Beach Eco Market
A popular choice for the Playa del Carmen expat community, the Coco Beach Eco Market features a variety of healthy, fresh, locally-made cuisine and food products set around the lovely pool area of Les Alizes condos. In addition to health food, you’ll also find products like handmade jewelry, home décor, and plants.
Mercado Vegano Playa
Where: Varies between different park areas of Playa del Carmen
When: Every few months
Facebook page: Mercado Vegano Playa
Designed especially for vegans living in the Riviera Maya, this vegan event in Playa del Carmen is much more than just a market. In addition to stands selling locally made products, you can also enjoy vegan-themed workshops, presentations and cuisine made right at the event. Mercado Vegano has also started hosting similar events in Cancun.
Enjoy paintings, food, art, jewelry and more at Playa del Carmen open air markets which are steps from our properties in Playa del Carmen in the heart of the Riviera Maya/Mayan Riviera (a 40 minute ride from the Cancun Airport). Stay at any of our 6 properties, all are a short walk toPlaya del Carmen open air markets. Contact us for rates and availability at El Taj Ocean, Porto Playa, Magia Beachside, El Taj Beach, Maya Villa, or Villas Sacbe.
Visit our website or call Anna at 708-305-7972 for information, rates and availability