Playa del Carmen - Former fishing village now unique tourist attraction

The Gran Porto Real pool at night

As the fastest growing city in Latin America, Playa del Carmen has transformed from a small fishing village into an eclectic, cosmopolitan ever-changing tourist destination.

Located on the Caribbean Sea in the heart of Mexico's Mayan Riviera, this beach town has grown tremendously in popularity during the last decade due to its central location and nearby attractions which makes it the perfect destination for a Caribbean vacation.

Originally a small fishing town, tourism to Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel, an island across the Cozumel Channel and world famous scuba diving destination. Over time visitors realized while passing through that it was a nice place to relax away from the crowds of Cancun but with the same quality beaches and turquoise waters.

Today Playa del Carmen, or "Playa" as it's known to the locals, is the center of the Riviera Maya concept. Playa is now a stop for several cruise ships which dock to allow their vacationers to take advantage of its shopping and quality restaurants on its world renowned "Quinta Avenida", or Fifth Avenue.

The center of all tourist activity in Playa del Carmen, Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian walkway located just one block inland from the beach which is lined with boutique hotels, shops, bars, and restaurants. Here you will discover real Mexican hospitality combined with authentic Italian restaurants, British Pubs, German Biergartens and hip cosmopolitan lounges.

The famous energetic nightlife of Playa del Carmen captivates and enchants all comers. The streets, clubs and bars are always alive with all types of music and entertainment. It's a carnival-like atmosphere where you can find mariachi bands, belly dancers, stilt walkers, live Cuban music, reggae, hip-hop, lounge, rock, and blues all adding to the eclectic bohemian ambiance found in Playa del Carmen.

Playa's central location makes it convenient to visit all the sights and adventures the region has to offer. The Mexican themed "eco-archaeological park" Xcaret, the Tulum ruins and Cancun are all less than an hour away.

Where to stay?

A growing number of high quality hotels of all sizes are popping up in Playa. Many of these have been built within the last few years and offer nicely appointed rooms in all price ranges.

For example, world renowned Real Resorts offer choices that range from the 4 star Real Playa del Carmen, a traditional Mexican style hotel in the heart of lively Playa, to the 5 star Gran Porto Real Playa del Carmen Resort and Spa with its regal architecture and warm family hospitality, right through to the upscale, modern Mexican architecture of THE ROYAL Playa del Carmen featuring the most luxurious amenities and facilities and the spectacular SPAzul spa.

These hotels offer travelers the balance of beautiful beachfront locations and the close proximity to world-class shopping in Playa and nearby tourist attractions. More information on Playa del Carmen vacations is available at

- News Canada

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