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  • Writer's pictureMark Vogel

My Day Trip to Playa Del Carmen: Exploring Quinta Avenida and Beyond

Playa Del Carmen, Mexico


Portal Maya sculpture at Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Portal Maya sculpture at Playa del Carmen, Mexico

As I embarked on a day visit to Playa Del Carmen, Mexico from my cozy hotel, the Grand Fiesta Americana Coral Beach Cancun, I wondered what adventures awaited me. After an hour taxi ride, I found myself at the heart of Playa Del Carmen at Quinta Avenida, Fifth Avenue. It promised to be a lively atmosphere with a plethora of shops and cafes to explore.





“From the bustling Quinta Avenida to the inviting beaches and the allure of nearby Cozumel, this adventure left me eager to return and uncover more hidden gems in this enchanting corner of Mexico.”

I began my trek along Quinta Avenida, immersing myself in the energy of the place. The street was lined with a colorful array of stores, offering everything from local crafts and souvenirs to trendy fashion items. I found myself drawn to the unique pieces crafted by talented local artisans. However, it didn't take long for me to notice that the locals could be a little too aggressive in their sales tactics. While I understand the importance of supporting the local economy, the constant barrage of solicitation became off-putting. I realized that this approach might ultimately backfire and hurt the locals as it may deter tourists from enjoying the experience and wanting to buy a souvenir.


Seeking a brief respite from the barrage of sales pitches, I decided to step into a couple of malls along the way. Quinta Alegria Mall and Paseo del Carmen Mall both provided a welcome escape from the heat and a chance to explore some air-conditioned comfort. Quinta Alegria Mall boasted an impressive range of shops, including international brands, while Paseo del Carmen Mall had a more laid-back vibe with boutiques and small cafes. It was refreshing to take a leisurely stroll through these malls, catching my breath and recharging for the rest of my adventure.


Since it started to rain, I stopped to enjoy a refreshing caramel Frappuccino at one the several local Starbucks cafes. The barista wrote "Marck" on my drink. Marc with a C? Mark with a K? When in doubt, I guess use both letters!


After the short rain shower subsided, I continued my journey towards the beach and reached the famous Portal Maya sculpture. Standing tall and proud with the sea behind it, this monumental artwork pays homage to the rich history and Mayan heritage of the region. It served as a reminder of the deep cultural roots that make Playa Del Carmen and its surroundings so captivating.


As I reached the Pier where you board a ferry to the picturesque island of Cozumel, I couldn't help but dream of future visits to this tropical paradise. Cozumel is renowned for its stunning coral reefs, crystal-clear waters, and abundant marine life, making it a must-visit destination for snorkeling and diving enthusiasts. Although time did not permit a visit on this particular day, I made a mental note to return and explore the wonders of Cozumel in the future.


Feeling the need to refuel before continuing my exploration, I stumbled upon a delightful little hole-in-the-wall kosher falafel joint. The aroma of freshly cooked falafel and the warm hospitality of the staff provided a much-needed break.


To wind down the day, I met up with some friends at a charming bar on Quinta Avenida. We enjoyed refreshing cocktails and shared stories of our adventures.


As the day came to a close, I took a taxi to back to my hotel in Cancun. From the bustling Quinta Avenida to the inviting beaches and the allure of nearby Cozumel, this adventure left me eager to return and uncover more hidden gems in this enchanting corner of Mexico.


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