Zara: Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

By October 30, 2019 Travel Stories
Zara Henderson

One of Travel Centre Coffs Harbour’s favourite travel consultants, Zara Henderson, has recently returned from holidaying on the Riviera Maya, Mexico. Here is her report …

Playa Del Carmen sits on the Caribbean coastline of Mexico’s north eastern Yucatan Peninsula and was the perfect place for my partner and I to experience the relaxed pace of Mexican life. It gave us the opportunity for some much-needed relaxation while sampling the endless feast of Mexican flavours around us.

The Yucatecans are warm and entertaining conversationalists that are always eager to please. Upon arrival, they were very proud to show off their region as they took us to our resort just an hour south of Cancun airport.

What was once a quaint fishermen’s village is now a vibrant coastal resort town with a laidback vibe and a global mixture of fun-loving travellers.

The authentic Mayan food is still prepared with the same ingredients used centuries ago and fresh seafood is a tremendous source of pride on the Riviera Maya. We had plenty of restaurants to choose from but soon found our favourite taqueria ‘El Fogon’, where we sampled many tacos al pastor.

The backbone of Playa Del Carmen is Quinta Avenida, a cobblestone pedestrian street which we wandered up and down daily. This colourful street stretches for 20 blocks and is always buzzing with excitement. We browsed through markets bursting with local arts and crafts, watched street performers and entertainers and generally soaked up the local atmosphere of panama hats, hot sauces, embroidered dresses, silver jewellery, woven blankets and pottery.

We soon found our top five rooftop pools where we could get out of the heat and try some of the 100s of tequilas on offer while enjoying music and gorgeous views!

Bike riding is encouraged in Playa del Carmen, so for a change of pace we jumped on bicycles and explored the neighbourhoods like locals.

Swimming in the natural phenomenon of a cenote is an experience not to be missed.  A cenote (pronounced cey-no-tay) is a sinkhole that has been created by the collapse of limestone rock ceilings. This creates natural swimming holes and reveals underwater passageways and rock formations below.

Over 6000 thousand of these hidden gems can be found in the Yucatan Peninsula alone. If you are a dive enthusiast then you can explore the cenotes and their underwater cave systems but for us, we were happy to jump into the caverns and the pristine waters for a swim. These clear and deep pools were definitely a highlight and, if I had more time, I would choose to explore more of them.

The region is dotted with ancient Mayan ruins and is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef system – so there is something here for everyone!

I look forward to returning one day to experience more of this spectacular part of the world and I welcome you to pop in to 15 Park Avenue, Coffs Harbour to ask me more about my trip.