It was not what I expected, but then again I don’t know what I was expecting to begin with. Coming from Merida, a quiet un-tourist developed city, Playa was a shock. Not in a bad way though.
The beach and weather was beautiful. The water was crystal clear, and days were spent eat, beach, shop, repeat. Being a huge tourist destination, the prices were significantly higher than anywhere else seen in Mexico. Identical bags that went for 300 peso in Merida went for 1000 peso here. So whilst I didn’t stock up on the traditional Mexican goods, I certainly did with clothing.
Their stores are westernised, with air conditioning and the big retail brands were there. What would probably be described as malls included Zara, H&M, Forever 21, Old Navy, Tommy Hilfiger and you get the idea. I particularly hit up Zara loving their current collection (I will do a blog post on these purchases), with pretty reasonable prices. These are all on the huge shopping strip called 5th Avenue…not quite as glamorous as the other 5th we all know so well.
Amongst all the hustle and bustle there is an array of restaurants. Being such a big place, there was an enormous range of cuisines. I particularly love Mexican, so at times was struggling to find a good authentic meal. However, I did love being able to grab a frappe for breakfast from the traditional Starbucks…
One great meal I had was at La Capricho. On 5th Ave, this restaurant had a great roof top terrace to eat on and the variety of steak, seafood and Mexican cuisine made everybody happy. A waiter came and took a photo of us, claiming it was to go on their wall. However, a little while later he appeared with this photo on a tequila bottle! For a price of course.
For the cheapest meal I have possibly ever had, we ate at the recommended Las Quekas. This chain restaurant is all around Mexico and claims to have the best quesadillas. They were delicious and 5 of us fed and drank for under $10!
Our general daily lunch was at our hotel beach club, where we could order from our lounge chairs and chose to sit up when the food arrived. Ill talk about accommodation below but the Pelicano Inn did fantastic fish and shrimp tacos. I alternated everyday!
For a good Italian meal head to Don Mario. The waiters was charming as was the interior. Fake bricks painted on the walls to give that real Italian feel… All the normal cuisine dishes were ordered and everyone raved. I particularly enjoyed the chocolate mousse at the end.
I stayed at the Pelicano Inn. This had a slight Grecian feel to it. It was simple, but it ticked all the boxes in a particularly good location being in the middle of 5th Ave. 5th is one street back from the beach and stretches for kilometres long, so it was great being able to walk to either end depending on what direction you wanted to head in. There appeared to be some really smart resorts going up and some more basic hotels/hostels along this same strip. I highly suggest if you can swing it to stay on the beach. Doing so will give you access to their beach club, meaning not having to pay for a beach lounge and being able to leave your towel on it all day.