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RECOMMENDATIONS



Mexican

La Cueva del Chango

www.lacuevadelchango.com Calle 38 entre 5ta Avenida y El Mar, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn left on 5th and walk to Calle 38, turn right on 38th. Cueva will be on the right.

Great breakfasts at an affordable price. Great Juice. They have both English and Spanish menus and most of the wait staff speak a little English. The Fruit Salad with yogurt and granola is our favorite, although the Omlette with spinach, mushrooms and tomato and the french toast are close 2nds, The Huevos Rancheros (Mexican style eggs) are also very good. We are told that they Chilaques are some of the best in Playa.

Nativo

30 Avenida, Playa del Carmen

Walk right out of the condo and turn left on 30th Ave, cross the street. Nativo is on the right side of the street just passed Calle 22.

One of two places to go for the BEST Juice! They are huge (big ones are 1 Litre 35 pesos, small are 750ml – 25 pesos) Menus are now in Spanish & English. The wait staff speaks decent English in general. It’s a bit sweet with the sugar so we usually order “Sin Azucar” which means no sugar. The food is also great here; the chicken tacos are a favorite for only 50 pesos you get 4 tacos (a huge plate) with rice and beans. Guacamole is also quite good here.

La Ceiba de la 30 (at DAC)

30 Avenida, Playa del Carmen

Walk right out of the condo and turn left on 30th Ave. DAC is on the left side of the street on the corner of Calle 20. The sign for DAC is not overly visible, but you'll see a fruit market on the corner with a patio and some tables.

Closed Sundays. Menus are now in both English and Spanish, the wait staff speaks decent English in general. Another great juice spot! They are huge! It’s a bit sweet with the sugar so we usually order “Sin Azucar” which means no sugar. Good lunch or breakfast spot, the chicken and the mushroom quesadilla’s are good, so are the Huevos Rancheros and the Omelets.

HC Del Monterrey

Between 25th & 30th Ave at Calle Constituyentes, Playa del Carmen

This is the place to get a cheap grilled steak, chicken breast or pork. This is a great place to go on your first day before you have any groceries and you want a restaurant that is near the condo. We typically order one of the "packages". The packages include a drink, backed potato, avacado, tortilla and chicken (or steak/pork) - all for about $8 or 9 USD. Also, we highly recommend ordering a Chelada (beer mixed with lots of real lime juice). We recommend asking them to use Sol beer in the Chelada.

El Fogon

Between 25th & 30th Ave at Calle Constituyentes, Playa del Carmen

This restaurant is very similar to HC Monterrey (and is right beside it). Typically we walk over to these and which ever one has a table open we go to. Prices are about the same as HC Monterrey and its an ongoing debate in Playa which is better. We find locals give the edge to El Fogon, but we think its a draw :).

La Vagabunda

5th Ave between Calle 24 and Calle 26

La Vagabunda has average prices (8 to 25 USD) and is a good place for breakfast, lunch or dinner as they have a very wide menu. We really like the chicken fajitas and lime soup they have at dinner. We've also been for breakfast and had great food (eggs, fruit plates, fresh juice, etc). The restaurant is pretty cool as well as its basically one huge palapa.

Los AguaChiles

Calle 34 at 25th Ave, Playa Del Carmen)

There is also another location on Constitutients between 1st and 5th Ave, but we've only been to the one on 34th so far. The one on 34th is larger and seems to have a bit less english, but the food is great. They're all about the fish and shirmp and the chile sauces. The Ceviche is some of the best we've had and is done in a Clamato sauce. Close enough to the condo, it makes great take out, just ask for "para llevar".

La Fragata

1st Ave & Calle 26, Playa Del Carmen

Great, cheap breakfast! This is a great place to stop for breakfast (their lunch and dinner also look good with 50 peso margaritas, but haven't tried it yet). You can get an american breakfast with 2 eggs, potatoes, ham, coffee and orange juice for 50 pesos. The eggs benedict are also good according to friends we went with.

El Envero

1st Ave between Calle 26 and Calle 28, Playa Del Carmen

Great Food! This restaurant is owned by the guys that own Off the Vine (the wine place next door). They are open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, as well as they cater the Thursday night wine dinners next door (highly recommend those!). The good is wonderful and the prices are very reasonable... the Chicken Panini for lunch is especially good as are the Blackberry Margaritas.

BareMar

Calle 38 & 5th Ave, Playa Del Carmen

BareMar has a great breakfast deal for 88 pesos. You get eggs, bread, coffee and juice and for 9 pesos you can add a piece of banana bread (Ryder's favorite part). Haven't been there for dinner yet, but we've heard good things.

Italian

Util Pasta Factory

25th Ave & Calle 30, Playa Del Carmen

Walk down Calle 26 towards the water and take your first left onto 25th Ave. Walk 3 blocks and Util is on your left. You will pass a confectionary also called util, the restaurant is a block past it on the left. The restaurant has a takeout window in the front, but the place with tables to sit down is around back (just ask at the take out window).

This is hands down the best pasta we've ever had (including what we had in Italy) and the prices are cheap ($8 USD to 13USD per meal). All the pasta is handmade by the owners of the restaurant and the portions are large. (They are in process of renaming the restaurant to Papa Charlie's Pasta Factory in honour of the late founder... when we were there last, they hadn't changed the signs, but the business cards had the new name.)

Trattoria del Centro

10th Ave & Calle 26, Playa Del Carmen

Walk down Calle 26 towards the water and it's on your right just before 10th Ave.

It looks like a hole in the wall, but the food is great (a close 2nd to Util) and the price is great. They usually have a daily special deal for 70-100 pesos, you get bruchetta, a salad and a pasta main dish (lasagna, ravioli, spaghetti and a few other choices). The pasta itself is just as fresh as Util, with fewer pasta and sauce choices.

GG Fifth Avenue

5th Ave & Calle 34, Playa Del Carmen

Walk down 26th ave to 5th ave. Turn left onto 5th. Walk for about 5 blocks and you'll see Da Gigi on your right.

Very good food at a reasonable price. If you are a huge bacon fan you should definitely try the Spaghetti Carbonara. Everything we’ve had here has been good. The restaurant decor is very nice and makes for a nice night out. Formerly known as Da gigi.

Cenacolo

5th Ave & Calle 28, Playa Del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn left on 5th. Cenacolo is on the left on the corner of 28th & 5th.

Great homemade pasta here, if you walk by in the afternoon or early evening you will often see one of the chef’s outside making fresh ravioli. The restaurant is a is pretty pricey though (about $30 USD per plate). If you want good pasta, we recommend going to Util instead. If you want a night out at a fancy restaurant, then this is a good option.

La Pummerola

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 10th Ave, turn right and then left on Calle 24 one block down. Pummerola is on the right.

A great Neapolitan style italian restaurant, the pizza here is awesome. Pasta, Bruchetta, Wine... all also great options and not bad prices.

French

Byblos

Calle 14 betwen 5th and 10th Ave, Playa Del Carmen

Walk down Calle 26 towards the water and take a right onto 10th Ave. Walk down 10th to Calle 14 and turn left. Byblos is on your left.

The food here is fantastic! Definitely recommend asking for the "Special Menu". It's about 175 pesos and you get a choice of appetizer, dinner and desert with a glass of wine.

Thai

Gluay Maai Thai

5th Ave & Calle 38, Playa del Carmen

Thai with a bit of a twist. Some of the best Thai we've had... The chicken satay has a great peanut sauce on it, and the Shrimp Panang Curry was awesome! (they spelled panang a bit differently on the menu, assuming it's because it was in spanish...)

Sushi

Sushi Tlan

5th Ave & Calle 30, Playa del Carmen

Seriously? You’re in Mexico… if you’re expecting good sushi here, well, we’re just not going to comment on that. Recommendation… Wait till you get home (the sushi in Regina or PG is likely better!)

Ah Cacao

5th Ave & Calle 30, Playa del Carmen or 5th Ave & Constituyentes, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn left on 5th. Ah Cacao is on the corner of 5th and Calle 30 on the left side of the street.

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 untill 25th Ave, turn right on 25th and walk until Constituyentes, turn left on Constituyentes and walk until just before 5th Ave. Ah Cacao is on right side of the street just before 5th Ave.

Ah Cacao is a must! Our favorite here is the Mocha Frappe (light leche, no whipped cream) it takes the place of my daily Starbucks when we’re in Playa. All of the chocolate and cocao used is Ah Cacao cocao made from Mexican cocao beans. The brownies here are also amazingly good!

Chez Celine

5th Ave & Calle 34, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn left on 5th. Chez Celine will be on the right between Calle 32 and Calle 34.

If you sit at a table the wait staff will bring a menu... the omlettes are great and Ryder loves the Fruit Bowl! If you’re just looking for coffee and a pastry you can also go directly to the counter to order. Good coffee, great almond croissants (reminds me of Paris). The plain croissants are also great here. They have a great Christmas Log if you're lucky enough to be around, although it sells out very quickly!

Tiramisu

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26, between 10th and 5th... if you hit 5th you've gone too far...

A great little italian bakery, some of the best coffee (although the iced coffee wasn't really all that iced - it was good) wonderful spot for a quick coffee and pastry.

Coffee Cafe

Calle 34 and 5th Ave, in behind the cuban restaurant...

Good Lattes and Raspberry Mocha (they'll also make it a Frappe if you ask)... Looks like they get their pastry from Tiramisu so they should be good... but haven't tried them yet.

Bebe's Noodle Bar

5th Ave & Calle 30, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn left on 5th and it’s pretty close to the corner of 5th and Calle 30 just before you hit 30th.

The biggest Margarita’s you’ve ever seen! And relatively cheap given the quantity. The Mango Margarita is pretty good. The Blueberry Margarita is a must, although they've often been out of blueberries when we've been there, this last time they looked at us like we were crazy when we asked if they had them in stock...

Good Gelato Place (can't remember the name)

5th Ave & Calle 28, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo on Calle 26 towards the water. Turn left onto 5th ave. Walk one block to Calle 28th and turn left. You should see a little gelato place on your right next to the America Rental Car shop.

This shop has the best gelato in Playa and prices are reasonable. For $3 USD you get a pretty healthy servicing of two different flavors of gelato. It is a struggle to walk by this place each day and not stop every time! -- Update: If you're here for a while and like your gelato... they do have 1/2 and 1 litre containers to take back to the condo as well. We've tried asking for up to 3 flavours in a 1/2 litre successfully :)

Beaches

Mamitas Beach

at the end of Calle 28 Norte

Walk left out of the condo and down to 1st Ave, turn left on 1st and walk to Calle 28, turn right on Calle 28 and walk to the beach.

Most of the beach clubs in the area will rent you a lounger or beach bed with an umbrella for a set day price. There are 2 beach clubs at the end of Calle 28, so far we’ve only tried Kool. Mamitas beach is generally fairly busy.

Mamitas Beach - Kool Beach Club

at the end of Calle 28 Norte

Kool Beach Club will rent you the nice lounger and umbrella for 70 pesos a day, including a wrist band that provides you with a free bottle of water and access to their bathrooms and pool. For 50 pesos a day you can get the plastic lounger and no water, but still get access to the bathrooms and pool. Waiters will take your order for drinks and food (prices are not too bad).

Akumal

Akumal Beach

Akumal is a small town just south of Playa (between Playa and Tulum). Its beach is pretty amazing and has a few nice restaurants along the beach for getting food & drinks for the day while you are there. The snorkeling at Akumal is also really cool as you can just walk out from the beach swim a short amount and be overtop reefs of tropical fish and 400 lbs sea turtles. Last time we were there we literally swam 5 feet away from 3 sea turtles as they ate the underwater plants. You can get to Akumal (1 way) by taxi from Playa for about $250 - 300 pesos. If you pick up a taxi on 30th ave instead of 5th it will likely be cheaper, but you may need to venture to fifth if you need a van-sized taxi. If you need to rent snorkel equipment most of the dive shops will rent.

Mayan Ruins

Chichen Itza

3 hour drive from playa del carmen | more

One of the seven wonders of the world, Chichen Itza is definately worth the drive. We've been there a couple times and still haven't seen all the ruins. It is remarkable to see how such an early civilization knew so much about astronomy and time. We recommend driving there yourself or taking a guided tour from Playa. Either way, this webpage has a great write up on the place and includes driving directions. If you drive, I recommend taking the toll highway both ways as its an easy drive with good roads although the tolls will run you about $70 USD for the round trip.

Eco Parks

Xel-Ha

about 3 hour drive from Playa Del Carmen | more

The Xel-Ha Ecological Park is located about 30 miles south of Playa del Carmen and is considered to be the largest natural aquarium in the world. It is famous for its numerous varieties of brightly-colored tropical fish and its limestone formations. The attractions of the park include Hammock Island, Mangrove Chaac, Grotto Ixchel and El Dorado, the tree nursery, cenotes, great snorkeling and the turtle camp. The all inclusive fee is about $90 USD per person, but that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner and all the drinks you want while you are there. Our friends rave about this place as a must see. Visit the xel-ha website for more info.

XCaret

4 miles south of playa del carmen | more

XCaret is mix between an eco park and a water park and is a day long activity. We've never been but friends who have rave about it. This is a great day event for families or couples. At the park you can snorkel, swim with dolphins, see tropical butterflys, swin in underground rivers, etc. Visit the xcaret website for more info.

Massage

Veronica's Massage

5th Avenue between Constituyentes & Calle 20, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn right on 5th and you'll see Veronica's on your right hand side just after you pass Calle 20, but before you get to Constituyentes. Right near the message place is Aca Los Tacos.

If you've had a deep tissue massage in the US or Canada, you'll really like Veronica's as many of the techniques they use are the same as we were used to. A one hour massage is very reasonable and costs about $30 USD. If you want to get a massage stop by early in the day and book your time slot as they are one of the best in town and can get busy. To reserver a time you'll need to leave a $10USD (or about 100 peso) deposit. You really can't beat a day on the beach in Playa followed by an hour massage.

Workout

Evolve

Calle 24 & 5th Ave, Playa del Carmen | evolvemexico.com

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 5th Ave, turn right on 5th and walk until Calle 24, turn right on Calle 24. Evolve is on right just off the corner.

One of the less expensive gym’s we’ve found, this is our favorite. They have pretty much one or more of every machine, lots of cardio and weight options. They have a good selection of classes that are included with your day pass (spin classes, yoga classes etc.), as well as a few that you can pay separately for such as the pilates reformer class. If you plan to go more than once and there are a few of you, the punch cards can be used for anyone in your party (we buy one punch card and they just punch 2 when we go together). The punch cards also don’t expire.

150 pesos pp/per day
550 pesos for 7 punches card
800 pesos for 10 punches card

Bikram Yoga Rivera Maya

www.bikramyogarivieramaya.com 5th Ave near Calle 38, Playa del Carmen

A great, small, studio. They keep it pretty toasty :) The instructors that I met both spoke some english and did the class in a combination of english and spanish. It’s a bit pricy for non-residents, 20 USD per class or . It’s a brand new studio with a number of class options (one morning class Sat & Sun, 3 classes each week day 6:30, 9:00 and 7:00).

Mega

30th Ave & Constituyentes, Playa del Carmen

Walk left out of the condo and down Calle 26 until 25th, turn right on 25th and walk down to Constituyentes, turn right on Constituyentes. Mega is on the left side of Constituyentes on the corner of 30th Ave.

Only 4 or so blocks from the condo, this is one of our favorite grocery stores. It's kinda like a superstore or fred meyer with a good selection of everything. Decent prices, good wine/alcohol selection, good meat selection. The staff doesn't speak much engligh, but they are accustomed to tourists who don't speak spanish and you get far with some good pointing :)

DAC

30 Ave (near Mega), Playa del Carmen

Walk right out of the condo and turn left on 30th Ave. DAC is on the left side of the street just passed Calle 22. Closed Sundays.

DAC is our favorite produce market. It's only a couple blocks from the condo and the produce is cheap and of great fresh quality. You can also get some great little sweet loaves that are good for a snack or with breakfast.

Best Day Travel

www.bestday.com

We've had good experience with Best Day's shared van service. They are quite affordable, around 23 USD, will show up at the airport and wait for you to get through customs.

Paradise Transfers

www.paradisetransfers.com

We've had great experiences with this van service. They are affordable and donate a portion of each sale to the local animal shelter in Playa.