I fell in love with Playa del Carmen, Mexico the first time I stepped on the seemingly endless stretches of soft white sand beaches and turquoise waters. And after living here full time for the past decade, I’ve complied a list of the best venues off 5th Avenue often known only to locals. From restaurants, stores, beaches and bars, discover the premier spots to spend your days in the Riviera Maya. Travel more like a local, and enjoy these top 15 Playa del Carmen hidden gems.
Top 15 Hidden Gems in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Quick Links to the Top 15 Hidden Gems in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
- Mareazul Condominiums – Residential condominium complex on the north side of Playa, complete with the largest pool in town, its own gym and beach club. Plus, the Grand Coral Golf Course is next door. So if you’re not basking on the seemingly endless span of white sand beach, you can be practicing your putt on the greens. Location: Grand Coral at 120th Street, website: click here.
- Dirty Martini – Come on Tuesday nights to enjoy half-priced martinis. Among their extensive selection of drinks, make sure to order a cucumber martini. Location: Calle 10 Nte between 10th and 12th, website: click here.
- Zenzi – Beach bar with live music at night. Stick your toes in the sand while enjoying ice cold margaritas. Popular among local expats and business owners. Location: Calle 10, y la Playa, Centro, Tel. 01 984 803 5738, website: click here.
- Emeralda Beach – The most popular beach in Playa for the local Mexican population. On Sundays it becomes very crowded, and is ideal for people watching. Ramps have been set up to help the disabled. Location: 110th Street and the beach.
- 88th Street Beach – Quiet stretch of beach frequented mostly by locals. Location: 88th Street and the beach.
- Alux – A uniquing dining experience in a 10,000 year old cave. Savor contemporary Mexican and international cuisine while enjoying the colorfully lit stalactites and stalagmites. Location: Av Benito Juárez Mz 217 Lt2, Ejidal, Tel. 01 984 206 1401, website: click here.
- Carboncitos – Relish some of the best authentic Mexican food in Playa del Carmen while entertaining waiters serve stacks of margaritas balanced on their heads. Location: Calle 4 Norte S/N, Centro, Tel. 01 984 873 1382, Website: click here.
- Coco’s Cabañas – Delicious mix of Mexican food with a European flair. We love to come on Sunday nights for the live jazz. Location: On the beach near the Princess Hotel, Tel. 52 998 874 7056, Website: click here.
- Cueva del Chango – Feast on delicious Mexican food in a fun, garden setting. In the fall make sue to order their chiles en nogada (stuffed poblano peppers with cream sauce). Location: 38 Norte Mz. 4 Lote 3, Zazil-ha, Tel.01 984 147 0271, Website: click here.
- Food Carts on 15th and Juarez – Feast on a selection of delicious Mexican food at a series of food carts. From tacos, burritos and more, the selection is both appetizing and affordable. Location: Parque Portal Maya, corner of Av. Juarez and Av. 15.
- Perla de la Pixan – Artesanal Mexican food with fresh, authentic flavors. This is one of my favorite dining spots in Playa del Carmen. I especially love their duck huarache, a shredded duck open faced taco on a homemade corn tortilla with the best mole I’ve ever eaten. Location: Calle 34 Norte between 5ta and 10, Tel. +52 984 120 2616, Website: click here.
- Boxha Boc Coffee – Custom roasted Mexican coffee beans imported from all over the country. Serena, the owner, has set up the family operation in her own home, selling coffee by appointment only. Certainly it’s some of the best roasted coffee beans I’ve ever had. Location: Edidal (call or email Serena for directions), Tel +52 984 206 2149, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Casa de las Hamacas – A vast selection of premier hammocks at affordable prices. If you want to buy a hammock in Playa, you should come here. Location: 30 Avenida Norte MZA 274 LTE 13, Entre Calles 50 y 52, Luis Donaldo Colosio, Tel 01 984 859 0007
- Fabrica de Vidrio Soplado – Blown glass factory and workshop offering a colorful section of glasses, dinner ware and other unique creations. Location: Av Chemuyil Mz 26 Smz 70, La Toscana, Tel. 01 984 109 2212
- Siete Detalles – Boutique selling an interesting selection of authentic Mexican pottery and crafts at reasonable prices. Location: Avenida 1 Norte lote 243, Tel. 01 984 879 4510