After a magical time checking out the ruins at Coba and jumping into centoes, we got to Playa Del Carmen in time for dinner. What a shock to the system! After staying in rustic hotels, being knee deep in nature – we ended up in what was a mini Las Vegas. Playa Del Carmen is a buzzing place, full of restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shopping galore.
Where am I staying?
We checked into the One Hotel, essentially an Ibis/Premier Inn, a stark contrast to the character filled hotels I have been staying in so far. A smaller room than the others I’ve been staying in, with a double and single bed, brilliant shower, all mod cons, super fast wifi (i.e the same speed as back home haha). I’ve just realised I didn’t take pics of the room – sorry!
- Grubbiness factor = non-existent. We are in serious tourist land, and it showed.
- Bed = 6/10. Bed was ok, but there was an alarm blaring outside my room for both nights I was there, so sleep was interrupted.
- Shower = 9/10 powerful, hot water and all toiletries thrown in? Result!!
What did I eat?
We went to La Casota, a restaurant on Calle 12, in the middle of all the action. By now you can guess what I chose. Guacamole, yes – but with a twist. Here they make it table side for you (by our Mexican Peter Andre lookalike waiter) – nice, but I needed to add more salt.
Every time I eat this, it tastes different, and every time I love it a little bit more. Mains on the other hand were dull dull dull. Veggie fajitas. Basic, boring, tasteless – not even the yummy salsa picante could redeem them. I felt this was a tourist restaurant, wouldn’t recommend it to be honest.
I woke up late the next day (9 am), after relatively early starts, this was great. Breakfast was basic continental ( no pic – use your imagination). I walked past 100% Natural the night before, a restaurant that had a lot of veggie and vegan options, and wanted to go there for lunch. So I left the girls at the beach and wandered to the restaurant, which was set in a stunning space.
I am pleased to report I was treated like a local – spoken to in Spanish, given a Spanish menu (which I understood most of – come on, it’s food related) – I was quite flattered! I went for an agua fresca with strawberry and blueberry purée (with sparkling water, like a scholer) – cool, refreshing and exactly what I needed after my tough day relaxing in the beach under blue skies. I ordered the lentil burger that came with a few sweet potato fries. Pimped with some fresh habanero salsa, I was in heaven once again. So delicious, juicy and tasty. There were a few more things on the menu I would have liked to try, but not enough time.
Dinner was very different to the night before – we went to a local place where our meals cost a third of what they did the night before. I went for a tamarind agua fresca – nice, but too sweet like almost every drink I had here.
For mains I had a huarache – or a ‘slipper tortilla’, or let’s not beat around the bush – a makki di roti for those of you in the know. Topped with very saucy frijoles, nopales (rapidly joining frijoles and guacamole in my favourite things to eat), onions and salsa. Tasty (after I added a decent amount of salt) and I got my Indian and Mexican fix in one meal. Interesting that here, they under salt the food and over sweeten the drinks!).
On the way back to the hotel, one of the girls had a marquesita for dessert. It was interesting to see being made. It was a crepe – a crispy/waffle. One crepe, stuffed with Nutella and… queso. Yes, cheese – like a mild edam. Obviously didn’t try it, but apparently the combination is very complementary and complimentary and went down very quickly.
What did I do?
Another day of vegetation on the beach. Hard life, but somebody’s got to do it! The beach is beautiful – warm, blue water, soft sand.
The beach was over infested with people. After having secluded ruins and beaches all to ourselves up to now, this felt very weird. We found a decent sun lounger (150 pesos to hire – you need to pay to relax in Playa Del Carmen), I spent my time reading-sleeping-swimming. Oh, and I had an $18, 30 minute massage on the beach. PERFECT!
I did walk around too – day and night, it felt like too much of a theme park (check out the colours at night), with the main aim bring to spend money in any way possible – look at Playaland! Your one stop souvenir mega shop.
Overall impression, once I put the commercialism aside, I enjoyed the place – specifically the beach. Like with almost all beatific beach towns, the underlying vibe was chilled. But I was happy to move on to the next town – Merida.