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With the opening of two beautiful new malls on 5th Avenue in the past few years, Playa locals have it easier than ever, and they’re loving it. Items that had never been available when moving to Playa del Carmen are now within reach, and we can quickly find affordable and attractive little luxuries previously not found in our beloved beach town.  However, there are still a few odds and ends that for some reason we still haven’t seen here, and we find ourselves filling our suitcases with these items during our trips back to the States. (And many of our friends here still make requests for purchases every time we travel!) Here is our quick list for items you can easily find in the United States but rarely in Playa del Carmen:

 

Bed Sheets and Towels

Attractive, quality, affordable bed sheets and towels are tough to find in Playa del Carmen. Any grocery store will sell cheap sheets and towels but with rough, uncomfortable material. Upscale department stores in Playa and Cancun often have quality sheets and towels, but without many design options and typically reaching up near the $1000 peso mark (sheets) or $500 pesos (large single towels). If you want soft, cozy sheets and towels with a nice design at a less scary price, you’re much better off bringing something from Target or any other home décor store in the States.

Baby Clothes and Kids Clothes

In the Playa/Cancun area, a simple Carter’s brand outfit can easily run you up to $600 pesos. You will often find the brands you’re used to seeing in the States, but the price markup is incredible. Of course, inexpensive onesies can be found anywhere, and the traditional Mayan huipiles and guayaberas for babies are so adorable, but if you’re looking for something more modern and affordable, your best bet is to stock up on clothes for little ones during trips back to the States. On a positive note, Playa del Carmen recently opened a large new H&M store that has trendy and cheap clothing for kids and babies! We hope this is a sign of things to come.

Plus-Size Clothing

The indigenous people of the Yucatan Peninsula are typically smaller in size than your average US citizen, meaning less demand for plus-size clothing. For stylish outfits and swimsuits (and especially shoes!) in larger sizes, the plus-size brands in the States have much more to offer. Here in Playa del Carmen, it is difficult for women to find dresses and pants over a size 12.

 

Organic Food Brands

Playa del Carmen has plenty of eco markets throughout the week, as well as several shops and supermarkets carrying local organic food. Once you check them out, you might be all set! However, if you have a very specific brand of organic ingredients that you prefer to buy in the States, odds are you will need to stock up before heading south.

Bras

Yes, you can easily find cute, sexy and affordable bras here. Even the supermarkets have some attractive options. However, what you won’t find is size options. In most stores, you will only find B-cup bras or the occasional C-cup. If you are an A-cup or anything larger than a C-up, you might not be able to find your size in Playa. Try splurging on high-quality bras from the States that won’t break or tear during your long stays in Mexico. Playa del Carmen does have a few Victoria’s Secret stores, but they only sell fragrances and accessories: no lingerie.

 

All that being said, we strongly encourage anyone moving to Playa del Carmen to take a good look around town first, especially when decorating your new home and buying your new wardrobe. Despite lacking a few of the comforts we’re used to back in the USA, Playa del Carmen does have some stunning local artwork, furnishings, beachwear, traditional Mayan clothing and more that you could never find up north!

If you're just about to start looking for your dream home, our team at BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors has beach houses and vacation condos for sale for a wide variety of needs and budgets. Visit us at BuyPlaya.com to see our real estate properties in Playa del Carmen and the rest of the Riviera Maya.

Our little beach city has a wide variety of inexpensive public transportation: city buses, taxis, the ADO bus… and of course your feet or your bike can take you many places, as well.

Now, a new service called WhatsApp Taxi offers cab service right to your door… and it’s still cheap. Only $10 pesos more expensive than the regular cab fare. Perfect for those of us vacationing or living in Playa del Carmen!    

 

WhatsApp is a free texting app that has become the most popular texting service for Mexico and many other countries; all you need is internet access to use it! When you text a WhatsApp taxi number with your location, they will send a taxi directly to your location.

This week, we had the chance to talk to WhatsApp Taxi’s Secretary General Jesus Pastor Martin Medina, who answered all of our questions about the new service.

 

How does WhatsApp Taxi work? WhatsApp Taxi is a new way to order 24-hour taxi service through the cell phone app “WhatsApp”. All you have to do is send a text message with your address or location to request service, and we will confirm a taxi to you. The taxi will arrive in less than 10 minutes. The numbers to message are (984)197-0814 and (984)138-1075

How much does the service cost? We use the real rates set by the taxi union (“sindicato”), plus an additional $10 peso commission because they taxi drives out to wherever you are before taking you to your destination.

Can customers request different kinds of vehicles? The WhatsApp Taxi group has different kinds of vehicles ranging from 4-person taxis to 15-person vans. All units have air conditioning.

Why do you think WhatsApp Taxi is better than grabbing a cab off the street? Because at WhatsApp Taxi, we have a registry of all our vehicles, including car number, ID number and general information on the driver. If you leave something behind in the taxi, we know exactly who drove you, what time they picked you up and where they dropped you off.

 

Are you part of the local taxi union (“sindicato”)? Of course. We belong to the Sindicato Lazaro Cardenas del Rio, but we are also a group of taxi drivers that is constantly trained to offer you better service.

Do you have service outside of Playa del Carmen? We offer taxi service inside and outside the city. Within the city, we go to all neighborhoods of Playa del Carmen. Outside the city, we have service to Cancun, Tulum, Xcaret, Xel-Ha and Chichen Itza, as well as airport transportation and various tours.

WhatsApp Taxi is a relatively new service in Playa, running since June 1, 2015. They currently receive around 150 to 180 fares per day. WhatsApp Taxi is made up of 110 taxi drivers divided into 2 groups: a morning and nighttime shift. As mentioned above, they keep a registry of all the drivers and cars, and they closely monitor all of the fares and their locations, making it safer than traditional taxis hailed off the street (although we certainly wouldn’t consider Playa del Carmen taxis to be unsafe). The service is also useful if you are in a location that doesn’t have frequent taxis, or if you have a lot of items to carry.

 

To stay updated on WhatsApp Taxi’s services, they are very active on their Facebook page as well as their Twitter account. These social media accounts are run by WhatsApp Taxi's coordinators: Alejandro Chavez, Jorge Angulo, Victor Martinez and Rosario Rabanales.

Thank you to WhatsApp Taxi Secretary General Jesus Pastor Martin Medina for answering all of my questions! We hope your new service continues to be successful here in Playa del Carmen.

 

 

  

Laura Winfree

 

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging, writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Nightclubs and weekly beach trips are her favorite part of living in Cancun!

 

 

Recently, Byblos Restaurant (Avenida 10 corner Calle 24) hosted a fine wine tasting by Roganto: a Mexican wine, from Ensenada, Baja California.

Sommelier and independent distributor Barbara Martin-Daniel, invited restaurant owners and wine connoisseurs for an afternoon of wine tasting at Playa del Carmen's quintessential french restaurant.

rogante-wine-tasting-at-byblos 

Barbara, a resident of Playa del Carmen, was born in Belgium near the french border and raised by a family of wine connoisseurs. Her meandering traveling route around the world after finishing University allowed her to discover new wines, new styles, and new flavors. After 20 years of working in the hotel and restaurant industry, she decided to get formal training as sommelier.

Finally, it was during a trip in the Guadalupe Valley and Ensenada in Baja California, that she discovered Roganto wines. She fell in love with their perfect and elegant aromas and found a balanced fruity hint that seduced her.  She knew at that moment that she had to bring these flavors to our little town by the sea.

roganto-wine-tasting
Barbara Martin-Daniel

 

In 1987, Rogelio Sanchez Palace and Luis Antonio Dominguez Escalante (both originally from Ensenada) given the fondness they had for wine, they set out the project of developing wines and making different vintages. The Roganto vineyard received its first plants in 2007 in the San Jacinto Valley (South side of Ensenada).  The variety of grapes (Pinot-Noir, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Tempranillo and Merlot) were planted on approximately 10 hectares surface. 

Last year, in 2014 the vineyard was expended with 15 additional hectares in order to receive new variety of grapes such as: Sauvignon Blanc, Nebbiolo, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.

roganto-chardonnay
Roganto- Chardonnay: Barrel fermented, delicate notes of fruit harmonize with Oak tannins

roganto-sauvignon-blanc
Roganto- Sauvignon Blanc: Tropical aromas perfumed with guayaba, passion fruit, pineapple and peach.

pinot-noir-roganto
Roganto- Pinot Noir: Delicate tannins, spiced, fruity, and elegant.  (To my surprise, by far my favorite of all!  I am usually not a fan of Pinot Noir- now I am in LOVE with Roganto- Pinot Noir )

nebbiolo-roganto
Roganato- Nibbiolo: A robust wine with floral and fruit aromas with notes of toasted coffee beans and spices

sommelier-adrien
Adrien Etesse, Sommelier

smoked-salmon-byblos-restaurant
Smoked Salmon

For this special occasion, the owners of the iconic french restaurant Byblos, Sylvie Goetz and husband Christian Onniboni, had prepared an array of delightful appetizers to perfectly compliment the each individual wine served at the tasting.

cheese-plate-byblos-restaurant
Cheese plate

guests-and-owners-byblos-restaurant-roganto-event
Javier Martinez Fonseca (Festival de Vino Mexicano), Ruth Zafrany, Miguel Arce (Owner Sushi Itto), Barbara Martin-Daniel, Christian Onniboni and Sylvie Goetz (Owners Byblos)

Be seduced and fall in love with Roganto's finest; directly contact Barbara by email at aissavra@yahoo.es, she will be happy to introduce you to your next true wine-love.

 

 

 

 

andrea-ruiz-perron 

Andrea Ruiz Perron was born and raised in Montreal by a Mexican mother and a French Canadian father.  She studied cinema and photography in Argentina and Montreal, and has now been living in Playa del Carmen for a total of 6 years. Both her Mexican and Canadian roots are an important influence on her identity and how she perceives the world through her photography and writing as the content creator for BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors www.buyplaya.com

 

Follow me on Instagram: http://instagram.com/andreita_ruiz/

 

 

 

 

October in Playa del Carmen is in full swing, and even though we are in the middle of “low season”, you’ll still find plenty of things to do with the upcoming Halloween and Day of the Dead holidays. Halloween falls on October 31 and Day of the Dead is a 2-day celebration on November 1 and 2; since Playa del Carmen celebrates both, you’ll have several straight days of parties, celebrations and cultural events. Best of all, this year it falls on a weekend, so the parties are sure to be even better than usual. Below is our list of Halloween and Day of the Dead events in Playa del Carmen for 2015. We’ll be updating as the dates get closer!

 

Festival of Life and Death at Xcaret

October 30 – November 2

This 4-day event is the region’s most famous and popular Day of the Dead event. Hosted at the incredible Xcaret park just a few minutes south of Playa, it features outdoor theater, live music, craft workshops, kids activities, a Mexican cemetery and concerts by famed Mexican singer Julieta Venegas. Click here for ticket prices. Yucatan Peninsula residents only pay $15 USD ($7 for kids)! Stop by FestivalVidaYMuerte.com for all the details.

 

 

Playa del Carmen Celebrates Hanal Pixan

October 31 and November 1

Plaza 28 de Julio

The city of Playa del Carmen is planning a big 2-night event to celebrate Hanal Pixan (Mayan Day of the Dead). Head to the main square by City Hall starting each night at 6:00 pm for dance, music, theater, and other Day of the Dead traditions like calaverita poems and an altar contest. A great way for you and your family to experience authentic local traditions!

 

 

Day of the Dead Celebration at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort

November 1 and 2

Guests staying at this resort in northern Playa del Carmen will have a blast with 2 days of Day of the Dead activities for the whole family. Have your face painted like a catrina, savor authentic Mexican cuisine, listen to live Mexican music groups and visit the cemetery. For more information, see their latest event blog post on Blog.Sandos.com


 

 

Halloween Party at Bar Ranita

October 31

Calle 10 between Avenidas 5 and 10

Get ready to rock! On Saturday, October 31, the iconic Bar Ranita will be hosting a Halloween party featuring music by local Playa del Carmen bands The Harharhar State of Flux. For more information, click here to see their Facebook event.


 

 

Zombie Walk on 5th Avenue

October 31

Starting at Quinta Alegria shopping mall, ending at Paseo del Carmen

With zombie fun for kids and adults! The kids party starts at 3:30 pm with a kids zombie walk at 6:30 pm. Call time for adults is 5:30 pm (zombie makeup stand and costumes available), with the walk starting at 8:30 pm. There will be contests, clowns, shows and more. For all the details, visit the Zombie Walk Facebook event page.

 

 

Halloween Party at Latitude 20 Restaurant

October 31

Puerto Aventuras

Of course the community of Puerto Aventuras couldn't miss out on the fun! Latitude 20 restaurant is hosting a Halloween party starting at 6:00 pm, complete with a live band. Follow Latitude 20 on Facebook.

 

 

Annual Halloween Bash at La Buena Vida

October 31

Half Moon Bay, Akumal

Everyone's favorite Akumal beach bar is once again hosting its infamous Halloween Bash, starting at 8:00 pm. If you've been to this event at La Buena Vida Restaurant and Bar before, you know a costume is a must! There will be a costume contest with several prizes. 

 

 

Halloween Dinner Special at SushiClub

October 31

Calle 26 between Avenidas 5 and 10

Looking for some dinner before you go out partying or trick-or-treating? SushiClub will be having 2-for-the-price-of-one sushi along with martinis for ladies and a live DJ all night. For all the details, check out their Facebook event page.

 

 

Zenzi Beach Club Costume Contest

October 31

Calle 10 and the beach

There's no better location for a Playa del Carmen party than the beach! Zenzi Beach is hosting a costume contest with prizes, so get your costume ready by 8:00 pm when the party gets started. Follow their Halloween Facebook event for more info.

 

 

Hanal Pixan in a Mayan Village

October 31

Tres Reyes village

Alltournative will once again organize tours to the small Mayan village of Tres Reyes to experience first-hand how locals celebrate Hanal Pixan (Mayan Day of the Dead). Decorate Day of the Dead altars with local families, witness a Mayan ceremony by the cenote, and enjoy a traditional Mayan dinner. We did this tour last year, and it is amazing! Click here to see our blog post from Hanal Pixan 2014, and visit Alltournative's Facebook event page for the latest details - don't forget to book your spot!

 

 

Day of the Dead Movie Marathon on the Beach

November 3

Blue Parrot Beach Club

Tickets are only $60 pesos! Enjoy 3 back-to-back Day of the Dead movies on the beach thanks to Blue Parrot and El Cine Club, popcorn included. Starts at 7:30 pm on November 3, the perfect way to end Day of the Dead season here in Playa del Carmen.

 

 

Day of the Dead at Le Lotus Rouge 

October 31

Calle 2 and Avenida 35

Experience Day of the Dead traditions with poetry, dancing, theater and music, as well as Mexican indie rock and a contest for costumes of catrinas and famous Mexicans.

 

 

Dance Performance at the Cemetery

November 2

Playa del Carmen cemetery (Calle 88 Norte on the Federal Highway)

One of the main traditions of Day of the Dead is a visit to the cemetery to spend time with those who have passed away. This year, the Silla Movil Dance Company will be performing two dance shows, one at 7:00 pm and the other at 9:00 pm. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated. For more information, see the event page on Facebook.

 

Mexico recently passed the United States to rank as the country with the highest obesity levels in the world. Now when moving to Mexico, it’s even more important for expat parents to make sure their kids stay active and eat well to avoid falling into an unhealthy lifestyle and possibly even obesity.

For the second year in a row, kids can participate in a Mini Fun Run right here in Playa del Carmen! This event offers you a memorable and interactive way to teach your kids about staying fit alongside other local children.

Playa del Carmen kids race 

Playa del Carmen kids race 

The Mini Fun Run 2015 will take place this Sunday, October 11 at 7:30 am, located at Unidad Deportivo Mario Villanueva (34th Street entrance between 10th and 20th Avenues) in Playa del Carmen. The race consists of 420 meters of obstacles and fun activities designed for kids! All kids ages 3 – 12 years old are encouraged to participate, and best of all: the Mini Fun Run 2015 is FREE!

Playa del Carmen kids race 

To sign up, visit MiniFunRun.com and click on the “Register” tab. Very easy!

Your kids won’t need a lot of equipment for this event. Just bring shorts, a t-shirt and lace-up sneakers, and make sure they’re wearing their race number during the run. For safety, make sure they don’t have anything around their neck. All registered participants will receive a t-shirt, runner’s number and medal.

Playa del Carmen kids race 

Playa del Carmen kids race 

To keep up with the latest information in this event, follow the Mini Fun Run Facebook page, and don’t forget to register your child for the race at MiniFunRun.com!

From October 4 – 16, the city of Cancun will be filled with music. The Cancun International Music Festival (or “FIM Cancun”) will be hosting concerts throughout the city ranging from jazz to chamber piano. Some of the events are even free of charge!

 

Proceeds from the festival will go toward local kids organizations including the Central Integral Juvenil Cancun (Cancun Integral Youth Center) and Fundacion Aitana (helping kids with cancer). Keep reading for the full itinerary for FIM Cancun:

 

Sunday, October 4

6:00pm Inaugural Concert: Symphonic Orchestra of the State of Quintana Roo

Plaza de la Reforma

Free of charge

8:00pm Oh Jazz! With Vuelo Libre, Arpazon + Abraham Buchanan y Bryden Baird, Daniel Peñalver South Project, and Jam Session

Hotel Oh! The Urban Oasis

$200 peso donation

 

 

Monday, October 5

7:00pm Chamber piano concert

Casa de la Cultura

$200 peso donation

8:15pm Mexican opera with Veronica Murua

Casa de la Cultura

$200 peso donation

 

Wednesday, October 7

6:30pm Concert by quartet Fourtizzimo

Ka ‘Yok’ Planetarium

$200 peso donation

8:00pm French horn concert

Ka ‘Yok’ Planetarium

$200 peso donation

 

Thursday, October 8

8:00pm The Magic of Tango

Universidad TecMilenio

$250 peso donation

 

Friday, October 9

8:30pm Opera gala

Teatro de Cancun

$350 peso donation ($250 for seniors, $150 for kids and students)

 

Saturday, October 10

10:00am Youth Festival (Youth trumpet contest, talent show, workshops)

Universidad del Caribe

Free of charge

8:00pm Oh Jazz! With Norma Valdez, Mario Patron Jr, Sixteen Tons Trio, and Jam Session

Hotel Oh! The Urban Oasis

$200 peso donation

 

Sunday, October 11

10:00am Chamber Concert by Ek Balam String Quartet

Ka ‘Yok’ Planetarium

$200 peso donation

11:30am From Bach to Michael Jackson: Violin Concert

Ka ‘Yok’ Planetarium

$200 peso donation

5:00pm Baroque cantatas and sonatas

Iglesia de Cristo Resucitado (Hotel Zone)

$150 peso donation

6:00pm Esperanza Azteca (children’s symphonic orchestra)

Parque de las Palapas

Free of charge

8:00pm Oh Jazz! With Gypsy Jazz Quartet, The Two, Julio Baro Quartet and Jam Session

Hotel Oh! The Urban Oasis

$200 peso donation

 

Monday, October 12

8:00pm Magno Festival Concert: From Medioevo to Danzon

Teatro de Cancun

$350 peso donation ($250 for seniors, $150 for kids and students)

 

Tuesday, October 13

7:00pm Our Roots by Camareta Folklorica Rañices (indigenous Mexican instruments)

Plaza Kukulcan

Free of charge

 

Wednesday, October 14

8:00pm Piano Gala

Universidad TecMilenio

$250 peso donation

 

Friday, October 16

8:00pm Closing Concert – Swing Night

Hotel Oasis Palm

$350 peso donation


All tickets can be purchased at the following locations:

Cancun: La Pasteleteria restaurants (Avenida Coba or Malecon Americas), and Galeazzi Interiori (SM 25)

Playa del Carmen: La Pasteleteria restaurant at Plaza Xaman Ha (on the highway by Playacar Phase 2)

 

For more information, call (998)860-4421, visit the FIM Cancun Facebook page, or e-mail info@fimcancun.com

 

 

This fall, the best local chefs of the Riviera Maya are joining up to create some unbelievable culinary events, and you can be there to experience it.

COCO.RM is a new project where various chefs from local restaurants come together to participate in a variety of diverse activities designed to market the cuisine of the Riviera Maya region. Meaning “Collective of Cooks in the Riviera Maya”, COCO.RM plans to host small and exclusive cooking events every two weeks throughout September, October and November of 2015.

 

The Riviera Maya chefs involved in COCO.RM include:

  • Karla Enciso of Aroma Cilantro at The Palm at Playa
  • Edgar Demecio of La Fisheria
  • Jorge Ildefonso of La Marea at the Viceroy Riviera Maya
  • Roberto Solombrino of Plank
  • Juan Diego Solombrino of Imprevist
  • Xavier Perez Stone of Axiote
  • Alejandro Cuatepotzo of Nibs at Hotel Cacao

The private dinners will be hosted every few weeks at different Riviera Maya restaurants, with four COCO.RM chefs cooking together for groups of 20 guests. The first dinner was hosted on August 19 at Nibs restaurant in the new Hotel Cacao of Playa del Carmen, and the rest of the itinerary is as follows:

 

September 23

Host restaurant: La Fisheria

Chefs: Chef Demecio of La Fisheria with the chefs from Viceroy, Hotel Cacao and Plank         

 

October 7

Host restaurant: Plank

Chefs: Chef Solombrino of Plank with the chefs from Viceroy, Hotel Cacao and La Fisheria           

 

October 21

Host restaurant: La Marea at the Viceroy Riviera Maya

Chefs: Chef Ildefonso of the Viceroy with the chefs from Axiote, Plank and The Palm at Playa

 

 

 

October 31

Host restaurant: Axiote

Chefs: Chef Perez Stone of Axiote with the chefs from The Palm at Playa, Imprevist and Viceroy

 

November 4

Host restaurant: Aroma Cilantro at The Palm at Playa

Chefs: Chef Enciso of The Palm at Playa with the chefs from Plank, Axiote and Imprevist

 

November 18

Host restaurant: Imprevist

Chefs: Chef Solombrino of Imprevist with the chefs from Hotel Cacao, La Fisheria and Axiote

 

 

 

For more information on each event, click here to follow COCO.RM on Facebook! They post the pricing, contact info and details of each upcoming dinner. Here is the latest on the next dinner on September 23:

 

Tonight, the entire country of Mexico will come together to celebrate their independence. On the night of September 15, every year Mexicans gather at their local zocalos, bars and restaurants for “El Grito” (The Cry of Independence), yelling “Viva Mexico!” out of pride for this amazing country.

 

And in Playa del Carmen, we will be doing the same. Just like any other year, for September 15, 2015 many local bars, restaurants and even beach clubs are offering specials and fun Mexican events. Here’s the list of the ones we have found so far for tonight:

El Grito at City Hall

The main location for Playa del Carmen locals to experience El Grito is always at Plaza 28 de Julio in front of city hall. This year, Mayor Mauricio Gonogora will lead El Grito, and there will also be fireworks as well as performances by famous Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte. For more information, check out this article by our friends at The Playa Times on Mexican Independence Day Celebrations.

5th Avenue and 12th Street

Throughout the night and into the early morning, the entire 5th Avenue area fills up with locals and tourists celebrating together. Join the crowd, stop by some 5th Avenue bars and experience the infamous nightlife on 12th Street.

Quinta Alegria Mall

This popular outdoor mall right on 5th Avenue is celebrating all day today until 9pm! They'll have Mexican candy, folkloric dance, Mexican cuisine and more. Bring the family!

 

Hotel Cacao Day Pass Special

Perfect for a pre-party today or to cure your hangover tomorrow! September 15 and 16 from 2pm to 11pm, you can enjoy a day of Mexican festivities at the stunning new Hotel Cacao with an affordable day pass. The day pass costs $500 pesos per person (and includes $500 pesos in food and drinks). The Bar is offering 2-for-the-price-of-1 margaritas, Mexican artisanal beers and traditional Mexican snacks.

 

 

La Perla

Try some amazing pre-Hispanic cuisine and mezcal tonight starting at 8:45pm for only $200 pesos. You can also play the Mexican Lottery game and enjoy live Mexican music. For more details, visit La Perla's Facebook event page for tonight's festivities.

 

Indigo Beach

A Mexican fiesta on the beach! Starting at 8pm tonight, Indigo Beach Club will have live music, tequila and a Mexican buffet, all for $250 pesos per person. For more information, visit the fiesta’s Facebook event page.

 

La Bodeguita del Medio

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with Cuban style. La Bodeguita del Medio on 5th Avenue is offering some special deals on tequila and dinner, along with some Mexican music for a night of dancing. Visit the Bodeguita del Medio Facebook page for more information.

 

 

Carboncitos

Carboncitos restaurant on Calle 4 (between 5th and 10th Avenue) will feature a traditional Mexican Independence Day dinner tonight with the famous chiles en nogada! Yummmmm!

 

Lucky Luciano

This fun little 5th Avenue restaurant and bar is celebrating on the 15th and 16th with some great specials. Chile en nogada, Mexican pizza and 2-for-the-price-of-1 tequila.

 

La Cueva del Chango

This iconic Playa del Carmen restaurant is serving traditional chiles en nogada throughout the entire month of September in celebration of Mexico’s independence. Even if you’re busy tonight, you can still stop by for dinner any night this month for a taste of this delicious dish. Check out this article for more details.

 

Señor Frog’s

There’s always a party going on at Señor Frog’s, and September 15 is no exception. Tonight starting at 9pm, this beach bar is offering 2-for-the-price-of-1 on bottles and beer buckets, along with free snacks.

 

Aldea Corazon

This charming little 5th Avenue restaurant has prepared a special Mexican menu for dinner tonight, with mezcal, cochinita pibil, chiles en nogada, mole and much more. Available at $99 USD per couple. The mariachi starts at 7pm! Make your reservation at reservas@aldeacorazon.com.

 

Mar de las Pampas

For September 15, this 5th Avenue Argentine restaurant is going Mexican. Enjoy 2-for-the-price-of-1 margaritas along with Mexican favorites like arrachera and chiles en nogada.

 

Sur Steakhouse

This famous 5th Avenue restaurant at the corner of Calle 10 will also be serving up a special Mexican-style dinner for independence day. For a delicious dinner in an open-air setting, make your reservations by calling the number below.

 

Playa del Carmen’s cultural scene has grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years, driven forward by locals, the municipal government, and companies in the local area. Recently, we have seen the inauguration of a new city theater with free performances, cultural events organized by members of the local community, and even free film screenings in stunning outdoor locations.

On August 5, 2015, the Riviera Maya opened a new art gallery at the luxury Mayakoba resort complex, located just a few minutes north of the city of Playa del Carmen. Located at Heritage Place at Fairmont Mayakoba resort, the gallery currently has on display an exhibit featuring three contemporary Mexican artists: Francesco Siqueiros, Horacio Cardenas and Eloy Tarcisio. Each of these artists is an icon in their area of expertise, creating unique and intriguing works of art that you can now see at the new art gallery.

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

 Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery

The highlight of this exhibit is a sculpture titled “Viva”, a wall of white roses created by artist Eloy Tarcisio. It represents how fleeting and beautiful life is, and it’s also a tribute to the environmental conservation efforts done by Mayakoba.

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Pictured: Artists Horacio Cardenas and Eloy Tarcisio, and event producer Maria Herrera (Director of Mandarina Art Gallery)

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery

 

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

The art gallery’s current exhibit will be in the Heritage Place area until mid-September, then it will be moved to Mayakoba’s golf clubhouse as part of the Cameleon golf course collection. Moving forward, the art gallery will continue hosting exhibits by all kinds of artists, with themes ranging from emerging artists to fine art.

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Mayakoba’s new art gallery is open to the public with a prior reservation. And of course, any guest staying at the Mayakoba resorts can visit the gallery to enjoy the beautiful exhibits! Guests staying at the Rosewood and Banyan Tree (non-Fairmont resorts in Mayakoba) just need to request a visit with their concierge.

Mayakoba Riviera Maya art gallery 

Thank you Fairmont Mayakoba for bringing another taste of Mexican culture to the Playa del Carmen area! What a great addition for people visiting or living in the Riviera Maya.

  

Laura Winfree

 

Originally from Virginia, Laura Winfree moved south of the border in 2005 to major in tourism at La Salle University Cancun. Today, she works as a copy writer for a local travel agency in addition to freelance blogging, writing and translating. Laura writes about her life as an expat in Mexico at http://gringationcancun.com and http://www.facebook.com/gringationcancun. Nightclubs and weekly beach trips are her favorite part of living in Cancun!

 

 

September has begun and it is now Mexico’s independence month! As you walk around Playa del Carmen, you’ll see new street carts overflowing with red, white and green, selling flags, sombreros and all kinds of decorations to help you celebrate Mexican Independence Day on September 15 and 16. Best of all, it’s the time of year when you can find the country’s famous chiles en nogada, a traditional dish made of a poblano chile pepper stuffed with picadillo and topped with nogada (walnut) sauce, pomegranate seeds and parsley. Of course, chiles in nogada are red, white and green in honor of the Mexican flag.

Chiles en nogada Playa del Carmen 

If you're visiting or living in Playa del Carmen, throughout this September 2015 you’ll be able to try this delicious dish all month at one of our favorite local restaurants: La Cueva del Chango. The restaurant says, “Dear Friends and Girlfriends, During all of September we will be offering the traditional Chiles en Nogada of La Cueva del Chango. We will be serving the traditional version with meat but we will also serve a vegetarian version prepared with wild rice. In addition, we will offer a fresh mushroom "pasilla" chili soup. Finally, we will pair the dishes with Mexican wines and mezcales.”

La Cueva del Chango Playa del Carmen restaurant 

Chiles en nogada Playa del Carmen 

For all the details on this month-long offer, you can visit La Cueva del Chango’s Facebook event page.

Stop by La Cueva del Chango restaurant now through September 30 to try this famous and historic Mexican dish! La Cueva del Chango is located on 38th Street between 5th Avenue and the beach.

And as the Mexicans say: Buen provecho!

La Cueva del Chango Playa del Carmen restaurant 

A movie… on the beach… under the stars… in true Playa del Carmen style!

 

Blue Parrot Playa del Carmen

Tonight, the city’s bimonthly movie nights on the beach are returning to the famous Blue Parrot beach club. Earlier this year, local organization El Cine Club (The Cinema Club) hosted a series of FREE Wednesday night movie screenings at Blue Parrot, featuring a variety of documentaries and films. Known as “Noches de Cine Frente al Mar” (Movie Nights by the Ocean), these events were such a success that El Cine Club is hosting a second series starting tonight at 7:30pm with a screening of Se Levanta El Viento (The Wind Rises).

Se Levanta El Viento is an animated Japanese historical drama about Jiro Horikoshi, an aircraft designer for the Empire of Japan during World War II. It was the highest-grossing Japanese film in Japan in 2013, written and directed by famed filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki.

 Playa del Carmen movie night

Tonight, Blue Parrot will be offering moviegoers free popcorn when they buy a drink from the bar - a movie night by the Caribbean Sea just wouldn’t be complete without some popcorn!

Playa del Carmen movies 

 

Playa del Carmen free movie night

El Cine Club’s movie nights on the beach will be hosted at the Blue Parrot on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month starting tonight and continuing through November, so you have plenty of time to experience a screening (or several!) whether you’re living in Playa del Carmen or planning a visit in the upcoming months. Keep in mind that most of the movies are in the Spanish language, so it’s a great way to pick up some Spanish if you don’t speak it already. The hashtag for these events is #NochesDeCineFrenteAlMar. All of them have FREE ADMISSION!

And don’t forget that El Cine Club also hosts outdoor movie screenings every Friday evening at the beautiful Parque La Ceiba in Playa del Carmen. You can find more info on their upcoming movie screenings by following El Cine Club on Facebook or checking out their website ElCineClub.info

Playa del Carmen is a beach city that attracts adventurers from all over the world. Here, locals and tourists alike can revel in the region's stunning beaches, Caribbean waters and gorgeous scenery, complemented by a cultural melting pot with people of all nationalities, languages and personalities. Of course, one of the best ways you can fully experience Playa del Carmen's vibrant and adventurous spirit is through the area's adrenaline-pumping extreme sports, whether you're on the water or in the sky.

Skydiving in Playa del Carmen 

Image source: Skydive Playa Facebook page

Sky Diving

Whether you’re visiting or living in Playa del Carmen, you’ve seen the city’s famous 5th Avenue and amazing beaches… but have you seen them from the sky? Skydive Playa drops you from 10,000 feet in the air, giving you spectacular views of the city and the Riviera Maya during a freefall and canopy ride. You’ll be attached to a certified instructor, and the jump ends in a beach landing. Skydive Playa works with beginners on a daily basis, so you’re in good hands. Find them right by the Playa del Carmen ferry dock (enter through Señor Frog’s), or you can e-mail at skydiveplaya@me.com and call them at (984)873-0192. Reservations must be made at least 24 hours in advance.

Skydive Playa website: http://www.skydive.com.mx/

Skydive Playa Facebook page

Kitesurfing in Playa del Carmen Mexico 

Image source: Kitesurf Vacations website

Kitesurfing / Kiteboarding

The Cancun / Riviera Maya area only has a few kitesurfing spots, but they are beautiful! The main spots for Playa del Carmen kitesurfing are Coco Beach (Downtown Playa) and the exclusive Playacar; however, due to the large number of people in the water, its best to be supervised by guides that know the area well. Playa del Carmen Kiteboarding and SUP Adventures is a local company located at Sandos Playacar Beach Resort, offering kiteboarding lessons, equipment and even daily excursions to the secluded Isla Blanca area (one of the regions top kiteboarding hot spots); visit their website and their Facebook page, or e-mail them at PDCKiteboarding@gmail.com. Kitesurf Vacation is another company offering kitesurfing lessons and rentals in Playa del Carmen and many other Mexico beach destinations; you can find them on their website and their Facebook page, or reserve your lessons via e-mail at book@kitesurfvacation.com.

Flyboarding in the Riviera Maya 

Image source: Flyboard Riviera Maya Facebook page

Flyboarding

This relatively new water sport is just beginning to take hold here in Playa del Carmen. With flyboarding, your feet are harnessed onto a board, and the boards water jets propel it into the air so you can fly over the water. Once you get comfortable with the flyboard, you can even start doing tricks and flips. Although flyboarding looks difficult, beginners are surprised when they discover its pretty easy! You can try flyboarding in Playa del Carmen with Acuatic Flyboard Riviera Maya. They run flights every day from 10pm to 6pm from several local beaches. The best way to set up a flyboarding session without wait times is by reserving through their website: FlyboardRivieraMaya.com. They also have a Flyboard Riviera Maya Facebook page.

Flyboarding in Playa del Carmen 

Image source: Flyboard Riviera Maya Facebook page

So get out there and explore the most thrilling extreme sports that Playa del Carmen has to offer! Adventure awaits you in this colorful Caribbean city.

If you’ve moved to Playa del Carmen with your children, you’re probably on the hunt for the best kids activities in the Riviera Maya. Even with all of the amazing beaches and parks found throughout this beautiful piece of paradise, it’s always good to have some fun structured activities. And what better way to teach kids about nature and community than the scouts! The Pawahtun Scout Group offers activities for kids, teens and young adults right here in Playa del Carmen. Each Pawahtun age group is mixed (boys and girls), with ages divided as follows:

Manada: 7 – 11 years old

Tropa: 11 – 15 years old

Caminantes: 15 – 18 years old

Clan: 18 – 21 years old

 

According to the local group leaders, Pawahtun “is an educational support between school and home, where we reinforce values through physical activities, teamwork games, contact with nature and group interaction, all based on the Scout Law. We develop core growth values like creativity, physical ability, character, emotions, socializing and spirituality.”

Pawahtun is associated with the Asociación de Scouts de México (Scouts Association of Mexico), and their activities involve camping, games, outdoor activities, community service and environmental conservation.

 

 

The activities are all done in Spanish, but Pawahtun groups include children of a variety of nationalities. It's a great opportunity for your kids to pick up some more Spanish through immersion in the different activities and interaction with other kids.

Pawahtun meets Saturdays at Parque La Ceiba from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

 

Pawahtun contact info:

Diana Oscos (group leader): (984)113-4612

Pawahtun Scout Group Facebook page (check out their recent activity photos!)

Email: grupo4.pawahtun@yahoo.com

The region’s unbelievable graffiti art has made its way to the island of Cozumel!

Last week, 30 artists from across the globe spent several days displaying their talents by painting enormous graffiti murals throughout Downtown Cozumel as part of the Sea Walls Murals for Oceans 2015 event. Walking through any part of the downtown area, you can now see detailed street art filled with vibrant colors representing different ocean themes.

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Sea Walls Murals for Oceans began on the island of Isla Mujeres in 2014 with 14 murals throughout the island’s downtown area. Since then, Holbox and Cancun have also hosted related street art events. (See our pictures of the Cancun street art festival here.) As a result, today you can find vibrant street art murals throughout the cities and towns of the Mexican Caribbean!

Sea Walls Murals for Oceans is hosted by PangeaSeed, an international non-profit organization that works with members of the art, science and environmental community to educate about the conservation and preservation of marine species in peril. This summer festival raises awareness among tourists and the local community about the ocean and its wildlife through eye-catching murals scattered throughout Cozumel’s most high-traffic areas.

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Sea Walls Murals for Oceans 2015 brought in 30 artists, including artists from the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada, Argentina, Taiwan, Australia, Brazil, Hong Kong and Mexico, along with nine people from the La Quinta collective (local) and the Cozumel painter known as Melhor.

 Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls
 

 Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

 Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Over the past week, the artists were able to create an impressive 36 ocean-themed murals. On your next trip to Cozumel, make sure to take some time to walk around the downtown area and experience some of the stunning new artwork found throughout the city streets! See the map below:

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

Cozumel street art festival Sea Walls 

We’re so excited to have festivals of this caliber here in the Mexican Caribbean. Thanks to PangeaSeed and so many artists from all over the world, our little piece of paradise is now covered in colorful art celebrating our amazing wildlife and oceans. The cultural scene in this region continues to grow in new and captivating ways with the efforts of some fascinating people.

For more pictures from the Cozumel street art festival, stop by the Sea Walls Murals for Oceans Facebook page.

Playa del Carmen is emerging as one of Mexico’s top new cultural destinations, offering travelers and locals alike a world of innovative art, cuisine and entertainment. Now, Playa del Carmen is also stepping into the literary world. On Tuesday, July 14, I had the opportunity to attend the presentation of the new book Notas desde el café (“Notes from the Coffee Shop”), the latest book by local Playa del Carmen author Leticia Santiago Lira.

Playa del Carmen culture event 

The book presentation took place at Restaurante Mariskay, a charming little restaurant on 10th Avenue with a beautiful backyard terrace area for small events like this one. The audience had the chance to hear from Leticia Santiago during an in-depth interview, and experience part of her new book with a live reading.
 

Playa del Carmen culture event 

Playa del Carmen culture event 

Notas desde el café is a piece of Spanish-language fiction that includes 25 short stories where a narrator tells the story of nine different female protagonists. It reflects a variety of different situations of abuse against women, and the author’s goal is to use this piece of literature to empower women by giving them the tools to get out of negative situations.

Playa del Carmen culture event 

In addition to its fascinating theme, Notas desde el café also offers a twist on how we experience literature. The GRECA (Grupo Editorial del Caribe) editorial group has turned it into one of their Libros Vivos (Live Books). According to GRECA, live books “combine the romance of traditional paper, that smell, that feel, with the most modern editorial technology. It’s a book that speaks to you and reads to you, but allows you to feel and touch. It’s a traditional book whose pages are interactive windows that turn the reading experience into something unique and exciting.”

GRECA’s live books use technology to complement the original text with audio, video and animation. The reader uses free apps on their electronic devices (like cell phones) to experience this technology during the reading experience. With Notas desde el café, the reader only has to download the app then point their device at the images to enjoy the book’s corresponding audio, video and animation.

Playa del Carmen culture event 

For more information on Notas desde el café, visit www.greca.mx

Author Leticia Santiago is originally from Mexico City, but today she lives right here in Playa del Carmen where she dedicates her time to writing, editorial projects, art, culture, and discovering the inspiration that comes from living by the Caribbean Sea. She is one of many people who have moved to Playa del Carmen in search of a life filled with beauty and art!

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