One of the awesome things about staying just outside of Playa Del Carmen is that you get to enjoy peace and quiet in the evenings, but remain just a short bike ride away from all the fun during the day. Nathan and I snuck away for an afternoon together to take some photos and explore beyond Fifth Avenue. Thankfully Casa Paradisus, our home away from home, had bikes for us to use.
So many vendors, so little time. Of course it didn’t help that I like touching the goods. That’s basically an invitation for the salespeople to start the bartering game with you, and to lure you deeper into their shops with promises of big name brands at lowish prices.
While wandering through the main square near the beach, we came across the beautiful whitewashed church Nuestra Senora del Carmen Catholic Church. I loved the grand white arches against the bright blue sky. We only popped our heads in the front door for a quick peek, but the inside looked quite cozy and charming.
On the beachfront stands the Portal Maya sculpture designed by Jose Tavares. Cast in bronze, it stands 50 feet tall and portrays a man and a woman holding hands and being pushed upwards out of the sea by spirals of wind and water.
I wanted to see what Playa Del Carmen was like on the side streets, so we started to wander away from Fifth Avenue. We came across dozens of brightly coloured buildings with hand-painted murals and signage.
As a graphic designer and lover of all things typography, I couldn’t get enough. The signs made me want to pick up a brush and practice my lettering! It also made me wish that builders in our neck of the woods were a little more adventurous with their exterior colour choices…imagine how much more cheerful winter could be with pops of bright colour everywhere.
We got to a point in our wanderings where there wasn’t another tourist in sight. Everyday life in Playa Del Carmen surrounded us – parents taking their kids to the dentist, old men sitting in restaurants watching tiny televisions, people hanging their laundry to dry, friends laughing while waiting for the bus.
After wandering back down to Fifth avenue to find some refreshments, we came across a hole in the wall bar selling giant margaritas, and I couldn’t pass it up after enjoying a similar sized bevvie the last time we were in Mexico, after our Tulum tour. They’re just so perfectly sweet and sour 🙂
We explored a few of the touristy shops, picking up a few sugar skull magnets for the fridge at home. By this point, the margarita had kicked in and Nathan and I were whispering rather loudly to each other, wondering if drinking our margarita in the store would get us in trouble. Turns out, not so much! We kept taking pictures of cool art with skeletons on bicycles and giggling at the hilarity of everything (when really, nothing was hilarious).
All in all, it was a wonderful afternoon! I highly recommend going for a random stroll through whichever city you find yourself visiting on vacation…it always ends up being the random adventure days that I remember the most 🙂