You can enjoy the charming Playa del Carmen without breaking the bank. This top-rated tourist destination, also known as the capital of the Riviera Maya, offers plenty of budget-friendly things to do.
See the Spectacle of the Papantla Flyers
The Papantla Flyers are one of the most spectacular pre-Hispanic rituals in Mexico and attract many tourists. It’s a ceremony where four indigenous people “fly” in a circle tied by their waists while the leader remains on the platform more than 60 feet high, playing the flute and a drum. Each flyer represents one of the cardinal points in a ceremony that began as a tribute to fertility. It is believed that it emerged during the Middle Preclassic period and was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2009. You don’t have to pay anything to see this show in Playa del Carmen’s Fundadores Park, with the dazzling Caribbean Sea in the background.
Admire the Urban art of Playa del Carmen
There are murals in the city’s streets in which the artistic talent of beach painters and Mexican artists has been captured. One of the inspiration themes is the Day of the Dead, an emblematic celebration in the country, including the Hanal Pixán, the traditional Mayan food offered to the deceased on that date. Playa del Carmen has many art galleries and street spaces in which artists work and exhibit their works. They are installed on Thursdays between 26th and 30th Streets of Fifth Avenue to show their works. Another of these street art spaces is next to the Quinta Alegría shopping center.
Stroll Through Fifth Avenue
Playa del Carmen‘s Fifth Avenue is the heart of the city and is full of galleries, exclusive shops, cafes, and restaurants. You can skip shopping or going to dinner if you’re visiting Playa on a budget, but you can not miss taking a photograph and walking around the most exclusive sector of this vibrant town. It’s possible that on the way down Fifth Avenue, you will find a mariachi band who will brighten up your time without having to spend much.
Relax in La Ceiba Park
Since its inauguration in 2008, La Ceiba Park has become the main public space in Playa del Carmen, used for recreational and artistic activities and cultural promotion. It has trails for walking and walking your dogs and areas with tables for picnics. There’s a playground with children’s games and two rooms for indoor cultural activities. It also has a book club where you can exchange books in Spanish, English, French, German and other languages.
Visit the Local Markets
Playa del Carmen is not only about big chains and chic boutiques; it also has many charming markets. It’s also one of the traditional places to learn more about Mexico’s culture. The flea market has been an outdoor place to buy and sell products since pre-Hispanic times. They’re usually mounted on weekends in the streets of cities and towns. They offer farm products, handicrafts, textiles, footwear, food, beverages, and many other products that showcase the cultural essence of Mexico in a vibrant and colorful environment. One of the busiest markets in Playa del Carmen is the one that operates on Sundays on Calle 54. La Ceiba Park also has an open-air market every Saturday, and it’s a hub of art and culture in Playa del Carmen.
Snorkel on the reefs
The coral reefs of Playa del Carmen are rich in biodiversity of multicolored fish, other species of marine fauna, and aquatic plants, ideal for enjoying a day of snorkeling at an affordable cost, or if you bring your own equipment, at no charge. Among the areas with good reefs are Punta Nizuc, Puerto Morelos, and Paamul Bay.
Visit the Xcacel-Xcacelito Turtle Sanctuary
In the sea turtle sanctuary, Xcacel-Xcacelito, these creatures are protected from predators who go for their meat and shell. In this reserve south of Playa del Carmen on the federal highway of Tulum, they can breed free of danger. The beautiful place comprises beaches, mangroves, jungle, coral reefs, and a lovely cenote. The entrance fee is 25 pesos (1.25 USD) which are invested in its maintenance.
Cenotes in Playa del Carmen
Near Playa del Carmen, there are numerous cenotes that you can explore paying a small entrance fee. Cenote Cristalino is an open cenote perfect for swimming and is 18 minutes from Playa del Carmen on the Tulum road. Cenote Azul and the Garden of Eden are also in the vicinity. It has stalls that sell snacks and where you can rent sun loungers. Cenote Chaak Tun is a beautiful cenote in a cave that receives the sun’s rays through an opening. This cenote is perfect for swimming and snorkeling. Cenote Xcacelito is an open cenote; although smaller, it’s beautiful with a natural pool, and it’s inside the Xcacel-Xcacelito turtle sanctuary.
This guide offers many ways to connect with local products and people, especially when you’re on a budget or want to take a break from the more popular tourist destinations. We hope you enjoy this beautiful town and all it has to offer.
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