Playa del Carmen is one of the most popular destinations for tourists in the Mexican Caribbean. The municipality is home to several top-rated beaches and its Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue) offers visitors some of the best options for food and shopping. Now, it is working to further improve its tourism appeal and has launched a major clean-up to make Quinta Avenida even more pedestrian-friendly.
The major effort was recently announced by the president of Solidaridad municipality, Lili Campos. The goal, the city claims, is to make Quinta Avenida more walkable and to tackle the street’s bustling informal economy. According to the president, tourists and locals alike will benefit from the initiative which will further improve the destination’s appeal.
The 5-kilometer avenue is one of the longest in the region, stretching from the Fundadeores park and running parallel to the beach. It is a popular tourist destination in Playa del Carmen thanks to its colorful and vibrant ambiance. Tourists visiting the area can look forward to an extensive selection of shops, restaurants, bars, and entertainment establishments, including art galleries and museums. Playa del Carmen is also home to the most vegan restaurants in Latin America, many of which can be found along Quinta Avenida.
One of the major goals of the avenue’s makeover includes making the highly transited street more walkable. The municipality will be strict in applying regulations that prohibit local commerce from obstructing pedestrian traffic with unnecessary clutter. Meanwhile, informal street commerce remains a major problem for the area, with sellers setting up shop along the street, potentially distributing visitors and employing aggressive marketing strategies.
Another issue that municipal leaders want to address is the fact that the avenue isn’t fully free of motor traffic, with several intersections. In this regard, the municipality wants to make the street as safe and enjoyable as possible for visitors by limiting oncoming traffic.
First-time travelers should keep several tips in mind when visiting the popular avenue. Although local authorities are trying to reduce informal street sellers, the issue is likely to persist for some time. Tourists should be wary of scams and overpriced goods, especially when unfair market practices are used.
Pickpockets are also known to frequent the busy avenue, targeting unsuspecting tourists. Visitors should be especially vigilant when walking alone at night or in dimly lit areas. Crime levels, including armed robbery, remain a significant issue across Quintana Roo. State and government officials have responded by deploying more law enforcement personnel in busy tourist areas including Playa del Carmen and Cancun.
Quinta Avenida isn’t the only popular destination in Playa del Carmen to receive a touch-up, and the municipality has been especially active in polishing up its image. Playa del Carmen has been leading the fight against sargassum, a pesky seaweed that affects several popular tourist destinations across the Caribbean. In the month of June alone, Solidaridad has removed more than 3000 tons of the intrusive seaweed from more than 20 public beaches in the area. Sargassum levels are expected to remain elevated until September, but the more than 180 cleaners hired for the task work around the clock to help keep it in check.
Meanwhile, littering and disposing of waste in public areas has been a major obstacle for Playa del Carmen. In the past few months, Solidaridad municipality has managed to remove more than 550 waste disposal sites in various areas thanks to the Manos a la Obra (‘Let’s get to work’’) program. The initiative targets landfills which are a source of pollution and potential infection for residents.
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