Playa del Carmen rocks. I wrote earlier about what a disaster the cesspool of Cancun is and how you should never go there. Luckily, nearby is one of my favorite places in Mexico: Playa del Carmen, or just “Playa” for short. It’s only an hour (or less) from the Cancun airport by bus, yet it feels like a thousand miles away culturally. In place of drunk fat sunburned American tourists you have chic Italians, cool Mexicans, Russian models, and great nightlife at much less tourist trap prices. Playa del Carmen is definitely a single dude recommended destination.
Now that you’ve landed at the Cancun airport, it’s time to first wait for customs. Quick? See any cute Mexican girls waiting for baggage? Go up to them and say, “Hi girls! Did you come in on the flight from Miami?” or something like that. After you get their phone numbers and Facebook, get your bag and proceed towards customs. This is fun: they have everyone push a button and if the green light comes on, you’re through! If you get the random red, they will search your luggage and take your weed. Bummer!
After that, proceed through the airport ignoring everyone who comes up to you and buy a bus ticket in the terminal for Playa. It’ll be about 10 bucks. The buses run regularly and take an hour and drop you off in the bus station. When you get out of the station turn left and voila you are in Playa, and right on the main drag, too! That main drag is called 5th avenue, or “Quinta Avenida”. It runs all the way from one end of town to the other and is just a couple blocks from the beach.
As far as a place to stay, there’s a bunch of hotels around, just start looking at rooms and you should find a good cheap room quite easily. I stay at the Caribe Sol hotel right on Quinta Avenida between 4th and 6th streets and get a little apartment for about 40 bucks a night overlooking the main drag. There’s plenty of places to stay, especially small hotels a block or two off Quinta. No need to spend more than 50 bucks, and you can get by with 20 if you look hard enough and aren’t too snobby.
Now that you’re settled in, go out and explore. Go buy a bottle of tequila or rum to keep in your room for later. If you need weed, ask any shoeshine boy or cheap tourist shop owner. If you want harder drugs ask young ritzier store owners or gay guys. The Mexicans are helpful and friendly always. Don’t forget to negotiate!
Now you can settle into the Playa routine, which is wake up at noon, go to the beach and meet girls, have coffee and meet girls, go to happy hour and meet girls, and then go to the clubs and party your ass off with the girls you picked up at the airport, beach, coffee shop, happy hour, etc.
This town is about as easy as it gets. All you really need to do to get started is just walk from one end of Quinta Avenida to the other and when something looks cool, stop in and have a drink or a coffee. It’s a really great drag and as you walk down this pedestrian only treasure, you will see people from all over. Playa is a major destination for Europeans and there are a lot of expat owners running nice places out there.
Restaurant recommendation: El Bistro – Great food, great service, not too expensive. A great place to take someone you really like. 10th Avenue between 14 street, Centro, Playa del Carmen, Q.roo, Mexico, Tel. (984) 873 14 84
There’s lots of nice restaurants in Playa. But not all of them actually have good food, so try an appetizer before you go for a full meal. A lot of the more touristy ones on the main drag are very nice looking but with shitty food. Looks can be deceiving.
This little town always has lots and lots of pretty girls walking around. A large number are rich European tourists. Therefore, the “where are you from?” approach works very well. Sometimes you’d think Playa was actually a part of Italy with how many Italian tourists there are. Also keep on the lookout for hot Russian supermodel types. They may have a rich man but they could also be some rich Mafia’s guy’s daddy’s little girl. So go say hi, but know you’ll have to work pretty hard to pick them up. At the club it is much harder to pick up chicks as there are many club douchebags, so I always focus on meeting girls during the day.
Now of course, I’m leaving out the best resource: the Mexican girls! They generally speaking will not be as hot as the European tourists but are very friendly and are really looking forward to meeting you! They’re actually feeling neglected, because all the Mexican guys are crazy for white skin, they’re always slobbering after even fat mediocre white tourist chicks. At night, the key is to find the cute threesome of Mexican girls in the corner of the club that no one is hitting on much and go say hello. The Mexican girls can easily be picked up and taken home the same night. So don’t forget to smile, flirt shamelessly, and if one appears to really like you, start making out with her immediately at the bar. Get your wingmen to do the same with her friends.
Lesson number 1 today: Don’t neglect the Mexican girls in Playa.
One thing to be aware of: if you’re staying as a single traveler at a hotel in Mexico and you bring girl home with you at night, be prepared to pay the difference between the single and double rate. So you basically need to hand the guy 100 pesos (10 bucks) when you stagger home drunk with some floozy. Standard protocol in Mexico. But hey, you’re getting laid, right?
Another really cool thing if you’re into it is the BPM Festival, which is a 10 day electronic music festival out of Montreal that takes place beginning every Dec 30 or so. All day beach party with DJ from 12-8 then a huge all night party at a different club each night with a famous DJ 10PM-6AM. Great time, and lots of hot chicks come in from all the world to do drugs and listen to house music. Put it on your life to-do-list. Just beware of douchebags. Lots of douchebags come from Montreal, surprisingly!
All in all, Single Dude Travel heartily endorses a trip to Playa. It’s a solid vacation destination, close to home, friendly and cheap, with great weather. So go down and have a great time, and try not to screw it up for the rest of us.
From El Madador:
In all honesty, You hit all the major points. The European emphasis in PdC, the importance of “eating local”, the way whiteness is highly prized in Mexico. A gringo can KILL down in Mexico but a Nordic looking guy can DESTROY down there. I personally love the darker girls as the “guerras” are too high maintainance, though I did date an entirely Euro looking famous model there once. The chocolate Mexican girls would give me their phone numbers because I was dating someone well known. An interesting lesson on women in general. Show up with a knock-out and you gain massive points, which is why I rolled with HOT wing girls from then on. See my upcoming article on that issue.
OH, one addition….
Club Med Cancun is a great value, has lots of single girls who really want to hook up including the french staff, and has the best beach and reef in Cancun, hands down.