Quintana Roo – Tulum & Playa del Carmen

Crossing the border in Mexico felt like “being back into an organised country” related to transport.

Our roads with my canadian mate separated as he had to go back to work, I decided to make a first stop in Tulum.

I happen to have met two cool girls with whom I discovered Tulum.

The first impression you get when you start driving in the “zona hoteleria” is that you wonder if you are really in Mexico, because everything looks “overdone” and way too turisty. Some big restorts are build up along the coast. The second thing that strikes you are the prices, expensive!

So we arrived in Tulum by night, and we still managed to find an affordable place to stay at, and Tulum is considered as a little paradise, truth it we could not argue, here is the view on the beach from our bungalows. White sand, clear cristal blue water and palm trees, this is it! :-)

El DiamanteK

Tulum Beach

Beach Tulum

Beach Tulum

Tulum is a village or a small town, but before that, it’s a Mayan Ruin on the beach. A curious place for it, but very nice, although very turisty of course due to it’s easy access. Then of course after seeing a lot of the previous ruins, this one looks quite secondary.

Tulum site

Tulum Mayan site

And yes, we were not alone…

Tulum Mayan site

After a couple of days in Tulum it was time to see Playa del Carmen, an hour away up north, just before Cancun.

The beach still remains beautiful and the main attraction of the place is the nightlife and the beach.

From this fake paradise totally spoiled by tourism, big boats will take you to Isla de Cozumel, which is where, on the horizon you will see some big hotels.

Playa del carmen

On the main street named : la Quinta (the 5th avenue) you be constantly waved at in English by vendors suggesting you everything from Massage, to touristic tours, handycrafts, cigars, drugs (hey buddy wanna get high ?”), restaurants, and I am surely forgetting a few. Well let’s just say it’s tiring to walk there.

Playa del carmen quinta

Regarding the nightlife, you might hope to go and party “latin style” because you’re in Latin America. Truth is, i think there might have been 15% latin people and 85% gringos and europeans. What’s wrong with this place ? maybe the spoiled place itself. Prices of restaurants, hotels and consumptions are roughly 3 times more expensive than anywhere else in Mexico. You will pay for every little thing.

quinta playa del carmen

A good discovery was a little shop where they show you how they roll cigars the cuban style (cuban being very close to it).

rolling cigars

Here is the nightlife area, a few bars and clubs, you can either pay “only” the entrance fee for a 100 pesos, or pay roughly 500 pesos and get access to the open bar. So if you’re really into “i wanna get completely drunk tonight” that might be your destination.

nightlife playa del carmen

Playa del Carmen

To sum up, I’d say I didn’t like Playa del Carmen that much, this is way too touristy and lacks completely of authenticity and “latin vibe”. You will hear a lot of dance and electro hits like anywhere else around the world.