Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Local's Secrets (3) : Fern's Playa del Carmen

Living in Playa del Carmen for 2 and a half years now, Fern is enjoying every second of her tropical beach life. You’ll most likely find her stuffing her face with the delicious local cuisine, or under the waves, in the crystal clear Caribbean sea, trying to make friends with the local sea life!

The Basics

What do people have to know about your city’s transportation? 

Getting to Playa from the airport is so easy! Just hop on the ADO bus for $156 Mexican Pesos and you're dropped off in the centre in 45 minutes. You can also get a taxi or private car hire but that can set you back up to $1000MXN! 

Once you’re in Playa del Carmen you can basically walk everywhere, or rent a bike to get around faster. We have had brand new bike lanes installed this year so it’s easier than ever! If you’re feeling tired after a long day on the beach you can hail a taxi from every single corner and they cost between $25-50MXN to take you anywhere in Playa.

To get from Playa to anywhere along the coast line (Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Morelos, Cancun) you can take the local transport, a Colectivo van! They are super cheap $20-60, air conditioned and available all day long. You can catch them on Calle 2 with Avenida 15, downtown.

If someone is new to the city, which website should he check for daily or weekly free events? 
Rather than websites, there are a few Facebook pages I can recommend, the best are; 

Tell us about the food scene! 

Signature dish and where to get the best servings:
We have so many amazing foods here in Playa del Carmen, which represent traditional from all over Mexico! However, my absolute favourite is Mole Rojo. You can have this dish in many different ways; Enchiladas, tortas, burritos, tacos, but the most traditional is Mole Rojo con Pollo (with chicken). The best place to try this is in an unbelievable restaurant just of the main 5th avenue, Aldea Corazon

Wackiest food in town and where to try them:
Who wouldn't want to chow down on fried crickets and mealworms? With guacamole of course! Yep, you heard it… this is one of the most favoured dishes of the region and it can be more expensive than a good steak! I’ve tried it before and to me, with my oh so delicate English pallet, it tastes like smoked dirt… yum!

Everyday food that foreigners might find exotic?
Aguachile is fresh, citric, full of seafood and easy to make in bulk, making it a favourite of the locals here in hot, sunny Playa del Carmen. To us this dish is totally normal to eat for lunch on a daily basis but for tourists its a crazy concoction of raw fish, shrimp, octopus, lime and herbs.

Hidden Gems/ Fern's Secrets!

Sell us the one or two "things you should experience before you die” in the city. 
Swimming with wild Sea Turtles! Akumal is a wonderful beach town which has the most amazing food, artisans and, of course, the ocean is full of Sea Turtles! The only thing is, this place is very popular, and so can become overcrowded at times. But worry not, I have written a comprehensive article on how to enjoy Akumal as a local, and avoid the crowds.

What are the hidden gems in your city that tourists tend to overlook? 
La Pirata
Being a beach town you can find some of the most delicious and fresh sea food here! it can however, be extremely expensive, but it really doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Pirata is a hidden little seafood restaurant on Calle 40 with Avenida 10,  where they catch the fish in the morning and sell until they are out. You can even go into the kitchen and pick the exact fish you want, prices are local and are based on size!

If you’re looking for a night of live music, then look no further than Kitxen, located on Calle 20 with 5ta Avenida. Owned by the famous Saul Hernandez, lead singer of the super popular Mexican band Caifanes, you just know you’re going to find amazing quality music! This is one of my favourite local places to go to listen to live music, of course for the talented musicians, but also for the amazing staff. The closeness of the bar staff and waiters makes you feel like your entering into a tight knit family, that are always so exited to welcome new members. 

Tell us your favourite photo spots in your city and how to get there.
With it’s white sand beaches, tropical surroundings and beautiful weather there aren’t really any bad spots to take a photo! However, if you’re looking to give your shots that little extra spark then try out these locations…

For the perfect beach photo: Playacar Phase 1 has a public beach which is always much quieter than the others here in Playa del Carmen. It’s the ideal place to get that serene, Lost-esque beach photo.

The famous land mark photo: You can find the beautiful ocean inspired ‘gate’ on the famous 5th avenue and Calle 1, and the crystal blue waters that form the background to this shot make it that much more special!

The best day trip destination from your city and why is that your choice.
Playa del Carmen is known for it’s amazing day trips, whether you love watersports, historic days out or gastronomic tours, this beach town has something for everyone!

I am very fortunate to be living in an area of Mexico that is filled with natural wonders you can’t find anywhere else in the world! One of these phenomenons are Cenotes, the Yucatan Peninsula is home to around 7,000 of them. These magical bodies of water are born when a cave collapses, creating a wondrous world of marine life and underwater rock formations. I believe the top Cenote to visit from Playa del Carmen is Cenote Azul, it’s only 15 minutes away, it’s stunningly beautiful, it has an extensive collection of fish for those of you that enjoy to snorkel, and it even has an exiting cliff jump. 

There are many bio-parks here in Playa del Carmen but I believe Xcaret to be the best. It is the easiest to get around once inside, it has an unbelievable show at the end of the day, it has the opportunity to swim with Dolphins, Rays and Manatee, and the best part is that it has the cheapest ticket price! 

Puerto Aventuras

This is my absolute favourite town to visit near to Playa del Carmen, in only 20 minutes on the local transport you are in one of the most beautiful and serene places in the Riviera Maya. With the most picturesque and secluded beaches, delicious restaurants, stunning marina and fantastic reef for snorkeling, Puerto Aventuras will steal your heart too. 

Her name is Fern and she is the face behind The Salty Fern travel blog. Originally from the UK, she is now living in the sunny Mexican town Playa del Carmen. For more information about beautiful Playa del Carmen, follow Fern's adventure on her Blog, The Salty Fern.  
For more beautiful photos and updates, check out
Fern's Facebook 

1 comment:

Andrew Boland said...

OMG swimming with sea turtles? Looks brilliant!