Playa del Carmen & Cozumel – Mexico

Playa del Carmen
We knew that Playa del Carmen would be extremely touristy, being so close to Cancun, & therefore a challenge to the budget; but we wanted to visit based on other’s stories, so off we headed.

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We managed to find a hostel for the first night, but they didn’t have availability for the week. However the owner offered us one of their self catering studios at the other end of town, for the same price (£18 p/night).
Having self catering accomodation brings our costs right down, & after months without cooking facilities, it is really a treat. image

The beach at that end of town is actually much nicer. This area is where the locals live & Mexican tourists stay, rather than the international crowds.

We found some great street food on the nights we didn’t want to cook, although it’s so delicious you need to watch your waistband. Also the local ‘restaurants’ do a two course lunchtime deal for just over £2pp including a glass of Limonada or Jamaica juice.

The main tourist drag is called 5th Avenue, which stretches for 2 miles & runs parallel to the beach. It’s packed with restaurants, designer & tourist shops & beauty spas. There are also several shopping malls. You get hassled by traders the whole way, offering anything from plastic trinkets to hard drugs. We were situated away from the avenue; but on the occasions we wanted to, an easy 10min walk from far end.
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Cozumel
We decided to take the ferry from PDC to Cozumel & stay a few days (which turned into 7 nights).
Cozumel is famous for its closeness to the reefs & therefore a mecca for snorkelers & divers. The water is crystal clear & teeming with fish: parrot, sergeant majors, pipe & tarpon are but a few we saw, that we knew the names for.
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Unlike the mainland, the beaches are rocky here (again the resort hotels, cordon off the nicest beaches for their private guests).
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The island is also a mecca for cruise ships & most of the shops sell high value goods like jewellery & designer clothing at top dollar prices.
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The island’s transport is dominated by a heavily unionised taxi service, who charge extortionate prices & up until recently had prevented a public bus service being set up.
Otherwise its car or moped/cycle rental.

We booked a b&b at the top of our budget, but were surprised & happy to yet again, get private cooking facilities.

… And back again!
The coastal stretch from Cancun to PDC is extremely expensive for backpackers, so we decided to book another 7 days in the PDC studio & use it as a base to take day trips to the neighboring resorts.
The extra week gave us an opportunity to explore local life still further, including the Cinepolis 15 screen cinema including four 4d equipped screens; Wedesday is discount day!
We are actually quite sad to leave!

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