On Saturday my husband Cesar and my Mom and I decided to go to Playa del Carmen for the day for lunch and to walk around on the 5th avenue. We set out at 11.30 am and made the 45 minute trip down to Playa. Once we found parking we set out along the quinta avenida (5th ave. ) for a pre-lunch stroll to check out all the new stores and restaurants as it had been about 6 months since my last visit there. I am always surprised by all the new buildings going up. We saw some new condos and eateries as well as new stores. They all looked very modern. We also noticed lots of new gelato places. You can’t walk very far without passing one.
I am always amazed at how much Playa del Carmen has grown since 1995 when I moved to Cancun. The highway to get to Playa now has 2-3 lanes on each side not like it used to be when each side only hade one lane and there wasn’t a shoulder so driving was always nerve-wracking especially at night as cars were constantly trying to pass each other whether it was safe to do so or not. Playa itself has also grown so much and seems to continually spread out. I remember for years that there weren’t any fast food chain restaurants permitted and the 5th ave. was less than half the length that it is today.Many of the businesses have changed but there are still many that have been there for years and will probably be there for years to come which is no easy feat in Playa’s ever-changing tourist scene.
I have always loved Playa though I wouldn’t want to live there as it is too small for me but I do enjoy visiting and we often spend the night there in a hotel and go out dancing. They have a great choice of places to eat and lots of really cool bars that have outdoor seating so that you can watch the world go by. We decided to eat in one of our favourite bar/restaurants on Saturday. The Tequila Barrel http://www.tequilabarrel.com/ has been around for several years now and at night they have live music. The outdoor tables are made out of barrels and they have comfy seats and a fairly diverse bar menu for food and drinks. We chose the lunch special for 110 pesos (around 10 CDN) which was a cheeseburger, fries and 2 beers.
After lunch we headed down the quinta avenida again towards Paseos Playa del Carmen (an outdoor plaza) passing more gelato places. We checked out some new stores and then decided to stop at La Bodeguita en Medio http://www.labodeguitadelmedio.com.mx/ which is a cuban restaurant-bar. It is based on the original place in Cuba that was started in 1942 in an old Bodega where it became rather famous. People like Erroll Flynn, Lou Costello and Ernest Hemingway have visited there in the past. I too have also visited La Bodeguita in Cuba many years ago and we had a Mojito and wrote on the wall which is the custom to leave your name on your first visit. La Bodeguita in Playa has continued the tradition of graffiti on the walls so on this visit my Mom, Cesar and I also left our mark while we enjoyed a Mojito.
When the mosquitoes started biting we paid our bill and made our way back to the parking lot but not before we succumbed to a mandarin flavoured gelato en route 🙂 It had been a great day and it wasn’t over yet. We arrived home and rested for awhile and then headed off to el D’ Pa Bistro but I will save that blog for tomorrow.