Is Playa del Carmen as commercial as Cancun

Old Apr 19th, 2005, 04:26 AM
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Is Playa del Carmen as commercial as Cancun

We are looking for a vacation spot in September. We want a place where we can just relax. We don't want to rent a car and drive all day, just hang around and swim, sun, read, and be lazy. I was in Cancun many years ago and it looked like Miami to me. Too crowded with big hotels. I did like the water and beaches in Mexico and know there are things to see if we do get bored. So would Playa fit the bill or is it just another Cancun in the making.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 07:29 AM
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Although you will hear some dissent from those who are very focused on an "authentic" (however defined) experience, or those focused on the way things were in Playa or the region years ago, Playa is pretty clearly not another Cancun in the making, as you put it.

This is obvious impressionistically if you visit the two but also objectively speaking. For example you mention Cancun looking like Miami and big hotels. In Playa, however, building codes allow for nothing higher than 12 meters (a bit under 40 feet) or 3 floors. That restriction alone kills the idea of appearance similar to Cancun or Miami. There are similar restrictions in place in terms of the number of units per area of the property, and also on events -- no "ladies drink free all night" or wet T-shirt contests in Playa, for example. (Even bikini contests need special permits.) Sound levels are similarly restricted, with officials circulating with decibel meters and fines that can be assessed to violators. One restaurant even installed a movable glass wall to close off its live music acts to get around this problem. And overall, Cancun is rougly 5 times the size of Playa in terms of population, as well.

Those are all just objective bits, but impressionistically you'll see that Playa continues to offer a much more cosmopolitan, European flavor than Cancun, even if it has become more and more popular with people from the U.S. and Canada over the past few years. Additionally Playa has the advantage of being a much better jumping off point for less developed locations like Akumal or Tulum than does Cancun, simply due to its location. So if you still find it too developed for your liking, it's much easier to get away to places that are less developed.

Those are my $.02 worth, anyway!

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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 07:31 AM
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Playa's very different than Cancun. No big highrises, smaller more boutique hotels. It's an easy place to walk around and relax on the beach. But it can be crowded, too.

However, I found Playa's favorite beach, Mamitas, to be much more crowded than the beach at our hotel in Cancun, and not as pretty.

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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 08:04 AM
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I personally love the area which is much different from Cancun. Small town that offers nice shops, restaurants, etc. Beach is nice but would stay in local hotel that offers a little more. You will have an awesome time.
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Old Apr 19th, 2005, 10:55 AM
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Thanks for the replies.
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