Playa Del Carmen - Where to Stay?

Old Aug 27th, 2002, 03:05 PM
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Playa Del Carmen - Where to Stay?

Hi - Three couples (late 30's/early 40's) planning a trip to Playa Del Carmen. We want a fun nightlife -- a variety of places to eat, drink, dance, bands, etc. Does PDC offer this or is the pace a bit on the slow side? How does it compare to Cancun? Can you recommend a 4-5 star resort (not all inclusive)on the beach? Websites? Thanks for your comments!
Old Aug 27th, 2002, 03:47 PM
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I would say that maybe you should look into Cancun. Playa is pretty laid back. Don't get me wrong, there are places for nightlife. But not the extent that Cancun would offer. If you are still interested in Playa, what are you looking for in a hotel? There are some great restaurants there.
Old Aug 27th, 2002, 05:01 PM
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JJ, I think a lot would depend on what time of year you are going and what type of nightlife you are looking for.
If you want "get dressed up and go dancing" type of places, Cancun is your choice and you will not find that anywhere in PDC (except maybe some entertainment at one of the AI's.)
If you want "wear shorts and sandals and go downtown to find live local music," then PDC would be fine. We felt very out of place in PDC dressed up. (Sundress for me and linen slacks and shirt for my husband.)T-shirts (or no shirts) and shorts are de rigeur.
I did not find any resorts that I consider to be 4 or 5 star in PDC. (There is one close by however, Maroma.) That is only my opinion, some people may consider the AI's to be 4 or 5 star. We stayed at Continental Plaza Playacar, and it was fine for the money but nothing special.
PDC is very casual and laid back with a slightly seedy side to it. (But I love it just the same, and you will be hard-pressed to find a more beautiful beach in Mexico.)
Cancun is more glitzy and "Vegas-like."
Monica is right that there are excellent restaurants in PDC. There are in Cancun also.
Old Aug 27th, 2002, 05:38 PM
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Hi Nancy, since you have stayed at the Contential Plaza, can you give me some information about it. Even though we have been going to Playa for 14 years and actually saw this hotel being built, I have not been inside to even see the lobby. We have friends going there to visit us after Christmas and are on a timeshare plan with the Contential is on the list. All they want is something clean-nothing fancy. They aren't even concerned about the food, because we will probably go to different restauarants every night. Any info on this would be greatly appreciated.
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 06:02 AM
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Hi Monica,
I think the CPP would fit their needs nicely.
It is about the only larger property on the beach close into town, and is within walking distance of everything without being in a noisy area. (It is close by the ferry pier, but the noise from the bar there never bothered us.)
The hotel itself is not bad at all.
The pros:
On a nice beach, nice pool area, reasonably priced, good location, good breakfast buffet, decent value for the money.
The cons:
Rooms on the small side, front desk staff surly (everyone else was very nice), rooms could use an update and small details such as cracked tiles, etc. need repairs. Service touches, like removing food trays in the hallways from room service quickly, were missing. (Sometimes they'd stay there much of the day.)
We would not stay there again only because we have since found a couple of other places we'd like to try (El Faro, etc.)
The lobby and common areas of the hotel are nice, nothing elaborate. Going into town for meals is the way to go as you mentioned. (Too many good restaurants in PDC to eat "hotel food"
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 06:11 AM
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I think I read something about there being a large sea wall at the beach there. Is this true? We're looking for a beatiful part of the beach where cruise ships are nowhere in sight. Any thoughts? Thanks!!!
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 08:19 AM
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I mentioned that I enjoyed a brief visit to Playa del Carmen some 15 years ago to an associate at work recently.

Her response was that it is now a gay hangout! And I have no reason to doubt her.

I do not KNOW this to be true, however.

Old Aug 28th, 2002, 08:23 AM
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PDC has changed vastly in the last 10 years (especially the last 5).
IMHO, it is an "alternative everyone" kind of place. By that, I get the impression that anyone and everyone who wants to go there can, and will not be looked at as odd or out of place.
I have seen more bizarreness there than Key West or New Orleans - and that's going some
I was there last year and did not see any more of any one particular type of person than another.
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 09:35 AM
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My last trip there was 2 years ago. It didn't seem any more 'gay' than anywhere else. We stay in town, always at small hotels. It seemed to attract more European travellers than some other areas of Mexico (for example, the west coast). I didn't find it particularly 'bizarre', but I guess it depends on what you're used to! It really has changed over the last few years - lots more development.
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 09:42 AM
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Susan is right, bizarre is probably not the right word. (Didn't mean to scare anyone off
It's just a very free casual kind of place, and just about anything seems to go. I've just seen some rather odd clothing (or lack thereof) and behavior (open marijuana use).It's quite bohemian.
Plus, the last couple of times I've been, I did not feel as safe as years past. Not really a definable thing, more of just kind of feeling like a "target." We were followed down a street for quite a distance by a gnarly looking guy who ran off when my husband turned and asked him what he wanted.
Old Aug 28th, 2002, 11:19 AM
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Again thank you Nancy, I will pass this info onto our friends. I do know the Elfaro well, so if you need any feedback let me know. As far the gay part, safety issues and marjuana-as I stated we have been going for to Playa for 14 years. Actually, I felt less safe then than I do now, only because we are there so much. 14 years ago everything and one really scared us being in another country. But like all cities, as it gets bigger, shady people end up there from all over Mexico and the world. As you would be cautious in a big city in the US, same applies. We have an apartment 7 blocks from 5th and I am not scared to walk in the area by myself after dark.(not past 10 at night). As for gays, I just don't pay much attention. I will say, I have not seen anything going on-I have in Ft.Lauderdale but not in Playa. And as for the marijuana-I know its there, so is cocaine-but again I have not seen any open use of or been approached. My husband has seen American kids smoking on the beach. It is so against the law there and the police are always busting someone there. And you DO NOT want to go a Mexican jail.
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