5th Ave Playa del Carmen: The Soul Of Caribbean Mexico

5th Ave Playa del Carmen: The Soul Of Caribbean Mexico

A three-mile stretch by the beach on the Caribbean side of Mexico, 5th Ave Playa del Carmen should be on the top of any itinerary for tourists visiting the area. You’ll find digital nomads, tourists, and locals on foot here – enjoying the shopping and beaches during the day and partying all night.

You’ve probably already heard about Cancun, but Playa del Carmen is only about an hour’s drive away from Cancun and definitely worth a visit.

Playa del Carmen is a small but busy resort town. The pedestrian area that the locals call Quinta Avenida is the heart and soul of the area. As you walk along the avenue, you’re never more than a five-minute walk away from the palm-lined beach. Today, we’ll cover the best places to visit and things to do when in Playa del Carmen.

Best Entertainment near 5th Ave Playa del Carmen

PDC is known for its entertainment industry, and we don’t mean movies and TV. We mean live performances that will make your heart race and blow your mind. We’ve visited quite a few, and here are our favorites which we highly recommend. 

Coco Bongo

With live performances in Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Punta Cana, it’s no surprise Coco Bongo makes this list. Their performance based on the 90s hit movie The Mask is exceptional, and so is their thrilling Samba show. 

Fun Fact: Jim Carrey (Stanley Ipkiss from the movie, as we all know) owns the club. 

If you’re in the mood for a high-energy experience and breathtaking performances, this is the place to go. They’ve got awesome cocktails and drinks, but it’s a great night of fun even if you don’t drink. The spectacular performances are intoxicating on their own. 

Parque Los Fundadores

If you’re not much of a night owl but still want to experience some of the entertainment in this Mexican resort town, take a walk down to Parque Los Fundadores (Founding Fathers’ Park). There you’ll find many street performers adorned in traditional Mayan dress and performing ancient Mayan dances.

Keep an eye out for the Danza de Los Voladores—literally, the dance of the flyers. About five brave performers in traditional clothing climb up a very high pole and jump. As they swing downwards during the performance, try to remember to breathe. 

Best Restaurants on 5th Ave Playa del Carmen

Visiting Mexico (or anywhere in the Caribbean) and not sampling the food means you’re missing out on the experience. From the different varieties of tacos to street food like elote – there’s a lot you can enjoy. These are our absolute favorite restaurants in Playa del Carmen. 

Baton Rouge Grill

A fusion between American and Mexican cuisines, the menu at Baton Rouge Grill is mouth-watering, to say the least. Their baby back ribs are famous, we’d recommend the sirloin burrito – that’s an experience all on its own. 

There’s more than just food – because the atmosphere is great here as well. With great bands playing like Andromeda playing, the vibe is just right. They’ve even started serving breakfast and lunch recently; so you can visit them any time of the day. 

Muy Salsa

For authentic Mexican cuisine at almost street food prices but with a dine-in experience, go no further than Muy Salsa. The chef’s carne asada is on point, so you can expect amazing fajitas, tacos, and more. Also, we’ve been told that their shrimp tacos are to die for. 

Enjoy the weather with their outdoor seating, or grab a bowl of nachos to go (they’ll stay good for quite a while!) Don’t expect generic Tex-Mex food here. You’re getting the real deal for an affordable price, with the ocean air surrounding you.

For more food recommendations, check out our blog on the Best foods to find on the Yucatan Peninsula.

Beaches Near Quinta Avenida

A visit to Caribbean Mexico wouldn’t be complete without the beach. There are many beaches around the area, many of which are owned by the Mexican government. 

To avoid the crowds but still enjoy your time, you might want to consider visiting these beaches:

  • Playacar Beach: This area of the beach is part of a gated community, so it’s always well kept. It’s not as crowded as other areas in the center, and there aren’t many rocks. Get into the water for a swim, you won’t regret it. Don’t worry, there aren’t any rocks on the shore. If you’re lucky, you might get to see a few turtles on the shore.
  • Mamita’s Beach Club: This trendy beach club is very close to 5th Ave Playa del Carmen. You’ll find great music, laid-back vibes, and an excellent strip of beach. The atmosphere is youthful and full of energy at this club, and the service is impeccable. You can expect to pay upwards of 500 pesos here for umbrellas, food, etc. There is no entrance fee because all beaches in Mexico are public. 
  • Playa Punta Esmeralda: Although this is a public beach (yes, that means no entry fees), it doesn’t get too crowded and it’s well-kept. There are many palm trees on this beach, which is great for when it’s particularly sunny. Make sure to bring a blanket and an umbrella because there aren’t any for rent.

Here’s a fun fact: the sand on beaches around the south of Playa del Carmen isn’t really sand. It’s actually coral sand. That makes it easier to walk barefoot when it’s sunny because crushed coral doesn’t heat up so much.

Best Shopping Near 5th Ave Playa del Carmen

5th ave playa del carmen shopping

Shops on Quinta Avenida are typically open between 10 am and 10 pm, giving you plenty of time to go shopping. In fact, you might even find the best shopping in the entire Yucatan peninsula. Here are just a few places we recommend.

Quinta Alegria

The most recently opened shopping mall on 5th Avenue, where you can find both name brands and more obscure finds. Don’t skip the American brands thinking you’ve seen it all back home. You’ll find that Victoria’s Secret, Sephora, The Body Shop, and other name brands carry different products in Mexico from those in the States. 

Juarez Street

Another main street that you can easily walk to is Juarez. It’s a little different from Quinta Avenida but there are many small shops and flea markets where you’ll enjoy bargaining for souvenirs.

While you’ll find many small markets and boutique shops on 5th Ave in PDC, there’s a lot more variety on Juarez street – and it’s only a few minutes away.

Paseo del Carmen

This is an open-air mall you can find on 5th Avenue where it meets Playacar Phase 1 (at the south end of the Avenue). You’ll get a feel of Europe right there in Mexico as you go from shop to shop on the cobblestone paths. There’s a wide range of shops here, and if you are someone addicted to Starbucks – this is where you’ll find it.  

Other Things To Do Near 5th Ave Playa del Carmen

Beaches, nightlife, shopping – what else is there to do on 5th Ave Playa del Carmen? There’s still more to explore. You can explore the cultural side of Mexico on your trip too. Here are a few places worth visiting:

Frida Kahlo Museum

Frida Kahlo museum

She was a painter whose face you’re probably familiar with. She is well-known for her unapologetic self-portraits and surrealism in art. Most art critics will tell you she’s the most influential painter in the history of Mexico. 

For $15, you can visit the museum and explore just how much she influenced Mexican culture. 

El Acuario De Playa

aquarium playa del carmen 5th ave

With upwards of 200 marine species housed in a three-story aquarium, this is a great day trip to get away from the bustling nightlife and the laid-back beach vibes. You’ll be so mesmerized by the abundance of coral and the manta rays swimming around that you’ll forget that you aren’t on the beach.

Note: El Acuario de Playa is temporarily closed due to COVID-19 restrictions. But we’re hoping it re-opens soon!

Gaston Charo Art Gallery

art in playadel carmen, mexico

Even though it may feel like you’ve got sensory overload from all the colors on 5ta Avenida, you’ll still want to explore this art gallery for more colorful exhibits. Some of the art exhibits change according to your mood, so every experience is unique.

There’s a lot to see in the Gaston Charo Art Gallery, so you may want to set aside a whole day for this part of your itinerary. Even if you aren’t particularly interested in art, this will probably be an exciting day for you. 

Is It Safe On Quinta Avenida?

Playa del Carmen is considered a safe tourist destination for passing digital nomads and even for solo travelers. Because it’s a relatively touristy area, you can expect the usual tourist traps and scams but nothing dangerous or worth stressing over.

As long as you stay within the main avenues like Quinta Avenida, you’re on the safe side of town. 

5th Ave Playa del Carmen: A Must See For Any Tourist In Mexico

Forget Cancun. It’s overrated, usually crowded, and overpriced. You’re better off enjoying the Caribbean sea from 5th Ave Playa del Carmen. There’s a lot to do, at very affordable prices. The beaches are beautiful, and the atmosphere is the perfect balance between laid-back and exciting. 

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