7) SKIP THE PARKS
Although the mega parks of Xel-ha and Xcaret are great fun they are definitely for tourists. Escape by skipping the parks and instead heading to some cenotes. My top 3 favorites near Playa Del Carmen are Cenote Azul, Jardin Del Eden and Cristalino Cenote. They are about 20 minutes south so grab a taxi or collectivo to head there.
8) TAKE SPANISH LESSONS
Knowing some Spanish even just the basics before you go will help a lot with getting around and having a more local experience as it will open up places to you with less tourism and therefore less English speaking. If you can’t do lessons try DVD, audio and phrasebooks for some practice. On the other hand you can take Spanish lessons while in Mexico to truly connect on another level and learn from the locals first hand.
9) ENGAGE WITH THE LOCALS
Don’t be shy! Strike up conversations and meet new people. You never know who you will meet. Mexicans are incredibly friendly and having someone invite you to a local hot-spot or give you some tips and tricks or recommendations is priceless! This is how I discovered some of my favorite restaurants.
10) CHECK OUT THE ART SCENE
As mentioned Playa del Carmen is a “modern Mexico” town and you can see a great art scene here! Visit some gallery spots like Riviera Art Gallery and Pepe Soho Photography to see this other side of Mexico. You can also visit the Playa del Carmen Museo Frida Kahlo and the Ambarte Mexican Folk Art Shop for some more traditional style works.
Overall much of the Caribbean coast is becoming overrun by tourism but don’t let this stop you- you can still experience true Mexico if you are willing to take the path less traveled and explore the local life. Feel free to comment or message me with your own experiences and any questions. Enjoy your trip to Mexico!
Read more of Cassandra’s blog here and happy #wildbumming!