The Caribbean Sea, fresh seafood and white sand beaches are the usual images that spring to mind when thinking about Playa del Carmen. But there is certainly more to this cosmopolitan, beach side town than meets the eye, including the thriving cafe culture I have been very pleased to discover during my stay.
For me, there’s no better way to start the day than a morning yoga class at The Gym, followed by a rejuvenating swim in the sea, then a cup of coffee at one of the many cafes around town. I sit at an outdoor table with a cafe latte and watch Playa del Carmen come to life.
The vendors along Fifth Avenue begin to arrange their colorful wares, gossiping and chatting about the day ahead in animated Spanish. I can only imagine what they see day after day, interacting with tourists from all over the world. I have to laugh at some of the lines they come up with to entice buyers into their stores – they really do have a great sense of humor which is necessary in their line of work.
Smartly dressed young people scurry off to work at the nearby resorts, while an older couple power walks along the shaded pedestrian avenue, fulfilling their daily exercise routine. A dog walker wrangles five pampered pooches of different sizes, as they run rings around him in playful commotion.
I love watching this eclectic mix of people that make Playa such a lively place to be. There is never a dull moment in Playa del Carmen, with so many different cultures converging in one place to experience life in paradise. Whether for work or play, Playa has an undeniable magnetism that is ever present. People work hard here, but they are happy and prosperous. Tourists who visit once seem to return year after year.
The coffee is good too, and, in my opinion, rivals any European brew. The baristas at the various cafes around town know how to create a rich, smooth blend with local beans from the plantations of Chiapas in southern Mexico. They are also very artistic, creating skillful works of art!
Sometimes I flick through a local magazine to practice my Spanish, challenging myself to understand celebrity gossip en Espanol. I also like to order in Spanish, and the staff are always friendly and patient about my terrible grammar.
Mostly though, I like to watch the comings and goings of the other customers, while trying to guess which country they come from. I have overheard English, Spanish, Dutch, French and even Japanese being spoken at a single cafe. Now, that is multi-cultural ism at its best!
I love spending time at the many cafes around Playa del Carmen which bring people together with a common bond – a love of coffee! Whether you are on your own or meeting with friends, down by the beach or in the center of town, there’s never a dull moment at Playa’s cafes. Sit back and sip on world-class coffee in a beautiful setting, and be entertained by the diverse and eclectic mix of people from every corner of the globe.