As you enjoy many fine restaurants of Playa del Carmen, the romantic, captivating sounds of mariachi will follow you from place to place. Pull up a chair at one of the outside tables (most Playa del Carmen restaurants are in the open air), and you will soon be asked to be serenaded by a mariachi.  A mariachi band generally consists of a violin, trumpet(s), classical guitar, a vihuela (a high pitched five string guitar) and a guitarron (a big acoustic bass guitar). The dress is silver-studded charro outfits.

Mariachi are closely intertwined with Mexican culture and are a natural expressional of the romantic and spiritual side of its people. Their songs speak about all the strong emotions: love, betrayal, country heroes, and vary from nostalgic and sad to upbeat and happy.

The mariachi originated in the southern part of the state of Jalisco sometime in the 19th century, though no one is sure where the name comes from.

It’s only natural that today mariachi stroll the streets of Playa del Carmen sharing their passionate art with visitors, guests and locals. If they realize that you are a gringo, they will play songs like Cielito Lindo (ah ya ya ya) and Guantanamera, but you can request anything to your heart’s desire – so come prepared!  My personal favorite is a very happy song called “Mariachi Loco.” The chorus of the song suggests that the crazy mariachi should dance and a good mariachi will entertain you with some interesting dancing while playing the song. When I hear this song, it instantly put a smile on my face.

I happen to live across from a restaurant and every night around 7 – 10pm I am entertained with live mariachi music. That’s another reason why Playa del Carmen is my happy place!

Just a quick tip – mariachi play to make money and the price varies quite a bit.  It is best to ask how much they will charge for a song before they start. Enjoy!

Pictures are provided by my new friend, amazing photographer Sarah Natasha,, during our lunch with mariachi at Mi Pueblo restaurant in Playa del Carmen.