Enjoy a Caribbean Christmas in Playa del Carmen

The countdown to Christmas is on and Playa del Carmen has recently come alive in a show of light, color and Christmas cheer. A huge tree has been erected in front of the Sanborns department store in the center of town, decorated beautifully in red and gold.

Christmas tree in Playa del Carmen - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

It seems the residents of Playa del Carmen take Christmas cheer very seriously – hotels, stores and local homes are stringing lights, tinsel and decorations, and trees are popping up all over town.

Playa del Carmen is in bloom with hundreds of bright red poinsettia plants, which really enhance the festive atmosphere around town. Poinsettias love the heat and lots of light, so if you pick one up for your condo, place it somewhere where it can get lots of both.

Poinsettias - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Some may find it strange to celebrate Christmas in the tropics, but here at Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen, a ‘white Christmas’ involves digging your feet into the fine sand of the Caribbean at Indigo Beach Club!

Indigo Beach Club - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Instead of hot cocoa and egg nog, Christmas drinks include creamy pina coladas and refreshing margaritas while watching the turquoise waters lap against the shore. Christmas day viewing includes miles of white sand beaches and sparkling seas instead of old movies!

Events and fiestas are happening every night around town, from the Mexican night at Indigo Beach Club on Wednesdays with unlimited fajitas and traditional pozole, as well as two-for-one cocktails at Imprevist.

Imprevist - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

Don’t worry about not being able to find traditional Christmas fare – the supermarkets are stocked with chicken, turkey, ham and all the trimmings for those who would like to prepare a meal in their fully equipped kitchen.

Or better yet, why not make use of your very own private chef to create a Christmas meal for you and your loved ones you will never forget!

Indigo beach club is also putting on a sumptuous spread at their beachfront restaurant in front of the El Taj hotel.

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Don’t have a tree? Well, that is easily fixed! How about a Caribbean-style Christmas tree? The kids will love it, and best of all, there is nothing to clean up afterwards and no messy pine needles!

Christmas on the beach - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

The Caribbean answer to a Christmas tree…

Whatever you decide to do for Christmas, whether entertain on your private terrace, relax by the pool or soak up the sun at the beach, you can be guaranteed it will be a holiday to remember.

While the sun is shining instead of the snow falling and the margaritas are flowing instead of hot cocoa, there is no shortage of Christmas cheer in Playa del Carmen. Come celebrate with us and experience a white Christmas – Caribbean style – on the beach!

Christmas on the beach - Condo Hotels Playa del Carmen

 Celebrate Christmas on the shores of the Caribbean with us!

A Day on Cozumel Island

Situated just off the coast of Playa del Carmen is Mexico’s third largest Island, Cozumel. We decided to experience Island life for a day and headed over on one of the fast ferries which depart regularly from the port at the southern end of town.

Tickets are around $12 per person, one way, and can be purchased at the ticket counter at the port. Ferries run all day from early morning to late evening to ensure you maximum time on the island. As it was our first time to Cozumel, we didn’t know what to expect so decided not to make plans and to simply take the day as it came.

Ferry to Cozumel

We took our snorkels as we’d heard about the fantastic coral reef fringing the island. We hoped to catch a glimpse of the world’s largest barrier reef.

Upon alighting the ferry at the port, we were surprised by the designer store fronts and high end brands in residence on Cozumel. A glimpse of the large international cruise ships docking at the port put the pieces of the puzzle together; it is a popular stop-off destination for Caribbean cruises.

We bypassed the shiny stores and headed through the town into a quaint, brightly painted square. Old men sat peacefully watching the world go by while women gathered to gossip and wrangle small children. This was the sort of laid back island life I had hoped to see, and it was lovely to stroll through the square under the shade of old leafy trees.

It was nice to see that despite the importance of cruise ship tourism to the local economy, there was still a local flavor alive and well on the island.

Cozumel street

Door in Cozumel

We wandered through the back streets of the town and admired the brightly painted buildings and quaint local restaurants. It was mid morning and the sun began to beat down strongly, encouraging us to seek out relief in the Caribbean Sea. Somewhat stubbornly ignoring calls from enthusiastic taxi drivers looking to make a fare, we resolved to explore on foot and headed south along the coast.

Yellow house in Cozumel

We passed a few waterfront restaurants with access to the water, wondering where we would find a suitable access point into the cool Caribbean. The water shone like bright blue crystals, reflecting the sun’s rays, begging us to submerge in it’s cool embrace.

We came to a lighthouse which sat on a lovely bay and decided we could wait no longer – we were going in! Only two other people were on the tiny beach as we laid our bags down and prepared to cool off. The water was deliciously refreshing and small colorful fish darted around the rocks beneath the surface.

private beach in Cozumel

Rejuvenated by our swim in our ‘private bay,’ we then guzzled down ice-cold sodas and snacked on chips and salsa at the waterfront restaurant, admiring the view. It was a weekday, and we had to pinch ourselves that we were sitting beach-side on a Caribbean island, while most people we knew were slaving away at their jobs back home.

We decided to explore more of the island on foot, and cut through the center of it. We emerged at a bustling town full of locals going about their busy days. Squares, government buildings, hospitals and stores buzzed with the midday rush. It was hard to believe that just across the water from Playa del Carmen, there was a busy, functioning city with a thriving population.

We stopped in at a local restaurant for lunch, far form the tourist trail. While we dined, we chatted to the owner of the restaurant who was more than happy to fill us in on the state of the island. He told us that the economy was suffering a little since the hurricane of ’05 which damaged some of the reef system and washed away some of the beaches on the east coast.

Restaurant in Cozumel

But he enjoyed the slow pace of life on the island – it was the only life he ever knew. He dreamed of moving to the colonial town of Valledolid some day, but wasn’t sure when that would be.

It was great to get a local’s perspective of the island from someone who has seen all the changes occur over the years. It struck me how vulnerable islands are to the natural environment, compared to the mainland where growth simply continues along the coast or inland.

I was glad our experience of Cozumel consisted of a nice swim, a good walk, and some interesting conversation with the locals.

Foodstall in CozumelSlow paced island life on Cozumel…

As we made our way back to the dock to depart on the ferry, I wished the island well in it’s attempt to balance large scale cruise ship tourism with the local culture, and hoped the local people, especially the friendly restauranteur, would continue to thrive in their beautiful island home.