As with most cities in the Yucatán peninsula, Playa del Carmen was originally settled by the Mayas in pre-Columbian times and was originally named Xaman Ha, which translates to “Water from the North” and its relevance resided in the fact that it was the place from which many Mayan folk would cross the ocean in their pilgrimage to the sanctuary of Ixchel in the Island of Cozumel.
From the early part of the 20th. century up to the 1970’s the Playa del Carmen was but a small fisherman village that provided for the more lucrative gum industry which had colonised the better part of the eastern region of the Peninsula. By the mid 1980’s “Playa” was a small community with a population of only 1,500. From then on the Riviera Maya has sustained an incredible rate of growth fuelled by the tourism industry which has made the whole eastern coast of the state of Quintana Roo one of the most sought after sun and sea destinations in the world.
Located in a region once ruled by the Mayan Empire, there is no shortage of archeological sites and ruins which you can appreciate even when playing a round of golf. But that is not all, it is a common misconception that the Mayan culture is dead and long gone. Nothing further from the truth, you can still taste Mayan Cuisine, hear people speak Mayan and enjoy all of its heritage in some of the most beautiful arts and crafts offered throughout in street shops and market places.
Modern Playa del Carmen is a cosmopolitan city in which two out of every ten residents is not Mexican, ensuring a multicultural yet very “local” way of life. As of lately this little piece of paradise has become a beacon for retirees seeking the warmth of the Caribbean ocean and the “home away from home” feeling as they become part of an ever increasing community of expats who share language and similar backgrounds.
With over 270 days of sun in a year and an average temperature of 26ª C. (78.8 Fahrenheit) you will have to redefine the idea of “cold” and suddenly realise how appealing a day in the beach can be, specially in December with a few “cold ones”.
Yes, here time has a new meaning and you can effortless ease into a more relaxed way of life and truly enjoy the scenery, be it the sea, the jungle, a cenote (exposed underground rivers) or the great meso american reef barrier just a few hundred yards from the beach. Go shopping at the internationally renowned Quinta Avenida and walk among its many bars, boutiques, restaurants and arts and crafts markets full of Mexican tradition and flavour.
You can loose yourself in a very wonderful and unique experience as you dine in a terrace by the sea hearing the joyful notes of a Mariachi and sipping a glass of wine or a shot of Tequila or Mezcal.
All of these attributes have enticed lots of people not only to come and visit once or twice a year but also to consider investing in a property “down south” be it for vacation, rental or, as I stated earlier, a very nice place to retire. Playa Del Carmen has a very wide and extensive real estate offer to suit almost any budget and meet very particular needs.