Cruise and Beach Destinations
in the Caribbean, Mexico & Beyond
Riviera Maya

Playa del Carmen Tour Guarantees Full and Lively Day

Fifth Avenue, Playa del Carmen
Shoppers stroll along 5th Avenue; © Scott S. Bateman
Playa del Carmen is one of the best destinations to visit in the Riviera Maya for one main reason -- Fifth Avenue.

La Quinta Avenida, the local name for Fifth Avenue, ranks among the top shopping, nightlife and restaurant districts in the Caribbean.

It is a popular place to visit for people staying in nearby Riviera Maya resorts, the Playacar tourist development, larger hotels that line the waterfront and even some people who stay at the small boutique hotels that have a low-key presence along the avenue.

Playa del Carmen and Fifth Avenue also attract cruise visitors who stop at the nearby Calica docks about six miles south of the city.

Western Caribbean cruise visitors to Cozumel island can take a ferry out of San Miguel that brings them over for a day trip.

And it may take an entire day for them to enjoy everything that Fifth Avenue offers along the brick-lined, pedestrian-only street that is more than a mile long.

During the day, visitors will find the street filled with numerous shops that range from basic to high end.

Although many of the goods can be found in other Caribbean destinations, the number and variety of shops on Fifth Avenue make it an excellent shopping experience.

U.S. currency, traveler's checks and credit cards are readily accepted.

Most of the restaurants have open-air seating either on the first floor or in some cases on the second floor.

Tourists will often just grab a seat and something to drink while watching other tourists wander by. The restaurants stay busy throughout the day. Everything about it is casual and relaxing.

The entertainment is casual as well. The avenue often has performers in elaborate costumes who provide some fun in exchange for tips.

As the sun starts to go down, the nightlife on Fifth Avenue starts to pick up. People visit bars, nightclubs or again just sit in the outdoor restaurants and watch others walk by.

Note that Fifth Avenue is quite safe because of the large number of tourists. However, we did not feel safe on certain nearby streets that did not have tourists. Be aware of the surroundings at all times and turn back if entering a quiet neighborhood with no other people nearby.

Fifth Avenue is located one block from the waterfront. For anyone visiting by car from nearby resorts, take Mexico 307 into the city. From the south, turn right on Constituyentes or 34th Street. From the north, turn left on 106th or 72nd. Expect to take some time to find parking.

Playa del Carmen hotel
Quiet boutique hotels dot Fifth Avenue. © Scott S. Bateman

Ferry Rides to and from Cozumel

Ferry rides are available for anyone staying in the Playa del Carmen and Riviera Maya area. They also are available for anyone visiting Cozumel for a cruise or stayover vacation.

Cruise visitors to Cozumel may stay on the island to explore the beaches, Mayan ruins and other attractions. Others may want to take the ferry ride if they want to spend the day shopping, dining and wandering along Fifth Avenue.

Ferries travel to and from Cozumel every hour and take about 45 minutes to make the crossing. The typical cost is $10-12 for an adult and $6-8 for children.

The Cozumel ferry terminal is located at the end of Av Lic Benito Juarez across from Palmeras Restaurant.

The Playa del Carmen terminal is located downtown about a block and a half from the main square and Plaza Playacar. Take Av Benito Juarez all the way to the end and turn right.

Anyone who arrives at the Playa del Carmen terminal from Cozumel simply needs to take a right turn out of the terminal, a quick left and then a quick right onto Fifth Avenue / Quinta Avenida.

Visiting from Cancun

Tourists staying in Cancun will find they can reach Playa del Carmen almost as quickly as cruise visitors to Cozumel.

Anyone renting a car will find that Route 307 is a straight shot south from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. The drive takes about 45 minutes to an hour with few stops.

On arriving, take a left onto Av Constituyentes to reach Fifth Avenue. Several streets beyond Av Constituyentes also reach the same destination. Be on the lookout for parking because Fifth Avenue is a pedestrian street; cars are not allowed.
Scott S. Bateman is a professional journalist who has traveled widely throughout the Caribbean and the Americas.

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February 17, 2020
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