A very important attribute for all tourist destinations, whatever the size, is the quality of the shopping districts. Playa del Carmen, like any other Mexican destination, is well endowed when it comes to shopping – it has a shopping streets filled with attractive window displays and even better treats inside.
Shopping in Playa del Carmen is concentrated on the pedestrianized street of 5th Avenue. The place can sometimes get crowded, especially during tourist season or when a cruise stops between Cozumel and Playa and disgorges guests for four hours of shopping excursions. The street is almost empty early in the morning and in the afternoon.
Paseo del Carmen is also a stylish shopping area that sells high-end brands and houses franchise restaurants. But beware, further north, you might want to skip a couple of blocks where vendors have an extremely aggressive approach in selling style arts and crafts and T-shirt.
The items sold in the city’s shopping areas come from all over the country and other parts of the world. There are some nice galleries that feature artists from Oaxaca or San Cristobal. Others sell snow globes and T-shirts. There are even shops that sell sarongs and dresses from Indonesia. Look for the best-selling Mayan Ear Candles as well as cute Mayan clothes for your child’s Barbie.
When your heels are aching, take a break at the small plaza on 5th Avenue, between 6th and 8th. It has a nice courtyard with flowers and trees as well as gazebo where you can rest. In the area, you will find Casa Mediterranea, an Italian restaurant with a pleasant atmosphere and serves good food. There is also a shop that sells paintings and wooden masks and other artsy stuff from all around Mexico.