The weather is idyllic year-round in sunny, warm Playa del Carmen — so you may be wondering whether there is a “best time” to travel. The week of Easter is the busiest time of year to see Playa del Carmen, with roughly 1.4 million visitors. During Semana Santa, you are likely to see jam-packed beaches, elbow room only on Fifth Avenue and full hotel occupancies. Alternatively, you may consider the following Playa del Carmen events that offer a less hectic glimpse into local, authentic culture.
Dia de Los Muertos takes place the day after Halloween on November 1 – what we call “All Souls Day”, though the modern celebration encompasses several days of festivities in Playa del Carmen. UNESCO has declared the tradition a “Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
Playa del Carmen families celebrate the holiday privately by building altars in family homes or near gravesites to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have passed on. It is believed that these altars will bring the decedent’s spirit close enough to hear the prayers and stories recited in their honor. Photographs, favorite foods, drinks, and cherished possessions are placed on the altars, inviting these spirits to stay.
You’ll also find many public expressions of Dia de Los Muertos in Playa del Carmen. For instance, you can see a parade featuring iconic “sugar skulls.” The image of an aristocratic painted skeleton in European clothes (La Calaca Catrina) was created by Jose Guadalupe Posada in 1910 and remains the public face of the holiday to people living outside Mexico.
Xcaret Archaeological Park offers another way to partake in Dia de Los Muertos traditions. They provide visitors with a festival-like atmosphere of theater, dance, music, food, crafts, workshops, altar displays, floral exhibits, and shopping. Past visitors say they could have gone all four days and still had more to see.
The Mayan villages in the Yucatan Peninsula call Day of the Dead “Hanal Pixan” (pronounced Han-ALL Pea-SHAN). Tour organizer Alltournative takes guests into the homes of the people of the Pac Chen village to observe this sacred tradition from their perspective and learn more about the Mayan culture.
Food is at the heart of any enjoyable vacation so why not base your travel around the International Food and Wine Festival taking place annually in the Riviera Maya, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen? The world’s best chefs gather to provide audiences with tastings, cooking demonstrations, lectures, and themed events like “Italy Meets Mexico.”
The resorts of El Dorado Royale Riviera Maya, Grand Velas Riviera Maya, Xcaret Archaeological Park, and Paradisus Playa del Carmen open their doors to fine gastronomic experiences, ranging from five-course meals, to wine and food pairings, to intimate dinner parties. Accompanied by local musicians and backed by the Caribbean Sea, all senses are engaged.
Little more than a decade ago, there was one wine in Playa del Carmen – and it was little to be desired. Today, the Mexican wine scene has exploded on the world stage, starting to pick up notoriety for “creativity” and “strong character.” Casa Madero, Santo Tomas, Monte Xanic, La Redonda, and L.A. Cetto are the most well-known brands, but there are many, many more to discover.
As for food, you can expect handmade corn tortillas; chile salsas varying in temperature from mild to muy picante; Mexican cheeses like cotija and queso anejo; vegetable soups; shrimp dishes; fried plantains; melted chocolate; and food you won’t find elsewhere – like quail egg tostadas, sweetened pears topped with ants, and salty fried grasshoppers! This is the food you will be talking about for years to come.
Rally Maya Mexico started in 2013 as a family-friendly event to raise money for the Association for Childhood Diabetes. The Yucatan Times has called this Playa del Carmen event a “rolling museum”. Over 100 classic car owners race more than 745 miles from the city of Merdia to the grand finale in Playa del Carmen.
The whole journey takes five days, during which event participants can enjoy all the Yucatan and Riviera Maya regions have to offer – like Chichen Itza archaeological site, the historic city of Valladolid, the Mayan pyramids of Chetumal, the coral reefs of Akumal, and the white sandy beaches of Playa del Carmen.
Some of the classic cars in the race date back more than 80 years! Past Rally Maya winners have included a 1962 Renault Dauphine 1093, a 1964 Mercedes Benz 220, and a 1964 Austin Cooper. The cars are judged based on average speed, time and distance, so it’s a “regularity” race, rather than the high-speed NASCAR races you may be used to. Nevertheless, Rally Maya is a wonderful event to base your vacation around, whether you’re a historic car buff or you are just looking for a unique highlight tour of the archaeological wonders of the region.
It’s not always easy to find accommodations that are near a particular event – not to mention clean, safe, and packed with all the amenities you need to enjoy your vacation. Sea Side Reservations has worked with area resort, condo, and villa owners for more than two decades to offer travelers the very best. Call today for personalized booking assistance and unparalleled customer service.