One of our very favorite things to do here in Playa del Carmen is to go walking outside the tourist zone to enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of "real Mexico". It's a very different world west of the highway than down on the well-known tourist drag, Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue), and we love it. From the cheerful, traditional music, to the brightly painted buildings, to the smells of food cooking on the grill, visiting the local areas is truly a feast for all the senses. And it's a place where most tourists never venture.
A few days ago we decided to walk west on Juarez Boulevard and find a place to enjoy a late lunch. Since it was Easter Monday, quite a few businesses were closed so the proprietors could spend the day with their families and get some well-deserved R&R, and who can blame them? But we still found several places open to choose from, from street food to a large, airy seafood place we ended up deciding to try. It was seriously warm, and this place looked like it might provide a little breeze -- my primary requirement on a hot day.
We had the whole restaurant to ourselves as we were eating at an odd time, and it being a holiday, many locals would have been enjoying the beach. So we were treated like royalty by the proprietor and the lovely waitress who served us.
Here's the spot, called "Par de Ases". No, that's not asses, it's aces! Pair of Aces! Here's their Facebook page, and it turns out that they are quite new, but already have lots of good reviews, so we made a fortuitous choice!
We enjoyed an incredible lunch for a very good price. Our entrees were priced at 100 pesos each, around $6.70, a great deal for a shrimp ceviche (the smallest size they offered but still plenty for one person) and grilled fish fillet a la diabla and sides.
The only thing you don't really get any bargains on, even in a local place, is beer. Una cerveza seems to be priced at about 30 pesos no matter where you go, but that's less than it used to be for us now that the peso has fallen so far on the dollar. Right now that's about $2 US a bottle. Some of the higher-end establishment charge 40-50 pesos, but $28-35 is more typical.
Even the plates and flatware were lovely in this place, and we will definitely be back. Bonus: walking there and back helps burn off some of the calories consumed. Plus you get to see pretty sights like this:
Par de Ases is located on Juarez between Calle 75 and 80 and is well worth a visit if you're ever in Playa.
Amazingly, we've been here in Playa del Carmen since November 1 and have not gone into the ocean yet! I guess it has been "winter", after all, and we are not fans of chilly water. But how cold can the Caribbean Sea be? Barry figured it was time to find out!
There's been quite a bit of sargassum on the beach, as has been a problem all over the Caribbean in 2014 (read more here) and 2015. But once you get past the "seaweed line", the water was just fine. Barry said the water temperature is in the 80s and easy to get used to. Guess we shouldn't have waited so long for an inaugural dip.
Barry had a great time body surfing, while I enjoyed having my feet in the sand and snapping photos. I hadn't worn my swimsuit this time but will have to the next time!
On the way back from the beach, I enjoyed more of the murals painted on walls in this part of town. This image has a strong and important message -- note the crying dolphins. PLEASE don't litter our beaches or oceans, people!
And this colorful fish, refusing to stay between the lines of the black boxes, is still in progress. In fact, the artist was just setting up for the day when we walked by.
More Mexican color. It's impossible to be in a bad mood when you see things like this...
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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