To get to Playa,
68 km (42 miles) south of Cancun,
take a bus from the station downtown (about 1 1/2 hours). If
you're in the hotel zone, you could negotiate a fare with a Cancun
taxi driver to scoot you down.
The main road into town, Av. Juarez or Av.
Principal, depending on whom you ask, leads you right to the
ferry dock and the pedestrian-only 5th Avenue, running
perpendicular to the beach. It boasts many hotels, stores and
restaurants. The bus station is right there at Av. 5 and
Juarez and is a hub for further journeys down to Tulum,
Chetumal and Belize. Many hotels are within easy walking
distance from the bus and the street in front of the station
is full of men on large yellow tricycles (triciclos), who will
ride you and/or your luggage cheaply to your hotel in a
Mexican version of a rickshaw. If your hotel isn't close or
you have to go on the back streets of Playa, get a cab right
there. In 1994, in response to the growing popularity of the
town, the streets were torn up for sewer and water lines.
Unfortunately, there wasn't enough money left to repave them.
Consequently, many of the new streets look as if the American
Air Force has been using them as target practice with 500 lb
smart bombs. The water-filled potholes in the unpaved roads
outside of the oldest part of town make traffic crawl and
require zig-zagging to the max.
A stroll on the beach leads to Playa's
attractive lighthouse (faro), where you can climb its exterior
circular cement staircase to the top. The view is excellent
and provides a great photo op.
IThe post office is three blocks back from
the beach on Av. Principal, with the police station
(9/87-3-02-91) right next door and the Centro de Salud
Medical Center across the street. You'll find Tourism
information on Av. 5 near the central plaza. Several hotels
rent bicycles, but get a mountain bike to dodge the
water-filled cenote-like potholes and sandy streets.
The majority of the banks are located on Av.
Juarez, most have an ATM. (ATMs disperse mexican pesos).
Recently Banamex opened another branch on the corner of Ave.
10 and Calle 12, also boasting an ATM. Check or ask around as
new banks and cash machines are popping up daily. There are
several Money Exchanges (Casa de Cambios) located in Playa, so
exchanging money should not be a problem. Exchange rate can
vary daily and from place to place. Most shops and restaurants
will accept american dollars.
There are plenty of 'minisupers' (corner
grocery stores) and fruit shops located in Playa, as well as a
few 'large' supermarkets (Super San Francisco being the most
popular due to its location on 30th). Some supermarkets also
accept credit/debit cards.
The ferry to Cozumel has a schedule that
changes constantly. If you're going over, just ask about times
at any of the ticket booths scattered around the plaza. Try to
get a ticket on the WJ Mexico, a fast waterjet (25 minutes).
The Xel-H or Cozumelero takes 45 minutes.
For shopping, the stores of Playa's Av. 5 and
surrounding sidestreets offer an eclectic assortment of
hand-made pottery, arts and crafts both local and from all
over Mexico, gifts and New Age paraphernalia.