Playa del Carmen
Playa del Carmen, located southeast of Cancun on the Riviera Maya, is a bustling little town with new hostels and restaurants popping up each day. When Xavi was here in the 70s, the only real commerce to speak of was the ferry that left for Cozumel and a single restaurant near the port. Even in 1997, development had yet to take hold–the streets were still made of sand, and most businesses still operated out of palapas. Now, the streets are paved and around every corner is a restaurant offering a different type of international cuisine. Playa del Carmen has also become quite a party city, so if your budget includes partaking in the nightlife Playa can be a cool place to spend a few nights partying and a few days recovering.
While it may seem a little pricey, we were able to live pretty affordably. On average, the hostels we found ran between $130-$180MXN for a bed in a dorm during the high season, dipping as low as $100MXN during the low season if you’re willing to haggle. Simply put, there shouldn’t be any problem finding a place to stay for the night. As for food, there is a huge array of restaurants serving everything from lobster to pad thai and tortas–with the prices varying accordingly. There are also plenty of food carts serving everything from tacos and tortas to churros and coconut water. As always, if you’re staying somewhere with a kitchen, you can take advantage of the various markets around town to create a tramp-worthy meal.