By Brant Long
In mere decades, Playa del Carmen has morphed from a sleepy fishing village into one of the jewels of Mexico’s Mayan Riviera. Now, Playa del Carmen is shining even brighter with new family-friendly activities, striking resorts, and smoother ways to get around the downtown core.
Known for its beautiful beaches and seemingly endless Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue), Playa del Carmen is further enhancing its appeal with the opening of an $840 million, 300-acre theme park called Amikoo.
Theme Park, Mayan History, and More
With the first phase set to open later this year, Amikoo will be the largest theme park in Latin America when it is complete. It will boast 24 rides - including an immersive, virtual-reality flyover of Mexico - as well as a concert hall and a variety of shops, restaurants, and shows.
While the new park will feature state-of-the-art attractions, it will also pay tribute to the Mayan roots of the Yucatan Peninsula with a curated Museum of Mayan Anthropology and Archaeology.
Amikoo will also present representations of the ancient Mayans and display a plethora of cultural and historical exhibits throughout the new park. Like the nearby Coba Mayan Village ruins, it will also utilize its beautiful natural surroundings with a 200-acre nature preserve encompassed within the park. Amikoo is also being constructed with sustainable materials to leave as little impact as possible on the environment.
Making it Easy to Get Around
Playa del Carmen’s growing downtown is also getting a lot more accessible with the implementation of a new mobility plan designed to ease congestion in the city center and encourage walking and biking around town, something fans of 5th Avenue will surely appreciate.
Led by the city of Playa del Carmen, the effort is already underway with the addition of new bike lanes through downtown, the expansion of the city’s sidewalk system, and more than 200 meters of new, painted crosswalks to make city streets safer for pedestrians.
There are also two ADO bus stations that serve the Playa del Carmen area. To make room for the new pedestrian improvements, the current 5th Avenue ADO bus station, which handles buses coming from coastal areas such as Cancun and Tulum, is being moved to an expanded new location. The existing ADO station on 20th Avenue and 12th Street, which services buses arriving from the interior of the peninsula, will remain in its current location.
Playacar Palace Reborn
Located minutes from the Amikoo site and in walking distance of the new downtown pedestrian improvements and bus stops, Palace Resorts’ beachfront Playacar Palace recently underwent an extensive $14 million remodeling designed by renowned architect Roberto Elias and famed interior designer Francois Frossard.
Contemporary furnishings have been added to each of the Playacar’s 201 guestrooms and private terraces have been added to existing walk-out suites. In addition, guests can now access rooms and other amenities via a wristband that can be linked to the Palace Resorts smartphone app. The renovation also included upgrades to the lobby, front desk, restaurants, and lounge areas.
With the arrival of Amikoo and the ongoing hospitality, walkability, and transportation improvements, it seems “new” is the operative word of the day in Playa del Carmen where new adventures and new memories are waiting.