The heat on 5th Avenue, a few blocks away from Playa del Carmen’s white sandy beachfront, can be oppressive any time of the year. With little wind and lots of people, it’s a hot, pumping place.
At first glance this may not sound desirable as a home base for your beach vacation, right?
But look again. Playa del Carmen’s pedestrian-only 5th Avenue is an absolute hub of Mexican energy. Restaurateurs stand out front hawking for business. Colorful souvenir shops pour cool air into the street. You’ll see plenty of street performers. And the boutique hotel scene here is thriving.
THIS is a side of Mexico that many people sadly don’t ever see.
The majority of Mexico all-inclusive resort travelers never set foot outside of the cold, cavernous walls of their resort. That’s just a fact.
And what a shame.
These all-inclusive travelers are missing charming experiences like the pool at Hotel Deseo Playa del Carmen. This hip, boutique property is centered around a large pool perched up on the 2nd floor overlooking the bustling pedestrian zone of 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. While here at Hotel Deseo you are just a few steps away from the hustle of 5th Avenue, right in the heart of all the action, you have a unique vantage point and private haven to enjoy the Playa del Carmen scene.
Relax on large bed loungers. Seek shade and privacy in the billowing white curtains surrounding the pool. And keep refreshed at the swim up bar.
If you really want to escape, retreat to your clean white room for a nap. Or read a book in your balcony hammock.
To see an authentic side of Mexico, stay at a boutique hotel like the Hotel Deseo Playa del Carmen.
As I write this, I happened to be in Playa del Carmen to attend TBEX, the largest gathering of the world’s best travel bloggers. In the months leading up to the event, major controversy brewed around one of the sponsors of the conference; Delphinius, a “swim with dolphins” operator on the Riviera Maya.
A number of travel bloggers put pressure on the conference by speaking out against the dolphin excursions and even boycotting the event. This ultimately resulted in the cancellation of planned excursions during the conference.
But this controversy also was a catalyst for a timely and important TBEX conference-opening keynote by Dr. Martha Honey, founder of the responsible travel organization CREST, the Center for Responsible Travel.
As we all sat in a big all-inclusive resort in Cancun, she suggested that hotels like this tend to have an overwhelming negative impact. While I write about, enjoy and do spend time in all-inclusive resorts, I’ll be the first to encourage travelers to mix things up. Stay in a boutique hotel, for this is perhaps the best way to truly experience the destination’s culture.
And you don’t have to rough it in order to travel responsibly.
According to Dr. Martha Honey, “responsible travel is one that ultimately leaves a positive impact on the destination”. Boutique hotels like Hotel Deseo Playa del Carmen support responsible travel in this way.
We enjoyed street tacos for dinner one night. Walked into town to purchase beer and snacks another time. Bought souvenirs for the kids from the local stores. Our tourism dollars directly supported local businesses and this has a lasting positive impact.
What do you think about boutique hotels?
Some or all of this trip was sponsored which may include travel and other costs. As always, opinions expressed are completely my own.
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