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Spanish in Playa del Carmen

How to Spend Your Downtime in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen, or simply 'Playa' as it is more affectionately known within Mexico, is a sleepy fishing village that grew into a glitzy, shiny vibrant resort, but that did not forget its roots. If you go for a wander along Quinta Avenue after you finish Spanish lessons for the day, you might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of gleaming hotels and tourist orientated eateries, but just turn the corner near the plaza, or walk a few blocks uptown, and you will feel like you are truly in Mexico again. There are street vendors selling tacos and empanadas and even some 'cochinita pibil' (pork slow cooked with bitter oranges and onions for 24 hours and served up for your delectation in a bread bun) and the shops and restaurants have a more relaxed feel about them that the sometimes frantic pace of Quinta. One thing is for certain, Playa del Carmen has something for everyone, whether you enjoy life at a slow pace or high tempo, or even a little bit of both.

On the go

For those of you who want to get the adrenalin rushing, to get out and about after a few hours in the Spanish classroom, or simply like to combine your chill time with a bit of activity and make that last taco or impending ojo rojo beach cocktail an altogether less guilty affair, then look no further than the wealth of activities on offer in Playa del Carmen. One thing that has benefited hugely from the recent boom in development over the past few decades is the quality of the activities on offer. Due to high competition you are pretty much guaranteed to get the best and safest service possible.

scuba

Playa del Carmen, although perhaps inferior to the nearby Cozumel, is ideal for scuba diving as it sits along the second largest barrier reef in the world. There are also plenty of places offering snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and fishing. You can choose from fly fishing, deep sea fishing or even night fishing. Snapper, Grouper, Tuna, Blue Marlin, White Marlin, Kingfish; no matter what time of year there is always something to catch in Playa del Carmen. So you are guaranteed to return feeling quite pleased with yourself!

Out of the water there are plenty of options as well, with sky diving, paragliding and horse riding all available and nearby you will find Xplor Adventure Park, filled with outdoor activities and attractions. Something not to be missed during your time in Playa is a visit to one of the many 'Cenotes' in the surrounding area. Cenotes are natural water pools and rivers, believed to be sacred by the Mayan people. They form a network of magical caves and caverns with trickling waterfalls and rivers and sunbeams that manage to squeeze and reflect their way in, creating an almost other worldly feel. There are many places where you can go and see these impressive natural spectacles and take a refreshing dip. There are by now many sites fully kitted-out with toilets and other facilities, so you can easily turn it into a day trip!

On the Beach

If you have had enough adventure for one day, then Playa will again come up trumps, as it is quite possibly one of the nicest places in the world to just chill on the sandy beach or relax in a hammock in the breeze, overlooking the ocean. There is a pretty lighthouse you can climb up and take in the breathtaking views from the top, followed by a well-earned cocktail back down on the beach. Playa del Carmen has a yearly average temperature of around 27°C, making it a pleasant beach destination nearly all the year round.

On the Road

Cozumel

Whilst staying in Playa for a Spanish course, you are at the gateway to the Mayan world, and it would be a shame not to take the opportunity to get out and explore your surroundings. Cozumel Island is probably the most easily accessed of all surrounding destinations, just a short boat ride across the water. It is a great spot for some snorkeling or scuba diving and simply walking around some of the Myan ruins and seeing the influence the Myan people had on the sacred island. Further ruins are to be found scattered throughout the Mayan Riviera, where Playa del Carmen is located. In Xel-Ha and Tulum, both just 45 minutes away, you will be able to see some truly fascinating Mayan temples and structures and a bit further away is the ancient Mayan city of Coba, complete with the tallest pyramid on the Yucatan Peninsula. Also nearby, but not drawing in the crowds for its ancient ruins, is Cancun. This playground of the rich and famous that used to be nothing but a pirate retreat, is a hive of hedonistic activity and fun and definitely worth the one hour journey to get there from Playa del Carmen.

There is truly a little bit of something for everyone in Playa del Carmen and should you choose it as the location of your Spanish school in Mexico you certainly won't be stuck for things to do. There could be little nicer than even just knowing that you can take a stroll after class that ends with a dip in the crystal clear turquoise sea or lazing on the golden sand and all the while being in the midst of the Spanish language and an eclectic mix of the Spanish culture, all in one place.