Quintessential Playa del Carmen consists of sunbathing and swimming at trendy beach clubs by day, then drinking and dancing at nightclubs until the sun comes up. In between, there’s an enjoyable array of diversions along Quinta Avenida, a pedestrian-only cobbled street that is the town’s main drag. Beyond city limits however, Playa del Carmen can begin to reveal itself as a real ecotourism hub. With some of the best snorkeling in the world, mixed in between seasonal expeditions of diving with whale sharks, and swimming with turtles.
But much of the excitement of travel comes from immersing yourself in a foreign land, where customs and culture often differ from your own. Like many other cities, Playa del Carmen has local customs that make it one-of-a-kind. Here are some you should observe when traveling to this gem of the Riviera Maya:
Locals tend to dress casually. It is a beach city after all, so it is unreasonable for people not to wear something on-the-go. While most people use sandals and shorts when getting around the city, they usually attract raised eyebrows and sighs in high-end hotels and restaurants.
Haggling is a way of life in the area’s open-air markets – some of which make up the nicest Playa del Carmen excursions available. When bargaining, place your offer at half of the item’s original selling price, then bargain up from there. Take note, however, bargaining is not allowed when you are shopping at formal establishments.
Women often greet each other with a kiss on the cheek in social gatherings, even if it is their first time to meet. While men, who already know each other, greet with a hug or a gentle slap on the back. People greet each other by handshake in business settings. But this gesture is not always appropriate in social gatherings.
Tipping is one of the Playa del Carmen customs you need to observe. Waiters in the area expect tips between 10% and 15%. Hotel bellhops expect a $2 tip, while taxi drivers do not expect tips, however, it is customary that you round up the bill.