Playa del Carmen
Overview
 
Playa del Carmen is a balneario
Balneario
Balneario is a Latin American seaside resort, although they may also occur along great lakes, rivers and at hot springs. In Spain balneario typically only refers to spa town resorts. Whatever the case these resorts offer recreation, sports, entertainment, food, hospitality and safety services,...

 resort city just south of Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 on the coast of the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

, in the northeast of the Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 state
States of Mexico
The United Mexican States is a federal republic formed by 32 federal entities .According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign. Each state has their own congress and constitution, while the Federal District has only limited autonomy with a local Congress...

 of Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 10 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal....

. The city is the seat of the Solidaridad municipality
Solidaridad, Quintana Roo
Solidaridad is one of the ten municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is also one of the youngest municipalities in the country and was formed on July 28 of 1993 by decree of the State Congress during the administration of Mario Villanueva Madrid...

. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 149,923 people and it is rapidly growing in population. It is the third largest city in Quintana Roo, after Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 and Chetumal
Chetumal
Chetumal is a city on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo and the municipal seat of the Municipality of Othón P. Blanco...

.
Playa del Carmen is named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

, who is the patron saint of Cancún.
Encyclopedia
Playa del Carmen is a balneario
Balneario
Balneario is a Latin American seaside resort, although they may also occur along great lakes, rivers and at hot springs. In Spain balneario typically only refers to spa town resorts. Whatever the case these resorts offer recreation, sports, entertainment, food, hospitality and safety services,...

 resort city just south of Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 on the coast of the Caribbean Sea
Caribbean Sea
The Caribbean Sea is a sea of the Atlantic Ocean located in the tropics of the Western hemisphere. It is bounded by Mexico and Central America to the west and southwest, to the north by the Greater Antilles, and to the east by the Lesser Antilles....

, in the northeast of the Mexican
Mexico
The United Mexican States , commonly known as Mexico , is a federal constitutional republic in North America. It is bordered on the north by the United States; on the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; on the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and on the east by the Gulf of...

 state
States of Mexico
The United Mexican States is a federal republic formed by 32 federal entities .According to the Constitution of 1917, the states of the federation are free and sovereign. Each state has their own congress and constitution, while the Federal District has only limited autonomy with a local Congress...

 of Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo
Quintana Roo officially Estado Libre y Soberano de Quintana Roo is one of the 31 states which, with the Federal District, comprise the 32 Federal Entities of Mexico. It is divided in 10 municipalities and its capital city is Chetumal....

. The city is the seat of the Solidaridad municipality
Solidaridad, Quintana Roo
Solidaridad is one of the ten municipalities that make up the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is also one of the youngest municipalities in the country and was formed on July 28 of 1993 by decree of the State Congress during the administration of Mario Villanueva Madrid...

. In the 2010 census, the city had a population of 149,923 people and it is rapidly growing in population. It is the third largest city in Quintana Roo, after Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 and Chetumal
Chetumal
Chetumal is a city on the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. It is the capital of the state of Quintana Roo and the municipal seat of the Municipality of Othón P. Blanco...

.

History

Playa del Carmen is named for Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel
Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries...

, who is the patron saint of Cancún. The first recorded visitors to the beaches of what is now Playa del Carmen came during the Early Classic Period (a.d. 300-600) of the Mayan civilization. Then called Xaman-Ha, or "waters of the north," Playa del Carmen was a rest stop of sorts for travelers making their way from the great cities of the Mayan world to the island of Cozumel.

The coast and lowlands of the peninsula were still heavily populated with the descendents of the fallen civilization when the Spaniards arrived. Tulum, less than an hour south of Playa, was the last Mayan outpost and there are plenty of small ruins in Playa del Carmen. The Spanish focused their attention around the area of Mérida, where conditions were better for growing henequén (sisal), a fibre used to make rope. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the Caribbean coast was considered a savage place with not much to offer for potential settlers.

Tourism



Originally a small fishing town, tourism
Tourism
Tourism is travel for recreational, leisure or business purposes. The World Tourism Organization defines tourists as people "traveling to and staying in places outside their usual environment for not more than one consecutive year for leisure, business and other purposes".Tourism has become a...

 to Playa del Carmen began with the passenger ferry service to Cozumel
Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo...

, an island across the Cozumel Channel and world famous scuba diving
Scuba diving
Scuba diving is a form of underwater diving in which a diver uses a scuba set to breathe underwater....

 destination. It did not take long for visitors to realize that some of the best beaches and vibes in Mexico were to be found in Playa. While passing through, many people realized that it was a nice place to relax away from the crowds of Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 but with better quality beaches and turquoise waters. While its salt water scuba diving cannot compete with Cozumel
Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo...

, for the adventurous, Playa del Carmen's fresh water cenote
Cenote
A cenote is a deep natural pit, or sinkhole, characteristic of Mexico and Central America, resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes groundwater underneath...

 diving more than makes up for it.

Playa del Carmen, or just "Playa", has one of the most laid-back main steets in the Americas. Avenida Quinta, or "Fifth Avenue" is all pedestrian for 2 miles, a line of hotels, restaurants, bars and shops that can be walked without fear of cars. The restaurants to the north, in the neighborhood of Little Italy, are of exceptional value.

Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya
Riviera Maya, also known as the Mayan Riviera, is a tourism district following the coastal Highway 307 which parallels the Caribbean coastline of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, located on the eastern portion of the Yucatán Peninsula...

, which runs from south of Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 to Tulum and the Sian Ka'an
Sian Ka'an
Sian Ka'an is a non profit and non governmental organization biosphere reserve formed by a group of conservationists in the municipality of Tulum in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, whose mission is the conservation of the biodiversity...

 biosphere reserve. Playa is a stop for several cruise ships which dock at the nearby Calica
Calica
Calica is a quarry and a port on the Quintana Roo coast of Mexico. The name is short for the full Spanish name Calizas Industriales del Carmen, "calizas" Spanish for lime or limestone...

 quarry docks, about six miles south of the city. The Xcaret Eco Park
Xcaret Eco Park
Xcaret Park is a privately owned and operated theme park, resort and self-described ecotourism development located in the Riviera Maya, a portion of the Caribbean coastline of Mexico's state of Quintana Roo that has been designated as a zone for tourism development...

, a Mexican-themed "eco-archaeological park", is a popular tourist destination located just south of the town in Xcaret
Xcaret
Xcaret is a Maya civilization archaeological site located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the modern-day state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. The site was occupied by the pre-Columbian Maya and functioned as a port for navigation and an important Maya trading center...

 . Tourist activity in Playa del Carmen centers on Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue, stretching from Calle 1 norte until Calle 40, a pedestrian walkway located just one or two blocks inland from the beach. Fifth Avenue is lined with hundreds of shops, bars and restaurants. There are many small boutique hotels on Fifth Avenue as well as just off Fifth Avenue and on the beach, such as Luna Blue Hotel & Bar, Fusion Beach Hotel Bar & Grill, Deseo, Basico, Casa Ticul, Barrio Latino, La Tortuga and many others.
The Playa del Carmen local community and government have attempted to retain Playa del Carmen's reputation and charm as a small fishing village and artists' colony, without it becoming as large and metropolitan as Cancún. The city passed an ordinance limiting buildings to four stories. A few five story buildings were built despite the ordinance, however. Playa del Carmen is currently expanding north beyond the Colosio section and on the other side of highway 307, the Ejido.

Playacar
Playacar
Playacar is an upscale resort area of Playa del Carmen.Located south of Quintana Roo, Mexico in the municipality of Solidaridad, it is a gated community that has grown with Playa del Carmen, just south of its main urban area....

 is a residential and tourist development in Playa del Carmen, just south of the main urban area. In this development most of the all-inclusive hotels, the aviary, and the golf course are located. There are two phases, phase 1 is mostly residential with a few hotels and some stores. Phase 2 contains the largest all inclusive resorts along with the golf course and a significant number of residential properties. Playacar was developed starting in 1979 by Mr. Fernando Barbachano's company: Compania Impulsora Turi­stica de Playa del Carmen, S.A., The development was later sold to Aircoa, an American Corporation, which later sold the development to SIDEK of the Martinez Huitron Family and more recently sold to Mr. Ernesto Echeverria.

There is a significant Canadian, European and Argentinian influence in Playa, with a number of local business proprietors drawn from the American, South American and European expatriate
Expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

 community. In addition a significant amount of Playa's tourists include thousands of backpackers from around the world, who pass through Playa while touring Mexico and the surrounding region.

In October 2005 Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. Wilma was the twenty-second storm , thirteenth hurricane, sixth major hurricane, and fourth Category 5 hurricane of the record-breaking 2005 season...

 passed directly over Playa del Carmen, remaining in the vicinity for two days and causing significant damage and a temporary drop in tourist arrivals. Fortunately most of the damage was relatively superficial and repaired within a few weeks of the storm. Hurricane Wilma arrived from the Caribbean sea, passing over Cozumel
Cozumel
Cozumel is an island in the Caribbean Sea off the eastern coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, opposite Playa del Carmen, and close to the Yucatan Channel. Cozumel is one of the ten municipalities of the state of Quintana Roo...

 before making landfall in Playa del Carmen. It then moved north along the Mexican coast, hitting Cancún
Cancún
Cancún is a city of international tourism development certified by the UNWTO . Located on the northeast coast of Quintana Roo in southern Mexico, more than 1,700 km from Mexico City, the Project began operations in 1974 as Integrally Planned Center, a pioneer of FONATUR Cancún is a city of...

 especially hard.

Education

In Playa del Carmen there are many different educational options ranging from primary to university, and from public to private.

Secondary education

  • Colegio de Bachilleres (COBACH)
    Cobach
    COBACH English: is a chain of High Schools in the 31 states and D.F. of Mexico. There are more than 10,000 establishments in all the country and private schools associated with COBACH....

  • Colegio de Estudios Científicos y Tecnológicos Del Estado (CECYTE)
  • Colegio de Educación Profesional Técnica (CONALEP)
  • Instituto Educativo Yits'Atil (privada)
  • Mayaland (privada)
  • Colegio Inglés (privada)
  • Centro Nacional de Capacitación Intensiva (CNCI)
  • Preparatoria La Salle
  • Secundaria Tecnica del turismo (SETETU)

University

  • Universidad Tecnológica de la Riviera Maya (UT riviera maya)
  • Universidad de Quintana Roo campus Riviera Maya (UQROO)
  • Universidad Interamericana para el Desarrollo (UNID)
  • Universidad Riviera (UNIR)
  • Universidad La Salle (ULSA playa)

In popular culture

The telenovela
Telenovela
A telenovela is a limited-run serial dramatic programming popular in Latin American, Portuguese, and Spanish television programming. The word combines tele, short for televisión or televisão , and novela, a Spanish or Portuguese word for "novel"...

 Peregrina takes place in Playa del Carmen.

Sports

The city is home to Inter Playa del Carmen
Promotora Deportiva Inter Playa del Carmen AC
Inter Playa del Carmen is Mexican football club that plays in the Segunda División Profesional. The club is based in Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo....

, a football (soccer) club founded in 1999, currently competing in the south group of the Segunda División Profesional, third tier of Mexican football league system.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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