A Different View of Playa’s Fifth Ave

(Last Updated On: September 29, 2016)

Anyone who’s familiar with Playa Del Carmen, Mexico knows about Fifth Ave (or Avenida Quinta). A couple of blocks off the beach, the long pedestrian street is crammed with restaurants, bars, shops selling cheap tourist trinkets, and tour operators trying to get the attention of the throngs of tipsy and sunburned out-of-towners. It’s a fun, crazy, often loud and boisterous place to wander in the evening after a day of playing at the beach or snorkeling in Cozumel.5th Avenue Playa Del Carmen in the morning


We get a different sense of the street in the morning, when we try to go for a jog every day we are here. The morning shade and cool breezes make the run a little more manageable. The feel in the morning, as well, is a little more….honest.Playa Del Carmen Restaurant


As we travel block by block, we see a different side. Shop employees just starting to unshuttter the doors and windows, following their morning routine of hanging out t-shirts and trinkets and greeting other shop keepers. It’s a very social time in the morning where you see people who are making a living here working to muster up enthusiasm for another day of selling suspicious tourists on things that don’t necessarily interest them. Since they’re not in full “sell” mode, there are far fewer calls to us to come into their shops.shop on 5th avenue


Maybe it’s the cooler temperatures in the morning, but everything seems just a little more calm and mundane. Street cleaners are sweeping, mopping or scrubbing the walkways in front of the shops. And yes, we even spot the occasional bleary eyed tourist, looking a little the worse the wear from last night’s fun, trying to find a breakfast spot with strong coffee.Playa Purse Vendor



Playa Souvenir shopWe dodge past workers strolling (or hurrying, if they’re late) to catch the ferry to Cozumel, and pass early morning dog walkers. We nod to the other runners we see, with that unique upward nod that runners all seem to know.2015-03-09 16.01.25



delivery bike on 5th avenueWhen we’re traveling, we find we usually enjoy areas outside of the tourist areas the most. But, it’s interesting to find that even the hyped and popular places can have a different side to them, if you only look for it.

Heading to Playa Del Carmen? Don’t miss the Xcaret Theme Parks! Click for more information, including discounts and deals.

Related stories:

Mexican Amate Bark Paper Art – A Debate

Taco Tour of Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen Cooking School

Some of the links on this article are affiliate links, which means that if you click on them and make a purchase, we receive a small referral fee. If you find the links useful and do make a purchase, thanks so much for your support!

16 thoughts on “A Different View of Playa’s Fifth Ave”

  1. I loved the article. I was in Playa Del Carmen a couple of years ago and had a fantastic time staying @ the Reef. The thing I liked the best about that area is they were able to cater to tourists while still keeping that authentic Mexican vibe. Good times!

  2. How true that a area that is usually filled with tourists and sellers hawking souvenirs can take on a completely different vibe in the early morning hours. Thanks for taking us there. Wish I had thought of that when I was there.

  3. You’re so right! Everything looks so different in the morning!
    When I’m in a new place I always wake up early just to see how it looks just before all the tourists and tourist attractions flood the city / town / village 🙂

  4. I agree, first thing in the morning is the best time to see almost anywhere. Your photos capture the underpinnings of the street and the shopkeepers quietly setting up for the day. Just a hint of color captures the mood of quiet preparation. well done

  5. I like the local perspective. You start to become a local when you relate to the people who work there. A very nice side of travel.

  6. Hi Sean and Jen,

    Such a sweet take on the day — the usual hawking is replaced with workers in the cool morning, readying for their day.
    Nicely done!
    And you get your exercise, too!

    Thanks for a very nice post.

  7. One of the joys of traveling slow and living like a local is discovering the true essence of a community and you certainly seem to have done that on Fifth Avenue. I could almost smell the steaming coffee as I inhaled the cool morning air. Great post.


Leave a Comment