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Neighbourhood Spotlight: The “Back End” of Downtown

Jimmys's Place condosWe’ve talked about a few neighbourhoods downtown, including Little Italy, the gentrifying south end, etc.  All of these are pretty high profile in some way or another.  There’s one pocket of downtown, however, that has good potential for lifestyle – and possibly investment – which is very much overlooked.  This is the “back end.”  A couple of days ago, I highlighted a nice condo in this area, so today, let’s look at the neighbourhood itself.

Where is it?

First of all, let me describe what area I mean.

Downtown Playa is the area between the federal highway that runs to Cancun and Tulum and the beach.  About halfway down is a major road called 30th Ave.  For most people, downtown would be considered the area from 30th to the beach; this is, after all, where all the shops, restaurants, stores and services are (with the exception of a few items on this end Juarez Ave., the oldest main access road from the highway to the beach/downtown.)

And what’s between 30th and the highway?  Well, mostly condos and houses.  This is the area I’m talking about.  Let’s look at some of the advantages.

It’s very affordable. Furnished 2bd Penthouse in Aqua Village

Since it’s not next to the beach, and not next to all the trendy tourist shops downtown, demand is relatively low.  Prices for Playa del Carmen real estate are consequently very low as well.  For example, that nice 2-bedroom penthouse I wrote about a few days is only $140,000 USD. Recently we were selling another nice 2-bedroom condo for $90,000 USD.  Both are in newer, nicely designed complexes, with pools and a pleasant common area.  I’ve seen others for as low as about $65,000.  Mind you, these probably didn’t have any common area whatsoever, but they still looked well designed.

It’s close to the supermarkets.

Many of the main services in Playa del Carmen are right along 30th Ave., so that’s just a short walk away.  This includes all 4 large supermarkets (Walmart is one of them,) taco shops, local markets, sushi shops, restaurants, banks and much more.

Mega comercial mexicana, playa del carmenIt’s close to the highway.

It’s easy access (2 minutes!) to the highway to get to the airport, Cancun, Tulum, nature parks, Mayan ruins, etc.

It’s quiet.

Since it’s not where the action is, it’s a quiet neighbourhood. Even traffic is pretty low since no one drives there unless they live there.

And the beach?

Avid walkers could walk to the beach in about 20-30 minutes.  It’s a short bike ride, and the taxi would be less than $2.

Now, there are homes and pockets that are still pretty working-class, but it’s entirely safe, and I believe as Playa grows and it becomes clear that this is really central, more people will start paying attention to it.  So, it could turn out that this would be a good investment as well.  We’ll have to wait and see.

In any case, it’s a great choice to live well in downtown Playa on a lower budget.


Andy Welbourne, from London, Ontario, has been living in Playa del Carmen and working as a part of the team with Thomas Lloyd for 7 years. He has worked with many Canadians and Americans to assist in finding their dream home in the Mexican Caribbean; many of these clients have turned into great friendships. Contact Andy at (512) 879-6546.

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