4th of July in Playa del Carmen

Tomorrow is 4th of July… and for many of us we begin to feel a little homesick for Independence Day celebrations back home in good ol’ U.S.A.   Backyard BBQs, potluck parties and breathtaking displays of fireworks… Oh how I miss them!

This is Mexico… why would they celebrate the 4th of July in Playa del Carmen?

Well, this cosmopolitan beach town beckons to people from all over the world. In Playa del Carmen you will find Canadians, French, Germans, Chinese… the list goes on and on.  Consequently, we also have a large expat community from the United States.  With so many expats, there are sure to be great American hangouts celebrating the “red, white and blue” right?   Whether you are living in Playa del Carman or just on vacation here… you don’t want to miss out on this beloved holiday.

Related: Yucatan Peninsula: A Safe Haven for Visitors, Expats and Retirees

We have found some fun ways to celebrate Independence Day “beach style” here in Playa del Carmen.

Wah Wah Beach Bar is one of the most popular expat spots in Playa del Carmen. This beach club is located right on the beach and offers free beach chairs, a huge projection screen (where they show all the big games), wonderful food and drinks and great company. Wah Wah has decided to combined two great independence days… Canada (celebrated on July 1st) and the United states (celebrated on July 4th). Wah Wah throws this ultimate celebration, or as they call it, the “…biggest party south of the border”. The party will start at noon on July 4th and carry on into the night. There will be a delicious BBQ with traditional 4th of July treats and many drink specials such as 15 peso drafts, 2 for 1 margaritas and big liter house drinks for only 100 pesos. The live music starts at 7 p.m. filling the tropical night air the sounds of The Nasty Bastards and The Smokin’ Aces. The event is fun for the whole family so bring the kids along, there will be a big bouncy house and face painting!

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Additionally, Bad Boys beach bar is also having their annual 4th of July party this Saturday. Bad Boys is another favorite expat hangout for Americans here in Playa del Carmen. The festivities will start here at 3 p.m. with an appealing BBQ potluck style buffet featuring a whole roasted pig provided by your host. Accordingly, make your favorite 4th of July side dish or dessert to share and head over to the annual 4th of July celebration at Bad Boys. So have a couple of drinks, eat some BBQ and jam out to live music by Creizy Toy.

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Furthermore, most resorts will have some kind of 4th of July festivity; from BBQs to activity for the kids, from spectacular firework display to fun had by all.

Put on your “red, white and blue” and celebrate the 4th of July in Playa del Carmen.

Happy 4th of July Playa del Carmen!

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Living in Mexico Tip – Should I Eat in the Local Restaurants?

Living in Playa del Carmen
When it comes to food and traveling, the rule for tourists is pretty clear; stick to the restaurants in the resort/hotel or the bigger, nicer restaurants in the tourist areas.  No need to spoil the vacation because you got sick from eating in a sketchy little restaurant.  After all, even in the nicer places, prices are still excellent compared to back home!


However, once you actually settle down and begin living in Mexico as a retiree, either full time or part time on the longer term, it’s nice to try something different, something a bit more adventurous.  Most people know that you can find nice little gems in the local restaurants with excellent food and even lower prices.


The question is: How do you know which ones are good?  How do you know you won’t get sick?


While trial and error may not be the most appealing approach (and could leave you shut in your home when you should be out enjoying the beach), there are tips you can follow, such as the following:Living in Playa del Carmen

    • Ask other expats. Word spreads, and most expats have their regular hang-outs that usually NOT the main tourist spots.  In most communities where there are expats, a good portion of them will be adventurous; they’ll already have been out there and discovered which places have good food. Why reinvent the wheel?
    • Ask Mexicans. Once you get to know Mexican neighbors and you know their individual tastes, ask them for suggestions.  They’ll usually know a good number of local places and can even suggest less commonly known Mexican food.  Many Mexicans will even err on the side of caution when making recommendations to Americans and Canadians.
    • Look it up on the Internet.  While the smallest places won’t be online, sites like TripAdvisor or Foursquare include reports for surprisingly unknown places.  As I said, adventurers are everywhere, and these days most of them can post on the internet instantly.

Living in Playa del Carmen

  • Look at the crowd. In all likelihood, if a restaurant, cafe, bar or even taco stand is full of people every day, it’s probably safe.  If there are regular problems, word spreads quickly and people stop going.  This isn’t a guarantee, but if you’re just walking by on the street and you’re hungry for that taco, it can be one indication.



Of course, now and then a random adventure can be a fun way of being the first among the expat crowd to discover a great place for enchiladas; especially for new places that are just opening, sometimes it’s not a bad idea to give them a chance.  You might do best leaving the more adventurous undertakings for later on, once you know your community and have a better feel of how things work (or know at least basic Spanish.)


The bottom line is that you can try restaurants, cafes, etc., that are not on the main tourist strip, and do so pretty safely.


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La Ceiba Park – Where Jungle and Community Meet

Living in Playa del CarmenJust on the other side of the federal highway in Playa del Carmen there is a beautiful little park known as “La Ceiba”, or “Parque la Ceiba,” its full name in Spanish.  I’ve written about this park before – Top 5 Places to Experience the Day of the Dead, for example.


The park is very natural, preserving the area’s original vegetation and landscaping; at the same time, trails, playgrounds and other community spaces make the park a central part of Playa del Carmen’s community life, as well as the many cultural events which are hosted there.

The following are a few of the features and events to be found in Parque la Ceiba.


Cafe –  There is a nice little out-door cafe which sells a variety of drinks and snacks, and offers a very pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.

Theater – There is an outdoor theater where plays and presentations are made.


Weekly Market – Every Saturday there is a “tianguis” where natural food and local arts and crafts are sold.


Day of the Dead – Every year at the beginning of November, Parque La Ceiba hosts a series of events to celebrate Mexico’s Day of the Dead (which coincides with Halloween but lasts longer and has much deeper cultural roots.)



Recycling Drop-Off – For many expats, the lack of recycling collection in Playa del Carmen (as well as other parts of Mexico) can be frustrating.  This park has a drop-off center making it easier for residents to be environmentally responsible.


Plant Nursery – Besides the natural vegetation, which covers about 75% of the park, there is an area where plants native to the area are grown and potted to be sold.  Residents do well buying these plants because they are the most suited to the area’s soil and climate, and grow very well.


Living in Playa del CarmenAnnual Xcaret Market – Xcaret is a nearby theme park focusing on Mexico’s culture and history; every year they have a market in which they sell out the previous year’s left-over stock.  There are some great deals on very nice clothes!


Many Cultural EventsThere are many monthly, annual and one-time events offering things to buy and close contact with the area’s rich culture.


Living in Playa del CarmenI look forward to posting more about specific events and visits in La Ceiba.  It’s certainly one of my favorite places just to walk around or sit down and relax in a very natural setting while the kids enjoy playing!



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