The beaches of Mexico have been a special-occasion oasis for newlyweds, spring breakers, and families for decades. Mainly touristy spots such as Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Acapulco and Puerto Vallarta. But what about Playa del Carmen or Tulúm? That’s why FestPop has published the first The Riviera Maya Music Festival Travel Guide.
Playa del Carmen
The east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula spans south from Cancun, with dozens of all-inclusive resorts, ancient Mayan ruins to the 3 million acres Sian Ka’an Nature Preserve. Playa del Carmen lies about midway between Cancún and the up-and-coming and still somewhat bohemian destination of Tulúm. The region is the Riviera Maya, a focal point for tourist activity and investment by the Mexican government, which started with Cancún in the 1970s and spread down the coast.
Unlike other parts of Mexico, Playa del Carmen is very safe and clean. An active police force (both Municipal and Federal) keeps an eye on things and the local government is committed to community improvements. On the outskirts of town, near the highway, you will find Home Depot and Sam’s Club, as well as large shopping malls, full of brands and products you know from the U.S. And in-town you find specialty shops of gourmet foods, clothing, and more. The feel is First World, with services, infrastructure, and amenities to match as a result of the intense promotional work that drives the Governor Roberto Borge Angulo and Gongora Mayor Mauricio Escalante, together with the Riviera Maya Tourism Board www.rivieramaya.com
In fact, this music festival travel guide was made in partnership with the Riviera Maya Tourism Board and the professionalism of Tourism Board Director, Mrs. Liz Perea Barrientos and Mr. Salvador Torres, PR Executive. We miss you Liz & Sal:-)
Playa del Carmen: Quinta Avenida (5th Avenue)
The heart of Playa del Carmen is the famous Quinta Avenida, or Fifth Avenue. It’s a miles-long pedestrian avenue lined with shops, boutiques, bars, cafés, and restaurants of every cuisine imaginable, from high-end to budget. Dining options range from Chilean steakhouses and Cuban chili crab and cevichi to the more standard fare of fish tacos and coconut prawns.
Playa del Carmen: Best Dinning Experiences
Best Dinner: Almirante Pech
Best Lunch: La Cueva del Chango
Playa del Carmen: Night Life
Zenzi (Start Here 6PM-7PM)
Diablito Cha cha cha (8PM-9PM)
Blue Parrot (9PM-11PM)
Best After Hours Club-La Santanera (End Here at 3AM-11AM)
The BPM Music Festival | January 8-17, 2016
The cornucopia of Music Festivals
In its 9th year BPM, a 10-day festival for underground or deep house dance has rapidly established itself as an essential music destination on the global festival circuit. Last year’s programming showcased over 375 artists with more than 60,000 attendees from over 60 countries descending upon the festival. A dance music affair like no other, The BPM Festival is the perfect kickoff to the year for industry professionals, artists, and fans of all forms of underground dance music.
The BPM Music Festival continues to showcase the world’s premiere DJs. BPM draws in an international hybrid of festivalgoers, which contributes to the unique DNA of BPM and its mystique. The 24-hour programming combined with a plethora of activities from water sports and eco tourism, to venturing off the beaten path to explore Mayan ruins and archeological sites.
The BPM Festival co-founders Craig Pettigrew and Phillip Anthony Pulitano selected Playa Del Carmen as the home of BPM as a more central location for deep house fans in contrast to schlepping it all the way to Sirocco Beach, Ibiza. The international airport in Cancún makes getting to and from your home country easy. The bonus for Americans is zero jet lag since Mexico shares our Midwest CST time zone.
The BPM Festival offers festivalgoers an unmatched setting in Playa Del Carmen, amidst the scenic landscape of the Mayan Riviera. The cosmopolitan beach town is home to stunning beaches, breathtaking ecotourism sites and attractions, ancient archaeological wonders, and world-class nightlife.
Four Day Festival Labor Day Weekend at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya featuring some of the top names in Smooth Jazz!
Taking place at the HARD ROCK HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA January the festival will feature a massive dance party during the night, with daytime activities ranging from yoga classes, Tequila tastings, and off-site excursions.
Dance 2015 away for 3 days on beaches and jungles in the Caribbean
Cancun Spring Break has always been in a league of its own, but the party got even crazier with the addition of Inception Music Festival.
Music Festival Calendar
2nd – 3rd Dj Fest http://www.djfest.mx/
9th – 18th BPM Festival http://www.thebpmfestival.com/
28th –Feb 2nd Arena http://www.arena.mx/
6th – 14th Opera Maya http://www.operamaya.com/summer-and-concert.html
24th – 26th Vibes Festival https://www.facebook.com/VIBESFestPlaya
26th Corona Sunsets http://corona.sunsets.com.mx/sunsets.html
25th – 30th Paradiso http://www.paradiso.mx/
26th – 29th Riviera Maya Jazz Festival http://www.rivieramayajazzfestival.com/2015/
3rd – 6th Heineken Winter Beach http://heinekenwinterbeach.mx/
Playa del Carmen: Activities
Paradise found. Though it’s difficult to pry oneself from the comforts of your beach chair, you won’t regret experiencing the offerings of activity-haven, Punta Venado. Just 10 minutes south of Playa del Carmen you will find Punta Venado’s 2,000 acres of white sand beaches and dense jungles. Punta Venado offers horseback riding tours, snorkeling tours, and ATV tours, in addition to visits to its unique caves and cenotes. For the thrill and pleasure seekers, you may want to try the ATV, Snorkel, and Cave exploration package.
The group kicks off the day on a 45-minute ATV ride through the dense Mayan Jungle. If you think that you may not get your moneys’ worth due to slow, rickety ATV’s, think again. These machines move! Punta Venado tour guides set a great pace as they quickly cruise through the dense environment of trees, boulders, and serious heat.
The first stop comes about 15 minutes into the ride, where participants are lead into a dried up centoes and caves. The underground caves are magnificent and most importantly, a brisk 65 degrees, which is a perfect way to cool off. They are illuminated by multiple underground lights, which help to identify the stalactites, thus helping to understand the origin of these pre-historic caves. After about 10 minutes of exploring the caves, it’s back to the ATVs and another 30-minute ride to the beaches. Pulling up to the white sand beaches comes just in time. All that’s needed are some goggles, snorkels, flippers, and you’re soon snorkeling amongst one of the Riviera Maya’s most beautiful coral reefs. The calm waters and diverse marine life leaves you wanting more, just be sure to bring eco-friendly sunscreen! After 45-minutes of snorkeling/cooling off, it’s back to the ATV’s for the final leg of the excursion. Back on your ATV, you head back to the ranch where you can shower, enjoy the beach club, and most importantly find excellent ceviche and cerveza!!
Best Zip Line/Rappelling
The one stop shop for all things the Riviera Maya has to offer has to be Aventuras Mayas. Aventuras Mayas is an adventure company that allows you to experience everything from swimming with dolphins and turtles to navigating the Mayan jungle from ALL vantage points. Adventuras Mayas have one purpose and that’s the “mission is to provide unforgettable tours that allow visitors to live a magical and unique adventure in a sustainable environment of respect for nature.”
If your interest is to be a part of nature and experience the most thrilling adventure ride, the look no further than the “Mayan Xtreme” package which includes zip-lining, rappelling, and snorkeling. The day begins by exploring the amazing cenotes. Guests are led to ancient underground caves, previously formed when the region was once under water long ago. The crystal clear waters and astounding rock formations take your breath away (with the help of the frigid water!) With bats flying overhead and the pure wonder of these natural makings, you won’t soon forget the experience.
Swimming in the cenotes is the perfect activity to work up and appetite and lunch are conveniently scheduled next. An authentic Mexican buffet is served, which is comprised of baked chicken, rice, beans, pico de gallo, tortilla chips and a salad bar. Try not to eat too much, because repelling and zip-lining are thrilling best experienced when NOT filled to the brim. To help digest a bit, take a rest in the hammock field before heading to the 20-meter rappel (60 ft) down into the Mayan jungle. It’s an intimidating view from the top, but the guides quickly calm your nerves. After all, it’s not every day that you can free rappel 6-7 stories in the jungle.
Moving along, it was time to zip-line 20 meters (60 feet) above the jungle canopy on the fastest zip line ride in the region! Four separate zip-lining towers allow you to experience the jungle from above at every angle. Our advice, take out a camera and capture the moment in time!
Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya Quintana Roo, México
Once-sleepy Tulum has developed into a relaxed, stylish alternative to the all-inclusive excesses of Cancún. In addition to white-sand beaches and sparkling waters, the area is home to several fascinating Mayan ruins, countless cenotes (freshwater limestone pools), and excellent dining options. Of course, it would be understandable if you wanted to simply enjoy the sun and sand, but if you want to spend some time exploring all that Tulum has to offer, check out our long-weekend itinerary.
You may be tempted to spend your last hours in Tulum on the beach (and we wouldn’t blame you), but if you’re considering an excursion, the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve (about six miles south of town) is so rich in wildlife (include howler monkeys, anteaters, jaguars, pumas, flamingos, and crocodiles) that it’s been classified as a UN World Heritage Site. Ask at your hotel about arranging a tour, which typically includes a trip up a viewpoint tower to take in the landscape from above, a boat ride, and life-jacket-assisted float in the reserve’s magnificent blue lagoon.
Tulum Beach: Best Dining Experience
Mayan Ruins of Tulum
Each Mayan city had a specific purpose, and Tulum was no exception. It was a seaport, trading mainly in turquoise and jade. As well as being the only Mayan city built on a coast, Tulum was one of the few protected by a wall. Made of limestone, the 784-meter wall encloses the site on three sides, is seven meters thick, and varies between three and five meters in height. No doubt this fortification helped preserve the seaport.
Like the questions which surround the decline of the Mayan world, there are several theories as to why a wall surrounds Tulum. One has a Mayan population of 600 on the inside, protected from invaders. Another suggests only priests and nobility were housed within the walls, while peasants were kept on the outside.
After entering the ruins through one of five doorways in the wall, visitors are greeted by a field of gently-rolling hills. Black and grey stone outcroppings, which were once buildings, dot the sun-baked landscape.
Here visitors realize that what is left of Tulum can spark the imagination. Given that the seaport was once a link with the outside world, can there be any clues as to what happened to the civilization here? It’s a question historians and archeologists still grapple with, so don’t be discouraged if an answer isn’t obvious.
Most prominent among the remaining structures is the Castillo, or castle, which is perched on the edge of a 12-meter limestone cliff, overlooking the Caribbean coast. Negotiating its steep steps is best done sideways, a fact which will assert itself on the way down.
Before descending, though, be certain to catch a glimpse of the Caribbean behind the Castillo. The view is as refreshing as the cool breeze coming from the sea. In front of the Castillo is the Temple of the Frescoes, one of the better-preserved buildings. Peer inside the temple to see a mural painted in three sections. The first level represents the Mayan world of the dead, the middle is that of the living, and the final, highest piece, is of the creator and rain gods.
Written by Scotty Moore & Michael Lohan