Playa Del Carmen is just an hour down the coast from Cancun and is a much more compact town. All of the beaches are public and there is a small walking street called 5th Avenue filled with shops, restaurants and bars. Our hotel was just a few blocks back from the beach in more of a local area with much cheaper accommodation and all of the best food.
Our favourite place to eat was Asadero Del Pollo, a chicken place just around the corner from our hotel. All of the prices were listed on a board and we always went for a 1/2 Chicken to share (just say Medio Pollo in Spanish as they don’t speak any English), which was 60 pesos or £2.35. It came with rice, tortillas, pickled onions, salsa and a fiery hot habanero sauce. Build your own tacos! The chicken was grilled over charcoal to perfection and we went back time and again, even for takeaway some nights we loved it that much.
We tried a selection of tacos at various places, some in restaurants and some from taco stands, but our favourite by far were from Billy The Kid. This is a small taqueria about 3 blocks back from the beach and they do the most delicious tacos for 9 pesos each (0.35p). The tortillas here are delicious, they don’t taste too strongly of corn or flour and the grilled onions and cilantro toppings are a bonus. Only a few tacos on the menu, we tried the Bistec, Chorizo and Cabeza. Our favourite place for breakfast.
One place that gets a mention which is beachfront and not local is Señor Frogs, a bit over budget but they did some of the most amazing Ceviche we’ve tried anywhere. It’s more of a place for drinks and Tex-Mex style food but we did treat ourselves now and again.
We really liked Playa Del Carmen and think it’s a much better choice than Cancun if you want to be able to eat and drink outside the hotel, or choose a different beach each day. We’d definitely come back on holiday without the backpacker budget, although the best food really was further back from the beach in the local restaurants and food stands.