Playa del Carmen, Mexico
It’s not easy to take a photo in Playa del Carmen which does not have about five hundred tourists in it. But here is one. Playa is like a smaller Cancun, which means everything feels very inauthentic if you go there after two weeks of traveling in less touristed parts of Mexico. Highly commercialized and developed, Playa features a long paved pedestrian mall lined with cafes, bars, shops and ATMs that allow you to withdraw US dollars. The beach clubs lining the sand offer shaded lounges for use if you purchase drinks and food. We took advantage of this, enjoying mojitos and hot chips and guacamole and beers, with live bands behind us playing covers of everything from Daft Punk to Steely Dan. By late afternoon, there were clear views of the empty beach as most people retired to their hotels to prepare for an evening of dancing in the massive night clubs surrounding the beach. This was my favorite part of the day, as we stayed as long as we could by the water, not wanting the time in the open air to end, knowing we were about to leave Mexico.