The Colosio Neighborhood in Playa Del Carmen
We wanted to revisit Colosio since many of our readers have asked about different condo buildings going up in the area. We wrote about Colosio a few years back, and even though our article is still accurate and informative, we wanted to update everyone on what is currently going on in the Colosio area. This article can help people that are looking to buy, rent or buy and move to the area. So, depending on your situation, we hope you find this article helpful.
Note: We do not sell real estate on our website. We only like to provide good information to our readers about different areas locally. On our website we do refer people to good services like recommended people to work with in real estate based on readers’ experiences and local reputation.
What is considered the Colosio area?
Colosio is considered the area north of Avenue CTM (aka 46th Street) between the beach and 30th Avenue and going up to about 112th Street. This area is large, but when you look at the area that is being developed now and what areas people rent and buy in, it is a much smaller part of Colosio. One the map below, we show the large area of Colosio and the orange area is the area that people generally look at for real estate purchases. We also added 4 red markers to show the access points to the beach.
A brief history of the Colosio neighborhood
Colosio has a unique history in Playa Del Carmen and it is important to know just how it came about. In the 1980’s Playa was just starting to grow. Beyond CTM Avenue on the north end of Playa was all woods. There was nothing there. Locals had started to feel pressure to have places to live and own land. Community activist hatched the plan to take over what would become to Colosio area. In 1987 activists and locals participated in what was called “the invasion”. People came with machetes, chainsaws and bulldozers to cut roads and divide up the land.
This resulted in the land being divided up into parcels. Depending on which side you believe and what part of the government you listen to, it was deemed legal or illegal. Regardless of the legality, the definitive results are many properties do not have a title in Colosio. This has made it difficult to buy and has slowed development of the area.
This means that anyone looking at property in this area will need to do extra due diligence when looking at paperwork.
Who and what prices do people pay for rent in Colosio?
Colosio has been the area for single or young couples to rent more budget friendly places. It is and artsy area not only because of the murals, but because of the (foreigners) who rent there. Before Covid-19 we were getting digital nomads coming to Playa Del Carmen, but since so many could work online during Covid-19, we have seen digital nomads triple in Playa Del Carmen. Colosio has gotten a lot more people looking for longer term rentals.
Prices start at about 6000 pesos (about 300 USD|) and go up to about 15,000 pesos (750 USD) for monthly rentals. Since most tourists that come for a week want access to things centrally located in Playa, this area is not that desirable for short term rentals. We never recommend this area for short stays when readers ask about booking something in Colosio. It is just not worth it for your time and the level of most accommodation in this area. Colosio is however much better as a budget long term rental type of situation.
Knowing current demand and prices, this means that if you are looking for an investment property and want to count on rent as part of ROI, you have to temper your expectations and also not overinvest in a property that will not appeal to the current rental market.
Pro tip: See our article about one of the best investment tools for the area. This data analytics tool helps with data from the area and local rentals.
Positive and negative points about Colosio
Let’s take a look at some of the factors that affect the value and potential of the Colosio Neighborhood.
Positive points to consider
- More condo buildings are going up, this is starting to transform this neighborhood from one story houses to a denser residential area.
- Boutique stores are starting to line part of 5th Avenue.
- The new grocery store that is being built on 34th Street and 10th Avenue is going to have a positive impact on Colosio. Even though this is not in the neighborhood, it does bring access to a large grocery store much closer than the other grocery stores in the downtown.
- The south end of Colosio is easily walkable to the downtown of Playa Del Carmen. All of Colosio is bikeable.
- Prices per square meter are cheaper in this area.
- Colosio is close to the beach, although there are limited access points, and the beach is more natural. Because there are not hotels or businesses in front of the beach, it is not cleaned as much.
Negative points to consider about Colosio
- Infrastructure has not improved much in recent years. The main issue is sewer capacity and what happens when it rains heavily. Often sewers overflow on 5th Avenue.
- Parking in the more popular parts of Colosio is metered now. Since most new buildings do not have parking due to smaller size, parking on the street can become a hassle.
- Rents are considerably lower than the center. This means that if you are looking for an investment property, you need to consider this is not as popular with short term rentals. Longer term rentals are more popular in this area, but that means less rental income per month.
- The big factor for Colosio is what is going to happen to the large empty land in front of the beach. If it continues to be empty, it does not add any value to the area. It is built on; it could block a lot of views of current units.
What is our opinion of Colosio and what shapes that opinion?
There is no doubt Colosio is changing, growing, and adding more condos to the area. Colosio is becoming a bedroom community of the downtown, and more foreigners are renting in this area.
While some like the artsy edginess of Colosio, it is also an area of friction between locals and short-term renters that come to the area. Often in these types of areas, crimes of opportunity such as break-ins are more prevalent. The further north you go in this area (80th street and up) can feel a little sketchy to some single women or men at night.
We would not consider this a great area to live in personally. The only three things that make it a good area is the proximity to the center, current views of the ocean (which is not guaranteed), and lower price point. It is not as much as a cohesive community as some of the other areas further back in Playa. Currently access to grocery stores is limited and would be more of a hassle to do daily errands.
We also consider that all of our recommended realtors that we refer to readers, none of them have invested in Colosio. The main reason is, there are other areas that have better rentals and are better places to live. As the saying goes ” the more you invest, the more you make”. This is pretty true in the real estate market in Playa Del Carmen. Cheaper properties get cheaper clients and often you have more maintenance because it is cheaper construction. It only really makes since if you have been priced out of the market in the center of Playa or other areas and want something sort of close to the beach and downtown.
Investing in Colosio
As far as an investment, Colosio is similar to the area on the south end of the downtown (the area from Juarez Avenue to 12th Street and from 30th Avenue to the 307 highway. The prices are both more accessible than the downtown prime real estate area. The main differences are the possible views and close proximity to the beach in Colosio is better. In general, condos on the south end of Playa are larger.
With these factors in consideration, here is what we would buy and not buy:
- We would not buy anything on the first two floors of a building in Colosio. In part for security and for views.
- Nothing without a view or good airflow.
- There would have to be a small dip pool on the roof.
- We would not buy anything past 70th Street. Beyond 70th Street it gets too far to walk or bike, and it gets less desirable the further north you go in Colosio.
- Nothing more than a two-bedroom unit. Larger condos are for families or groups and Colosio is not the best area for families with younger children to stay. Also, less expensive +groups renting equals problems. Probably a studio or one bedroom would be better.
- We would not buy anything over 180,000 USD. The reason is the rental market does not support upper end rentals and for about the same maximum price, you have a lot more options, even Tulum.
- If buying something as a personal unit to live in, it would have to be at least a one bedroom. Studios are too small for daily living.
Who we would deal with to buy something in Colosio
We would only work with a realtor that is a buyer’s agent, meaning not dealing directly with the developer. Having a good realtor and one that is a buyer’s agent means they work just for you and will do the research on the developer and finances.
It is true you can cut out the middleman (a realtor) and buy from a developer with in-house sales. There still are salespeople, but they sometimes can offer better deals or include something. There is however much more risk doing this. They will only be working to sell you their product, they will not offer other options and you have no outside expert voice on whether it is a good purchase or not.
Since many of the lots are smaller in Colosio, there are smaller and newer developers doing projects in this area. This means that extra care is needed to research the developer and look at their reputation and financing. Just walking around Colosio you can see evidence of projects that were started and then stopped and others that were not built correctly and are abandoned.
Thank you for reading our second article about the Colosio neighborhood in Playa Del Carmen. We hope you found it helpful and informative. We have a lot more information about real estate in Playa Del Carmen in our guide here. There is also a real estate guide and videos for Tulum on our website since this market is similar to Playa and many are also investing in this area. If you want to know what the differences between Playa Del Carmen and Tulum, see our article here. If you are new to buying property in Mexico, you might like to read about the buying process and what is involved in Mexico.