What is the main shopping street in Playa del Carmen?

shopping Playa Del Carmen 5th Avenue
5th Avenue is a great place to walk. You will hear a lot of sales pitches from people. Don't let it bother you.

What shopping is like on the main pedestrian street

For those that are not as familiar with Playa Del Carmen, the main shopping street in Playa Del Carmen is 5th Avenue. This is a pedestrian street that goes for about 22 blocks and parallels the beach. It is known locally as Quinta Avenida as it would be in Spanish. This street is the most popular tourist street in Playa Del Carmen and where people like to spend their time walking and shopping. Most of the shops cater to tourists and sell souvenirs and gifts to take back home. There are also some stores that sell items that you can use if you live in Playa Del Carmen or need to do some serious shopping. 

5th Avenue description overview

5th Avenue runs parallel the beach in Playa Del Carmen and runs from about the Cozumel Ferry Pier to 42nd Street. Streets north of Juarez Avenue crossing 5th Avenue go 2nd St.,4th St.,6th St.  and so on. This is the section which is mainly where everything is that tourists want to see. This entire section is pedestrian (just watch for traffic crossing on side streets). You can find everything here on this street, live music, restaurants, street art, high-end shops, and souvenir shops. 

Playa Del Carmen started developing from the Cozumel Ferry Pier and then moved north. The upper end of 5th Avenue is newer and tends to have nicer restaurants and shops. Constituyentes Avenue is what divides lower 5th and upper 5th. For shopping, the lower end has more souvenir shops and more inexpensive things. Upper 5th tends to have higher end shops and in general more upscale restaurants. 

What are the best times to go shopping on 5th Avenue?

Playa Del Carmen is not exactly an early more town. There are a few people that get up to watch the sunrise, but other than that, people get up slowly and things open later in the day. Here is a rundown of what opens when and when things close.

  • 7:00am Coffee shops start to open.
  • 8:00am restaurants start to open. 
  • 9:00am-10am stores start to open. 
  • 9:00pm some stores close. 
  • 9:30pm-10pm some restaurants take the final orders. 
  • 11:00pm Restaurants are closed and some bar/clubs open. 
  • 2:00am-3:00am Bars and clubs start closing. 

When do we recommend visiting 5th Avenue?

We recommenced in the late afternoon around 5:00pm-9:00pm. We recommend this for several reasons. 

  1. You have the day to go to the beach, take sun, and relax. 
  2. The evening is cooler, and it is nice to walk around without full sun. 5th Avenue does have a lot of sun and can be pretty hot during the day. 
  3. Everything is open at this time. 
  4. 5th Avenue is livelier with street performers and the overall energy level is higher. 
  5. If you want to eat something or go for a drink, this time can be good. 
shopping on 5th Avenue Playa Del Carmen
During the day on 5th Avenue, it can be a bit quiet. Shopping on this main pedestrian street is more entertaining in the evening. 

What are some good things to buy in Playa Del Carmen?

People ask us all the time about what is good to buy in Playa Del Carmen. Many people think that since they are in Mexico, everything from Mexico must be a good deal. This would include leather, silver, amber, crafts, tequila and more. However, most people do not realize how large Mexico is. If you laid the map of Mexico over Europe, it would cover it from north to south. This is just to highlight that Mexico is a big country and just because you are in Mexico, it does not mean that things that come from Mexico are going to be a good deal. 

The Riviera Maya is in the state of Quintana Roo. This area of Mexico has not been as inhabited nor industrial as other parts of Mexico. Not much is made in the area, so many things are imported from other areas of the country, usually meaning that they are not as cheap since there is transportation involved. Playa Del Carmen is also an expensive place to rent shop space, so this also adds to the unaffordability to give discounts. 

Shops where you can buy quality and value things on 5th Avenue

We do have a guide as to what to buy in Playa Del Carmen that is quality and offers good value. Here are some of our top picks of things to buy in Playa Del Carmen and where to find them.

  • Mexican spirits. For the people that have everything a taste of Mexico in liquid form is nice. We did say above that some items from Mexico are imported and not the best to buy in Playa Del Carmen, but alcohol is a little different. Licor is a bit standardized, and you can buy at the same price pretty much everywhere. La Europea is a retail store in Quinta Alegria Mall that even locals and restaurants buy from. You get good prices and a nice selection. Be sure to look for Xtabentun liquor. It is a traditional liquor made here in the peninsula.
  • Ay Guey clothing. This is a Mexican design store with shirts, jewelry and a few other things. It is very Mexican with cool designs. There are three Ay Guey stores in Playa Del Carmen on Quinta Avenida. You can find them at 6th Street, between 10th and 12th streets and 28th Street.
  • Art. There are some local artists like Jacobo Roa and others. Some of them show art on 5th Avenue on Thursdays around 7:00pm-10:00pm. Others show on the south side of Quinta Alegria Mall. If you see something, get it because many people go back, and they are not there, or it is sold.
  • Mexican crafts.  Ambarte is another store that sells craft items including jewelry made from Mexican amber.
  • Pineda Covalin is a Mexican design store that sells traditional Mexican imagery printed on silk. This is a higher end store where you can find a piece that will be part of your collection for some time. You can find this store on 5th Avenue between 26th Street and 28th Street.
Shopping on the main pedestrian street in Playa Del Carmen
This main pedestrian street offers a lot of local shopping, and you can find things from around Mexico here. 

Shopping malls and Plazas on 5th Avenue on Playa Del Carmen

There are three main shopping plazas on 5th Avenue. At the start of 5th Avenue is the Paseo Del Carmen Shopping Mall. This is an open-air shopping center with a mix of clothing shops and souvenir shops. At 12th Street you will find Calle Corazon Plaza. This has some higher end stores and restaurants plus the H&M Store. The third shopping area is Quinta Alegria. This is a three-level mall that has mostly different clothing stores in it. 

All of these shopping centers are not huge but are smaller scale to fit the feel of 5th Avenue. If you need some other shopping places, see our shopping guide to Playa Del Camren here

Paseo Del Carmen Shopping Mall
Paseo Del Carmen Shopping Mall at night. 

Safety on 5th Avenue in Playa Del Carmen

Overall, Playa Del Carmen is a pretty safe area for tourists. Here on this main street that tourists like to walk on, there are thousands of people daily. We rarely hear of theft via pick pocket or other type. This is good news, but don’t let your guard down. Here are some safety tips when you go out for a night of shopping. 

  • When at a restaurant, keep your purse closed and in sight. 
  • Do not use the ATM machines (as is recommended in most tourist areas). Skimmers are often at these standalone machines. Use an ATM at a bank for more safety. There are some just a block off of this main shopping street. 
  • Many shopkeepers will talk to you as you walk by. Often, they try to get your attention. One of the most common is “I am the waiter at your hotel, this is my day off and I want to show you my store, come in”. Most people try to maybe believe it is the waiter, but they are not, and it is a way to get you into the shop. There is nothing wrong with going in, but it is on false pretense. Most good shops do not need people outside to bring in clients. 
  • Prices in shops are not negotiable. On the street where there are no prices, you can haggle a little. 
  • If you eat at a restaurant, all prices are listed with the tax included. It is illegal to add a tip to the bill. Some restaurants try this, look carefully at your bill. 
  • Most places will accept USD. But they will set the rate at which they accept. It is usually always a little worse rate for you than the casa de cambio places. See our guide here to using dollars or pesos and how to best pay for things. 

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