Playa del Carmen, Mexico; Humor in the Construction Boom
By Suzanne Marie Bandick

Playa del Carmen is growing; it has been for awhile now and will continue to, as it seems to be impossible for this little Caribbean-style, Mexican town on the eastern coast of Mexico to go unnoticed.

However, since hurricane Wilma, it seems that things just will not stop even for a moment. The city made repairs incredibly fast and then obviously decided just to keep right on working. There is road construction and new buildings popping up or starting everywhere. Some days you can’t find your house, as the neighborhood has changed too much with all the construction! Everyone walks around the town saying, “What’s that? What’s that? What’s that?”

It has become increasingly difficult to move around town as the main artery of Juarez was torn up for over a month to put in underground electrical and water lines. Playa del Carmen, tending to always be overzealous, decided in its infinite wisdom to actually start work on almost all the other roads as well, all at the same time! Don’t ever tell me Mexicans are not hard workers. The good news is if you can’t get where you wanted to go, you can always go somewhere else.

The reality is yes, we are experiencing a little traffic congestion. Understand, Playa del Carmen is not a big place, but traffic is currently backed up everywhere in town.  What once was a five-minute commute has now become fifteen. Life is tough here, I tell you. I highly recommend walking if possible; it is the quickest mode of transportation at the moment. You know you are in trouble when you sit in your car and the little old lady traveling on foot passes you.

New construction is everywhere. Just in time for Christmas a WalMart opened, then right on its heels, a Mega Commercial store opened just down the road from the WalMart. They sandwiched the little, old-style San Francisco de Assis grocery between them. Soriana, a big Mexican-based, box-style store, is going in across from Sam’s Club on the highway, and a huge shopping plaza called La Gran Plaza continues to be built on the other end of the highway.

One day you walk by a vacant lot and the next they are bringing in construction equipment. What is that, you say? It must be the new Burger King or maybe it is the new fitness center.

The big question on everyone’s minds now is will Playa del Carmen continue to be the quaint little town it once was? No, I don’t think so; the days of the sleepy little fishing village are past.

However, there is a lot of fun to be found in the new Playa del Carmen. It is still tropical, with warm weather, gorgeous beaches, and it is more cosmopolitan than ever. It has the flavor of Mexico mixed with the feel of the Caribbean, with the addition of a distinct European flare.

My suggestion is to book two flights, one now and one for next year, to compare the difference yourself.