5th avenue is one of the most famous Playa del Carmen attractions. It is lined with shops, bars, restaurants, cafe's, gelato shops, convenience stores, pharmacies and more....
This main strip is a pedestrian walkway that runs for about 5 kilometers (3 miles) through Playa del Carmen town and is continually expanding and getting longer. It is located 1 block west of the beach.
OPENING HOURS ON 5TH AVENUE
There are no official opening hours on 5th avenue as many of the shops are independently owned. As a general rule, you can expect things to be open from approximately 10am through until 10pm. No siesta time is enforced or observed.
Most everything operates as usual even on major holidays such as Christmas and New Years. Some shops and restaurants *may* close on Sundays as this is the "normal" day off in Mexico.
CAN I PAY WITH US MONEY?
US dollars are a second unofficial currency in Playa del Carmen. However, the official currency is Mexican pesos and most everything will be priced this way.
Exchange rates are constantly fluctuating, but figure about 15-16 pesos per USD, 11 per CAD and 16 per EURO. All shops will accept USD, but will rarely give you the bank's exchange rate.
In any flea market type souvenir shops, prices are negotiable and merchants will often expect you to bargain.
At any brand name stores, convenience stores and department stores, the prices are as advertised.
PAYING WITH A CREDIT CARD
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most shops, although you may be asked to present a piece of picture ID when making the purchase. You will get an excellent exchange rate by using your credit card, but contact your bank before travel to advise of possible international purchases and to find out if your credit card charges an international transaction fee.
American Express is sometimes accepted and Discovery is rarely accepted.
TYPES OF SHOPS AND SHOPPING
Shops range from the name-brand Lacoste, and Hurley to flea market type stalls and there are even 2 small shopping malls. Paseo del Carmen is at the far south end past the ferry dock and includes shops such as Zara, Bershka, American Apparel and the official Harley Davidson store.
The newest one on the corner of Consituyentes, Quinta Alegria, was the talk of the town when it opened in 2014 and it that includes a Forever 21, Victoria's Secret, Body Shop and more.
There are flea market type stalls and stores selling handicrafts and knick-knacks the whole way along. For the most part, you are expected to bargain, except when the prices are already listed on the items.
Check to make sure that the items are actually made in Mexico.
Shops have also expanded into the surrounding areas, so you can also wonder to 1st Avenue and 10th Avenue to find many more options.
Popular souvenirs include:
Ceramic: Hand-painted works that will add charm to any home. Check out the sinks!
Mirrors: You will find mirrors bordered with punched tin and embellished with hand painted ceramic tiles. They are simply beautiful.
Leather: Anything from boots, to sandals and handbags.
Blankets: Choose amongst the colorful blankets, perfect for a picnic once you are back home or to add a bit of color to a room.
Embroidery: You will find many options if you are looking for embroidered items. The little girl’s dresses are adorable.
Alcohol: You are able to purchase alcohol from 10 am though until 11pm from Monday-Saturday and from 10am to 2pm on Sundays
Please think twice before encouraging the merchants trying to sell items that have been removed from nature (starfish, coral etc.) or endangered animals. Also, the "cute" animals you are enticed to take pictures with 5th avenue are in captivity in dire situations.
You are here on vacation because Playa del Carmen is a beautiful area with many natural wonders. Your purchase will dictate demand and either encourage respect for animals and our environment or not. Please choose wisely.
Juarez is a main street that runs up from 5th Avenue towards the highway. You can find it at the corner of the ADO bus station. Many locals will shop on this street as it is lined with shops for shoes, clothing and many household items. You can also explore this street for a totally different 'vibe' than what you would find on 5th Avenue.
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