24 Hours in Playa del Carmen
by Lydia Linton Pontius (Jan. 2015)
Want to be in the heart of everything that is happening in Playa del Carmen but don't want to spend an outrageous amount? Traveling on a budget but want to get the most for your money? If so, we suggest Club Yebo. Located on 1st Ave. between the shopping, restaurants and clubs on 5th Ave. and the beach, it is the perfect spot to be. After all, how much time are you really going to stay in that room? And, at these prices, you can double the nights you stay!
Club Yebo is clean and friendly and they think of everything. The rooms with kitchenettes are fully stocked with water, cups, glasses, mini-fridge, coffee maker, blender, utensils, toaster, stove and microwave, and they also supply beach towels, beach chairs and a cooler! The basic rooms have fridges and the large apartments have full-size appliances. In addition, they all have laundry service, air conditioning, WiFi, cable and there is a small, but adequate, pool.
If you prefer to use regular lounge chairs, they have an arrangement with a small beach club straight down the street. You may use their facilities and beach chairs for only $1 US/lounger/day. Amaranto is a small-scale operation and more quiet and familiar than other beach clubs in town. But take a walk down their beach and explore the possibilities.
We found the staff accommodating and friendly; when we had a problem with our air conditioning blowing too cold, they were there to fix it immediately.
The balcony rooms have a table and chairs and a hammock. We found the layout of the property to be lovely, with wooden stairs and small bridges connecting the rooms. They also had a nice use of tropical plants to create a soothing environment.
What we loved best of all was the location, location, location! We only wished we had more time to stay. We took advantage of our short trip and squeezed as much into our trip as we could.
We checked into Club Yebo and quickly got settled and headed to the beach. Walking south down the beach, we made a couple of stops: one for a refreshment at a beach club, then wandered farther south and were quickly pulled in by the great Latin music coming from the Wah Wah Beach Bar. Making a full circle, we walked back via 5th Ave., stopping to do a little shopping along the way.
That evening we had reservations at Plank! What an amazing restaurant, with intriguing food and a world-class chef! Most of their foods are prepared and served on either a wood or salt plank, thus the name! We started with smoke-infused cocktails; Laura had the mojito and I had the Bloody Mary, accompanied by flatbread with assorted dipping sauces. We decided to split everything so that we could enjoy as many courses as possible. The next course was steak tartare, served on a Himalayan salt plank and served with flatbread—simply amazing. Who could pass on a seafood sampler of Oysters Rockefeller, shrimp, scallops and sesame-encrusted tuna, also all presented on a Himalayan salt plank? The waiter was so on top of things that he knew exactly when it was time to remove our seafood from the salt so we would get the maximum flavor. We rounded out our meal with the Beef Wellington; it was exquisitely prepared, utilizing a wood plank to create a bed of Portobello mushrooms for the steak to sit on and covered in pastry—it was cooked to perfection. We finished off our meal with chocolate gelato. You can't possibly have an amazing meal like this with out splurging on chocolate.
Completely full and satisfied, we agreed we needed to walk off some of our meal. Heading north on 5th Ave., we wandered along what is now a favorite night spot for locals. This newer part of 5th Ave. doesn't have all the touristy shops but is loaded with boutique hotels, bars and restaurants. Once again we found ourselves pulled into a little club by the sound of Latin music; the Cuban restaurant, Bodeguita del Medio, is on my list of places to return to visit.
Wandering home we decided there were just too many places to see and experience in Playa; it has always been one of my favorite cities.
The next morning we chose to wrap up our little trip by having breakfast at Imprevist on 1st Ave., just down the street from Club Yebo and with the same chef as Plank! It had a very European feel to it and we enjoyed our breakfast on the street watching Playa slowly come alive. The food was fresh, well presented and the perfect serving sizes of pastries, fruit and eggs.
We had time for one more walk down the beach before we had to get back to check out. Again, if you are looking for a cost-effective, comfortable place to stay in Playa, be sure to consider Club Yebo. It is perfect for those on a budget!!!