Jason and I both have a touch of seasonal affective disorder (SAD – what an appropriate acronym). When we lived in Kansas City we suffered through long, dark, gray winters that often left us feeling depressed, lethargic and unmotivated. We were thrilled to leave those days behind when we moved to the sunny shores of Playa del Carmen. For several months we enjoyed nothing but sunny days punctuated by quick, cooling rain showers. But then the rainy season hit. And it hit hard. Oh, did we mention it’s been raining here? It was raining before we left for a trip back to the States. It was raining a couple weeks later when we returned. And it’s been raining pretty much ever since. Rain, rain, and more rain. Which means we’ve seen the reemergence of some old behaviors.
Playa del Carmen is primarily an outdoor living kind of place. People walk, ride bikes or mopeds and wait on the corner for public transportation to get from place to place. Diving trips, days at the beach and even heading out to meet for friends for dinner are all much more enjoyable pursuits minus the rain. Unfortunately we can’t stop Mother Nature and we were afraid of falling back into a funk so what to do? We could work all day, every day. That’s great for the pocketbook, but we did that once before and where did that get us? Ok, well actually, it got us here to Playa, but we didn’t want that to become our mindset again. So we decided to make a list of a few things to do in Playa del Carmen when it’s raining that would help out our mental health.
1. Ignore the Rain – Look its the tropics. It’s rainy season. You know that when you leave the house your phone goes in a plastic baggie, your shoes are going to get wet and you should always carry an umbrella. This works a majority of the time and we wholeheartedly endorse it. Go to the beach when it’s raining, it’s likely you’ll have a big section of the ocean to yourself. But sometimes? Well sometimes the rain is coming down really hard. And it’s really windy so it’s blowing everywhere, including into your bedroom. And it’s lightning and thundering. And then? Well then finding something to do indoors is the best (and safest alternative). So moving on.
2. Movies – There are two movie theaters in Playa del Carmen that show some of the latest and greatest new releases. We went to see a movie at the Cinépolis Theater and were quite impressed. It was modern, had great sound and seating and the concession stand? Whoa boy, we could have eaten for days there. Two tickets to a movie, one jumbo sized drink, container of popcorn and bag of M&Ms cost us less than $200 pesos. You can look up shows and times on their website and there you’ll be able to see which films are English with Spanish subtitles, which are dubbed and which are in Spanish.
3. Bowling – A friend recently found out about and introduced us to Planet Bowl in Playa del Carmen. Multiple bowling lanes, pool tables, foosball tables and a bar. My bowling skills leave a lot to be desired, but we had a fantastic time. If I remember correctly (remember, I just said that there was a bar – and I had a good time) I think it was around $50 or $60 pesos per person for the lane.
4. Adventure Parks and Cenotes – There are some really great outdoor adventure parks in the area that I’ve noticed have stayed open, and are probably still pretty enjoyable, during light rains. But when it’s a torrential downpour with high winds it’s probably time to head for cover. We visited Rio Secreto a few months ago when it was blazing hot outside. Heading underground was a welcome respite from the heat. It can also be a welcome break from the rain as well. We also visited Cenote Sac Actun which is deep in the jungle and deep underground. I’m sure there are more undercover caverns that can be explored, these are just a couple places that we’ve been to and would recommend. My only caveat – there is the potential for flooding in these cave systems so, you know, you might want to check that out first.
5. Bars and Restaurants – So if you don’t mind wading through a few inches (or sometimes feet) of water you can find some great restaurants and bars that are beach front that sill have quite a bit of overhead cover or a large indoor area that you can post up in, have a few drinks, make some new friends and watch the water. Some of the ones that we’ve managed to find and stay dry in include Wah Wah (by far the largest palapa we’ve ever seen and the largest covered space anywhere close to the beach), Fusion and Zenzi.
6. Shopping – Shopping La Quinta in the rain is a bit tough. You can enter shops to avoid the downpour, but getting from shop to shop might make you a contestant in a wet t-shirt contest. There are a couple of shopping malls in Playa del Carmen that you can spend some time and money at while staying dry. Centro Maya Mall and Plaza Las Americas are two in the area where you can buy everything from clothing to sunglasses to shoes (You can, I can’t. I have a larger than average size foot in America. Here in Mexico if I want to find a shoe that fits I better be willing to shop the men’s section).
7. Siestas – Seriously underrated. If it’s raining, go take a nap.
And now that I’ve finished writing all this about what to do in the event of rain I just looked up and realized that we are having one of the nicest days I’ve seen in weeks. So is the rain over and this advice now moot? I doubt it. I better go get out there and enjoy it while I can.
So tell me, do you have any other ideas to enjoy rainy days in paradise? We’re always looking for new places and things to enjoy so let us know what you’ve found!