Celebrating Playa del Carmen’s 25th Anniversary

July 28, 2018 marks the 25rd anniversary of Playa del Carmen. Gate48 is only a 38 minute drive from downtown, which makes it easy to enjoy the celebrations that will be taking place. To commemorate the occasion, today’s blog will look into the origin of the name Playa del Carmen, the name of the municipality of Solidaridad, and a brief history of the growth of La Quinta Avenida.

3 Origins of the Name Playa del Carmen

The 1st version says that many years ago, a local businessman asked his employees to open up a path near Puerto Morelos so they could get access to Cozumel. One of them called it The Carmen Opening or the Carmen Path. This became the most official version of how the city got its name.

The 2nd version says that one of the wives from one from one of the original families that first moved here named it Playa del Carmen because the fishermen here claimed that they would always see La Virgen del Carmen.

The 3rd version has it that when the Spanish first came here they brought with them their worship of La Virgen del Carmen and it was here that, just like the fishermen, she would appear to them also.


In 1988, Hurricane Gilberto hit the region hard, causing great devastation to Playa del Carmen, which at the time still belonged to Cozumel. In the aftermath, several families living in Playa paid a visit to President Carlos Solinas de Gortari, who was in Cozumel at the time assessing the damage. They asked for his help, informing him that although there was relief arriving to Cozumel, Playa del Carmen was not receiving aid and supplies.

The President’s campaign slogan at the time was for a program dedicated to paving roads, bringing electricity, and urbanizing cities. It was called Solidaridad (Solidarity). As a result of the president’s efforts to aid the growing town, the municipality was given this name, although everyone still refers to it as Playa del Carmen.

La Quinta Avenida

Playa’s Quinta Avenida is not an imitation of New York’s 5th avenue, despite what many people think. It’s common in this region of Mexico to name streets and avenues with numbers. The famous street began it’s transformation when local artists began putting their work on display there to sell to the people exiting the cruise ships that arrived from Cozumel.

The street began to grow and was eventually closed to vehicle traffic, becoming a pedestrian-only shopping area. Eventually cafes and galleries began to appear, run by local artisans. Most visitors at the time were Europeans, but gradually American and Canadians began to travel there as well, changing the demographics of the tourism to what we see today.

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Tags: hurricane, playa del carmen, quinta avenida, solidaridad, virgen del carmen

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