It appears that Playa (and Mexico in general) recognizes many holidays, and has many, many events. For example, in the two weeks I’ve been here, the school has already been closed 2 of the 10 days, there have been too many special events for me to count or follow, and I continuously run into random things happening around town just by walking around.
An example: one fine Tuesday, I was strolling through “El Centro Plaza”:
And instead of the vast, open square that it normally is, they had set up a massive stage and hundreds upon hundreds of chairs:
Being the curious sort, I returned later that night to see what the hubbub was about. The place was absolutely packed, standing room only:
My apologies for the poor pictures, hopefully you get the idea. With what little Spanish I could bring to bear, I came to understand that the event was Cuba’s premier ballet company. Just putting on a show for the town on a Tuesday night. Something that you’d normally have hosted as a black-tie affair (bring your own monocle) was just happening in the middle of town, free for everyone. Fabulous.
I’m not one for ballet, but I stayed around anyway as it was pretty fantastic to just see this under the stars amongst what felt like half the town.
And they get into their holidays too!
For example, here’s a video of the townsfolk turning out on Good Friday to re-enact the crucifixion of Jesus, complete with Romans, guys dragging giant wooden crosses, and blaring music from a truck in front of the procession (I’m sure the romans got some jaunty music together for their event as well).
I didn’t stay around to see if they actually went so far as to nail the guys up, I figure that would have been off-putting to my lunch plans.
The entire Easter weekend turns out to be a massive weekend for the entire coast from Cancun down past Tulum. It’s a 3-day weekend, and I’ve come to understand that it’s basically tradition for many Mexican families to come to places like Playa to “get their vacation on” for this weekend especially.
This means that what I previously thought was a very busy time in the nightclub area was basically an afternoon siesta in comparison. The sheer number of people was overwhelming. The same people who arrange for the BPM festival arranged for a special spring time BPM event this weekend just to add to the mess, and brought in some little known acts, like Paul Van Dyk. Several of the beach clubs erected huge stages just for the weekend, all but obliterating the beach.
Speaking of the beach, it was an unmitigated madhouse of people. I thought it was busy before, but this was like walking through Woodstock. Or what I imagine Woodstock to be. Many decades later. On the beach. Okay, so the comparison is pretty dicey: it was CROWDED:
Lastly, as hinted at above, the club scene turns it up to 11. I uploaded another video of walking through madness at the crossroads in case you are interested. If you watch that video, keep in mind this is just me walking through the street outside the clubs, and it’s basically the same experience many cattle experience, braying and lowing in their pens. Imagine what the inside of the clubs is like. Every club jacked up their prices (example: Blue Parrot for the Paul Van Dyk show was 500 pesos to get in), but that didn’t seem to stop anyone.
So, note to those of you planning trips to Mexico, especially what locals call the “Mayan Peninsula” (Cancun, PDC, Tulum, etc), if you are adverse to crowds, don’t come on Easter weekend. If you want to experience the sheer madness of the biggest weekend in PDC, this might be it. Plan accordingly.