Xaman-Ha (Northern water) in Mayan language used to be part of ECAB, a Mayan principality where the canoes of Maya pilgrims departed to the sanctuaries of Ixchel, (goddess of the fertility) located on the island of Cozumel.
During the Conquista (conquer) of the Yucatan in 1527, Spanish troops established a camp here and named it Salamanca de Xaman-Ha. After a short time, they abandoned it. During the conquista, Mayas left their main settlements and places of worship, fleeing from the Spaniards into the jungle where they started to form and live in small communities.
For about 4 centuries the area of Xaman-Ha was almost uninhabited. Even though it never became a Spanish settlement, the Mayas never returned to live there.
In 1908, the then Mexican President Porfirio Diaz, gave a license to an American Company to exploit the areas natural resources such as the resin of the Chico Zapote tree which is the base for chewing gum and it was renamed and founded as “Playa del Carmen”.
Playa del Carmen remained as a small fishing village into the early 80’s when it had about 1,500 inhabitants.
During the mid-90’s, the area of Riviera Maya started to experience the greatest economic growth that of any city in Mexico. Since then, Playa del Carmen has grown from a small village to one of the most important tourist destinations in the country, currently with a population of over 250,000.
Exclusive and beautiful resorts and boutique hotels, along with the warmth and charm of the local people has transformed this small town into a world class destination visited by more than two million people every year.
Besides the Sun, turquoise waters and white sand beaches, 5th Avenue (La Quinta) has become the main attraction in the area. This pedestrian street, located just two blocks inland, is full of restaurants, spas, boutiques, jewelers, art galleries, and handicraft souvenir shops for all tastes and budgets. In other words, a shopping paradise.
At the intersection of the 5th Ave and 12th street, is the night soul of Playa del Carmen. A street full of night clubs, bars and restaurants offering an abundance of entertainment where visitors of all ages can enjoy a great evening.
Beautiful beaches, shopping, dining, entertainment and culture is why Playa del Carmen is among one of the most visited places in the world.