Wild Playa del Carmen Animals and Where to Find Them
When you walk down 5th Avenue in the heart of Downtown Playa del Carmen, you might spot a few vendors with a beautiful animal on their shoulder, selling pictures to passersby. The animal might be a colorful macaw, a spider monkey, or even a baby jaguar. However, before you stop to admire these cute critters and ask for a picture, remember that these animals are mostly the victims of abuse, given tranquilizers to keep them docile and made to work long hours on the street. Last year, Playa del Carmen began refusing new permits for the animal photo business in order to decrease animal abuse and exotic animal trade, but the vendors have been hard to stop.
Instead, why not keep an eye out for some wild animals living in Playa del Carmen? From the jungle to the coast, our beach town has many cool creatures to be found all over the place! Here are just a few of our favorite Playa del Carmen wild animals and the best places to find them (just remember that you should never, ever feed them!):
These ring-tailed animals go by many names throughout Latin America, including coatimundi and pizot, but the most common name for them around Playa is coati. They can be found in mangrove, jungle and even some larger garden areas and parks, making them one of the easier animals to find throughout the Riviera Maya; they also love the extensive natural grounds of many Riviera Maya resorts.
Photo credit: Alejandro Cardaba Rubio
Sereques / Agoutis
It's rare to find these tailless,squirrel-like critters anywhere in the Riviera Maya, but they always abound in Playacar, an exclusive residential, resort and golf area at the southern end of Playa del Carmen. When you walk around the Playacar neighborhood, especially Phase I, you'll see sereques (also known as agoutis) at every turn.
Photo credit: Guillen Perez
These sun-lovers seem to know the best places to hang out! They're most often found basking in the rays on the warm stones of ancient Mayan ruins. If you head to Playacar ruins, Tulum or Coba, you're sure to spot many posing for pictures. You might even see a few along the sides of 5th Avenue if you keep your eyes peeled.
Photo credit: Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
Possibly the cutest and most sought-after animals in the Riviera Maya, spider monkeys can prove hard to find; they swing through the tree canopy and prefer greener areas away from town, so you'll have to keep your eyes on the trees whenever you're out in nature. Your best bets to spot these elusive animals in Playa del Carmen are some of the more jungle-rich resorts like the Rius or the Sandos resorts, or maybe in the jungle surroundings on a visit to one of the many nearby cenotes of the Riviera Maya.
Photo credit: Malcolm Browne
These serene and peaceful creatures are easily found in the waters of the Caribbean Sea, often very close to shore. In Akumal Bay, for example, you can rent snorkel gear and swim out from the beach, and you're almost sure to spot at least one sea turtle snacking on sea grass. Just don't swim too close, and never touch or feed the sea turtles. During the summer months, female sea turtles come up on the beach to lay their eggs all along the shores of the Riviera Maya; if you walk along the beach at night in the summertime, especially the beaches in the southern Riviera Maya, there is a good chance you can spot one! Again, maintain a good distance and please don't take any photos with flash because light can confuse the turtles.
When you live in Playa del Carmen, make sure to always keep an eye out for some of these beautiful wild animals while exploring the region, especially near Maya ruins and in the jungle. We only ask that you admire them from afar, keeping your distance and not feeding them: it's important for wild animals to not rely on humans for food and maintain their own diet.
If you're looking for a permanent home, vacation property investment or a beach house in the Playa del Carmen area so you can enjoy the natural surroundings all the time, visit us at BuyPlaya.com to see what properties we have to offer. We'd love to help you through the process of buying your home in the Riviera Maya!