Parque las Palapas

One of our semi-regular weekend routines is an hour or so spent in Parque las Palapas. This has become the "zocalo" (town square) of Cancun, families gather to play, people watch, eat, dance and let the kids romp. Max is particularly fond of this park as they have little battery-powered cars that the kids can drive, he cruises around checking out the ladies and pretending he's Mario Andretti. It's a strange place to be, an incredible amount of action and seemingly chaotic, yet it always feels peaceful and laid back. I walk around with a contented smile on my face watching the acrobats, clowns, cadets, dancers, kids, and vendors, eating my churros and enjoying the vibe. There's always music mixed with the screams of the children, the whir of the little cars, babies crying, whistles blowing, bells ringing from the man selling paletas. And yet it is still peaceful to me. The aroma is that of grease, tacos, churros, marquesitas, esquites and tamales, scents that compel you to order something. The smiles abound and laughter rings out, even if it's only for an hour, the troubles of the world are forgotten, family is embraced and life is just fine.


Beep beep....kids love these cars
(and they drive pretty well too, I've never been hit!)



The McQueen car is very popular with the boys
(Max is at the back of the pack cursing the Sunday drivers)



No, we're not at war and these are not scary soldiers,
just cadets going through their drills


The marquesita and churro carts line the perimeter


Every Sunday the dancers come out to strut their stuff



I love watching these folks, good old fashioned romance


The acrobats---always in the park, always striving
to be bigger, faster, higher

The park is a great place to visit in the evenings, especially weekends. Easy enough for tourists to find, it's steps away from Tulum Avenue and worth the trip out of the hotel zone, though we only ever see a few obvious tourists. You can buy handmade jewelry and clothes, try a new food or just soak in the sights, sounds and aromas of this slice of life in Cancun.


Comments

KfromMichigan said…
I love the park it has always been a fav of mine! Especially walking in the evening after dinner. And I usually support by buying a craft item. The tourists that go to Centro have dinner and head back to the hotel zone. I have driven all over Cancun and experienced the true culture of the city. I consider myself lucky to have some great friends living in Cancun. Great post .. maybe a few tourists will venture to the park.
Dangers said…
This one is also a favorite of mine, a great way to spend an evening on the weekends downtown with local friends or just hanging out at the patio lounges of the local restaurants. There's something of that old carnival like atmosphere that makes one feel like a kid again. Thanks for the blog and the pics CC, good stuff. ;-)
Gaelyn said…
I always loved going to the zocalo everywhere I visited in Mexico, especially Sunday when the families come out dressed in their church clothes. Dancing, music, laughter and plenty of good stuff to eat. But there were no electric cars. I'll bet Max is having a gas. Too bad if they are only for kids.
jeanie said…
What a wonderful park! Than you Kelly for sharing it with us.
CancunCanuck said…
KfromMichigan- I hope more tourists get out of the zone like you do, if you stay in the hotels and never leave, you may as well be at home. :)

Dangers- Definitely a carnival feel if you go at the right time. Since they rebuilt the park with all the concrete many people have complained that it has lost it's vibe, but I only feel that way if the park is empty. If it is full of people, it is full of life and the vibe is great.

Gaelyn- Sunday in the zocalo is a must, no better place to get the feel for a city and its people. And oh yeah, it would be fun if I could fit in those little seats, too bad it's just for kids. :)
Heather said…
In my husbands small town in brasil, we have something similar. It just a place to hang out and watch the madness.
-h
Islagringo said…
Well, when you put it like that, maybe the remodel ain't so bad after all! If you get a chance, head up the side street towards Tulum that ends with Burger King on the corner. Across the street from El Chat, have a drink or taco at Pik Nik, on the left as you go up from the park. Tell Luis that B and I sent you!

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