Playa del Carmen does not have a reputation for fine arts, the sparkling white sand beaches that stretch out for miles along the dazzlingly turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea has dominated its reputaion for years.  Playa del Carmen has evolved and morphed over the years; from a small fishing village with dirt streets, to a thriving bohemian chic international community, and most recently, has taken the next step to becoming a full fledged city complete with loft style condominiums, shopping plazas, gourmet restaurants, and most importantly the brand new City Theater.  Luis Ernesto Lopez, the Director of Culture for Solidaridad, has made it his mission to bring to life his vision: Playa del Carmen: City of Artists, to make Playa del Carmen a place that has a reputation for art, theater and music as well as Mexican tradition, Mayan culture and the incredible tropical jungle and beaches that have, until now, drawn tourists from all over the world. 

Over the years, Playa del Carmen has exponentially increased its population, bringing together a mix of different cultures and definitions to its identity.  Luis Ernesto Lopez, during his appointment as the Director of Culture, has realized his goal of getting Playa del Carmen recognized not only for its breathtaking natural ambiance, but also to be now be known as a City of Artists.

Teatro de la Ciudad, the new city theater

Before he started his term in this elected position, Luis Ernesto Lopez came from an artistic background.  He was a member of the musical group "Agua Mala" and also started the meritable project, Explayarte, a local music school that produces highly professional and inspired performances. Now as a servant for the community of Solidaridad, he has taken his years of artistic experience to another level, with new goals and a precise vision for our fair city by the sea.

In a recent interview, the Director of Culture stated, "it is crucial to consider art as a tool for social development." For this reason his project "City of Artists" is important for the continual progression of Playa del Carmen's identity as an internationally diverse, muti-faceted artistic community that will continue to draw inspiration from its combination of cultures and natural bounty.


In a recent conversation, Lopez explained that he new City Theater was "sold out" every evening during the first weeks of its opening; meaning to him that the residents of Playa del Carmen were more than ready to drink in the opera, ballet, performances, concerts, and theatrical events.  He stated, "Most of the population didn't even know that we had such amazing artists here in Playa, because most of the artists work in big hotels and we don't get the chance and opportunity to see them perform in public."


Luis Ernesto Lopez sees art as a bridge between a society and its identity: "Raising the emotional frequency of a city helps people to get involved in a positive personal development". He thinks that when a society is motivated and culturally challenged, that same society becomes stronger and more confident.  His vision for the city of Playa del Carmen has been his focus these past three years and will continue far after his term is finished, it is the passion he carries within him for art and his community.


Lopez announced that this year, for the very first time, the annual Riviera Maya Jazz Festival will be extended to the new City Theater as well as the Cultural Center.  The Jazz Festival is celebrating 13 years of annual musical events.  Each year the year number of international music loving tourists that flock to Mamita's Beach increases along with the internationally known artists that come to perform the famous stage on the white sands of  Playa del Carmen.


The Director of Culture smiled when he expressed the positive changes he has witnessed during his term as the Director of Culture for Solidaridad, he explained that it is easier than ever to get government permits for festivals and cultural events, there are more classes with more varied topics available to the public for personal discovery and growth, the Centro Cultural now has almost 900 students studying art, music and theater in all of its representations, there is an improved cannon of communication to the public from the Centro Cultural making it easier for locals of all ages to find information about events, expositions, classes and workshops.  These positive changes are just a few of the long lasting effects that the current Director of Culture has influenced for the residents of Solidaridad.  His goal has always been to portray Playa del Carmen as a cultural city; home to numerous festivals, a place where art is fostered and appreciated and where artists are inspired and cherished.

Now that the City Theater has opened its doors, he says the he feels that we are getting very close to his goal and his vision for the art community of Playa del Carmen.

For more information about upcoming events at the City Theater visit: Playa del Carmen City Theater

Contact the Centro Cultural de Playa del Carmen for information about the availability of courses and workshops

Join The Riviera Maya News and Events Facebook group to be in the know about current events and happenings all over the Riviera Maya. 






Andrea Ruiz Perron was born and raised in Montreal by a Mexican mother and a French Canadian father.  She studied cinema and photography in Argentina and Montreal, and has now been living in Playa del Carmen for a total of 6 years. Both her Mexican and Canadian roots are an important influence on her identity and how she perceives the world through her photography and writing as the content creator for BuyPlaya Real Estate Advisors


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