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Meet the Woman Behind Local Playa del Carmen Markets

Local Riviera Maya interview about local organic markets

ANJA SCHÄFER is a German-born resident of Playa del Carmen. Among her many talents as mom and baker (she has her own bakery, Das Brot Bakery, that just recently opened on February 6), she also was the mastermind behind coordinating  local Playa del Carmen weekly markets. She is the co-founder of the Coco Market along with Vicki Lyall from Alizes Condos and Ann Nguyen then invited her to run the Kava Kasa Market. We recently met up with Anja to learn a bit more about her.

What, in your opinion, makes this part of Mexico unique and worth visiting?

It’s obviously the historical, the Mayan part of the Península, the beaches, the nature. My very personal reason was…don’t laugh…the colors. I fell in love with the place for the turquoise wáters in combination with the extreme blue sky and the white sand…back in 1999!

What’s the story behind your idea of bringing organic markets to the area?

Well, I loved the weekly markets we had in our small hometown in Germany and actually all over the country. It was always “grocery Saturday”, but also a social event. Meeting friends for coffee or brunch or just having a chat here and there. It was not so much about ORGANIC, more about homemade and natural….and the social…the Playa community part.

What do you do when you’re not working?

My favorite “not working” activity is spending quality time with my daughter Luna. We totally love going to the beach club EL PARAÍSO in Tulum, when her and my time allow!

What are some of the little-known places in Riviera Maya worth visiting, experiencing, discovering?

Tough question…There are still some very nice and quiet beaches and cenotes, I enjoy Isla Mujeres very much, too.

If you had to pick one Mexican song that everyone should listen to at least once, what would it be?

Paloma Negra … Lila Downs

If you could give one piece of advice to people traveling to Mexico for the first time, what would it be?

Be patient and enjoy

LG: What makes living in Riviera Maya so special?

Anja: It’s Mexico and it’s not. A wonderful multicultural place in the middle of the Caribbean….

Read about one of the markets Anja helped create in Playa del Carmen.


Crystal is an expat mom who has been living her dream in the Riviera Maya since 1998. She is the first to admit that her kids get her out exploring and trying new things from beaches to cenotes, dance classes to organic markets. She is a great supporter and advocate of local businesses and grass roots organizations that bring new ideas and products to the area. She is particularly good at finding family activities and healthy food options that take you off the beaten path and into local neighborhoods. Her passion lies within the arts community whether it be painters, musicians or dancers.