We were in Mexico for five days total, including travel to get there, so I’ve already described what we did. Our first full day we shopped and ate and such things, and it’s the eating that I’d like address now. First, Mexicans do eat tacos and burritos and other items we call “Mexican Food,” but they aren’t like the ones you buy around here, unless that is you go to a local Taco Bell or something. I mentioned before that you do not have to eat any exotic or unfamiliar foods if you don’t want to. Not in Cancún, anyway. But you should.
Here’s a place you can start eating real Mexican food. It’s called Los de Pescados. A quick and dirty translation of that would be “fish stuff.” Which pretty much describes the menu. What we both had was empanadas pescadas (fish empanadas.) An empanada is a small pie like thing. Think a hot pocket or a Hostess Fruit Pie. Only, you know, good. Los de Pescados has locations all over the Yucatán peninsula. The one in Cancún is on Av. Tulum, not far from the North End (KM 0) of Av. Kulkulkan, the main drag through the Hotel Zone (Zona de hoteles on the signs.) Kulkulkan becomes Av. Cobo, and the first traffic circle is Av. Tulum. Turn left (3rd exit) and then immediately get onto the frontage road. A block or so down, park in the diagonal spaces to the left and there it will be, with the best damned fish pies you could ever imagine.
There’s a picture of the menu board, but those aren’t the only selections. In fact, the corporate website doesn’t even list fish empanadas, just fish tacos, which I’m willing to believe are also excellent. Next time I go I’ll be a lot hungrier, as the total cost was less than we pay for breakfast for two at our local diner. Maybe 13 or 14 bucks. Well worth the charge.
Our first evening in Mexico we found a place in downtown Cancún called El Callejon. This time I even have the address (and only this time, I’m afraid.) It is
- SM 28 M 1 Plaza Bonita loc.G5
- 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo
Their web presence is a Facebook page, but it’s informative. The place is owned by a gentleman from Canada. When I asked how a Canadian came to be running a restaurant in Cancún he told me that there wasn’t enough time to explain. Doesn’t matter, because the food is great! The owner recommended, and we accepted, ordering a dish that he said “my employees eat.” Not sure what it was but it had several items maybe chicken and fish, rice, and some excellent vegetables. If that’s what his employees eat, then his employees eat very well indeed. This, too was incredibly cheap.
So as you can see, it is possible to get incredibly good food in Cancún for very little money. But, if you want you can spend more. Why not? You’re on vacation! For example, at km 16.5 is Captain’s Cove. Not that they’re expensive by Vegas standards. Heck, you can spend a hundred bucks on a sandwich in this town, but it’s not incredibly cheap either. It does feature (duh) seafood, and the food was good. As was the view, which stretched all the way to the largest flag I’ve ever seen. It’s a Mexican flag, of course, right up at the tippy top of the Hotel Zone. Here’s a picture of it, taken from Captain’s Cove. Compare the size of the flag with the size of the adjacent buildings. There is no trick of perspective used in the photo; it really is that big. We saw no alligators or crocodiles (the signs use both names) but the lagoon seen here is said to be fairly crawling with them. Swell, huh?
We also ate at Ik-Kil, you remember the Cenote place. They have a really unimaginative buffet. It was okay, mind you, and reasonably priced, but it matched a place like Sam’s Town in terms of selection and general atmosphere. So, not all of the local food is to die for. Go here anyway, because you’ll want to swim in the Cenote and no mistake.
At Xcaret we had the Xcaret Plus! tickets, which entitled us to a buffet lunch that even included a free beer. There are four buffets to choose from, and we ate in La Laguna, which has a wide selection of really good stuff from all over the world, including, if you just can’t find anything else, pizza. I ate no pizza, but I did enjoy a whole lot of different dishes both of the sea and of the land, and one of the best glasses of cold beer of my life. No pictures of this place, I’m afraid. You should visit Xcaret anyway, you don’t have to eat here to enjoy it. Besides, they’ll give you a map.
We also ate broiled grouper at our hotel on the first day, and every day we had an excellent breakfast buffet. A couple of nights we were too tired to eat out so we ordered room service, which is convenient, but nothing to write home about. The only other place I’d like to mention is on Isla Mujeres. I was going to be clever and use Google Earth to pin it right down, since I never did catch the name of the place, but as it happens it is on a pedestrian only street, so Google Earth can’t go there. Well, they could, the lazy louts, but they haven’t. If you go, it’s two streets in from the ferry dock and a couple of blocks to the left (north.) I wish I knew the name because it was delicious and, yes, cheap as dirt. For the food, I could hang out in Cancún indefinitely.
I’m going to post one more post about this trip, for the benefit of our gracious hosts there along the Mayan Riviera. I’ll sum up the overall experience, the weather, driving, and maybe offer some light advice. If you enjoy this sort of thing, do check back!