Last month my boyfriend and I went on a tour of the Mayan Riviera. We flew to Cancun, rented a car and explored as much as possible in one week. We visited Puerto Morelos, Playa del Carmen, Xel-Ha, Tulum, Coba, Chichen Itza and Valladolid. We even managed to squeeze in one night in Bacalar enjoying one of the most beautiful lakes in the world: La Laguna de Siete Colores. We explored many cenotes, attended Cirque du Soleil and went scuba diving where we discovered a couple of turtles.
The love of this part of the world has drawn many people to leave everything behind and open shop in Mexico. You will find numerous diverse and delicious restaurants. Even smaller towns like Puerto Morelos where we dined on delicious guacamole and ceviche on the beautiful beach of Playa Moroma.
One of the first places that really caught my attention was Mar-Bella Fishmarket. The entrance looks like a 7-Eleven, not kidding. As you climb up a tiny, metal stairs you find yourself in a spacious, wooden restaurant with an amazing view. In the market you can choose from fresh fish, lobster, shrimp…whatever you’re in the mood for. They will prepare and cook to your specifications. Quite magical! One tip: make friends with your waiter; he will be a lifesaver as you navigate the market.
Carretera Cancun Puerto Juarez,
Sam km 2
Cancun, Quintana Roo
We wanted to try the shellfish, so our waiter suggested we create a Paella of sorts including shrimp, clams and lobster. He delivered delicious platter for two that tasted fresh and buttery. Simple and wonderful.
The food was so amazing we wanted to try one last thing, so we ended with Grilled Octopus…think savory dessert! The octopus was grilled with a bit of paprika and served with rice and a salad. Both of us are obsessed with octopus and this was one of the best we’ve eaten. We almost went back just to get it again but there was no time.
Our next stop was a three hour drive away in Bacalar. The gentleman from our hotel recommended it and we will be forever grateful. This place is 1000% worth the drive! La Playita is located on the main street of this very, very small town. It is nothing special to look at on the outside, but paradise awaits you inside! It’s a romantic spot with a view of the “lake of seven colors”, a huge rubber tree and a few hammocks. It is the perfect spot to rest or, in our case, take a little nap after dining on their delicious food.
Avenida Costera Esq. Calle26
Centro, Bacalar, Quintana Roo
We were starving and wanted to sample a lot, so prepare yourself for our biggest meal of the trip. We started with two appetizers: an Empanada and a Tuna Tostada. Both were delicious and crispy, filled with flavor in their own ways. The tostada was prepared with a hint of citrus and spice, while the empanada was fluffy on the outside and creamy on the inside. Both small, delicious and very diverse.
We then got an Aguachile, which is thinly sliced shrimp cooked in lime juice and complemented with onion and green peppers. This dish is truly amazing, especially for all of you sour flavor lovers. It was prepared and plated beautifully and gone in a second!
Our main course was a Shrimp Hamburger… mind-blowing. Honestly this place had no weak link. The bun was good, the shrimp were huge and delicious and the fries were addictive. What was in that seasoning? This was my personal favorite. I think you can see why from the picture.
Since the moment we sat down, I was determined to get dessert. We picked the Apple Pie with vanilla ice cream and strawberries on the side. As you can see from our other dishes, the bar was set pretty high. This dessert did not disappoint; it was amazing. Everything was done right, from the warm apple pie to the melting ice cream to the strawberries. It was a symphony of flavors.
On our last day we visited Chichen Itza to visit the ruins. Don’t be discouraged by the two hour drive as it was totally worth it. As we drove back late that night through the middle of the jungle, we could think of nothing else but FOOD.
Our Airbnb was in the very tiny town of Puerto Morelos. Everyone had recommended an Uruguayan restaurant located in the town center call Los Gauchos. It’s a rustic restaurant with a very relaxed vibe.
Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo
To start, we ordered four Small Empanadas and had a couple of bites from each. It was a nice assortment of flavors, including beef, four cheese, tuna and a corn and cheese. They were small fluffy pockets of flavor. Perfect start to our last supper.
Next, we both chose a pasta main course. I chose the Lasagna and my boyfriend the Linguine Alfredo with shrimp. Each of our pasta sauces was really tasty and obviously made from scratch. The sauces were served over melt-in-your-mouth pastas. These dishes were huge leaving us no room for dessert.
The Mayan Riviera is amazing in every aspect: it conquers your heart with its beautiful beaches, cool resorts, cultural diversity, fun activities and amazing food. This was just a week worth of food. Imagine being there for a month with endless money…that my friends would be paradise.