Recently, I was lucky enough to take an amazing trip with my favorite people. A few months back, my parents started planning a trip to Cancun and wanted to take us along with them. Sean had never been to Mexico and it had been almost 10 years since the last time I went, so we were both beyond excited. Not to mention the fact that my parents are tons of fun to travel with and I couldn't remember the last family vacation we had been on together. I knew it would be an unforgettable experience!
We flew into Cancun on a Thursday afternoon and made our way through customs. Once we landed, I remember thinking that I should have been brushing up a little more on my high school level Spanish! While the language barrier made for an interesting challenge, it wasn't impossible to connect with people who speak a different language. We found that a lot of people speak some English in the more touristy, hotel district that we were staying in. I tried to flex my little Spanish speaking muscle and along with the help of the Google translate app, it was nice to be able to speak to the locals in their own language.
Our first night was low key. After a long day of flying, we all just wanted to unwind and settle in to our new digs. We piled in to my parents hotel room, snacked on gas station chicharrones, drank light beer and watched the Saints game in Spanish :) Little did we know, we were about to miss out on some unusually substantial snowfall back in South Louisiana...three inches is a big deal down here! Sorry we missed it...kind of.
The next day, we woke up feeling refreshed and ready to set our internal clocks to beach time! After a couple hours of poolside sunshine, we ventured out to get some food in our bellies. Across the street from our hotel, tucked behind a convenience store, we found a place called Sunrise Marina. The open air restaurant was beautifully situated facing the Nichupte Lagoon. They seemed to specialize in boat tours, but lucky for us, they served up some pretty tasty treats, too! We all ordered something different...fish tacos, cochinita (pork) tacos, and even scrambled eggs with bacon! The best part was the guacamole, which we ended up ordering everywhere we went! It was simple, but packed with fresh flavor. Add to that some pico de gallo, loads of juicy limes, hot corn tortillas and the super spicy sauces that came to the table with every meal, it was my hungry girl paradise.
On the third day, we took a cab downtown to an area known as Market 28, an open air market where enthusiastic shop owners call out to everyone passing by, offering up tastes of tequila in exchange for browsing their selection of souvenirs, jewelry and clothes. The competition is stiff around the markets, so shop owners in every direction are vying for your attention!
Across the street from the market, we spotted a food cart surrounded by hungry locals. Based on the crowd, we knew we wanted some of what they had! Since we had ventured outside of the hotel district, we found that the outskirts of the market were more geared towards the locals, so it ended up being one of our most authentic experiences in Mexico. Honestly, we weren't quite sure what we were ordering but we were more than happy being served up three warm tortillas...one filled with steak, one chorizo and one potato. They were subtle and simple, perfection! Smeared into their spicy, green hot sauce, these left the perfect amount of burn. At a whopping twenty cents a piece, these were an amazing snack to hold us over until lunch!
After a stroll through the market, we started looking for somewhere to eat lunch. There's no shortage of options when it comes to dining in the Market. Most restaurants in the area will send a server out into the streets to convince people that their restaurant is the best in the area. We landed on the spot with the most authentic pitch and it turned out to be a great choice! At Restaurant Veracruz, Sean and I shared an order of Ceviche and some Salbutes, which we learned is a Yucatan style, deep fried, puffed tortilla filled with the deliciousness. The Salbutes were simple, filled with flavorful cochinita and topped with pickled red onions (my fav). I chose the mixed ceviche, which had a hearty amount of citrusy fish and shrimp, octopus and muscles. It was a nice change from the heavier meals that we had been feasting on!
The next day, we attempted to take a ferry ride to Playa del Carmen, a cute little town, about an hour from Cancun. This is where the language barrier got the best of us and we ended up accidentally taking a cab ride all the way to Playa! Oops...but it turned out to be a happy accident (there weren't any ferries from Cancun to Playa!) and we ended up having a really fun afternoon in the city. The weather was perfect and we had a great time mingling with the locals there. We drank cold cervezas and margaritas and roamed the vibrant streets.
We had lunch at a breezy, upstairs patio, overlooking the bustling streets of Playa. Once again, we ordered a sizable amount of guacamole (that we ate all of!), and had some more beers and tacos! Sean and I shared a sampler plate of tacos, since we wanted to try them all! They were served up warm, with refried beans and cactus on the side, which I have surprisingly never tried before! It reminded me of a tastier green bean.
While we ate our weight in tacos and guac, we also found the time to indulge in our fair share of treats from the hotel! Hot slices of pizza, strawberry & coconut gelato and creamy iced espressos were just a few of our go to's when it was raining outside or we when we just wanted something quick and convenient!
Overall, our trip to Mexico was filled with amazing memories (releasing baby turtles into the ocean, what!?!) with the best people (love ya, Mom & Dad!), way more delicious food than I mentioned here! Until next time, Mexico!
Thanks for Chewsing!