Warm Weather Vacation Ideas with Great Food
- Lila Oct 10, 2005 03:46 PM
My husband and I want to plan a trip over Christmas and are batting around a bunch of places in Mexico, Belize, and South America. It occurred to me that perhaps the quality of food could help us finally decide on a place. Other warm weather vacations we've taken to Vieques and the Caribbean have often lead to a great time with not-so-great food.
Basically, we're looking for something a little offbeat (no big commercial resorts), not too far off (no Southeast Asia trips right now) warm, and not insanely expensive where we can both eat well and do lots of sight-seeing and active things like biking and such.
Anyone have any ideas that might fit the bill?
Two words for you, Lila.
The rains have just ended, and, aside from a tropical shower here and there, the weather will be warm and beautiful until next June or so.
And, most importantly, the food is phenomenal. Linked a post below of my trip in March. Wish I was there right now.
re: rabo encendido
I have to get to Zihua, I hear good things.
Similarly, Playa del Carmen, near Cancun and Cozumel (but less touristy), has everything from chic bars to family-run comidas, and while the prices on the main strip (Avenida Quinta) are American, go a block or two over and it's a pretty good value. Lodging at Christmas time will be expensive, but at least the food and beaches will make it worth the price.
St. Martin the half French, half Dutch island in the Caribbean has terrific food--at least on the French side. The little restaurants on the water in Grand Case are terrific. The whole place is very laid back and quite fun. there's a casino on the Dutch side and lots of gold/jewelry shopping there in Phillipsburg, the cruise ship port, but the French side especially Marigot and Grand Case seems to eat for excitement. Excellent French cooking.
I disagree. I was not at all impressed by the food on the French side, but that isn't the main problem. Unless this sort of thing doesn't bother you, the combination of grinding poverty, cheesy "luxury" resorts, and beer-guzzling European louts (on the Dutch side) is enough to ruin any vacation. I went there to charter a sailboat, and got off the island as quickly as I could. Sailed to St. Bart's, where I had some very good French/island food in Gustavia. But I have forgotten the name of the restaurant.
My recommendation for what you seek is - Hawaii. I just came back from 10 days on the Big Isaland, and the food was great. I live in Paris, and would give anything to have the Hilo Bay Cafe over here.
Scratch Belize off the list. It has its attractions, but food is NOT one of them, and everything there is far more expensive than in Mexico or elsewhere in Central America. I have family there, and we've searched a lot for good food, but other than some good fish and your basic Caribbean stewed chicken, it wears thin.
Mexico would be a better bet, though I don't know what places are warm in the winter.
Please do keep the "warm weather" chow tips coming, any discussion of where to find great chow south of the border is on topic, but lodging discussion is not on topic for this board.
Thanks for helping us keep the focus on the chow.
Ditto the recommendation to scratch Belize off your list. It has its charms, to be sure, but food isn't among them, in my opinion.
I think Mexico City has the absolute best eats between Miami and Peru.
How about Bariloche Argentina? Bariloche is (sorta) the Vail of Argentina. Lots of hiking, river rafting, biking, fishing, etc. and great Argentine steaks. Also a bit of italian food and terrific Argentine wines. It really is truly offbeat and inexpensive. The current Argentine exchange rate makes it downright cheap. If the beach is more your thing, try Punta del Este instead. Both destinations offer the opportunity for a couple of nights in Buenos Aires.
Salvador de Bahia in Brazil is a great warm weather destination with great inexpensive food, from numerous food stalls around the city to upscale restaurants and fantastic fresh fruit juices. The food is African inspired and is different from your typical Brazilian food, using ingredients like cassava, palm oil, hot chillis and coconut milk. They are famous for fish and shellfish stews, fried balls made of mashed beans served plain or stuffed with various fillings and coconut custard.