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Nov 14, 2011 09:51 PM

First time to Mexico

We would like to spend some time this winter on the east coast of Mexico preferably near the ocean and in a location noted for its good restaurants.It can be a resort with a good kitchen or a town full of good eats. We are willing to consider all price ranges. Suggestions appreciated.

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  1. This is so vague - Mexico is huge. Do you mean places on the east coast like Veracruz or the Yucatan?

    6 Replies
    1. re: bronwen

      I know and I hesitated to even post this. I started searching on the web and Chowhound but absolutley nothing is familiar to us. We lived in Europe for 40 years, have just moved back to the Atlanta area and want to explore Mexico. No sure where to start but we love good food and want our first experience to be encouragng. I did research the Yucatan and that does look like a good place to start.

      1. re: POY

        Playa del Carmen is very popular with Europeans, especially Italian, German, Dutch, among others. Many good eats there, and more within an easy drive up and down the MexRiv. There are tons of all-inclusives that I recommend avoiding if you want good food and variety. Check the Playa posts on the Mexico board and come back with questions.

        1. re: POY

          I can help you some with the Veracruz area if there is any interest in that.

          While the Yucatan has retained a lot of it's Mayan roots and traditions, so has Veracruz retained a lot of it's Spanish/Moorish influences. It's useful to remember that Veracruz was the landing point for the Spanish beginning with Cortez and subsequently became the port of entry and departure for everything coming into and going out of Mexico. All the gold and silver, but most of all the booty from the Manila Galleons which traveled overland from Acapulco to Veracruz to be sent on to Spain. It's a huge melting pot of cultures, all of which have been incorproated into the city and it's cuisine. Heavy use of seafood, tropical vegetation (i.e. vines, leaves, flowers, plants of all kinds), and non-traditional herbs and spices.

          I think it takes a little bit of work to understand or begin to know Veracruz, what else do you expect to do on your exploration of Mexico other than eat :-). Do you want to swim, hang out at the beach, climb pyramids, visit museums (of which Mexico has thousands). Mexico is a very easy country around which to build a food-centric vacation, but you can't eat 24/7 (or maybe you can <gg>) so what else do you expect to be on your agenda?

          1. re: DiningDiva

            We like historical sites, museums, beaches and markets. Night life is not important although we would like a variety of restaurants to sample in the area of the hotel. Thanks

            1. re: POY

              You can have 3 out of 4. The museums are not near the beaches. In a sense, the ruins are museums without roofs, so 3.5 out of 4. There may be a Cancun - PDC -Tulum- Coba- Chichen Itza- Cancun loop that works, with good eats, spectacular historical sites, and beach time. How many days do you plan?

              I have lived on and off in Quintana Roo for 15 years, and there are not that many Chowhounds in the Yucatan Peninsula because until very recently internet access has been very limited and very expensive, but it is getting better. We like to share the great experiences here.
              EDIT: English is ubiquitous in PDC, my suggested itinerary above would call for other skills.

      2. I'm quick to reccomend the Playa Del Carmen area just 'cause we visited about a dozen times in 25 years and we like it (although it has grown by leaps and bounds for better or worse). Its also very accessible from Atlanta through Cancun.

        Theres a ton of all-inclusives to choose from and the package deals sound enticing, but as Veggo recommends, if its food you're looking for, the AIs will let you down.

        On the brighter side, theres also a ton of non-inclusive places including condos, small hotels, and efficiencies You just have to do a bit more homework..

        Along with Veggo's list, I'd throw in cenotes (fresh water sink holes) as a Yucatec attraction. PDC makes a nice base for day trips down the coast (ruins/beaches/cenotes) and Veggo's loop (or variations on the theme) does work well indeed, especially with a rental car. Rental prices were once astronomical, but are now somewhat more reasonable.

        Not too many markets around. However, Mexican megamarts are a different breed than the American supermarket and are worth a visit.

        1 Reply
        1. re: porker

          porker, thanks for calling out the Yucatan cenotes. They are so special and unique, but it can be confusing that half of all cenotes are named "cenote azul".
          I know you agree!