A Food and Drink Guide to Cancun
Cancun is the center of many jokes here on The Wandering Gourmand. After all, the goal of the blog is to help aspiring travelers experience a world beyond mega-resorts, chain restaurants, and Bud Light. But I have a secret. Please don’t tell anybody. I actually like Cancun! Its bleach white sand and turquoise blue waters offer some of the prettiest beaches in the world. It’s also easily accessible from the continental United States and not overly expensive. Despite what I allude to in my About page, some Cancun hotels now offer gourmet food. Yes, even a few of the dreaded all-inclusive resorts. Thus, I thought it was time to offer a drink and food guide to Cancun covering the best of food, craft beer, and tequila!
Resorts in Cancun with Awesome Food!
There was a time when eating out in Cancun was relegated to lifeless buffets, gimmicky Mexican fare, and bland chain restaurants. Karisma is one of the first resort groups to ramp up the food scene by offering what they call “gourmet inclusive” vacations. The company even has their own 100,000 square foot greenhouse to deliver fresh cuisine to guests. El Dorado Royal is an example of a gourmet inclusive vacation with Karisma. My wife and I have stayed there twice we liked it so much.
The foodie movement continued to grow with Paradisus Cancun, which hired Michelin Chef Martin Berasategui to open a Basque inspired restaurant. Other resorts embracing the movement include Grand Velas Riviera Maya, featuring the artistry of acclaimed chefs from around the world, and Royal Hideaway Playacar, offering a unique chef’s table experience.
The Mexican Craft Beer Scene
Mexico is experiencing a budding craft beer industry that is not overlooked in Cancun. Some beers to scout include Cervezeria Minerva’s Imperial Tequila Ale, Mundo Maya Brewing Company’s Warrior IPA, and Bocanegra’s Pilsner. Many breweries infuse indigenous ingredients to create a unique tasting experience, like Teufel’s award-winning Babalao brewed with malted blue corn and chica mala. Soon, the movement is moving to Isla de Mujeres where Isla Brewing Company opens this Spring.
Fairmont Mayakoba, Viceroy Riviera Maya, and Rosewood Mayakoba are a few resorts that have embraced the craft beer movement. The majority of hotels have not, so you’ll need to head into greater Cancun to experience the craft movement. Favorite craft beer bars include The Beer Box in downtown Cancun and Club de la Cerveza in Playa del Carmen.
1 Tequila, 2 Tequila, 3 Tequila, More!
There is more to tequila than the cheap stuff you slammed on Spring Break in college that left you hugging the toilet. Many resorts now offer classes led by a tequilero who teaches guests the nuances of fine sipping tequila. Beyond the resort, Lobby Lounge at the Ritz Carlton Cancun has a menu of over 100 varieties and Tequila Herradura Sensorial Museum offers a chance to experience the tequila making process from start to finish with a tasting at the end of the 90 minute tour.