Finding Local Food in Cancun is a Chore

We spent the last two nights before our flight back to Maine in Cancun at the JW Marriott. It was a very nice resort, but wished I was back in Tulum the whole time we were there. The partial view of the ocean, the screaming children in the pool, the AC, and chain restaurants (yes one of my dislikes if you read my bio) made for a much less relaxing and lot more annoying day and and a half. But…it was still 85 degrees, sunny, and the ocean water was still delightful. We made the best of it.

The first night we ate in the Marriott’s Thai restaurant, which has a “view of the water” or rather the lagoon with the city beyond. The food was pretty mediocre. When I asked the wait staff, and later the doorman, and then later the concierge, nobody could recommend a good local Mexican place to eat.

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Smoothies at Natura

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Outside Natura Restaurant

So I hit the internet! After reading a ton of reviews on TripAdvisor (I do a lot of reviews there) I found two places, Natura (couldn’t find a website but here is a good listing from The Happy Cow) and Habaneros, that looked authentic. We ended up going back to Natura twice, once for dinner and once for breakfast. Both times it was about $20. They have lots of vegan options and excellent smoothies. It’s across the street from Senor Frogs (looks like a tourist trap to me) towards the north end of the hotel zone. It was four miles from our hotel, but no worries as Cancun has a GREAT bus system that is super easy! Stops every 3 minutes or so on the main street. Hop on and for 8 pesos (like 60 cents) you can ride to your heart’s content! I have no clue how they sustain such an awesome bus system for such a low fair.

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Front of Habaneros Restaurant

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Nopales and shrimp tacos at Habaneros

We had lunch at Habaneros the last day. It’s towards the north end of the hotel zone but not as far as Natura. We took the bus here too. We had excellent authentic tacos and guacamole. Filling and very inexpensive. No alcohol though, so you’ll have to bring your own cervesa. I’m told there are a few other good places in town across the lagoon too. So just take the bus and get out of your hotel to pay much less for much better food. Or just skip Cancun and head down to Tulum!

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One comment

  1. Gretchen J. · · Reply

    I totally agree! Cancun food is terrible. It’s ALL chains: Bubba Gump, Margaritaville, Hooters, Ruth’s Chris… It’s worthwhile to take the bus into downtown Cancun and explore some of the off-the-beaten-path places. We had a Fodors guide that suggested a couple of great spots (can’t remember the names of any of them…)
    We stay in an efficiency, and one of my favorite games to play is “What IS that?” at the big supermarket 🙂 We stock up on a bunch of stuff- some familiar, some not…Saves money, feels more authentic and is healthier.
    Glad you had a good trip, Amy!

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