Top 10 Authentic Mexican Dishes You Have To Try On Your Vacation
There are a lot of reasons to visit Mexico — from the beautiful sun and surf to the vibrant history and lush landscapes, Mexico is an enchanting country for any traveler. No visit to the country is complete without indulging in the creative local cuisine, though! To ensure you taste the best Mexico has to offer, we’ve put together our top 10 favourite authentic Mexican dishes you have to try during your vacation. How many have you tried?
A traditional Mexican stew, pozole is made with hominy, shredded cabbage, chile peppers, onion, garlic, avocado, lime, and either chicken or pork. Pozole is a delicious comfort food served on days of celebration — so if you’re in Mexico celebrating a birthday or anniversary, you’ve got to try out the popular dish! Part of what makes pozole pop is the presence of hominy, a traditional step in making masa, a corn-based flour popular in a lot of Mexican cuisine. The corn is made into hominy through the process of nixtamalization, a method of processing corn that dates back to 1200 – 1500 BCE in Mesoamerica!
2. Frijoles de la Olla
Translated as beans cooked in a pot, frijoles de la olla are a simple-but-tasty Mexican staple. Often served with other dishes as a side, the beans in frijoles de la olla form the base for refried beans as well as being delicious in their own right. Because beans vary widely in taste and texture, no two frijoles de la olla dishes are exactly the same! You don’t want to be leaving Mexico without trying the beans at at least two different spots. The dish is great for lunch — and served nearly everywhere in Mexico!
Horchata isn’t a dish — it’s a drink! The kind of horchata popular is Mexico is specifically called horchata de arroz, distinct from the horchatas made from tiger nuts or jicaro seeds in other areas of the world. Rice, water, vanilla, cinnamon, sugar, and (sometimes) milk make up the base — and while vanilla horchata is delicious enough on its own, you can find some spiked with flavors like coconut. Horchata made its way to Mexico through the Spaniards, who in turn got the drink from their African neighbours. Given it doesn’t have to contain dairy, horchata is a popular choice for a cool drink that won’t spoil in the heat.
4. Tortilla Soup
Popular both in Mexico and out, tortilla soup — also known as sopa azteca — is a spiced tomato broth-based soup with fried tortilla pieces, chiles, garlic, and onion. It’s often garnished with sour cream, cheese, avocado, and even pork cracklings. As a comfort food, tortilla soup can’t be beaten! Though the history of the soup is a bit muddied — origin stories point to Central Mexico and Mexico City both — it’s a favourite around the country for a reason. Like frijoles de la olla, no two tortilla soups are exactly the same, so don’t be afraid to try multiple different versions!
5. Mango con Chile y Limon
Mango flowers encapsulate and in many ways define Mexican street food. They’re simple, and yet they’re delicious — and they’re beautiful, too! Street vendors cut up whole mangos into either a flower or pinecone shape, then sprinkle over the sweet fruit chile powder and lime juice. That’s it! While the combination of mango and chile may seem unusual to outside palettes, it’s a popular street food pairing for a reason. Truly authentic tastes of Mexico aren’t complete without this street snack!
Another popular street food, elotes draw on the long tradition of using corn in Mexican cuisine. Husked corn on the cob is charred on the grill, then sprinkled with salt, chile powder, cotija, lime juice, and either mayo or crema fresca. It’s a spicy and creamy way to enjoy corn on the go! Every street vendor will have their own take on elotes, but they all have a woody, grilled flavor from the charr on the corn. If you’ve previously only had corn on the cob boiled or cooked in the husk, this is a method of preparation you can’t miss out on!
7. Chiles en Nogada
Feeling like a Mexican patriot after all that great food? You’re in luck — there’s one dish that has been developed specifically to fill up the patriotic tastebuds! Chiles en nogada is a dish that showcases the three colours of the Mexican flag, reportedly created in the state of Puebla for the future emperor, Agustin de Iturbide. Traditionally, chiles en nogada comprised of a bright green poblano chili filled with picadillo — meats, fruits, and spices — and covered in a creamy walnut sauce. It’s finished off with bright red pomegranate seeds, which makes it particularly popular between October and January, which is pomegranate season.
Chilaquiles are a traditional Mexican staple! Corn tortillas are cut roughly into quarters and then lightly fried before being covered with either mole or red salsa and then simmered. Toppings vary widely — you can find chilaquiles topped with scrambled eggs, shredded chicken, raw onion, avocado like many other Mexican dishes, chilaquiles are versatile! Depending on where you are in Mexico, you may encounter a different take on chilaquiles that doesn’t simmer the tortillas for as long. This version, found in Central Mexico, keeps the tortillas crisper than others!
Like popsicles found in other parts of the world, paletas are made with either flavored water or milk — the difference is in the flavors! An average paleta is made with fresh fruit local to Mexico, like tamarind and nance. Other flavors you can find in paletas are a little less traditional to people outside Mexico — flavors like chile pepper and chamoy! Want a little spice with your ice? Try a paleta!
10. Tacos al Pastor
Leaving Mexico without trying the local taco fare is unthinkable — and there are a lot of different kinds to try! While you certainly donâ€™t want to pass up any of them, you should particularly look out for tacos al pastor, a dish that could be considered some of the first modern fusion cuisine! Tacos al pastor, you see, are a marriage of traditional Mexican cuisine to the tastes of Lebanese-Mexican immigrants. Similar to shawarma, pork meat is cooked on a spit, then shaved and served on a corn tortilla with chiles, spices, and pineapple. Other toppings vary by region and vendor, but they’re all delicious! Is your mouth watering yet?…
Our Top Tips For The Most Memorable Los Cabos Experience!
Ah, Mexico! Cherished by travellers the world over, Mexico is full of beauty, culture, and relaxation everywhere you turn. One particularly beloved destination is Los Cabos, a gem situated at the tip of the Baja California peninsula. Whether you’ve been before, or you’re taking the trip for the first time, there’s a lot to do and see in Los Cabos — and you don’t want to miss any of it! As passionate experts about everything Mexico has to offer, we’ve compiled our top tips for finding all the hidden gems, unforgettable experiences, and memorable views Los Cabos has for you.
Take A Unique Tour
While they may not be the first animal that comes to mind when you think Mexico, seeing the Baja Desert by camel is an experience you don’t want to miss. On the back of a camel led by knowledgeable guides, you can be immersed in the landscape, making for perfect pictures and captivating views. There are a number of camel tour companies in the Los Cabos area, including Cabo Adventures and Wild Canyon, all with their own offerings and tour extras. If you’re a little more motor than camel, an ATV tour across the Los Cabos landscape may be more your style. Speed through the sands and take in breathtaking beaches — while an ATV tour may be more of a thrill ride than a guided learning experience, you don’t want to miss taking in the sights at top speed! Depending on what you want to see, you have a number of different choices for your tour, such as G-Force Adventures or Cactus Tours.
If you want secluded and peaceful, visiting the San Jose Estuary for bird watching is sure to deliver. As the only freshwater coastal lagoon in the state, the estuary is home to numerous rare and beautiful bird species. Pack a lunch — the lagoon is a protected reserve with little-to-no amenities available — and settle in for sights and sounds you truly can’t get anywhere else. You can go on your own or hire a guide. Dolphins capture the hearts and minds of people the world over, and Los Cabos offers some truly unique ways to get close to the mystical animals. Swim with dolphins up close and personal in Los Cabos’ perfect waters — you’ll be telling stories about it for years to come. While there are numerous companies offering dolphin encounters, such as Dolphin Discovery, if you’re looking for something you can really write home about, Cabo Adventures offers the chance to truly become a dolphin trainer for a day.
Get A Taste Of Los Cabos
If you love to cook, you can’t miss learning to cook local fare — and the Los Cabos area boasts a number of fine cooking classes! With the variety of classes available, you can get private lessons for just your group, or you can join up with other traveling foodies and make some friends as you learn together. Classes are offered by local experts such as Edith’s or Chef Issi, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg — ask around and you’ll find a world of flavour. Whatsmore, you can also take advantage of private cooking lessons in many Elegant Mexico properties throughout Los Cabos — enjoy the experience of traditional Mexican cuisine from the comfort of your own rental! More about the savouring rather than the preparation? Los Cabos’ waters host a wide array of sunset dinner cruises. The dinner fare ranges from five-star chef offerings to themed fun — with the sheer variety, you could dine on a different cruise each night for a week and not run out of options! Options include the Caborey sunset dinner and show, or the sightseeing Grayline sunset cruise, but like the cooking classes, you can ask around for the best local recommendations no matter where you’re staying.
Appreciate Local Culture
Mexico’s Baja California peninsula has had human habitation for thousands of years — experience all the history with guided tours around historical ruins, European missions, and even prehistoric sites. Whether you want to see how pre-Columbian indigenous peoples lived or spend a week hiking to 5000 year old cave paintings, history buffs have a lot to see. Check out some cultural and rural tours by companies like Birding Los Cabos, or Rancho Tours and take your pick! Los Cabos is an artist’s dream, as well; as an up-and-coming creative district, the area is becoming known for its arts and traditions, but isn’t overcrowded or commercialized. Day or night, there are galleries to visit and local artisans to support. The San Jose del Cabo Art Walk, a weekly event held Thursday nights November to June, is becoming particularly popular, but local markets and artists can point you in the direction of artistics gems to explore on your own as well. Packing your suitcase yet? Browse our Los Cabos rentals here!
5 Things Not To Miss This Autumn In Los Cabos
1.Los Cabos Billfish Tournament, 14-18th October
Drawing big game anglers from all across the globe, this annual 5 day tournament includes 3 days of competitive deep sea fishing for blue, black and striped marlin, yellowfin tuna, wahoo (ocean baracuda) and dorado. Â Vessels leave from Cabo San Lucas Marina and the Puerto Los Cabos Marina in San Jose. For fishing enthusiasts, this is a must! And if you don’t really know your marlin from your tuna, there are plenty of parties and added extras to enjoy over the course of the event!
2.Fiesta de Cabo San Lucas, October 18th
An annual holiday on October 18th, this day celebrates Saint Luke, the patron saint of Cabo San Lucas. With most streets closed down, you can expect lively all-day parties with the best in authentic Mexican music, dance and food. If you’re visiting Los Cabos in October, be sure to check out this traditional day of celebration!
3.Day of the Dead, 1-2nd November
Maybe you’ve heard of the infamous “Dia de Los Muertos” before — it’s one of Mexico’s most renowned national celebrations! Literally translated as the “Day of the Dead” this annual festival is all about bringing together family and friends to remember those who have died, and to celebrate their spiritual journey. Traditions include preparing and eating authentic Mexican dishes, and even leaving some for departed ancestors. Complete with extravagant costumes with themes of the living and the dead, this spectacular celebration can’t be missed. Time to start planning your costume!
4.Los Cabos International Film Festival, 7-11th November
Any film buffs will love this 5 day event held annually in Los Cabos, bringing top filmmakers, directors and actors from all around the world! The festival aims to contribute to the growth of global film culture, with a particular emphasis on showcasing works from Mexico, the US and Canada. Â With a diverse range of films premiered at the festival each year, be sure to make time to catch one if you’re staying in Los Cabos!
5.Snorkeling and Diving Season
October and November are actually the best months of the year to snorkel or dive in the Los Cabos area. With the water warmest from July through to October, and visibility at its best during the Fall months, there’s no excuse not to grab your wetsuit and explore what’s hidden beneath the beautiful waters of Sea of Cortez and the Pacific Ocean! You might even be lucky enough to catch sight of whales starting to migrate for the winter — this usually starts around November and last until April! If you’re jetting off to Los Cabos this Fall, you’ll take advantage of fewer crowds, good weather, diverse festivals and events, and much more. Browse our Los Cabos properties here!
First Time Staying in a Villa? Here’s What to Expect!
If you’re jetting off on vacation this year and have opted for a villa rental over an all-inclusive hotel for the first time, we’re here to give you some insider tips to make sure your stay is relaxing, hassle-free, and most importantly, enjoyable! There’s nothing quite like the privacy and flexibility that a villa rental home provides, you’re in for a treat.
PIC: Casa Bahia Rocus
Choosing Your Villa
This will largely depend on who you’re traveling with and your unique needs. Perhaps you’re traveling with kids, or a larger group of friends and family, or maybe it’s just you and your partner — each type of traveler with come with their own needs and expectations and it’s important your villa can meet these needs. Opting for a smaller home with little child-friendly considerations will prove challenging if you’re trying to keep the little ones entertained!
Consider the amenities and the layout of the property — are there sufficient communal spaces for relaxing together? Is there an adequate dining area for enjoying meals together, or alternatively, does the property offer spaces that are too big for your group? Nothing kills romance like dining at opposite ends of a table suited for 10! Be sure to read descriptions and reviews thoroughly to determine whether the rental is going to be the best choice for your entire group — this is key!
PIC: Casa Fryzer
Many villa rentals, like those with Elegant Mexico, offer an array of pre-arrival services that can make settling into your new home that much easier! If you’re stepping off a long-haul flight, chances are you won’t want to drag yourself to the local supermarket to pick up groceries as soon as you have arrived. Taking advantage of pre-planning services such as grocery lists and fridge stocking can make your trip that much more hassle-free — you’ll be thanking us when you arrive to full cupboards of your favorite treats! At Elegant Mexico, we pride ourselves in taking care of all those smaller details before you’ve even set foot in your home away from home. Whether it’s setting up extra beds, reserving a table at a local restaurant for your first night, or even having a meal prepared for you by your personal chef, we want to ensure your arrival is as seamless and smooth as possible. Working closely with a pre-arrival team ahead of your trip can make this happen — take advantage!
During Your Stay
Villa vacations offer many advantages to the traditional hotel stay. Sprawling out and making the home truly yours, enjoying secluded privacy like no other and taking advantage of personal services catered to your individual needs, are just some of the additional perks that you can expect with a villa rental. With Elegant Mexico, many of our luxury villas include a full team of service staff throughout the duration of your stay — from housekeeping to a private butler and chef, you can spend more time by the pool and less time slaving in the kitchen, or tidying the bedrooms.
PIC: Villa 462
A villa vacation provides the utmost privacy in the comfort of your own home, combined with amenities and services that outweigh those of a hotel stay. If you’ve never tried it, now’s the time! Browse our rentals today to find your perfect match!
Luxury Shopping in Los Cabos: Tips for the Best Shopping Experience
For many travellers, a getaway to paradise is incomplete without dedicating a little time to local shopping. Los Cabos is the hideaway of the affluent and opulent, so it should be no surprise that the shops and boutiques there are world-class. Celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, P!nk, and Gwyneth Paltrow are known to have shopped here.
If elite shopping is your thing too, you’ll find Los Cabos to be one of the best shopping destinations in the world. There’s something for everyone in Los Cabos and we want to show you the most amazing places to find the perfect souvenir of your trip.
Luxury Shopping Experience
The definitive shopping district in Los Cabos is the Marina Golden Zone, home to many fantastic boutiques. Here you’ll find perfumes, fine leather goods, watches, and an excellent selection of international designer boutiques.
Los Cabos is especially known for its numerous jewelry stores. When visiting Los Cabos, most people are looking for precious stones authentic Mexican silver from the heritage town of Taxco, where silverwork has been a mainstay of their economy since the Colonial era . Your best bet is to visit one of the reputable jewelers like Ultrajewels or Diamonds International. However, there are certainly amazing finds at smaller jewelers waiting to be discovered — literal diamonds in the rough. If you’re interested in the hunt, look for a .0925 or .0950 and “Mexico” stamp to ensure you’re purchasing a piece made with 92.5% Taxco silver.
Cabo San Lucas also has some breathtaking luxury malls. Mall shopping is a great way to cool down for a while, and you can take in the incredible design and architecture inside.
While some people might wonder if a day spent inside is a waste, once you see the offerings of the top malls here you’ll truly understand why Los Cabos is a favourite for celebrities and VIP’s.
One such mall is the Puerto Paraiso Mall. This stunning three story building inspired by Mexican Colonial architecture offers over 100 shops, ranging from the ultra luxurious to casual fashions. Expect familiar names like Tommy Bahama, Kenneth Cole and Hugo Boss. Our favourite at Puerto Paraiso Mall is the Galeria Sergio Bustamante, the gallery of acclaimed Mexican artist Bustamante, where you can find original sculptures and fine jewelry.
Another mall we love is the nearby Luxury Avenue Boutique Mall. As the name implies, the true lap of luxury is found here. This mall specializes in elegance and prestige, so you’re going to want to visit to find exclusive items from high end brands like Carolina Herrera, Salvatorre Ferragamo and Vilebrequin.
Exclusive Los Cabos Finds
When you’re visiting an exotic place, you’re likely interested in seeing what some of the local styles are like. Los Cabos is teeming with amazing boutiques selling locally designed and crafted fashions, jewelry, and art. You’ll have no shortage of options, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few great places you can’t miss.
The Shoppes at Palmilla is a boutique centre offering local luxury products. Just a 20 minute drive from Cabo San Lucas, here you’ll find stand-outs like Antigua de Mexico, which specializes in custom furniture, and SAX boutique where you can find earth-friendly and fair trade custom jewelry.Ave Fénix will find you the perfect authentic Mexican treasure to decorate your home with, but be sure to book an appointment. The dining here is stellar as well, so The Shoppes at Palmilla is a great way to spend the whole day while still taking in some sun.
Perhaps you’re looking for fashions which incorporate the beauty of the local culture. Back in Cabo San Lucas, a must visit is Pineda Covalin. This designer focuses on Mexican tradition beautifully blended with modern trends for men and women, and is linked to several charitable initiatives, such as SAVE THE CHILDREN, Visión Mundial, and UN Women.
If you’re looking for something whimsical, Pepita’s Magic of the Moon is perhaps the most recommended boutique for local Los Cabos styles. All items here are lovingly handcrafted and there are a variety of styles ranging from bohemian to elegant.When you visit Pepita’s to get some exclusive in-store only items, be sure to put some time aside as the shopgirls will offer to help you find you a full custom outfit based on your personality and skin tone.
High End Souvenirs
Los Cabos is known as a center of arts, and you can find some of the best authentic pieces in all of Mexico right near your villa.
We’ve already covered some of the best galleries in Los Cabos, so check out our list to find out where to get the perfect addition to your home. If you’re interested in some smaller luxury souvenirs, however, you’ll want to avoid kitschy mass-produced souvenir shops. Here are a few fantastic boutiques you should know about where you can find high quality mementos sure to please. Santo Gabo is a soap shop committed to locally sourced, organic and handmade products that are lovely as gifts or just for some self-care. Artesano’s is a large scale warehouse where interior design elite come to find pieces for their own private homes. Their collection spans from fixtures and furnishings to small items like ashtrays and kitchenware. Both of these shops are featured on Gwyneth Paltrow’s blog Goop.
If you’re interested in fine tobacco products and cigars, look no further than J&J Habanos. While some other cigar shops in Los Cabos may have questionable authenticity, J&J Habanos carries only certified authentic products from premier Cuban brands like Romeo Y Julieta and Cohiba. Shop for cigars in style while sampling products and sipping on blue agave tequila.
After your exciting day of shopping is over, you can head back to your villa to relax and enjoy the serenity of your private pool or sauna. If you’re looking for a little more fun, head back out to one of the local bars or lounges and try an authentic Mexican drink while you unwind – we’ve got a great list of them here for you to try
The peak of elegance awaits you in Mexico’s paradise. Explore luxury villas in Los Cabos to find the perfect spot for your next vacation.
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