Free Self-Guided Yummy Walking Tour of Playa del Carmen with FinallyElaine
I have visited Playa del Carmen since 2010. During this time I have discovered some wonderful eats. I am aware that 5th avenue is the tourist "hot spot", but to get a TRUE Mexican experience I had to talk to taxi drivers, local hotel workers, and friends that are from here to go where the locals go. The best part is that it costs significantly less than all the tourist traps. As a tourist myself, I wanted to blend my travel experience with my love for this area in order to create a tour that you can do even in my absence. I did these tours during the high season of 2017 and 2018, but now I am giving this to YOU---the tourist that did not get the chance to meet with me in person.
As a traveler, I was surprised to see "Free Walking Tours" all over Europe and parts of the USA, but nothing is free in Playa del Carmen. I bet even the ocean takes something from you. I wanted to bring this concept to the area and I gave it my own "spin" by not charging you an entrance to see me. On the contrary, I am always looking to save you money and that does not change whether I am hosting your tour or not.
In this post, you will find the three or four places I normally took you to eat and drink on my tour. The one I did the most was the Classic Playa del Carmen Foodie Walking tour and that is the one I am sharing with you on this post. The tour includes a different type of taco, a steak dish, seafood, and followed by dessert. I have seen other foodie tours pop out in Playa del Carmen charging some very exuberant prices, but if you follow this free tour, you will spend more or less about $15 USD per person.
First of all, I suggest going to the Fundadores Park as a perfect place to enjoy one of the most breathtaking views of Playa del Carmen. The places you will visit are a short walk from this beautiful park. If you go in the early evenings, you will enjoy Mayans re-creating their popular dances right in front of the sculpture.
Secondly, make your way to Calle 1 Sur with 20th Avenue (a quick walk from Fundadores Park) to Carnitas Teresita's. Enjoy this Mom and Pop's place that has been in the area for over 25 years. For 140 pesos ($7 USD approximately) you can feed three to four people with the most delicious Kastacan tacos (Chicharrones) you can possibly eat. There are other meats there for the more adventurous foodies. Personally, these are the best chicharrones I have had in Playa del Carmen. Do not miss this place if you love REAL pork rinds and/or perfectly cooked crispy pork.
Video Snap Shot of Carnita's Teresita's
After Carnita's Teresita's, a short walk across the street and you will find HC de Monterrey. After a taco dish I take you to the best Arrachera that you can possibly have in town. For 200 pesos (or approximately $10 USD), you can have the most melt in your mouth delicious and tasty meat possible. Let's see what my lucky travelers had to say about it:
So what is Arrachera? Well, it is the "toughest" part of the cow so it is thinly cut and generously marinated. It is easy to make a Rib-Eye or NY-Steak taste good, but there are other parts of the cow that are not as tender. Therefore, it becomes important to find the right ingredients to make the tougher cuts soft. Overall, it is marinated for more or less than five days. However, recipes vary and everyone likes to keep their secrets. The ingredient that tenderizes this cut of meat is lime. You will see the word "Arrachera" all over Playa del Carmen, but in my humble opinion, HC de Monterrey truly has the best.
Finally, we are making our way to seafood dishes by walking back towards 5th avenue and making our way to La Tarraya. Once you get to 2nd St between 5th Avenue and the ocean, you can easily miss it if you are not paying attention. For those of you that crave a fresh fish fillet, ceviche, and other seafood, grilled or fried, this is the place to go eat with the locals and pay their prices. There are many places right on the water, but none like this place at local costs. Beers are less than half the price at restaurants right by them, and cocktails are large and inexpensive. La Tarraya has been around since 1968 so check them out for their fresh catch of the day. Seafood is always fresh and plentiful without the 5th avenue tourist price tags.
Fresh Shrimp Ceviche
As a part of my tour, dessert is optional and it depends on how much you can eat. I do have one dessert in Playa del Carmen that is #1 in my heart. You will have to walk to Venezuelan restaurant Kaxapa Factory for this treat. Just walk up to 10th street between 15th and 20th avenue and you will find it on your right. The restaurant is very easy to miss, but it is well known, so ask a local if you get lost. In Mexico, all things corn is popular, but this dessert is like no other that I have tasted in the area. Imagine if cheesecake married corn and they have a delicious baby. Then, top it with fresh vanilla ice cream, dulce de leche, and nuts. Seriously, you will thank me for this pointer.
In addition, for chocolate lovers, just head to Ah Cacao for any of their chocolate treats and/or drinks. I strongly recommend their chocolate mousse, Mayan hot chocolate, and any of their chocolate inspired desserts. When it comes to Mexican chocolate done right, Ah Cacao will please the most discriminating foodies.
Thank you Playa del Carmen for so many years of memories. I know that I will always return on vacation, but this is my gift to you. I did not accept money from restaurants to write about them. These are simply delicious meals and places that I discovered over eight years of visiting the area. I know that my foodie tour was recently fully booked and very successful bringing more business to unknown and less visited restaurants. My presence here was appreciated by small business owners. However, I am leaving this for YOU to enjoy on your visits to Playa del Carmen.