A trip to the Riviera Maya can be an unforgettable experience with golden sunshine, wild nightlife, stunning beaches, and plenty of culture. You might spend weeks dieting to look great in your bikini during your Mexican getaway, but be prepared to pack on a couple of pounds thanks to the amazing food available on the Mayan Riviera. Unbutton your pants, pick out a flowing beach dress to wear, and dig into these spectacular dishes along the Riviera Maya, Mexico.

See Food and Eat It

With a location right along the Caribbean Sea, it really shouldn’t come as a surprise that the local seafood is one of the best things to try when in the Riviera Maya. For a handheld bite as you are sightseeing, or just something quick to eat before that next tequila shot, seafood tacos are an amazing option. Grab a set of three from an eatery right on the beach, or head to a street vendor to pick up a single fish or shrimp taco to eat as you explore the town. Just remember not to taco with your mouth full!

Smell Something Fishy

If sushi is a favourite dish for you back home, branch out with another kind of raw seafood: ceviche. This traditional Mexican dish can be prepared using just about any kind of uncooked seafood, but along the Riviera Maya you’ll typically find some kind of white flaky fish and plenty of big shrimp. Instead of cooking the raw seafood, it’s tossed in lime juice, which denatures the protein and gives it a different taste. If that’s too technical and scientific for your holiday, all you really need to know is that ceviche is tasty, low fat, and fantastic scooped up in some piping hot, freshly-cooked tortilla chips. A beer on the side doesn’t hurt, either.

Remember Last Night? Didn’t Think So

Let’s be honest for a minute, shall we? One of the biggest reasons to visit places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen, both along the Riviera Maya, is for the chance to take tequila shots, drink cheap local beer, and have nights so great that you can’t remember what happened. The downside to all the fun is that terrible hangover you’ll get in the morning. In Mexico, one of the remedies is a hearty breakfast of huevos motuleños. This dish starts with a base of corn tortillas and gets topped with black beans, cheese, salsa, and fresh red onions. Soak up the booze with huevos motuleños the next time you wake up in the morning, or afternoon, with a raging hangover.

Lion Around and Doing Good

It’s not every day that you can dine on tasty seafood and know you are actually helping the ecosystem. Okay, there are probably zero times where that has been a realistic part of your day. While you’re vacationing in the Mayan Riviera, however, you can actually do your part to save the local marine life as you dig into fish tacos or grilled seafood. The secret is ordering up lion fish, a new addition to menus that has a surprising reason for being available. The predatory fish is non-native and can have a bad effect on the underwater ecosystem—lo and behold, the perfect way to rid the local waters of lion fish is to eat them. Try the pez leon and imagine how much you’re helping the world in between tanning by the beach and dancing the night away.

The next time you find yourself in the Riviera Maya, skip the chain restaurants and hotel buffets. Instead, seek out those incredible dishes you simply can’t find anywhere else. Whether you happen to be an aspiring chef, a serious foodie with an Instagram obsession, or someone who just needs to soak up the booze from the night before, these dishes are all great options for an unforgettable culinary experience in Mexico. The Mayans might have been wrong about the end of the world ending in 2012, but they are all kinds of right when it comes to delicious food.

 Do you have a favourite Mexican dish you enjoy again and again?

Feature image:

Flickr/Creative Commons/Gustavo Andrade/Via/https://flic.kr/p/e5JR7a