Eat Like a Local in Mexico with a Taco Tour of Downtown Cancun

So many people go to Cancun and only experience the resort strip, completely unaware of the booming culture and nightlife available just 15 minutes away in the downtown area. The best way to see, and eat, your way through the city like a local is to go on a Taco Tour.

I was recently in Cancun for the second time, hoping to cross swimming with whale sharks off my list. Unfortunately, my trip coincided almost identically with a tropical storm that was hitting the area, so most of my water-based activities were cancelled. In a city dependent on sunny skies for its main tourist attractions, there is little to do on a rainy day. The Taco Tour is a great activity to have on your schedule in case of inclement weather since it runs rain or shine.

While the food in Mexico is delicious across the board, I found that the best and freshest dishes were in the mom and pop shops, not the giant resort restaurants. Your ceviche is almost guaranteed to have been frozen at some point when you order at the Ritz, but it was swimming in the ocean the night before it hit your plate at the local restaurant.

So step away from the room service and step into a night of authentic Mexican cuisine! Here’s everything you need to know to go on a Taco Tour of Cancun:

What is a Taco Tour?

Cancun

A Taco Tour is exactly what it sounds like. For $15USD, a local guide will meet and escort you throughout downtown Cancun, hitting three local taco spots along the way, and one surprise place for dessert. The tour’s founder, Marek, is an avid traveler and wanted to find a way to showcase Mexican cuisine to backpackers and luxury travelers alike.

My guide, Myrna, had years of hospitality experience and helped me navigate the menus of the night, recommending different items and warning me where appropriate about the spice level of a given condiment. Be warned–when Mexicans say something is spicy, they mean it!

Where in Cancun does the Taco Tour take place?

Cancun

The Taco Tour is centered around Parque de las Palapas and all stops are within a 5 block radius of the area. The meeting point is at a supermarket downtown called Chedraui, which you can access by bus or car. If you drive, you’ll leave your car parked at the supermarket while you walk around the area.

The stops are a mixture of indoor and outdoor dining, so wear comfortable shoes and bring an umbrella just in case it rains.

Who goes on a Taco Tour?

Cancun

As I mentioned, the Taco Tour is meant to be inclusive. No matter your budget or style of travel, you’ll feel catered to and leave with a full stomach. I went on the tour as a solo female traveler and felt very welcome, not at all awkward or like I needed someone to accompany me. I would recommend this experience for solo travelers everywhere. You can also go in a group and take advantage of having the full attention of a local guide.

Aside from the group, you’ll likely be the only tourists in the area.

What do you eat while on the Taco Tour?

Cancun

On to the good stuff! The food. There’s tacos el pastor, which are the classic Mexican taco option featuring a pineapple slice on top. You can try tacos with beef, chicken, pork, shrimp and even crab depending on your preference.

All the tortillas are hand-made, either by the restaurant that same day or purchased from a tortilleria that morning. You’ll have your pick of sauces, from mild to spicy and made from ingredients like tomatoes and habanero peppers.

You can also order accompaniments, like guacamole and pico de gallo. My advice is to pace yourself, as this is not a sprint but a marathon. You’ll also have the option to try a fried dish at the end, to compare and contrast with all the tacos you’ve eaten till then.

Finally, don’t forget to save room for desert! Afterwards, you’ll be escorted to the street vendors at Parque de las Palapas to try marquesitas, a version of a Mexican crepe rolled stuffed with queso de bola and smeared with your choice of topping (I personally chose Nutella).

Know before you go

Cancun

The Taco Tour is set up so that all you have to do is show up and have a good time, so there’s very little prep work that has to be done on your part. You can book your tickets online ahead of tim with confidence; Merak is quick about communication and confirmation. Wear comfortable walking shoes as the tour is mainly on foot. Bring pesos to pay for the food at the local venues. There are souvenir shops and bars along the street that you’ll be touring if you choose to stay later. The tour ends by 10pm so you have time to go out after if you’d like. Finally, don’t forget to bring cash to tip your guide! They work hard to make sure you leave with good memories.

Have questions about the Taco Tour? Feel free to reach out. I hope you treat your taste buds to this experience whenever you’re in Cancun.

Till next time, safe travels!

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Experience Cancun like a local by going on a Taco Tour of the downtown area. Step away from the hotel room service and try authentic Mexican tacos with the help of a local guide! Eat like a local on a Taco Tour of downtown Cancun. Try tacos al pastor and even marquesitas for dessert, all for just $15!

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2017-07-11T23:27:22+00:0024 Comments

24 Comments

  1. sarah June 28, 2017 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    taco tours sound amazing! Probably because it’s so hard to find decent Mexican food here in Romania. (I’m from So Cal and took Mexican food for granted) Hopefully, I can make it to Cancun one day and try this out.

  2. Kirti June 28, 2017 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Taco tour sounds like so much fun 🙂 I have only tried “taco bells” in India, coz that’s the only place where we get good tacos.
    the classic Mexican taco looks delicious, I will try to find out if they serve here in the menu 🙂 Thanks for the info!

  3. Lisa June 28, 2017 at 6:37 pm - Reply

    The glory of a good taco is worth its weight in gold! We love Mexican food and for that price? It’s a must do adventure!

  4. Tahnee June 28, 2017 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    This is a dream 😍😍😍 I’m booking my first trip to Cancun right now 😂😂😂 the food looks fab. Sorry you had bad weather but looks likes this more than made up for it

  5. Kasia June 28, 2017 at 9:55 pm - Reply

    OMG a Taco Tour in Mexico!!! Heaven! I wish I could’ve done that when I was there. I loooove tacos!!! This sounds like loads of fun and Mexican food is to die for. Especially the authentic type.

  6. Felicia June 28, 2017 at 10:56 pm - Reply

    Sounds wonderful, Mexican food is definitely one of my favorites.

  7. Nimit Sharma June 29, 2017 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Mexican food is looking so delicious that I can’t wait for it.

  8. Globejamun June 29, 2017 at 7:23 am - Reply

    This sounds awesome. I love taking these foodie tours in places I go. The pics looks fun. U had a great time 🙂

  9. Marine June 29, 2017 at 7:52 am - Reply

    some for reasons I only started eating Mexican food recently and I’m OBSESSED ! I’ll keep this in mind when I go to Mexico !

  10. Niki June 29, 2017 at 9:17 am - Reply

    A taco tour is exactly what food heaven would look like!!! I am obsessed with Mexican food – especially tacos…street tacos, soft tacos, hard shell tacos – you name it! I avoid a trip to Mexico only because I might come back 10kg more. LOL

  11. Juliann June 29, 2017 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    Yum, yum, YUM! You had me at “taco tour.” 🙂 Honestly, I love participating in almost any food tour, but when it’s centered on one thing specifically, it’s even more fun.

  12. Ana Sofia June 29, 2017 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    I’m a sucker for tacos. Especially al pastor. I’ve never had one with pineapple though, looks so good!

  13. Mercy (Zen Maud) June 29, 2017 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    Sounds like a great deal for a taco tour. The name is catchy and I’m sure those tacos are going to be a delight! Lovely shots.

  14. Globe Runners June 29, 2017 at 9:28 pm - Reply

    gA taco tour would be so good right about now. Was guac extra? :/

  15. Tahna de Veyra June 30, 2017 at 12:11 am - Reply

    A taco tour would definitely be my idea of fun! Thanks for the vicarious experience! 🙂

  16. Ivy June 30, 2017 at 10:06 pm - Reply

    A taco tour sounds like so much fun! I like that it’s not swarming with tourists and that you really get a good feel of the local area and food. I’d starve myself for a few hours before going so I can eat extra haha!

  17. Susan Ripley June 30, 2017 at 11:56 pm - Reply

    Love this! I’m a huge taco lover – I love to try them all over Mexico. And whenever I go somewhere touristy – it’s awesome to find the local section of the city – you know that’s where the best food is! Will have to remember this anytime I’m back in Cancun.

  18. Jenn and Ed Coleman July 1, 2017 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    We went on a taco tour in Tijuana and loved it. We had so many different kinds of tacos and a tour bus to take us around that was a rocking party. Love me some grilled meat. I would totally recommend taking a taco tour if you’re ever in Mexico but make sure you come hungry. There is so much to try and taste.

  19. Allison Wong July 2, 2017 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Taco tour sound so much fun ! I would love to do that too if I visit Cancun one day! Your post is making me hungry now too

  20. Cat July 2, 2017 at 2:15 pm - Reply

    Taco tour is such a great way to tour the city! You got to eat tacos at the local gems! Recently we joined one food tour and I loved how little we had to plan and prepare, yet had so much fun! I will keep this in mind when I visit Cancun!

  21. Julie July 2, 2017 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    A taco tour sounds amazing! I absolutely love authentic tacos so its nice to have a tour to show you all the gems around the area!

  22. Echoesofhervoice July 18, 2017 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Never been but would love to visit Mexico and eat like a local. The pics look so yummy. Thanks for sharing!

  23. Josh June 25, 2018 at 2:49 am - Reply

    I’m starting to look at where to go in Mexico as a solo male traveler in mid-30s, and this looks just like the kind of thing I want to do! Thanks for sharing this. Taco marathon is my kind of marathon!

    • Jen on a Jet Plane July 3, 2018 at 4:10 pm - Reply

      It’s a great experience, and really allows you to see the city like a local! You won’t regret it 🙂

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