Floating in the turquoise bays of Huatulco and emerging just for a fresh coconut and garlic shrimp heads is my perfect beach day. Here are a few more things that you might want to eat and do though on the Oaxacan coast, for variety’s sake. Find some favorites from past trips in these posts.
El Cazador, Pochutla
You know sometimes when you drive through the countryside or small towns and there’s one single church at the top of a hill? Well, replace the church with a family-owned seafood restaurant and sign me up for service every Sunday at El Cazador. Our taxi driver didn’t even know about this place that hides off a quiet road on the outskirts of Pochutla, but some local friends sent us here. At a previous eating adventure in Mazunte when we ordered a chelada the owner had to confirm the correct contents of a chelada (lime, salt, beer)— which was not only disappointing because we realized we clearly weren’t eating at a Mexican-owned restaurant but was also confusing, because who has been in Mexico long enough to open a business but not learn what a chelada is!? But here the cheladas came out swinging, with a tajín rimmed mug and flautirriko (tamarind and chile candy-wrapped straw). We ordered a whole red snapper (the local fish of the day), more shrimp, and a mixed ceviche which included lengua de perro, a mollusk collected from the rocks in these parts that tastes a little like abalone and looks like a mini vagina (just being real).
Jalil Restaurant Bar, Mazunte
Well, we didn’t venture too far for this beach eatery but sometimes you don’t have to. I can vouch for the location, quick service, and camarones al mojo de ajo at this place. Do you need much more? They got the nice chairs with padding, la sazón, and the good sense not to overcook shrimp.
Organic Market (Wed and Sun, Morning til 4 pm) in Mazunte
Find your cacao sesame tostadas made with criollo corn here (oh the sweet, savory things I could do with them). The tostada vendor has other flavors as well like nopal, moringa, and beets. Nearby is a woman with packages of dried mango and other tropical fruits that definitely beat the Trader Joes version, one comes covered in sticky chamoy. There are textile and body product vendors here too. It looks like people were eating a memela topped with nopales and jamaica, which looked good but I was more in the mood for a passion fruit agua.
Juice spot on the main road in Mazunte
I get my veggies mostly through juices from beach towns in Mexico as there are often not a lot of raw veggie options on menus. The green juice here hit the spot. There’s a little produce stand too.
Casa Mayor Café, Huatulco
For a good coffee made with beans from the region, hit this corner stand on the Zocalo. There is a full cafe/restaurant also in the centro, and the open-air coffee stand is on the corner of Gardenia and Guanacastle.
Tres Hermanos, San Agustin de Los Flores
My memories of San Agustin weren’t exaggerated by nostalgia, this is still the place of tropical beach dreams. The water is so transparent snorkeling masks are unnecessary. The mango stands and the peacocks still guard the entrance. This time we were taken to a restaurant called Tres Hermanos, where the chef Ilda tempted us with lobsters, but not being that hungry we settled for a ceviche, which was fine. The highlight however was the fish net art, webbing together armadillo shells, early 2000s landline phones, coral and curtains made with straws and seashells.
My girl Shana found the Tlayuda hack here: pastor with piña. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Tlayudas, they are a common snack found in Oaxaca made with an oversized tortilla, beans, cheese and a topping of your choice, like tasajo, served flat or folded and toasted on the grill or comal. Sometimes they can come out dry if not done right, but the grilled piña juice and juicy pork circumvents that issue.
El Camaron Borracho, Huatulco
I frequently bug taxi drivers for the popular local food spots, which sometimes leaves me eating at their primo’s restaurant, and also gets me to affordable, good food. El Camaron Borracho is on a residential street behind the Soriana supermarket, and the prices reflect its distance from the tourist traps on the beach or in the centro. The open dining room is bordered by orange brick arches and filled with the sounds of cuban salsa music and dubbed 80s action flicks. I was tempted by the fish tail I saw poking out of the seafood soup, but in the end I went for camarones a la diabla, shrimp with a guajillo and chile de arbol sauce. The heat is subtler than the name hints. Don’t miss a glimpse at the back of the employee t-shirts here.
Where to Stay
Mazunte: We liked El Eden Bungalows, a little up the road from the center of Mazunte. The rooms are clean, comfy, with patios, and if you’re in the right one, also have an ocean view. The older couple that owns the place is super sweet and accommodating. There’s also a great palapa with hammocks, and I was headed out a local artists was painting a mural on the water tank. There is also a sweet dog with a nerdy haircut and two baby kittens that followed us everywhere.
Huatulco: If you want to be in the city center, Arenas del Pacifico is a low budget spot that’s clean, has great service, and a complimentary breakfast. Plus a pool with a slide for the kids.
(I booked both places on booking.com)
Thanks to my two mamacitas who were the best eating and travel companions!