Wandering in Mexico

It had been over five years since either Claire or I had travelled outside of Canada or the US. We couldn’t wait to dig deep for some real Mexican culture, so on our second day we left the hotel destined for Antojitos La Chiapaneca, a small establishment on Tulum’s main street which reportedly serves the best tacos in Mexico. But at the time, we couldn’t remember the name and had only a vague idea of where to find it.

After a short wait on the side of the road, we joined half a dozen locals in boarding a Toyota Hiace van with the words “Colectivo” stencilled across the front. Half an hour later, the driver announced our arrival in Tulum. We paid our meagre fare of 40 pesos each and slid out of the van into the sun-baked concrete streets.

A couple hours of aimless wandering gave no sign of our fabled taco destination. We stopped in a small, shaded cafe called Ki’bok to ask for directions. When I ordered an espresso in broken Spanish, the gringo owner responded in perfect American English, “Do you want a single or a double shot?”

We told him we were looking for a famous taco joint, but we couldn’t remember the name or the address. “The facade is red and white, and I think the name starts with an ‘A’”, said Claire, wincing to remember what few details she could. The shopkeeper immediately gave us a knowing smile and told us where to go. “But if you want my opinion”, he said, “go to the one across the street from there. Those are the best tacos in town.”

We took him up on his recommendation. When we arrived we found a large awning covering the master chef, his grill, and three or four plastic tables with chairs. Stepping into the shade of the awning, we returned the curious stares with cheerful smiles and sat down.

We each ordered two tacos and within minutes, four of the juiciest tacos appeared before us. We sprinkled them with fresh raw onions, cilantro, and lime and then stuffed our faces while the chef and the regulars all looked on. Feeling satisfied and accomplished, we paid for our meal and stepped back into the blistering sun for more exploring.

Coffee shop in Tulum