It was off the beaten track, and no English was spoken by restaurant staff, which is just how we wanted it.
But everything we ordered was fresh made and tasty - starting with these tamales ($16 pesos ~$0.85 USD).
Of course we had to stop by the elote cart!
Apparently this frozen treat is made by Nestle, so I'm sure it's a commonly available product, but it was the first time I'd ever encountered it and I was in love!!
Made a note to self to look for this treat in Mexican markets when I returned to LA.
The Alley has signs everywhere that markets their margaritas as the best in Cancun - we hadn't imbibed enough to know whether this was true, but the portion sizes are definitely generous. We would recommend selecting one of the other fruit flavors that isn't lime though - we wanted to stay away from far too sweet, but the lime one went the opposite direction and was extremely sour.
We did love the ambience of the semi-hidden away, sunlit, serene alley-way setting though.
@gourmetpigs found an amazing Mayan-themed place that felt like a hidden gem in plain sight on the hotel zone strip, with its archaeological inspired interiors, and lush jungled sculpture garden patio: La Habichuela.
This may read like it's a gimmick as a part of a theme restaurant, but the design of the space and experience is so artful that it didn't feel like a 'theme' restaurant in the way that it would in the U.S.
The back garden patio, with its ornate white-washed wrought iron chairs, strung lights, and dock overlooking yachts, created a quietly magical ambience that made it easy to see why La Habichuela is a popular place for special occasions including weddings.
We started with a trio of tamales.
Xtabentun is a liquer made in the Yucatan, that may have taken its inspiration from a ceremonial spirit produced by Mayans, now made with anise, honey made by bees feeding on the nectar of xtabentun flowers, and rum. This liquer added depth and a sweet / licorice-like flavor to the coffee, which was served in a Mayan inspired stone chalice - and lit on fire. (Yes, I'm a sucker for drinks crowned with blue flames first.)
But one of my favorite moments from our trip was actually also from that beach, a short walk from the colorful beacon...there was a playground/gym that was made of rustic logs, and a thatched cover, which came with swings - right on the sand, overlooking the water.
It was an incredibly simple joy, propelling ourselves high into the air, to the sound of ocean lapping, white sand beneath our feet, under the open star-filled sky - swinging like pendulums between kid-like glee and
And then to be blown away the very next day, that I couldn't even imagine would be able to even top the already amazing days that we'd spent in the area.
Ontime Car Rental
Blvd. Kukulcan, Km 11.5 Loc. 101-B
Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico 77500
Ph: +52 998 883 0160
Xel-Ha 28, 77509 Cancun, Quintana Roo, Mexico, Supermanzana 28
Loncheria El Pocito
31 Norte Lte 23 Mz35, Sm 63, 77513 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Ph: +52 998 252 2654
The Alley/ El Callejon
Avenida Xel-Ha, Plaza Bonita, Xel-ha, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Calle Margaritas 25, Centro, 77500 Cancún, Q.R., Mexico
Ph: +52 998 884 3158
Boulevard Kukulkan | Zona Hotelera, Cancun 77500, Mexico
Westin Resort & Spa Cancun
Boulevard Kukulcan KM 20, Cancun, Quintana Roo 77500, Mexico
Ph: +52 (998) 848-7400Website: starwoodhotels.com
Day 4 costs breakdown:
- Car Rental: $40 USD per day = $10 per person per day including mandatory liability insurance
- Gas: 200 pesos per day = 50 pesos per person per day (~$3 USD)
- Lunch at Loncheria El Pocito ~$185 pesos per person (~$10 USD)
- Mercado 28 ~$25 pesos (~$1.32 USD):
- Pela banana ice cream pop
- La Habichuela: ~$583 pesos per person (~$31 USD)
- Hotel: 8,500 Starwood points
- Total: ~$60 USD per person
(See my recaps for Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, and Day 5 here. To see more photos from this trip, check out my Instagram @onemorebiteblog)