Mexico boasts 9,330 kilometres of coastline, with about two thirds facing the Pacific Ocean and the Gulf of California, and one third fronting the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea – and almost half of the country’s population lives in a coastal state. Considering that Mexican culture revolves heavily around food, it’s clear that classic dishes in these seaside regions will be as diverse and unique as the rest of the country’s fare. Here, we look at the top 10 coastal destinations for foodies to seek out on their next Mexican vacation.

Veracruz – Let’s start with one of the longest states in Mexico. Located in the far east of the country, right by the Gulf of Mexico, Veracruz is known for its coffee production as well as its many beaches, so seafood reigns supreme. Veracruz-style fish, or pescado a la veracruzana, is a staple to try; consisting of red snapper marinated in lime juice, pepper, nutmeg and garlic, then cooked and served with a tomato-based sauce using onion, garlic, jalapeños, herbs, raisins, capers and olives, this dish is a clear fusion of the old world and the new, combining ingredients and cooking techniques from Spain and Mexico. While you’re here, sip the ultimate jarocho drink: torito is a sugar cane spirit mixed most commonly with peanuts and enjoyed cold. Don’t be fooled by the size and sweetness – it can be quite deadly! 

Sinaloa – For fans of both ceviche and spicy food, this is a definite must-try: aguachile de camarón, translated as “water chilli shrimp”, is a spicy, herbal version of ceviche, made with lots of lime juice mixed with cucumber, chopped red onions and sometimes chilli flakes, and served with tostadas on the side. Admire the gorgeous views of Mazatlán with its daring cliff divers while digging into this magical dish washed down by a refreshing clamato (tomato juice flavoured with clam broth) with beer. If you’re feeling bold, add a little bit of the remaining shrimp juice to your drink. 

Guerrero – Still one of Mexico’s most famous beaches since back in the sixties, Acapulco’s balmy temperatures range from 23º to 32ºCelsius – so a hot dish might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, you have to try green pozole while you’re in this iconic dish’s home turf. All across the state, Thursdays are dedicated to digging into this hominy and pork stew, cooked with multiple green herbs and pumpkin seeds, and commonly served with canned sardines, raw egg and even a mezcal shot. Its best companion is chilate, a corn- and cacao-based drink mixed with water and served cold. 

Nayarit – One of the most famous oceanfront villages on the increasingly popular Riviera Nayarit is gorgeous Sayulita. Walk up and down the colourful streets to work up an appetite, then take a seat at one of the local restaurants and order a pescado zarandeado: fish marinated in chilli, tomato and garlic and cooked over a fire from the wood of local mangroves – a technique that gives the dish its special taste. To keep things fresh, try an agua de cebada: a cold barley-based drink served with lime zest and cinnamon.

Baja California – Ensenada could easily be described as a paradise of seafood, beer and wine, and it’s conveniently located just a quick two-hour drive from San Diego. During your next visit, approach one of the many carretas (street push carts) and order one of their crispy tostadas served with fresh ceviche, shrimp, octopus or even sea urchin. You can also opt to dive into the wide variety of oysters served in the shell along with lime and extra-spicy salsas. Given that this is the state with the most microbreweries in the country, cracking open an ice-cold craft beer would be the right move. 


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Baja California Sur – When in Baja Sur, go to Cabo. And when in Cabo, definitely go for fish tacos. This all-time favourite regional dish features freshly caught fish that is lightly battered, fried and topped with cabbage, pickled onion, pico de gallo and mayonnaise, then served on a warm corn tortilla with a squeeze of lime and some salsa. To make it an even better experience, why not try a margarita? Let the freshness of the lime, salty rim and tasty tequila complete your Baja Sur dream. 

Yucatan – Let’s say you’re at Celestún beach enjoying the view of thousands of pink flamingos flying over the river, and just chilling while enjoying the views. When hunger strikes, head over to the closest market or local restaurant to try the absolute signature dish of the region: cochinita pibil. Meat is marinated in a mix of annatto seed, sour orange and herbs, then wrapped in banana leaves and cooked underground overnight. An absolute classic. If feeling a bit more coastal, go for the xixim fish marinated with the same mix, but a little bit lighter on your stomach, and a delicious coconut horchata (a sweet drink flavoured with cinnamon and often vanilla and almonds). 

Quintana Roo – If you’re dreaming of white sand beaches, crystal-clear blue waters and laid-back vibes, you probably have the beautiful island of Holbox in mind. To blend in with the locals, squeeze in a couple of sun salutations and a glass of agua de chaya: chaya is a leafy green plant, also known as ‘tree spinach’, with a very herbal flavour, which will make you feel healthy in body and mind. Complete the experience with a Tikin Xic fish, a dish from the ancient Mayan times cooked with fish marinated in a mix of chillies and sour orange, served with a stack of warm tortillas. 


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Oaxaca – For decades, surfers from all across the world have come to Puerto Escondido to enjoy its endless waves and beautiful beaches. And after an early morning of surfing, most people dig into a local dish called tiritas. Think of a love child between sashimi and ceviche, served with tostadas and salsa. Of course, the best pairing for almost everything in this beautiful state will always be a mezcal and, even though it’s most commonly known as the best ingredient for cocktails, try it like a true local: neat and enjoyed over a long period of time over the tiniest of sips.

Jalisco Puerto Vallarta is a gorgeous place just to sit at the beach and read a book while listening to the waves crash on the shore. At some point, you will most likely see vendors selling delicious-looking skewers of freshly caught fish or shrimp. These are called pescado o camarones embarazados, “pregnant” fish or shrimp. The meat is marinated in lime and then cooked on a grill, which adds a slight smokiness. If you’re feeling adventurous, dare to try the local traditional drink called tuba, made of fermented coconut palm sap that’s slightly sour and fizzy, just like kombucha. Normally, street vendors will sprinkle toasted peanuts on top.

About Anais Martinez
Anais is a Mexico City-based professional eater and culinary tour guide who spends her days roaming the city streets in search of the best places to eat and drink. A graduate of one of the most prestigious gastronomy universities in the country, Universidad del Claustro de Sor Juana, Anais studied everything from food history to regional cuisine, administration and food science. After working for several years in the food industry managing restaurants, she moved to the UK and Italy where she studied graphic design and food styling. She moved back to her hometown in 2012 and began giving food tours, working as a consultant for restaurants and blogging about Mexican food and culture at As a Mexico City food tour guide for the last seven years, Anais has her fingers on the pulse of the city’s vibrant culinary scene.

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