Observations from a Mexican Night Market

A local vendor rolls up a cheese Marquesista.

While visiting Cancun in June, on more than one occasion I went off the beaten path of just partying at resorts and (I feel) I actually got to see the real Cancun. One of these occasions was when the group of us (Jody Diamond, Kelley Ferro, Matt Stabile, Josh Johnson and Nick Vivion) went to the weekend night markets at the Parque de las Palapas.

Parque de las Palapas is located in the city of Cancun away from the hotel zone and is a place where the locals come and their kids ride around on “Go, Go, Power Wheels”, friends meet, people dance, performances are put on and everyone hangs out eating great food from fried bananas to popcorn with hot sauce, churros, corn in various forms, of course tacos and a whole lot more. Naturally this excited me especially since I think getting to know a place through its food is one of the best ways to do it and I quickly fell in love with Parque de las Palapas.

Parents come here with their kids and follow them around the square as they ride in little Power Wheels cars, I was jealous…

I felt like this place was different from other markets I had been to around the world, it seemed almost “untouched” by tourists. As the group of us walked around filming and photographing everything that moved the people we met seemed more than happy to have us, I was even asked by someone to take a photo their little girl. It was a breath of fresh air from other popular tourists markets where people might wave in your face saying “No photos” or ask you for money for taking photographs. Everyone here just smiled, we didn’t hassle them they didn’t hassle us, almost as if we fit right in.

The following is a photo essay from my night at Parque de las Palapas, I hope you enjoy. :)

Ever since I worked in a movie theatre in High School I’ve been in love with popcorn and I found in many parts of Mexico that they served it with a hot sauce on top. I’m not sure what exactly the hot sauce was but yes, of course it was delicious.

Bananas about to be dunked into a deep fryer to be cooked up and served.

Corn was served on the cob or in a dish with salt, cheese and other things added to it.

The bright colours of the cotton candy screamed my name from across the plaza.

Homemade potato and plantain chips.

The colourful seating area need some of the food stalls.


Beef tacos! Yum!

Marquesitas are made from rolled waffle cones stuffed with meat, cheese and savoury tastes but also dessert tastes like nutella. Originally invented when cold weather caused a decline in ice cream sales and it was decided that something else would be done with the waffle cones.

People really love their Marquesitas in Cancun.

Have you ever been to Parques de las Palapas? Have you ever tried any of these delicious Mexican eats?

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  • Reply
    Samuel @ Backpacking Travel Blog
    July 24, 2012 at 8:23 am

    Those beef tacos look divine! Nothing like great street food :)

  • Reply
    July 22, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Plantains! Yummy yummy plantains!

  • Reply
    Brock - Backpack With Brock
    July 19, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Wow, so many different options! They all look delicious!

  • Reply
    July 18, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    This makes me miss Mexico so badly. Growing up in El Paso, Texas (96% Hispanic) we always put hot sauce on our popcorn. You can imagine the surprise when I moved to Austin and found out it wasn’t a normal thing to do!

    • Reply
      Cailin O'Neil
      July 18, 2012 at 5:09 pm

      @Erica: I was surprised that that was the first time I ever heard of anyone doing that! I became quickly addicted to it! haha Any recommendations on what kind of hot sauce I should use?

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