Years ago Tulum was all about cheap eats and roadside food stalls. The famous Tulum Chicken was an excuse for divers to visit cenotes and explore more caverns to the south. Today, the food landscape of Tulum has changed dramatically, but the cheap eats are still a favorite of ours and worth checking out when in Tulum.
Pollo Bronco – Pollo Bronco was our favorite chicken spot 20 years ago. In 2015, they still roast the best chicken in town. Located on the main highway in Tulum pueblo, it is easy to stop off and take your chicken to go, or sit in the plastic chairs of this old school Tulum restaurant. Quarter chicken dinners come with spaghetti or rice, grilled onions and tortillas. Price, under 6 USD for a quarter chicken dinner. Now that rocks! Pollo Bronco closes early so get there before 6 pm. It is on the corner of Orion Sur and the main highway as you drive into Tulum.
Don Taco – The Spanish word ‘Don’ is a term of respect and endearment for older men. (if you want to use the same term for an older woman, it would be Dona) This respectable and old school taco and tamale stand are located close to the Federal Police station on the main highway in the Tulum Pueblo. The tacos are authentic, cheap, and delicious. Three tacos or one tamale should do it per person with each taco costing 60 cents, tamales running about $1.20. That means you can lunch for under 2 dollars. Add a fresco or agua fresca and you might hit $3.50.
Dona Maria – I can remember having breakfast in this family style restaurant as far back as the mid-90s. Food is simple, meals are large, and everything is great. Located at the south end of the pueblo, it is across from ‘Subway’ and is not open late. I love this place for breakfast, though their lunches are just as good. You can eat for under $6 USD and will be full. This is food made with love and love it you will.
Antojitos Mexicanos – I call this empanada heaven, but there is way more to eat than just empanadas. I have a soft spot for empanadas, as deep fried as they are, I love a good empanada ‘preparada’ (that means with lettuce, cream, and salsa) once in a while. And this is the place to have it!. There are other authentic meals to choose from, and the price is right. Nothing fancy, just a place to eat and run, but those are the best meals.
Urge Taquito – As you enter Tulum from the north, Urge Taquito is one of the first roadside restaurants you will see. This Mayan style hut located beside the Super San Francisco grocery store has larger than life tacos served with a wide range of salsas. What we love about Urge Taquitos is that our vegetarian friends can enjoy great tacos at this taqueria. Unlike other roadside stands that only serve tacos for carnivores, Urge Taquito respects and caters to the vegetarian. Tacos are big, and main courses easily shared. Order bit by bit so that you don’t end up with enough food to feed an army. Lunch will be under 7 USD. Love it!
Whether you are staying in Tulum or doing a drive by en route to local ruins or cenotes, these cheap eats are great places to try local flavors and authentic meals. Check out more Tulum restaurant reviews and see what else awaits the foodie in you in this cool Riviera Maya getaway.