- 5 hours 30 minutes (Approx.)
- Mobile ticket
Get a true taste of Yucatecan cuisine and meet the local people of Merida as you shop at the market for fresh ingredients and prepare several tasty dishes. Your half-day culinary tour includes a cooking class at the home of a local host with the assistance of your knowledgeable guide. Learn about various culinary traditions of Mexico and enjoy the light lunch you’ve prepared! Numbers are limited to 12 people, ensuring an intimate experience with a small group of like-minded food lovers.
- Lunch included
- Family friendly
- Led by a local guide
- English Speaking local guide
- Ingredients for all dishes
- Cooking session at local family home
- Transport by public transit to market and to the local home
- Transport from cooking lesson location to Merida (approx USD $4 taxi ride)
Returns to original departure point
After you meet your guide and small group at a central location, drive by air-conditioned minivan to one of Merida’s markets less frequented by tourists. As you walk around the bustling outdoor market, your guide will explain about the origins and uses of some of the fruits and vegetables – many produced in the Yucatan region.
With help from your bilingual guide, converse with local vendors as you choose seasonal produce and other ingredients in preparation for your cooking class. Take in the aromas and colors of the beautiful chilies and unfamiliar tropical fruits, and learn about such delights as achiote, chile habanero and pepita de calabaza (pumpkin seed).
Next, drive to the personal home of your local host to cook and sample some Yucatecan specialties, such as salbutes (Mayan tacos), panuchos (black bean-filled tostadas), papadzules (enchiladas topped with pumpkin seed sauce) and codzitos (stuffed and fried tortillas). Under the guidance of your host, you'll have help every step of the way and learn to prepare delicious beverages like horchata (sweetened rice drink) or hibiscus flower tea.
As you prepare your meal, you’ll be introduced to a few Spanish and Mayan words, and learn more about the cuisine of the Yucatan, which includes some of the most varied dishes of Mexico. Your host and guide will describe local culinary traditions, the influence of other cultures on the cuisine, and explain some of the differences between the Yucatecos and people from other parts of Mexico.
Finally, taste the delicious plates you prepared and enjoy a light lunch as you chat more with your small group and host. Afterward, your guide will help you hire a taxi for the return to central Merida (an approximate USD $5 ride).
- Confirmation will be received at time of booking
- Please advise any specific dietary requirements at time of booking
- Latin Americans can be very conscious of appearance so try to be casual but conservative in your dress. Outside of beach areas halter tops and very short shorts should not be worn. When visiting churches or religious sites shoulders and knees should be covered.
- Maximum group size is 12.
- Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking.
- Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.
If you cancel at least 4 day(s) in advance of the scheduled departure, there is no cancellation fee.
If you cancel within 3 day(s) of the scheduled departure, there is a 100 percent cancellation fee.
I enjoyed this tour so much. You will learn about Yucatán history, and have great conversation with your guide. Going to the market and buying all of the ingredients for the meal was great; it was so nice being in the hustle and bustle of Merida. The local host was so so sweet and I was able to be very hands on with the preparation of the food. We had so much food to eat and had such good conversation the whole day. You will cook authentic local food and you will love every minute of this class.
We were looking to continue our tradition of doing a cooking class together on vacation, and this was a great one! Cooking enables us to engage our teens ages 12, 14 and 15 in a different way, and bring back some skills and ideas for new meals at home. The food we prepared was delicious: panuchos, salbutes, sopa de lima, yucatecan chicken and papadzules. We all had fun preparing the dishes, talking with others on the tour and sampling the foods along the way. Our guide, Nelson, was charming and informative and we received good guidance from him and Gustavo. Traveling to and working in the home of Doña Rosaria was also interesting. She was a welcoming host.
The market is bustling and very fun to visit in the morning. Going in the heat of the day with this tour, however, was tougher. Our group was big, the market was very crowded and very hot about 100 degrees, with little breeze. Next time I'd ask to cut that part shorter and gone on to the food preparation sooner. Would do it again, for sure!
Lastly- our tour began at 1pm. Make sure you eat before you go, as dinner wasn't until 6:00pm.
A real cultural experience! If you are looking to learn more about Mayan and Mexican culture this is a must. Fun and educational. Our guide was full of energy and spoke great English. He took us for a tour of the Merida Market, stopping to buy food at his favorite stalls while educating us on local customs. Then we took a local bus to his grandmothers home and there we all pitched in and made a local meal. The cooking was fun and educational. Cooking and eating with his family was a treat. If you like a hands on, authentic, cultural experience this tour hits the spot.
Alejo was a great tour leader, full of information about the history of Medira, Yucatan, the neighborhoods we passed through, and of course the food we prepared. We could never have negotiated the market and known of the different foods - vegetables and fruits we'd never seen. We got to sample many of these over the course of the night. Berta's house was warm and welcoming, and she was very helpful. Perhaps His best skill was managing the six of us, keeping US busy with the many steps in putting together the many course meal. Overall, we were all pleased with this fun and informative tour.
We would highly recommend this activity! Gustavo was a fabulous guide, extremely knowledgeable about the market and Yucatan history and culture. He was a joy to have as a guide, very upbeat and positive. The bustling market was amazing - a not to miss experience. There were 4 of us on the tour which seemed just right. We were most appreciative and impressed with the family environment of the actual cooking class. The family of Gustavo Grandmother and Aunt were so warm and inviting. The actual cooking class was excellent. Gustavo made sure everyone had a chance to participate in the meal preparation and the meal itself was impressive and delicious! This was a very special experience. Many thanks to Gustavo and his family for making us all feel so welcome.
So glad my wife and I booked this class. Alejo, the tour guide, chef and teacher made our day and evening very enjoyable. Spent a couple of hours shopping in the market in Merida with Alejo telling us the stories behind the spices and the history of many of the fruits and vegetables purchased. Then traveled to the in home cooking class where 10 people, if I recall correctly, spent the next 3-4 hours drinking beer, cooking and enjoying each others company. Alejo was very patient and dedicated to his craft. Made a five course meal, got fat, and enjoyed every minute of it. I highly recommend this adventure! Would definitely do it again.
What a fantastic time we had on the market tour and cooking class with Alejo! He is extremely friendly and very knowledgable and he made everyone in the group feel welcomed and included. The traditional Yucatecan food we made was delicious and he sent us all the recipes. I highly recommend this tour.
I was the only person on this tour but I was treated with very well. Allejo Mantilla, the chef and guide, gave me a great tour and with and a hands on cooking experience.
Met our guide Alejo and walked to the Market Lucas de Galvez to do our shopping before getting on a bus to the home of our host Bertha. Warning - this is a REAL cooking class. Lots of chopping, dicing, peeling, boiling, roasting before finally eating. And that whats makes it so enjoyable. All in all we had an excellent time eating and conversing. An Uber transport was arranged by Alejo at the end of the evening to return us back to our hotel in Centro. Both Alejo and Bertha were excellent hosts.
This is a must-do if you are in Merida. Alejo is just the best guide you can ever encounter. Vibrant, full of energy, always smiling, knowledgable, and immediately you feel you have a friend. The tour starts at the market, which in itself, is an experience. You encounter the real people of Merida and their food. Then the bus ride through the town is another great experience. But the best is yet to come. The moment you meet Berta, a joyful, energetic Yuacateca who makes you feel at home the moment you enter her gate. She looks over everything we bring from the market and between her and Alejo we proceed all to cook. This is a hands-on experience so you really get your hands dirty! Once the succulent aromas start to fill Berta's kitchen, we start admiring the fruits of our labor and in what seems like minutes but are really a couple of hours you are sitting down in a nicely dressed table eating all the mexican delicacies which between all of us we have prepared. The process to return to the hotel was easy and fast. Thank you Alejo and Berta for a great experience. Hope all who visit Merida have the pleasure of your tour.
Alejo was a wonderful host and guide. Everything ran smoothly, from meeting at the start to getting back to our hotel. We had a great time exploring the market, learning about some of the unique local foods, and discussing food and local history. We then spent a lovely afternoon cooking and sharing a lovely meal with Alejo and his family. A wonderful experience that brings you inside the lives of people who make Merida their home.
We really enjoyed our day spent with Alejo touring the market and then preparing a feast with Bertha at her home. We had been to several markets previously, but it was great to get Alejo's pointers on selecting the best products. It was also a highlight getting to learn about the spice mixes and sampling them from the spice vendor. Tip: the dry spices we purchased to bring home were not a problem at the border or security. However, the spices that had been mashed into a paste were not allowed, TSA did not like the constancy - and we had more than the 100mL limit for carry on. So put any spices in paste form in your checked luggage! Alejo is very knowledgeable about Yucatecan food, its history, and significance.
Preparing the food at Bertha's was a fun social event, dividing up and rotating through the prep work chopping, blending, frying, pickling and plating. The food was delicious and Both Bertha and Alejo did a good job coaching and explaining through the meal prep. We thoroughly enjoyed this day and have prepared some of the dishes for our friends back home!
I had a wonderful time attending this class. Alejo, my guide, picked me up on time. Our shopping trip to the local market was great. I was introduced to many regional goods not readily available in Southern California but essential for Yucatecan dishes. Then I learned how to make several dishes including eggs with a delicious pepita sauce. Our hostess was fascinating both as an excellent chef and as a historian. She related a personal history related to the long lasting battle between the Maya and Mexican government. Since then I have planted a Chaya bush in my garden and located a few local resources for my new cuisine! My patients have been so helpful assisting me in locating these very special ingredients.! I have several cuttings thanks to them.
I would highly recommend this experience to anyone with a serious interest in culture and history.
Absolutely loved our afternoon with Alejo and Bertha! The tour round the market was a great insight into Mexican life and food, I think my favourite was the tortillaria watching all the tortillas get made. Alejo's knowledge was amazing, and he knew all the English names for everything as well as where to get them in England!. Back at Bertha's there was something for everyone to do, and you could get as involved as you wanted followed by an amazing feast. Great way to learn about how Mexican traditions and how people live, Alejo was really open and happy to answer any questions we threw at him. Would highly recommend this tour - good value for money, transport all sorted although you pay for your own taxi / bus back to town but they arranged it for us, catered to food allergies/ dietary requirements and preferences. Thanks Alejo and Bertha!
My wife and I recently visited Merida and we're looking for a truly unique experience. This tour was more than that. From the first meet and greet with our guide Gustavo, it was clear that we were in for a terrific time. Gustavo first brought us to the Merida markets, an experience in itself. He shared his extensive knowledge of local ingrredients as well as the market environment. He was so accommodating with us and answered all of our many questions. He introduced to vendors and shared the history of Merida throughout the whole tour. We learned so much. Thanks Gustavo!! It just kept getting better as we accompanied him to the home of our host Berte. There we were welcomed like family! We then spent am entire afternoon preparing dishes with Gustavo and Berte. She was welcoming and gracious. Gustavo provided expert translation and we all shared many laughs throughout our time there. We ended the afternoon at the dinner table sharing the meal we had prepared as Gustavo and Berte continued to give us the history of each dish.
We have to say, out if all of the tours and excursions we've taken in mexico thus one was by far the best, most relaxing and enjoyable experience. Truly a once in a lifetime experience to immerse yourself in the authentic Maya experience.
Our many thanks to Gustavo and Berte. Your graciousness and kindness will not be forgotten.
Rob and Eleanor
I booked this cooking class from afar, so I was pleasantly surprised and appreciative that every aspect of this activity was carried out in an exemplary way. The guide Gus, was very articulate about what we were seeing in the market and the steps we were doing in class with our superb master teacher Bertha. He was also sensitive to our limitations due to age and back issues. Gus was a delight, very bright and lively conversationalist. This was a very memorable experience.
Gustavo was a great guide, full of knowledge about Merida, the market, and the cuisine of the Yucatan. After filling our bags at the market, and double checking the shopping list, we were off to Bertha's house and kitchen. What an experience! There were four of us on the tour, and over the next couple of hours, we took turns preparing our ingredients and being at the stove, always with Gustavo explaining the flavors and the techniques. At last, we sat at the table together, new friends enjoying our feast. A memorable experience for those who want to be part of the action in Merida.
Alejandro met us promptly and explained the day to us. We would begin at the famous market to get our food and spices. We had been there the day before but Alejandro made it a new experience. He provided a wealth of knowledge as he purchased the items and helped us find goods. He then drove to the outskirts of Merida where we met Berta where we took over her kitchen. We then helped to prepare our lunch learning secrets of how it is done. Rick Bayliss could not have done better. Alejo was great with a most unique back story. By the way our class was just my wife and a good friend!