Underrated Tabasco warrants a visit while you’re in southern Mexico
When you think of vacationing in southern Mexico you undoubtedly think of the peaceful and white Mérida or the nightlife of Cancun. What if I told you about a place that is as nice as those for tourism?
Tabasco is a state with numerous activities that please all tastes, from ecotourism to gastronomic tours. The climate is very warm and people there are very friendly.
- Where to go?
When you visit this state there’s one place you HAVE to visit. It’s called La Venta Park Museum, the only eco-arqueologic park in Latin America. There you can stay in touch with nature, see some of the local flora and fauna and see the Olmec Heads and diverse monuments the Olmecs built.
- What to eat?
One Word: Pejelagarto
A Pejelagarto is a large freshwater fish from the gar family, it’s very common in the Mexican Southeast and particularly in the state of Tabasco. Pejelagarto resembles a pre-historic creature since the fish appeared during the Cretaceous period and has survived to the present day relatively unmodified. But once you get past the dinosaur-looks of the fish, it’s absolutelly delicious.
Its name comes from a contraction of the words “pez” (fish) and “lagarto” (alligator). As a fun fact, the nickname of the Mexican Politician Andres Manuel López Obrador is “El Peje” as he comes from the state of Tabasco. This fish is part of the local culture in Tabasco, as it is mentioned in songs, poems and stories.
But, what does pejelagarto taste like? The flavor is similar to “cazón”. The texture is light and flaky. It is mostly prepared in quesadillas, empanadas and ceviche although serving it with the skin on, creates an impressive looking dish.
There are quite a few bones but they are easily removed. The dish almost looks as if you just got served prehistoric alligator meat.
If you visit Tabasco, make sure to try it and brag about it, cause you will probably be one of the few tourists who has ever dare to try it.
- What to do?
The “Cacao route” is a gastronomic tour you can take in the municipality of Comalcalco, the place where most Cacao is grown and made into handmade non-mainstream chocolate. In the tour you will see small cacao farms and old ranches settled deep in the forest, these farms offer a unique experience for the erstwhile tourist. You’ll be able to see, smell and taste cacao in its various forms.
- When to go?
If you can’t handle hot temperaturas then visit in December, it’s the coldest it’s going to be. Temperatures in the summer tend to go as high as 105F. If you happen to visit during the summer, stay hidrated with pozol and mamey ice cream, these two refreshments are essentials you’ll see in every corner of Tabasco’s outdoor foods carts.
Text and photos by Guille Santana Melquiades, student of International Business at the Universidad Anahuac del Mayab.