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A Healthy Vacation Starts at These Cancun Restaurants with Gluten-Free Alternatives



Millions of tourists from all over the globe visit Cancun each year. The world class vacation destination, located in the Mexican Caribbean on the azure Caribbean Sea, is always growing and changing to meet the needs of its visitors.

The last thing you want to worry about when you're on vacation is getting sick, and one of the most difficult parts of having celiac disease is figuring out what's safe for you to eat. Luckily more and more restaurants in Cancun are offering gluten-free menus, gluten-free entrees, or at least the option of asking the chef to prepare a special gluten-free meal.

All of the restaurants in the Ritz Carlton Cancun, including The Club Grill and Casitas, happily prepare gluten-free cuisine. Outback Steakhouse actually has a gluten-free menu. Vegan Planet and 100% Natural downtown and Le Natura in the Hotel Zone all serve healthy, economical food with many vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free entrees. Ruth's Chris Steak House, Savio's Bistro and Arrecifes, all fine dining restaurants located in the Hotel Zone, will prepare gluten-free meals upon request. With just 24 hours notice, Du Mexique, a fabulous French-Mexican fusion restaurant downtown on Bonampak Avenue, will prepare gluten-free bread and entrees for diners.

If you're looking for gluten-free goods, visit Las 3 Puertas (The Three Doors) in downtown Cancun on Mojarra Street off of Nader Avenue.


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Zona Hotelera

When people think of Mexico, they may picture sunny beaches, haciendas, and sombreros, but the owners of La Destileria have some other images to highlight-excellent Mexican cuisine and tequila. Start with a dish like spiced corn soup or stuffed pastries that feature chicken, cream cheese, and mushrooms. After you've had your fill, head to the bar and ask for a margarita created with one of the more than a hundred tequilas on hand. If you're not interested in at least sampling some of the country's finest concoctions, at least visit the tequila museum located inside the restaurant.

Read more about La Destileria →


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Zona Hotelera

Arrecifes (Reefs) is a well-kept secret in the Westin Resort & Spa Cancun, which is located at Km 20 of the Hotel Zone. The prices are very reasonable for Cancun hotel dining. The restaurant has indoor and outdoor dining, both with spectacular views of the Caribbean Sea. Service is efficient and attentive, and the food fantastic. Arrecifes serves fine modern Mexican cuisine and seafood and features live mariachi music. If you require vegetarian, vegan gluten free dining, let your waiter know and the chef will accommodate you. This is a great place for a romantic dinner but children are welcome.

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Zona Hotelera

This incredibly romantic restaurant is located at The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun. There are tables around the pool, as well as in private cabanas right on the beach. An individual cabana can be reserved for 125 usd and this romantic, unique, tropical setting is well worth every penny. A saxophone player performs while you dine under the stars, however the music is soft enough for you to enjoy the sound of the waves crashing onto the shore. Casitas serves primarily steak and seafood and, as you would expect from the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, the food is divine and the service is impeccable.

Read more about Casitas →


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This popular, moderately-priced U.S. chain restaurant has made its way south of the border, but it has the same great food and service that Americans have come to expect. Outback is located in Plaza Flamingo at km 11.5 in the Hotel Zone and has the best sports bars in Cancun. If you want to see European soccer, American football or Mexican baseball (among other sports), Outback Steakhouse is the place to be, but arrive early becauase the sports bar is always busy. It was recently remodeled and they've added more big screens and surround sound. You can reserve a table right on their Facebook page.

Read more about Outback Steakhouse →


Du Mexique is another one of the amazing restaurants on Bonampak avenue in downtown Cancun. This is a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion like an anniversary or birthday. Located in what used to be a house, the divine ambiance, service and food make this restaurant stand out on the endless list of Cancun restaurants. Sonya Grimond and Chef Benjamin prepare and serve the food themselves. There aren't waiters or waitresses. The cuisine is an interesting combination of Mayan and French. Have an appetizer in the lounge or "sala", move to the 20 seat dining room for dinner, and have dessert on the patio. If you would like something special that you don't see on the menu, ask and if it's possible, they will prepare it for you.

Read more about Du Mexique →


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Hotel Zone
Le Natura

Le Natura is located in the heart of the Hotel Zone across the street from the old Senor Frogs, but once you enter this lush, green environment you'll forget that you are in one of the busiest areas of Cancun. They have an extensive menu geared towards fresh, healthy eating and many vegetarian dishes available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The prices are very reasonable, try the breakfast combos or the lunch/dinner combos. The fresh juices and smoothies are a highlight but don't despair, Le Natura also serves beer, margaritas, daiquiris, etc. etc. This is a restaurant that you may want to visit more than once during your stay.

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For more than 45 years, Ruth's Chris Steak House has been serving prime cuts of beef to its discerning customers. Cancun's Ruth's Chris Steak House is no different and serves nothing but the finest cuts of USDA beef. In addition to top-notch steaks, you'll also find perfectly prepared seafood dishes at this upscale eatery. If a large steak isn't your style, you'll still have a wonderful array of large salads and side dishes to choose from, as well as potatoes served seven different ways. Conveniently located in Plaza Kukulcan, you can easily reach the restaurant via bus or taxi.

Read more about Ruth's Chris Steak House →


100% Natural
Photo courtesy of Susan R. Vincil

This restaurant, located in downtown Cancun, is a local favorite. The menu is large and consists of page after page of healthy dishes made with natural ingredients. Soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, Mexican specialties and seafood dishes are the main items offered, but there is also a very large drink menu. Fresh fruit juices, teas, and fruit smoothies are as popular as they are delicious. Each one is made-to-order so beverage service can be a little slow if the restaurant is busy. It's worth the wait though. There is an indoor dining area with air conditioning and lots of large plants to give you a sense of being outside, and there is an outdoor garden area withlarge trees that provide shade and a nice breeze. Vegetarians will find quite a few delicious items to choose from. For breakfast, tasty omelettes, scrambled eggs and pancakes are offered, along with fresh fruit and some Mexican specialties.

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If you're a vegetarian or vegan this is your restaurant in Cancun, and even if you're not, you should still give Vegan Planet a try. Chef Miguel Bautista not only prepares amazing food completely free of animal components but also incorporates many superfoods and gives classes on how to prepare healthy, delicious vegan and raw dishes. The entire menu is vegan and many of the dishes are raw and include sushi, pastas, pizza, smoothies, sandwiches and Mexican favorites like chilaquiles, burritos, and molletes. For dessert, try a scrumptious brownie. The prices are very economical. They are open Mon-Sat 8 am-6 pm.

Read more about Vegan Planet →


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Hotel Zone

The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun is fortunate enough to have two AAA Five Diamond Restaurants on the premises and The Club Grill is one of them. Seafood, duck and fine cuts of meat are featured. Guests may try the tasting menu or order from the regular menu. Impeccable service and outstanding cuisine make this one of Cancun's finest restaurants. There is a dance floor and a jazz band plays softly during dinner. The soft lighting and dark wood throughout the room give this luxurious place a cozy feel. The dress code is "smart casual" and men are required to wear long pants and closed-toe shoes.

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Meet Kristin Busse

After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001.

Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University....  More About Kristin

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