The Vallescondido Restaurante on the way to the Mayan Nile was a roadside surprise I’ll long remember. We had risen at dawn, too early for breakfast, packed our bags out, and settled into the ride to the Usumacinta River. No prospects for breakfast appeared for a couple of hours and our stomachs started to grumble with emptiness. When we finally stopped, the location seemed no more than a remarkably rustic wide spot in the road. But our guide assured us he’d chosen a very good restaurant. Couldn’t prove it from the exterior.
A very respectable sign identified the thatched roof visible through the trees as the Vallescondido Restaurante, but I had my doubts. From the outside it looked about as far from a restaurant as possible, with its complete lack of sides or walls.
When we stepped into the morning air, however, the aroma of whatever was cooking under that thatch drew us eagerly forward.
Rustic would probably be an understatement. Primitive wouldn’t do justice to the delicious cuisine. But it’s true that I’ve never seen anything like it. Tables were made of wooden planks and the chairs were round tree trunks. The food was all prepared on site with fires under flat griddles, wood smoke ascending through the thatched roof. Basic to the meal were fresh tortillas to wrap various grilled meats that were available at separate stations throughout the area.
The various kinds of freshly squeezed fruit juices tasted lighter and less concentrated than the juice served in the U.S., not nearly so sweet, and truly thirst-quenching. We sampled here and there, and I think I tried almost everything. It was all delicious—three meals of the day rolled into one, I’m afraid.
Extraordinary Restroom Mural
The restrooms were even more extraordinary. Let’s just say that the mural outside the ladies lavatory of male warriors fighting one another was a unique invitation to a comfort stop.