Sleeping and Dining at the Pickled Onion, Santa Elena, Mexico


Run by an expat Canadian Brit, Valerie Pickles, the Pickled Onion, a small restaurant and hotel, has cute thatched roof bungalows in a poolside garden setting. The garden is well tended and the pool crystal clear, albeit a little too much chlorine for pleasant swimming.

The bungalows contain a comfortable king size bed, a small table and chairs, refrigerator, coffee maker and safe. Minor negatives include a musty smell, poor water pressure and a weak wifi signal. Overall a pleasant and convenient stop, located off Highway 261, the main route from Uxmal to Kabah.


The dining room is a pleasant covered terrace at the front of the property.

The lunch and dinner menu offers both international sandwiches such as BLTs and grilled chicken as well as local specialties. Food is cooked to order and of good quality.

A bowl of pickled onions and a spicy habanero sauce are brought to the table.

Guacamole – a generous portion of a well-made classic.

Gazpacho – too sweet for my tastes.

Grilled chicken sandwich – a simple preparation with lettuce and avocado.

Chimichanga – flour tortilla filled with minced meat and cheese. Theirs are not fried as you usually find in the States.

Spicy chicken wings – tasty and freshly fried served with a ranch dressing.

Green salad – an ordinary salad made with fresh ingredients.

Pollo pibil – 3 pieces of moist dark meat chicken marinated in citrus juice and cooked in a banana leaf, served with rice and French fries.

Poc Chuc – sliced pork marinated in citrus juice and grilled served with refried beans, avocado, crushed tomatoes and lettuce.

Margaritas – way too sour for my taste. The worst of the trip.


Breakfast, included in the price of the room, is served on their back patio starting at 7:30. The platter has an array of breakfast items including fresh fruit, ham and cheese wraps, scrambled eggs and a signature pickle in the corner of the plate accompanied by basket of freshly toasted bread, juice and a choice of tea or coffee. Everything was nicely done and served quickly.

If you eat quickly you can have breakfast at 7:30 and still get to the Uxmal ruins close to the 8AM opening time.

We met Valerie, the charming owner, in the morning. She generally meets her guests at dinner but the previous day she had an engagement that didn’t get her back until late. She takes pride in her hotel and restaurant and it shows in the details.

December 13-14, 2019

For links to all the posts in this series see the Yucatan Peninsula page.