A really fun thing for me when I was visiting Mexico as a vacationer was to discover the local hangouts. I loved to see what people did on a daily basis, especially as families. A favorite place for me now, as a local, is El Hongo. El Hongo is a small, rustic style restaurant hidden away in the Ejido of Playa del Carmen, which is a community on the other side of Highway 307. El Hongo is not hard to find but you would not stumble upon it by accident as it’s in a local residential area away from 5th Avenue. On a dirt road just off a main street, El Hongo is a brightly colored venue that is a mix of art and nature. Be prepared for lots of smiles and laughs when you enter as El Hongo is a hub of regulars who interact with you just like family.
El Hongo, owned by fun couple Pili and Goyo, is well known for their well-balanced and nutritious meals and their famous Goyo Lemonade but it is also well respected for their community projects for children. “One of the principle objectives of El Hongo is to make a space dedicated to art and culture, focused on consciousness, to make and create, to help children have a better future through learning and sharing.”
Every Saturday from 10 am to 1:30 am, the El Hongo family is dedicated to inspiring children to connect with their inner artist. Whether it be theater, painting, music, language or reading, kids gather from local neighborhoods to spend time together so they can create together. This is a great opportunity for you to bring your kids to see a bit of the local action. No worries if your kids do not speak Spanish, in this environment, kids learn side by side through creation, not just conversation.
For a few hours, kids interact in workshops held by local volunteer parents and artists. Every week is about a different art form. Workshops include graffiti/street art, music, dancing or storytellers. Goyo and Pili donate lunch to all the kids that participate as a way to reach out to the community and share with others, a gesture so often found in Mexico.
El Hongo is also committed, through both their art program and restaurant, to connecting kids with Mother Nature. They teach the importance of taking care of the environment and the everyone can have a positive impact on nature. Kids can learn to be involved with making their mark on the world.
El Hongo is located at 19th Street South between 80th Ave. North and 85th Ave. North in Playa del Carmen. Their restaurant hours are Tuesday to Saturday 9:00 am a 5:30 pm and Sunday 9:00 am a 1:30 pm. Saturday art classes are from 9:00 am to noon, but you can see kids using the studio all week long.
Check out other cultural centers in the Riviera Maya, the community hub of all local cities.