Cookies! They are not just something we eat. This site uses cookies so we can provide you the best user experience and deliver advertising and offers that are relevant to you. To read more about our cookie policy, including how to change your cookie settings, please read our Privacy and Cookie Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our cookie policy.

Host: Sofia

Merida, Mexico

USD
$22-$64 per person

Traditional Yucatecan cuisine in a homey atmosphere

Host offerings
  • House
  • Home cook
  • Pets
  • Vegetarian
  • Alcohol
  • Transportation
  • Cooking class
  • Market visit
  • Food tour

Meet Sofia

Born in Mérida, Sofia delights in preparing local Yucatecan and Mayan dishes that showcase the cultural heritage of the Yucatán Peninsula. An accomplished home-cook, Sofia learned to cook from her mother and grandmother and says the talent runs in the family.

For the last 20 years Sofia has run a home-stay for visitors to Mérida and you might meet some of the guests during your visit. Sofia loves having guests in her home and gets great pleasure by sharing her Yucatecan culture through food and a pleasant conversation.
“I've been receiving guest at home for more than 20 years, and each one of them takes a bit of my heart with them but they also leave a bit of theirs!”

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-10 guests) Yucatecan cuisine has been influenced by a variety of cultures, from the indigenous Mayan people, to the Spanish colonizers, to the Dutch and Lebanese who migrated to the region. Sofia prepares traditional Yucatecan dishes such as sikil pak con tostadas (traditional dip made from ground pumpkin seeds, served with tortilla chips), sopa de lima (chicken soup with lime), Yucatecan tamales, which are wrapped banana leaf, empanadas de chaya con queso de bola (pastries flecked with a local green, chaya, stuffed with Edam cheese), pollo o cochinita pibil (perhaps the Yucatan’s most famous dish of slow-cooked chicken or pork which has been marinated in an achiote and sour orange marinade, wrapped in banana leaves). For dessert Sofia serves homey dishes like dulce de papaya con queso de bola (papaya stewed in sugar served with Edam cheese). Please note that family in Mexico can be very social so you may be joined by members of Sofia's family who stop by on occasion.

Cooking experience: (1-10 guests) Step inside the kitchen with Sofia for a practical, hands-on Merida cooking class of Yucatecan and Mayan favorites. Sofia will teach you to prepare traditional recipes from scratch so be prepared to get your hands dirty! You will learn to prepare the entire meal as well as a fiery habanero salsa. You can expect the cooking lesson to last about 3 hours, followed by your meal. Please note that Sofia lives in a modest home with no air-conditioning. In summer months, it may be warm.

Market visit: (1-10 guests) Meet Sofia at her home and then go to Chuburná Market for a tour of the vendor's stalls. She will teach you about the regional produce on offer and you’ll pick up a few ingredients before returning to her home for your cooking lesson.

Notes: Sofia's home is also a homestay. While your Traveling Spoon experience will be private, there may be other guests present in her home.

Languages spoken: Spanish

PERSONALLY VETTED REVIEW
A Traveling Spoon ambassador visited this host. Here is their personal review.

Sofia did an incredible job of introducing me to both Mayan and Yucatecan cuisine. Every dish we made was steeped in tradition and history. I loved making my own tortilla chips and dips, as well as trying lesser-known dishes like spiced fish steamed in banana leaves. Everything we made was mouth watering, and Sofia offered cooking tricks and tips every step of the way. She truly loves Yucatecan culture, and is always happy to talk about its history, its traditions and, best of all, its food!

Heather, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

Traveler reviews

4.78 (18)
I was very impressed by Sofia’s knowledge of Yucatan cuisine. I have been a long lover of Mexican food but was not familiar particularly with the cuisine of the Yucatán peninsula. Private cooking lesson with Sofia. I asked Sofia if we could make tamales and although she informed me it wasn’t often travellers requested this, she managed to fulfil my request. I didn’t realise how long tamales took to make (we took 5 hours + eating time!) so I am very appreciative of Sofia’s persistence for this. It was just us two as I was a solo traveller. We also make guacamole, several salsas, not one but 3 types of tamales + dessert. I was very full after the experience and it was a pleasure meeting Sofia and dining with her house guests.
- Nathanality March 12, 2020
The six of us spent the day with Sophia and experienced authentic Yucatecan cooking, from shopping in the beautiful local Mexican market to preparing 7 wonderful dishes in her home. Sophia is a joy, English is good and she prepares recipes passed down from generations. We all left with a new appreciation of Yucatecan tradition, some family history and printed recipes. Gracias Sophia.
- Odyssey787305 January 14, 2020
We spent a day with Sofia, cooking traditional Yucatan recipes and had a fantastic experience. She is very knowledgable and incredibly chatty, a lot of fun and made us (two twenty something year old girls) feel very welcome - even when our chopping was sub par! We left with a recipe book and incredibly full stomachs (though don’t go hungry, it’s five hours of prep to get through!) Would recommend to anyone in Merida, as it’s a lovely day out.
- charlottew514 November 26, 2019
Pasé un día extraordinario en esta clase de cocina.Sofia fue increible durante todo el Día. Comparte su amor por la cocina Yucateca y por su región.La visita del Mercado fue fenomenal. Me mostraba cada ingrediente y me explicaba los origenes de cada uno, y como se cocinaba. Me llevó a todos los sitios, frutas y hortalizas, especies, carne, pescado, artesania, etc. Fue muy interesante la visita y ayuda mucho en saber lo que vas a cocinar.Luego cocinamos casi 4 horas. Varias entrantes muy tipicas y deliciosas, y pollo pibil con arroz y platano frito. Sofia explica muy bien cada etapa, y otra vez, comparte toda su pasión por la cocina.Recomiendo 300% una clase con Sofia en Merida. Merece mucho la Pena.
- aureliegonzalo October 05, 2019
We (family with 2 children - age 10 and 12) had a superb day with Daniel and Julieta: the visit to the market and the cooking and eating in the lovely house of Julieta. Learned a lot about the Yucatan cuisine and the food was delicious. I would really recommend this tour to anyone who likes to do something different then the 'usual tourist activities'. Especially for families with children/teens I can recommend it. Our girls really enjoyed it: they learned a lot about fruits, herbs and veggies at the market and now they know how to make a perfect guacemole and banana empanadas!! Thanks again Daniel and Julieta!!
- HannekeJanssen May 06, 2019
To say that Sophia Casellas goes the extra mile does not describe our amazing day with her! We had suggested a few Yucatacan recipes that we would like to make and Sophia made them all. Sophia picked us up at our hotel and we headed to Luis Galvez market, the largest market in Merida, where we spent a full morning enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the market. At the market Sophia carefully selected every fruit and vegetable that was to go into our meal. She described what each item was and what was in season at the time of our visit. The market was pretty overwhelming but Sophia knew which vendors had the best fruits, vegetables and spices.After shopping, Sophia drove us to her home where we began preparing our feast. We made: guacamole, sikil pak (a dip with tomatoes and ground pumpkin seeds), empanadas de chaya, tortitas de chaya, ceviche (this she had prepared the night before), salsa de tomate (tomato sauce), chile kut (a sauce made with roasted habaneros, lemon and garlic), pollo pibil (chicken in annatto or achiote, sauce), rice, fried plantains, picked onions, and for dessert, mousse de mamey (a fruit indigenous to the Yucatan). After an afternoon of cooking, we moved to a beautifully set table on her patio where we enjoyed an amazing meal. Sophia is, to put it mildly, amazing! Not only is she an incredible cook, she explained the native fruits and vegetables and how they are used in Yucatanian cooking. At the end of the evening, she presented us with all of the recipes we had prepared and what we could substitute for the Yucatan items. If you have an opportunity to take one of her classes, jump at the chance. You will not be disappointed!
- Trudy B March 17, 2019
Our instructor Sofia picked us up at our hotel in Merida and took us to the big market here. It was very interesting seeing so many new fruits and veggies we don't have in the USA! Afterwards we cooked up several dishes at her house. Sofia is extremely knowledgeable on Yucatecan cuisine. She had so many great tips. Afterwards we all sat down at a lovely table she had prepared and dined on what we had prepared. Superb! Such a treat. Sofia is delightful and warm. Great experience!!
- TravelingWieners March 17, 2019
We booked this cooking class end of October 2018 and we're glad we did - we received an authentic experience in a Yucatecan kitchen. We started around 11 AM with some local snacks Sofia had prepared for us (guava paste with cheese, jicama, dulce de papaya madura) and a local beer. We then proceeded to cook the 12-item menu Sofia had planned for us. We got some very helpful insider tips for tackling Yucatecan cuisine. We finished with a delicious, well-deserved meal in her backyard topped off by coffee and Xtabentun (Honey meets Pastis/Sambuca). Overall, the class was about 4-5h, including the meal at the end. Time flew by in Sofia's company.Thanks for a great experience Sofia!P.s. sorry for the delay in writing a review :)
- thisjustine123 January 06, 2019
We booked this cooking class for November 2018. We took a Taxi to get to Sofias place and started the cooking class. She explained us every detail about the ingredients and the story behind. We learned sooo much about the culture and it was a lot of fun. She explained us what we have to do and after 4hours we could finally eat and it was so delicious and healthy. It felt like Sofia was a friend we knew since long time. If you want to learn how to cook yucatecan food, and learn a lot about the mayan traditions than try this class! It takes up to 4hours since you do everything from scratch, so be patient. Would totally recommend <3 Gracias Sofia y hasta pronto! Tus amigas Suizas
- lebana_martinez November 15, 2018
I had an great day with Sofia: right from the start she was helpful and gracious. She quickly adjusted her plans when my partner got sick and cancelled early in the day. Sofia very kindly drove her back to the place where we were staying and carried on with just me. We visited both the large downtown market and the smaller local market, and she explained many of the ingredients, encouraging me to try new fruits and taste spice pastes. She was very knowledgeable about the cuisine and her english communication skills were very good. She made sure that all her ingredients were safe for my food allergy and carefully washed all fresh ingredients in purified water. She also went to great effort so that I could learn about as many Yucatecan dishes as possible. We made papadzules (so delicious), salsas, pollo pibil, drinks and several botanas. The full day program (market plus cooking and dining) took 6 hours and it was an interesting but tiring day. If you have less time you can request a visit to the very small local market: all the ingredients are there but it is much less hassle than getting to the the large market and back. Or you could skip the market and do just the cooking and dining. This is not a professional cooking school experience; it is an experience of cooking with a local person in her home. You should be prepared to work in a very warm kitchen and do significant food prep while learning about the ingredients. The neighbourhood was a quiet residential area of tidy family homes. It was nice to meet Sofia's family members; for me it was interesting to learn about their lives and share a meal with them. Two small recommendations that I would make to improve the experience: although juice drinks were offered throughout it would be good to offer guests some food early on (I was hungry by the time we ate at 3pm). And I would recommend that the host handout the recipes to guests on arrival. I look forward to receiving the recipes by email soon and to making some of these dishes for friends. This was an extremely valuable hands-on experience that I would recommend to anyone with an open mind and heart who wants to learn about authentic Yucatecan home cooking.
- 2due April 12, 2018
What can I say, we've done a few cooking experiences over the years and thoroughly enjoyed them and this was not what we expected or enjoyed. I'm surprised by all the great reviews, because what we experienced was really not fun OR enjoyable. We arrived at the home in an area that seemed a little sketchy compared with the area (downtown) where we were staying. We were greeted at the door by a woman who spoke no English and had on a very stained tshirt. We didn't know if this was Sofia or not. It wasn't she was the maid. Sofia appeared in a few minutes and was dressed very nicely. The home was tiny and the kitchen where we did the prep work was a 2 person kitchen and there were 3 of us plus Sofia. We sat at a table 3 feet from the stove. Sofia's English is quite basic, but one of our group spoke Spanish so it helped. We spent the next 4 1/2 hrs. mostly chopping vegetables. Something we didn't need to learn. We weren't offered ANYTHING to eat during the 4 1/2 hrs. We snuck tastes when Sofia wasn't looking. We also had to ask for water at the beginning. The only other drink offered during this time was some Tamarind water. Other cooking classes we'd been to offered drinks and snacks throughout. Remember we came hungry expecting to eat. Sofia wasn't very organized always trying to find things to use. It would have been a 2 hour experience if she had pre-chopped everything and was organized. The kitchen was unbearably hot. With 5 burners going and no a/c we were all sweating including Sofia. During this 4 1/2 hr sweat shop, her sister stopped in twice, her niece stopped in, and her mother stopped in. She took time to talk with all of them which was surprising and annoying. Finally at 9:30 (we started at 5pm to prepare the food) we went to the patio to eat the food we'd prepared. It was nicely set and she had her niece join us. The niece was nice and spoke perfect English, but it seemed inappropriate to have other guests during our paid experience. We also had to share 1 quart of beer between the 5 of us. No margaritas, no wine, etc. The food was just ok. Some of the experience was interesting with a few ingredients we weren't familiar with, but mostly we all felt like we'd worked in a sweat shop. Finally, the worst part was that at the end, Sofia was relentless on pushing us to write good reviews on Travelingspoon and Viator. I'm giving her her wish, sort of. I do think Sofia could be a good teacher, but a few things need to happen. She needs to improve her English, she needs a different house with a larger kitchen and A/C. She needs to understand that she could have things pre-chopped and everything organized and ready to go. Also, eating and drinking while we learned would have been appreciated and expected. This was a bust and something I would not recommend, at least until it's totally revised.
- Curt T April 04, 2018
From the minute you arrive in Sophia‘s home you’ll be culturally immersed. Her menu was all inclusive-12 items in total. The class covered everything from how to peel a sour orange, slice an onion, how to blacken red peppers stove top, grind spices, and tips on banana leaf handling. Plan to roll up your sleeves, work hard and eat well! It got warm in the kitchen so dress for it. I brought my own Mexican wine. She had one beer for my husband. Not an issue. We were busy eating! One of the highlights of our trip to the Yucatán!
- MJFIRE1 February 19, 2018
Our family had a great experience with Sofia and were very happy with the many dishes she taught us to prepare and the effort she made to properly introduce us to the ingredients and educate us about them. She provided interesting information about the influences Spaniards/Europeans had on traditional Mayan recipes. Since our group had one person with dietary restrictions, Sofia went out of her way to customize the menu to accommodate everyone and get very fresh ingredients, which was greatly appreciated. The food was delicious and our family will surely use the recipes she provided in the future. Since we were a larger group, the cooking portion of the activity took a bit over 4 hours. At the risk of stating the obvious, the kitchen got very warm with all the cooking going on, so I recommend dressing for hot weather! Overall, a highly recommended experience.
- 303alannam December 26, 2017
Sofia was me engaging host with a long connection to the area. We started with some local seasonal fruit before cooking amazing food over a period of 3-4 hours. All food was made fresh and prepared while we were there. Sofia was also able to conduct the class in English which was great.All things told a great experience. Note: there is a $7 USD alcoholic beverage option which we paid for. This turned out to be 1 large bottle of beer between both of us and was a disappointing element of the package.
- Mark-beauie December 04, 2017
Sofia is a local gem :) Her family from her mother side has been in Merida since the 1500s ! Talk about somebody to learn a lot from. We did the market tour, cooking class, and meal at her wonderful casa. The experience was unforgettable and a fun way to spend a full day. If you're in a rush, just do the meal and have some of the best panuchos and sopa de lima of your life.
- Jon B November 11, 2017
Sofia was such a gracious hostess, a wonderful "chef," and a very effective teacher. Our experience was very relaxed and hands-on. We loved doing most of the cooking, guided by Sofia's expertise. She was lots of fun and the food turned out DELICIOUS!!
- Carol J October 06, 2017
Sofia was such a gracious hostess, a wonderful "chef", and a very effective teacher. Our experience was very relaxed and hand-on. We loved doing most of the cooking, guided by Sofia's expertise. She was lots of fun and the food turned out DELICIOUS!!!
- Carol Jones February 04, 2017
Cooking and dining with Sophia was a pleasure. She truly loves Yucatecan culture and is very knowledgeable about its history, traditions, and especially food! I especially enjoyed learning about the differences between Mayan and Yucatecan cuisine. Sophia also has a flare for plating, so a camera is a must!
- Heather March 10, 2016
Read More
050e1914 9390 4b0d 98b2 dffe92874dae

Sofia

$22-$64 USD

per person
100% VETTED
Learn more
  • No waiting! Booking confirmed instantly
  • 100% satisfaction guarantee or your money back
  • Free cancellation up to 48 hours in advance
  • Private experience
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$30 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $48 $48
Market Tour + Meal
$60 $54 $54
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$64 $60 $50
Alcohol
$4 per person
Transportation
$56 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$30 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $48 $48
Market Tour + Meal
$60 $54 $54
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$64 $60 $50
Alcohol
$4 per person
Transportation
$56 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
2:00pm-4:00pm 7:30pm-9:30pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-4:00pm 5:00pm-10:00pm
Market Tour+ Meal
9:00am-1:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-6:00pm

Meet Sofia

Born in Mérida, Sofia delights in preparing local Yucatecan and Mayan dishes that showcase the cultural heritage of the Yucatán Peninsula. An accomplished home-cook, Sofia learned to cook from her mother and grandmother and says the talent runs in the family.

For the last 20 years Sofia has run a home-stay for visitors to Mérida and you might meet some of the guests during your visit. Sofia loves having guests in her home and gets great pleasure by sharing her Yucatecan culture through food and a pleasant conversation.
“I've been receiving guest at home for more than 20 years, and each one of them takes a bit of my heart with them but they also leave a bit of theirs!”

What to expect

Please note menu might vary. If there are particular dishes you are interested in trying, please include your request in the booking form.

In-home meal: (1-10 guests) Yucatecan cuisine has been influenced by a variety of cultures, from the indigenous Mayan people, to the Spanish colonizers, to the Dutch and Lebanese who migrated to the region. Sofia prepares traditional Yucatecan dishes such as sikil pak con tostadas (traditional dip made from ground pumpkin seeds, served with tortilla chips), sopa de lima (chicken soup with lime), Yucatecan tamales, which are wrapped banana leaf, empanadas de chaya con queso de bola (pastries flecked with a local green, chaya, stuffed with Edam cheese), pollo o cochinita pibil (perhaps the Yucatan’s most famous dish of slow-cooked chicken or pork which has been marinated in an achiote and sour orange marinade, wrapped in banana leaves). For dessert Sofia serves homey dishes like dulce de papaya con queso de bola (papaya stewed in sugar served with Edam cheese). Please note that family in Mexico can be very social so you may be joined by members of Sofia's family who stop by on occasion.

Cooking experience: (1-10 guests) Step inside the kitchen with Sofia for a practical, hands-on Merida cooking class of Yucatecan and Mayan favorites. Sofia will teach you to prepare traditional recipes from scratch so be prepared to get your hands dirty! You will learn to prepare the entire meal as well as a fiery habanero salsa. You can expect the cooking lesson to last about 3 hours, followed by your meal. Please note that Sofia lives in a modest home with no air-conditioning. In summer months, it may be warm.

Market visit: (1-10 guests) Meet Sofia at her home and then go to Chuburná Market for a tour of the vendor's stalls. She will teach you about the regional produce on offer and you’ll pick up a few ingredients before returning to her home for your cooking lesson.

Notes: Sofia's home is also a homestay. While your Traveling Spoon experience will be private, there may be other guests present in her home.

Languages spoken: Spanish

PERSONALLY VETTED REVIEW
A Traveling Spoon ambassador visited this host. Here is their personal review.

Sofia did an incredible job of introducing me to both Mayan and Yucatecan cuisine. Every dish we made was steeped in tradition and history. I loved making my own tortilla chips and dips, as well as trying lesser-known dishes like spiced fish steamed in banana leaves. Everything we made was mouth watering, and Sofia offered cooking tricks and tips every step of the way. She truly loves Yucatecan culture, and is always happy to talk about its history, its traditions and, best of all, its food!

Heather, Traveling Spoon Ambassador

Traveler reviews

4.78 (18)
I was very impressed by Sofia’s knowledge of Yucatan cuisine. I have been a long lover of Mexican food but was not familiar particularly with the cuisine of the Yucatán peninsula. Private cooking lesson with Sofia. I asked Sofia if we could make tamales and although she informed me it wasn’t often travellers requested this, she managed to fulfil my request. I didn’t realise how long tamales took to make (we took 5 hours + eating time!) so I am very appreciative of Sofia’s persistence for this. It was just us two as I was a solo traveller. We also make guacamole, several salsas, not one but 3 types of tamales + dessert. I was very full after the experience and it was a pleasure meeting Sofia and dining with her house guests.
- Nathanality March 12, 2020
The six of us spent the day with Sophia and experienced authentic Yucatecan cooking, from shopping in the beautiful local Mexican market to preparing 7 wonderful dishes in her home. Sophia is a joy, English is good and she prepares recipes passed down from generations. We all left with a new appreciation of Yucatecan tradition, some family history and printed recipes. Gracias Sophia.
- Odyssey787305 January 14, 2020
We spent a day with Sofia, cooking traditional Yucatan recipes and had a fantastic experience. She is very knowledgable and incredibly chatty, a lot of fun and made us (two twenty something year old girls) feel very welcome - even when our chopping was sub par! We left with a recipe book and incredibly full stomachs (though don’t go hungry, it’s five hours of prep to get through!) Would recommend to anyone in Merida, as it’s a lovely day out.
- charlottew514 November 26, 2019
Pasé un día extraordinario en esta clase de cocina.Sofia fue increible durante todo el Día. Comparte su amor por la cocina Yucateca y por su región.La visita del Mercado fue fenomenal. Me mostraba cada ingrediente y me explicaba los origenes de cada uno, y como se cocinaba. Me llevó a todos los sitios, frutas y hortalizas, especies, carne, pescado, artesania, etc. Fue muy interesante la visita y ayuda mucho en saber lo que vas a cocinar.Luego cocinamos casi 4 horas. Varias entrantes muy tipicas y deliciosas, y pollo pibil con arroz y platano frito. Sofia explica muy bien cada etapa, y otra vez, comparte toda su pasión por la cocina.Recomiendo 300% una clase con Sofia en Merida. Merece mucho la Pena.
- aureliegonzalo October 05, 2019
We (family with 2 children - age 10 and 12) had a superb day with Daniel and Julieta: the visit to the market and the cooking and eating in the lovely house of Julieta. Learned a lot about the Yucatan cuisine and the food was delicious. I would really recommend this tour to anyone who likes to do something different then the 'usual tourist activities'. Especially for families with children/teens I can recommend it. Our girls really enjoyed it: they learned a lot about fruits, herbs and veggies at the market and now they know how to make a perfect guacemole and banana empanadas!! Thanks again Daniel and Julieta!!
- HannekeJanssen May 06, 2019
To say that Sophia Casellas goes the extra mile does not describe our amazing day with her! We had suggested a few Yucatacan recipes that we would like to make and Sophia made them all. Sophia picked us up at our hotel and we headed to Luis Galvez market, the largest market in Merida, where we spent a full morning enjoying the sights, sounds and smells of the market. At the market Sophia carefully selected every fruit and vegetable that was to go into our meal. She described what each item was and what was in season at the time of our visit. The market was pretty overwhelming but Sophia knew which vendors had the best fruits, vegetables and spices.After shopping, Sophia drove us to her home where we began preparing our feast. We made: guacamole, sikil pak (a dip with tomatoes and ground pumpkin seeds), empanadas de chaya, tortitas de chaya, ceviche (this she had prepared the night before), salsa de tomate (tomato sauce), chile kut (a sauce made with roasted habaneros, lemon and garlic), pollo pibil (chicken in annatto or achiote, sauce), rice, fried plantains, picked onions, and for dessert, mousse de mamey (a fruit indigenous to the Yucatan). After an afternoon of cooking, we moved to a beautifully set table on her patio where we enjoyed an amazing meal. Sophia is, to put it mildly, amazing! Not only is she an incredible cook, she explained the native fruits and vegetables and how they are used in Yucatanian cooking. At the end of the evening, she presented us with all of the recipes we had prepared and what we could substitute for the Yucatan items. If you have an opportunity to take one of her classes, jump at the chance. You will not be disappointed!
- Trudy B March 17, 2019
Our instructor Sofia picked us up at our hotel in Merida and took us to the big market here. It was very interesting seeing so many new fruits and veggies we don't have in the USA! Afterwards we cooked up several dishes at her house. Sofia is extremely knowledgeable on Yucatecan cuisine. She had so many great tips. Afterwards we all sat down at a lovely table she had prepared and dined on what we had prepared. Superb! Such a treat. Sofia is delightful and warm. Great experience!!
- TravelingWieners March 17, 2019
We booked this cooking class end of October 2018 and we're glad we did - we received an authentic experience in a Yucatecan kitchen. We started around 11 AM with some local snacks Sofia had prepared for us (guava paste with cheese, jicama, dulce de papaya madura) and a local beer. We then proceeded to cook the 12-item menu Sofia had planned for us. We got some very helpful insider tips for tackling Yucatecan cuisine. We finished with a delicious, well-deserved meal in her backyard topped off by coffee and Xtabentun (Honey meets Pastis/Sambuca). Overall, the class was about 4-5h, including the meal at the end. Time flew by in Sofia's company.Thanks for a great experience Sofia!P.s. sorry for the delay in writing a review :)
- thisjustine123 January 06, 2019
We booked this cooking class for November 2018. We took a Taxi to get to Sofias place and started the cooking class. She explained us every detail about the ingredients and the story behind. We learned sooo much about the culture and it was a lot of fun. She explained us what we have to do and after 4hours we could finally eat and it was so delicious and healthy. It felt like Sofia was a friend we knew since long time. If you want to learn how to cook yucatecan food, and learn a lot about the mayan traditions than try this class! It takes up to 4hours since you do everything from scratch, so be patient. Would totally recommend <3 Gracias Sofia y hasta pronto! Tus amigas Suizas
- lebana_martinez November 15, 2018
I had an great day with Sofia: right from the start she was helpful and gracious. She quickly adjusted her plans when my partner got sick and cancelled early in the day. Sofia very kindly drove her back to the place where we were staying and carried on with just me. We visited both the large downtown market and the smaller local market, and she explained many of the ingredients, encouraging me to try new fruits and taste spice pastes. She was very knowledgeable about the cuisine and her english communication skills were very good. She made sure that all her ingredients were safe for my food allergy and carefully washed all fresh ingredients in purified water. She also went to great effort so that I could learn about as many Yucatecan dishes as possible. We made papadzules (so delicious), salsas, pollo pibil, drinks and several botanas. The full day program (market plus cooking and dining) took 6 hours and it was an interesting but tiring day. If you have less time you can request a visit to the very small local market: all the ingredients are there but it is much less hassle than getting to the the large market and back. Or you could skip the market and do just the cooking and dining. This is not a professional cooking school experience; it is an experience of cooking with a local person in her home. You should be prepared to work in a very warm kitchen and do significant food prep while learning about the ingredients. The neighbourhood was a quiet residential area of tidy family homes. It was nice to meet Sofia's family members; for me it was interesting to learn about their lives and share a meal with them. Two small recommendations that I would make to improve the experience: although juice drinks were offered throughout it would be good to offer guests some food early on (I was hungry by the time we ate at 3pm). And I would recommend that the host handout the recipes to guests on arrival. I look forward to receiving the recipes by email soon and to making some of these dishes for friends. This was an extremely valuable hands-on experience that I would recommend to anyone with an open mind and heart who wants to learn about authentic Yucatecan home cooking.
- 2due April 12, 2018
What can I say, we've done a few cooking experiences over the years and thoroughly enjoyed them and this was not what we expected or enjoyed. I'm surprised by all the great reviews, because what we experienced was really not fun OR enjoyable. We arrived at the home in an area that seemed a little sketchy compared with the area (downtown) where we were staying. We were greeted at the door by a woman who spoke no English and had on a very stained tshirt. We didn't know if this was Sofia or not. It wasn't she was the maid. Sofia appeared in a few minutes and was dressed very nicely. The home was tiny and the kitchen where we did the prep work was a 2 person kitchen and there were 3 of us plus Sofia. We sat at a table 3 feet from the stove. Sofia's English is quite basic, but one of our group spoke Spanish so it helped. We spent the next 4 1/2 hrs. mostly chopping vegetables. Something we didn't need to learn. We weren't offered ANYTHING to eat during the 4 1/2 hrs. We snuck tastes when Sofia wasn't looking. We also had to ask for water at the beginning. The only other drink offered during this time was some Tamarind water. Other cooking classes we'd been to offered drinks and snacks throughout. Remember we came hungry expecting to eat. Sofia wasn't very organized always trying to find things to use. It would have been a 2 hour experience if she had pre-chopped everything and was organized. The kitchen was unbearably hot. With 5 burners going and no a/c we were all sweating including Sofia. During this 4 1/2 hr sweat shop, her sister stopped in twice, her niece stopped in, and her mother stopped in. She took time to talk with all of them which was surprising and annoying. Finally at 9:30 (we started at 5pm to prepare the food) we went to the patio to eat the food we'd prepared. It was nicely set and she had her niece join us. The niece was nice and spoke perfect English, but it seemed inappropriate to have other guests during our paid experience. We also had to share 1 quart of beer between the 5 of us. No margaritas, no wine, etc. The food was just ok. Some of the experience was interesting with a few ingredients we weren't familiar with, but mostly we all felt like we'd worked in a sweat shop. Finally, the worst part was that at the end, Sofia was relentless on pushing us to write good reviews on Travelingspoon and Viator. I'm giving her her wish, sort of. I do think Sofia could be a good teacher, but a few things need to happen. She needs to improve her English, she needs a different house with a larger kitchen and A/C. She needs to understand that she could have things pre-chopped and everything organized and ready to go. Also, eating and drinking while we learned would have been appreciated and expected. This was a bust and something I would not recommend, at least until it's totally revised.
- Curt T April 04, 2018
From the minute you arrive in Sophia‘s home you’ll be culturally immersed. Her menu was all inclusive-12 items in total. The class covered everything from how to peel a sour orange, slice an onion, how to blacken red peppers stove top, grind spices, and tips on banana leaf handling. Plan to roll up your sleeves, work hard and eat well! It got warm in the kitchen so dress for it. I brought my own Mexican wine. She had one beer for my husband. Not an issue. We were busy eating! One of the highlights of our trip to the Yucatán!
- MJFIRE1 February 19, 2018
Our family had a great experience with Sofia and were very happy with the many dishes she taught us to prepare and the effort she made to properly introduce us to the ingredients and educate us about them. She provided interesting information about the influences Spaniards/Europeans had on traditional Mayan recipes. Since our group had one person with dietary restrictions, Sofia went out of her way to customize the menu to accommodate everyone and get very fresh ingredients, which was greatly appreciated. The food was delicious and our family will surely use the recipes she provided in the future. Since we were a larger group, the cooking portion of the activity took a bit over 4 hours. At the risk of stating the obvious, the kitchen got very warm with all the cooking going on, so I recommend dressing for hot weather! Overall, a highly recommended experience.
- 303alannam December 26, 2017
Sofia was me engaging host with a long connection to the area. We started with some local seasonal fruit before cooking amazing food over a period of 3-4 hours. All food was made fresh and prepared while we were there. Sofia was also able to conduct the class in English which was great.All things told a great experience. Note: there is a $7 USD alcoholic beverage option which we paid for. This turned out to be 1 large bottle of beer between both of us and was a disappointing element of the package.
- Mark-beauie December 04, 2017
Sofia is a local gem :) Her family from her mother side has been in Merida since the 1500s ! Talk about somebody to learn a lot from. We did the market tour, cooking class, and meal at her wonderful casa. The experience was unforgettable and a fun way to spend a full day. If you're in a rush, just do the meal and have some of the best panuchos and sopa de lima of your life.
- Jon B November 11, 2017
Sofia was such a gracious hostess, a wonderful "chef," and a very effective teacher. Our experience was very relaxed and hands-on. We loved doing most of the cooking, guided by Sofia's expertise. She was lots of fun and the food turned out DELICIOUS!!
- Carol J October 06, 2017
Sofia was such a gracious hostess, a wonderful "chef", and a very effective teacher. Our experience was very relaxed and hand-on. We loved doing most of the cooking, guided by Sofia's expertise. She was lots of fun and the food turned out DELICIOUS!!!
- Carol Jones February 04, 2017
Cooking and dining with Sophia was a pleasure. She truly loves Yucatecan culture and is very knowledgeable about its history, traditions, and especially food! I especially enjoyed learning about the differences between Mayan and Yucatecan cuisine. Sophia also has a flare for plating, so a camera is a must!
- Heather March 10, 2016
Read More
Pricing (per person)*
1 person 2-4 ppl 5+ ppl
In-Home Meal
$30 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $48 $48
Market Tour + Meal
$60 $54 $54
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$64 $60 $50
Alcohol
$4 per person
Transportation
$56 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
1 person 2-4 people 5+ people
In-Home Meal
$30 $26 $22
Cooking Experience + Meal
$50 $48 $48
Market Tour + Meal
$60 $54 $54
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
$64 $60 $50
Alcohol
$4 per person
Transportation
$56 per car
*Does not include 3% payment processing fee applied at checkout.
Experience Timings
Lunch Dinner
In-Home Meal
2:00pm-4:00pm 7:30pm-9:30pm
Cooking Experience+ Meal
11:00am-4:00pm 5:00pm-10:00pm
Market Tour+ Meal
9:00am-1:00pm
Market Tour+ Cooking Experience + Meal
9:00am-6:00pm
ABOUT TRAVELING SPOON

Traveling Spoon connects you with meaningful culinary experiences, from private cooking lessons to homecooked meals in people's homes. Enjoy an immersive cultural experience that gives you a glimpse into the local way of life.

FAQ

    You can cancel your reservation for free up until 48 hours before your experience. Experiences within 48 hours are not refundable.

    If you have a question for your host, you can include a note in the field "Write a note to your host" during the booking process. Once your booking is confirmed, you will be emailed your host's direct contact information and you will also be able to message the host through your profile. You can always cancel your booking and receive a full refund 48 hours or more before your experience. If you have other questions you can also email us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Most of our hosts are able to accommodate dietary restrictions and allergies, including vegetarian and gluten free options. For vegetarian travelers, we have an icon on each host profile to indicate whether that host can also offer a fully vegetarian menu. There is a section in the booking form to note any allergies or dietary restrictions which will be sent directly to your host.

    Some hosts offer alcohol as an optional add-on for travelers who are of legal drinking age. Pricing for alcohol is visible on the host profile page and includes one to two glasses of wine, beer or local alcohol.

    Have a flight or other tour planned and can’t make the timing provided? If the timing listed on the host’s profile doesn’t work for you, our hosts can often accommodate timing changes. Because all of our experiences are private our hosts are happy to tailor experiences to meet your travel needs. Simply note your request in the booking process.

    Your card will not be charged until your host accepts your booking. Typically hosts respond to bookings within 72 hours. In the event your host is unavailable on your selected date and your host rejects your booking your credit card will not be charged.

    Your host's detailed contact information, including their phone number, address, and direction notes, will all be provided immediately upon successful confirmation of your experience (after your hosts accepts your booking and your credit card is successfully processed). This information will be emailed to you to the email address you used to sign up, and will also be visible on your Traveling Spoon profile.

    All prices are noted per person prices unless otherwise specified. Transportation is typically charged on a per car basis. Children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free. Hosts set their own prices and Traveling Spoon marks up the experiences; on average hosts receive over 70% of the price paid by the traveler.

    100% of Traveling Spoon experiences are private! Just you and your host and host’s family.

    Hosts typically respond to booking inquiries within 72 hours. If for some reason you have not heard from your host or if you have any questions you can always contact us at reservations@travelingspoon.com.

    Your safety and security are our top priority. To ensure this, Traveling Spoon personally vets 100% of all hosts, including an in-person host visit, to ensure each host and experience meets our strict quality requirements.

    Some hosts offer transportation as an optional add-on for travelers. Typically this is round trip transportation with pick up and drop off at your hotel. Pricing is quoted per car. Specific instructions for transportation will be provided in your confirmation details when your booking is confirmed.

    Many of our hosts accommodate solo travelers. You can see if a host accepts solo travelers by looking at the traveler range found next to the experience descriptions on the host profile (indicated by the numbers in parentheses next to "In-home meal", "Cooking experience" and "Market visit").

    Most of our Traveling Spoon experiences are incredibly family friendly and can accommodate infants and children. If a host is unable to accommodate children that will be noted in the “Notes” section of their profile. Our child pricing policy is children aged 5-11 are 50% off, and infants aged 0-4 are free.