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17 Exotic types of fruit in Mexico you must try

Please only travel when and where it’s safe, and follow all local guidelines. Also double-check what's open before your trip.

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know we’ve traveled throughout Mexico extensively (especially Los Cabos).

One of the best things to do in Mexico is trying the local food and drinks.

The fresh guacamole – which tastes sooo much better in Mexico.

The flavorful shrimp tacos (with plump shrimps caught just hours before).

The real lime and tamarind Mexican margaritas.

The delicious fruit in Mexico!

This leads us to the fruit in Mexico…

There are so many delicious, interesting – and, yes, sometimes strange – Mexican fruits that we’re boggled by the variety!

Weird and wonderful Mexican fruits

Fruit in Mexico

Is it safe to eat the fruit in Mexico?

Let’s first get this out of the way.

We eat raw fruits and vegetables in Mexico and have never had a problem. So we’ll order salad when eating out at, say, Puerto Vallarta restaurants (PV is geared to tourists) and recommended restos in Mexico City.

If buying food at Walmart or a farmers’ market to cook in our condo, we’ll give the produce a wash and then we’re good to go.

(You can wash lettuce, tomatoes, apples, etc. with a little dish soap, then rinse them off with cooled boiled water or bottled water.)

You don’t have to worry about fruits with skins that you peel off – like oranges. There’s no danger getting sick from them.

If you have a sensitive stomach or are worried about getting sick in Mexico, you can try taking Dukoral before you go.

Dukoral is an oral vaccine for traveler’s diarrhea. We’ve taken it a couple of times. And you don’t need a prescription to get it in Canada.)

Here’s a look at 17 types of Mexican fruit you should try when in Mexico.

You can find some of these fruits in your local grocery store, so you can also try the flavors of Mexico at home.

Pro tip:

A good fruit knife is oh-so-useful when cutting fruit.

1) Dragon fruit (pitahaya)

Mexican pitaya fruit is popular in Mexico.

The fruit that causes a frenzy in Mexico?

Mexican pitaya fruit (also spelled “pitahaya”) – or dragon fruit.

One reason is its short season.

The fruit is only available between April and June. The other is its taste and texture – sweet (sort of like a kiwi fruit) and crunchy.

Dragon fruit was probably originally native to Mexico and Central America. Now it’s especially popular in Asia; it’s also cultivated in the Caribbean, Australia and elsewhere around the world.

About the size of a baseball, pitaya grows on a type of cactus.

Because of the hot pink color of the outside skin, it’s also sometimes known as “strawberry pear.” The flesh of Mexican dragon fruit is white, with tiny black seeds (which you can swallow).

How to eat dragon fruit?

Dragon fruit tart

Simply cut it in half and spoon out the fruit.

It’s delicious in fruit salads. It’s also used in desserts and ice cream.

2) Soursop (guanabana)

Custard apple, also known as guanabana or soursop, is a fruit grown in Mexico.

The soursop or guanabana is a large pear-shaped fruit from Mexico, with a dark green skin covered with big thorns.

Inside, the soft creamy flesh is white.

It smells a little like pineapple, but it tastes more like a combination of strawberries, oranges and bananas.

Be careful not to eat the big black seeds though (they’re toxic).

Soursop is said to reduce inflammation, treat diarrhea and have other health benefits.

But you might want to be a little skeptical about these health claims and just enjoy the fruit for what it is.

You’ll find it growing anywhere more tropical in Mexico (like Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit) and in Mexican grocery stores.

How to eat soursop?

Cut it in half and scoop out the flesh. Eat it raw as is, or add it to a fruit smoothie.

3) Rambutan

Rambutan Fruit

This red hairy fruit, the size of a golf ball, is commonly seen in southern Mexico.

They’re deliciously sweet, tasting a little like lychees.

Pick up a bag of rambutans from a roadside stand to nibble on when visiting the Mayan ruins!

Rambutan Mexican Fruit

How to eat rambutans?

If you have a knife handy, slice the rambutan in half and pop the slippery white fruit in your mouth.

You have to kind of suck on the flesh, which surrounds a big seed, then spit the hard seed out (too big to swallow).

In Mexico, you’ll also find rambutan turned into agua fresca (light fruit juice).

4) Lime

Limes are a very popular Mexican fruit.

Ahhh! The Mexican lime!

Admittedly, they’re not as exotic as other Mexican fruits. But they sure are plentiful!

We buy bags of them when in Mexico. They’re smaller than what you find in Canada and the U.S., and soooo inexpensive.

We use them to flavor so many dishes – from salads and veggies to guac and baked chicken.

George has gotten so addicted to limes that he squeezes the juice on practically everything savory when back home too.

How to eat limes in Mexico?

Squeeze them over whatever you want. Place a lime wedge on every dish. And suck on a lime when drinking Tequila!

5) Mango

Mango fruit

Mmmm… Mangos are one of our favorite fruits!

We love eating this fruit in Hawaii. And we love eating this fruit in Mexico too!

While native to Asia, mangos grow very well in Mexico.

The health benefits of mangos are many. They’re low in calories, high in fibre, and rich in vitamins A and C.

Best of all, the orange-yellow flesh is unbelievably juicy and sweet.

We could eat mangos all day long and never tire of them.

How to eat mangos?

How to eat mango? Try mango cake. Delicious!

Dice them up and eat them for breakfast. Use them in salsas. Try mango juice – or a mango margarita!

All sorts of cakes and desserts use mangos too.

6) Zapote negro (sapote)

Zapote negro or chocolate pudding fruit

Chocolate pudding fruit?

That’s the best way to describe zapote negros (or sapote negros).

You’ll understand why as soon as you see inside this fruit.

While covered with a dark green skin, the flesh is dark chocolate in color (when ripe). And it’s so custard-like that it looks like a melted brownie.

Some people swear that it also tastes a little like chocolate, but in truth the flavor is more akin to prunes.

Whatever, it’s definitely one of the most exotic Mexico fruits!

How to eat zapote negro?

Cut the baseball-size fruit in half, scoop out the soft inside and press the flesh through a fine sieve to get rid of the seeds. Whip lightly with a fork.

Maybe add some whipping cream?

Now you’ve got a very decadent (but healthy) dessert!

7) Pomegranates

Pomegranate

Do you remember your Greek facts and mythology from school?

Hades, the god of the dead, tricked beautiful Persephone into eating four pomegranate seeds, which condemned her to live in the underworld for four months every year.

Anyway, pomegranates were brought to Mexico by the Spanish and are now widely cultivated in the country.

The pomegranate season is autumn (late August to November).

How to eat pomegranates:

Pomegranates are a popular Mexican fruit

Cut off the flower from the top of the pomegranate, then score the sides (make shallow slices) with a paring knife.

Now crack it open by pulling the fruit apart.

All those juicy red fruit-covered seeds inside are delicious to eat as is!

Or sprinkle them in a creamy dessert.

Pomegranate in dessert

Pomegranates are also a key ingredient in chiles en nogada.

This traditional dish, from Mexico’s Puebla state, is made of poblano chiles stuffed with ground beef (or pork), goat cheese and diced pears, apples and peaches, then topped with a walnut cream sauce (called nogada) sprinkled with pomegranates.

Not your typical Mexican food, right?

8) Mamey sapote

Mamey Sapote

Like zapote negros (#6), mamey sapote is another type of sapote fruit native to Mexico in the winter.

Shaped like small footballs, the mamey fruit has a fuzzy brown skin.

Inside, the flesh is a bright salmon color. Its texture resembles the flesh of an avocado, but it tastes like a combination of apricots and sweet potatoes.

Cool factoid:

Hundreds of years ago, Aztec rulers drank a foamy chili-flavored cacao drink called tejate – the “drink of the gods” – made from the mamey pit.

Today, tejate is still enjoyed in Oaxaca, one of the most delightful colonial cities in Mexico.

How to eat mamey sapote?

It’s popular blended into ice creams and smoothies.

9) Papaya

Papaya is one of the most popular Mexican fruits, commonly eaten at breakfast.

Mexicans love papaya. It’s a popular breakfast fruit in Mexico.

They come big in Mexico too – sometimes weighing up to 10 pounds each!

(We’ve personally never acquired a taste for the salmon-colored fruit, though a squeeze of lime admittedly makes them taste better.)

How to eat Mexican papayas?

Cut the papaya in half lengthwise and scoop out the small black seeds. You can then peel it and cut it in slices to eat as is.

Papayas are also found in salads and salad dressings.

10) Prickly pear (tuna fruit)

No, this “tuna” isn’t fish (known as atun in Mexico).

The tuna fruit comes from the nopal cactus, or “prickly pear” in English.

Find it everywhere in Mexico in late summer.

Oval-shaped, the skin color ranges from green to orange to burgundy. And it’s covered with clumps of scratchy hairs.

Mexican prickly pear fruit

The fruit inside also comes in a rainbow of colors, including green, orange, bright pink and yellow, depending on the type of tuna. And it’s crunchy in texture (like an apple).

How to eat tuna fruit?

Cut lengthwise, slice off the ends, peel off the skin and eat.

It’s used in candies, jams and jellies, salads, drinks, desserts – anywhere you’d use apples.

And here’s a fun Mexican food fact: You can buy “tuna ice cream” in Mexico. (Made with the tuna fruit, it’s like sorbet, but creamier.)

11) Lulo (naranjilla)

Lulo is a popular Mexican fruit used to make lulada, a thirst-quenching juice.

Lulo (naranjilla) means “little orange” in Spanish.

The skin of these Mexican fruits is most often a shiny orange, and the juice is green with a citrusy flavor – think maybe sour rhubarb or sour orange.

How to eat lulo:

You don’t eat the skin. Cut it open and then eat the fruit raw if you wish.

But lulo is most drunk as a juice called lulada (great for quenching your thirst when it’s hot).

12) Chirimoya (cherimoya)

Green, with bumps on the outside, Chirimoya is one of the strangest fruits of Mexico.

The most delicious fruit known to men” – so said Mark Twain of the chirimoya, also spelled “cherimoya.”

The English name for this fruit is custard apple.

It’s certainly delicious! (But we still think mangos are the best fruits grown in Mexico.)

Heart-shaped with green bumps on the outside, chirimoya fruits are quite strange looking.

But inside, they’re creamy and sweet, bursting with banana, apple and pear flavors.

Mexican Cherimoya Fruit

Get them when they’re just turning soft (like an avocado), but know you can’t keep them on the counter for too long, as they have a short shelf life (a few days).

Their season is January to June.

How to eat chirimoyas:

You can eat a chilled chirimoya like custard. Slice it in half and scoop out the fruit with a spoon (getting rid of the seeds and the skin).

Chirimoyas also make a nice sauce over pancakes and plain yogurt.

13) Loquat (nispero)

The loquat (in English) or nispero (in Spanish) is a small orange-colored fruit that grows well in Mexico.

The loquat (in English) or nispero (in Spanish) is a small orange-colored fruit.

Native to China, loquats now grow well in Mexico too.

They have two or three biggish seeds inside, and the fruit tastes like a blend of peaches, apricots and plums.

How to eat loquats:

Peel off the skin, and eat around the seeds.

(The skin of loquats can stain your fingernails brown, so wash your hands immediately after peeling.)

Or slice it in half, take out the seeds and eat the sliced fruit with a fork and knife.

Maybe also try a pineapple-loquat margarita? Blend loquats, pineapple, tequila, triple sec, syrup and lime juice – and enjoy.

14) Guava (guayaba)

Mexican guavas make a great fruit juice.

Don’t think puny. Mexican guavas (or guayabas) are native to the country and grow much bigger than “normal” guavas – as big as baseballs.

Lime green, sometimes yellow on the outside, their flesh ranges from pink to white, depending on the variety. Mexican cream guavas, for example, have a creamy white flesh and are very sweet and aromatic.

If you like pineapples and passion fruit, you’ll like Mexican guavas.

How to eat guavas:

Rinse carefully, and then you can eat the whole guava if you wish (rind and seeds too). Or cut and slice to get at the flesh.

Most people also love guava juice. And you’ll find guavas in fruit cocktails too.

15) Starfruit (carambola)

Shaped like a five-pointed star, starfruit is a less-common Mexico fruit.

A less common Mexico fruit, starfruit is shaped like a five-pointed star when cut horizontally.

Crisp and yellow, the flesh of the fruit is tangy, tasting a little like a blend of pineapple and lemon.

How to eat starfruit:

The whole fruit is edible, so you don’t have to peel the skin. Slice it to eat on its own.

Starfruit is also pretty as a garnish.

Other ideas? Substitute starfruit for pineapple in upside-down cake, or toss sliced starfruit into chicken salad.

16) Coconut

Coconuts are popular in Mexico.

Coconut also grows well in Mexico. You find lots of coconut plantations around Puerto Vallarta and in Jalisco state.

And, yes, coconut is a fruit (it’s also a nut and a seed).

How to eat coconuts:

When it’s hot outside, there’s nothing better to drink than clear coconut water from a fresh coconut!

In markets, vendors hawk young coconuts with straws for sipping the refreshing liquid.

Ask the vendor to hack out the meat afterwards to eat as a snack (it’s especially great sprinkled with lime or chili spice).

Coconut ice-cream is also popular in Mexico.

17) Mexican plum (ciruela)

Ciruela Huesuda

Ciruela (Spanish for “plum”) has a very interesting taste – nothing like that of a plum.

They’re sweet and acidic at the same time (less sweet than plums you get in the U.S. and Canada). They have a yellowish-green skin, which ripens to orange and burgundy in color.

How to eat ciruelas:

Like regular plums, you can eat them, skin and all, except for the hard pit inside.

List of Mexican fruit

So, what do you think of these Mexican fruits? Are you up for trying them? Let us know! (You can comment below.)

Hey, don’t miss our Mexico guide! Our Ultimate Mexico travel guide is packed with Mexico travel information and tips!

Experience more food and wine deliciousness!

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Also see these Mexican dessert cookbooks on Amazon . (As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases.)


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About the authors:

Janice and George Mucalov

Luxury travel journalists and SATW, NATJA and TMAC “Best Travel Blog” award winners, Janice and George are the publishers of Sand In My Suitcase. Between them, they’ve traveled to all 7 continents.

Find destination guides, global food-and-wine stories, luxury hotel reviews, articles on cultural explorations and soft adventure trips, cruise reviews and information, insanely useful travel tips and more!

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Abe

Wednesday 30th of June 2021

Does anyone know if/where Elderberry or Elderflower (sauco) is farmed in Mexico? Any help is greatly appreciated.

Janice and George

Sunday 4th of July 2021

Hi Abe, You've asked an interesting question! We don't have the answer, but hopefully a reader will in future :-).

Choong Yee Kook

Sunday 28th of March 2021

What about asparagus. Does Mexico produce the best asparagus?

Janice and George

Sunday 28th of March 2021

Good question :-).

First, asparagus is considered a vegetable, not a fruit.

As for the best asparagus, white asparagus grown in France, Germany and elsewhere in Europe is supposed to be some of the best asparagus in the world.

Asparagus is a new crop for Mexico (started in the 1980s). Most asparagus in Mexico is grown in the Caborca region. The season is December to April. And yes, Mexico does have a reputation for producing a good quality green asparagus :-).

DeeDee

Friday 12th of February 2021

Interesting and well written! However pitaya are Native to Mexico and Central America, and the Aztecs were not around for "thousands of years".

Janice and George

Friday 12th of February 2021

Thanks DeeDee for being a careful reader!

It seems there's no consensus on whether pitaya fruit came from Asia originally or from Mexico and Central America. One source says the fruit was "originally popular in Southeast Asia and Latin America." Other sources say it originally grew in Latin and Central America and was then brought to Asia in the early 19th century. Yet another source we came across says: "The origin of the dragon fruit is unknown."

But it does seem that it probably was native to Central America. So we'll edit this accordingly!

And as for the Aztecs, you're right. Our blooper. We should have said "hundreds of years" not "thousands of years" under the "Mamey Sapote" heading. We'll fix this :-).

Thanks again for setting us straight :-).