Sayulita, Mexico: Master the Fish Taco
One of the many upsides of going to Mexico is eating Mexican food. Travel to Sayulita, a low-key surf town near Puerto Vallarta, and you'll come home knowing how to cook some dishes, too. There are a few different options:
1. Celebrity chef Ana Garcia, a Food Network regular, hosts weeklong culinary vacations in a kitchen right on the beach. On the syllabus: shrimp meatballs in a smoky chili broth, fresh-off-the-boat mahimahi ceviche, and pork loin marinated in tequila. The trip includes four three-hour cooking classes (so you'll have plenty of time for the beach and hammock) and seven nights at a plush house two blocks from the beach (from $2,350 per person).
2. Hotelito los Sueños offers a three-hour evening class where you'll prepare a four-course dinner of tamales and fish tacos in a rooftop kitchen ($35; if you want beer, you'll have to bring your own Dos Equis).
3. Truly hard-core foodies should head to the Four Seasons in nearby Punta Mita for a course on pre-Hispanic cuisine. You'll cook like an Aztec, using ingredients like ant eggs, agave worms, and grasshoppers. (For the record, "the most important part of cooking grasshopper is the toasting," says chef José Salas. "Include salt and garlic. Toast in a sauté pan until they get fragrant, firm, and dry.") You may not make it at home, but a more visceral history lesson is hard to imagine.