Your ultimate salsa guide

Some like it hot ... and some it like it not so hot. Whatever your preference, salsa is going to be a big part of your culinary journey in Mexico.

Some like it hot ... and some it like it not so hot. Whatever your preference, salsa is going to be a big part of your culinary journey when you stay at the all-inclusive Barceló Maya Grand Resort,comprised of Barceló Maya Beach, Barceló Maya Caribe, Barceló Maya Colonial, Barceló Maya Tropical, and the all-suite, AAA Four-Diamond Barceló Maya Palace. We may think of the standard red tomato-based sauce as the classic “salsa” — but in reality, there are many, many different varieties. Here's a guide to the varieties of authentic Mexican salsa you may encounter during your vacation.

Pico de gallo

You’re probably familiar with this one. Pico de Gallo-style salsa is commonly made with chopped fruits and vegetables that have been seasoned with chiles, herbs, lime juice, and salt. Chunky, tomato-heavy and filled with fresh ingredients like onion, cilantro, garlic and jalapeño (and occasionally shrimp and avocado), Pico de Gallo goes great with … pretty much anything. Good to know: “Pico de Gallo” translates to “rooster’s beak” in English. Experts can’t agree on the origin of the name, but some believe it’s because the serrano chile resembles a rooster's beak. What do you think?

Salsa negra

Adding smokiness and heat to any dish, Salsa Negra (“black sauce”) is another popular option in Mexico. The salsa is as simple as it is delicious, made with dried chipotle chiles, fresh garlic, salt and vegetable oil. Some salsa makers add roasted tomatoes to the mix as well. However you enjoy Salsa Negra, it’s an intensely flavorful taste experience.

Salsa verde cruda

Even if Pico de Gallo is the “classic” salsa in the eyes of those visiting from the United States, it’s possible that Salsa Verde Cruda is the most popular salsa in Mexico. And once you taste this bright green concoction, you’ll know why. An inspired blend of tomatillos, garlic and serrano chiles, it’s got the perfect amount of spiciness, fruitiness and acidity. In Mexican taquerias, Salsa Verde Cruda is the go-to sauce to add to your taco, enhancing the complex flavors of the meat. It’s also the ideal accompaniment to crisp, homemade tortilla chips. Yum!


Tomatillos are a Mexican culinary staple — and they are the primary ingredient in this zesty, zingy (and very green) condiment. It’s made with fresh cilantro, tomatillos, garlic, onions, and jalapenos, all adding up to something tantalizingly tangy. In Mexico, Tomatillo Salsa is a popular complement to tacos, tortilla chips, grilled chicken or pork. Careful, though — locals often like it as spicy as possible …


Is Guacamole considered a salsa? Absolutely! The name is derived from an Aztec term āhuacamolli [aːwakaˈmolːi], which translates to “avocado sauce.” During your Barceló Maya Grand Resort vacation, you will probably come across all different types of “guac.” But it can’t be beat when it’s made simply, with ripe avocado, salt, lime juice, onion, cilantro and tomato. A total Mexican cuisine classic.