What I Learned About Puerto Vallarta in 72 Hours by Angela Law
Always Be Learning.
Be prepared for a lot of retired Americans and Canadians who have never left their countries before (and possibly don’t consider Mexico leaving the country) and a huge gay club community.
The beaches in town are hard to swim in. They are packed and the breaks are strong. Even if you enjoy jumping waves, you’re likely to land on a person or a jet ski on your way down – no bueno. Want to just chill on the beach and read your book? Unless you are super good at ignoring things, that won’t happen either. The beach is packed with vendors trying to sell you things that are probably not even made in Mexico and weed. They are relentless. If you want quiet, this is not your beach!
Do not trust the manicure/pedicure lady on the beach unless you hate your nails. I know it sounds glamorous but just don’t do it. It’s also 200 pesos cheaper back in town.
Take a water taxi to La Yelapa –- a much, much quieter beach with calm, ice-cold turquoise waters. Plus, the 30-minute boat ride is kinda awesome.
For the local in-town swim spot, check out the point where the river meets the ocean. That’s also where you will find this awesome oyster table.
Yellow cabs are super cheap. When you get out of the airport, walk toward the highway and go over the footbridge. There, you will find your first snack stands (yay!!!) and yellow cabs. Skip the white cabs at the airport.
We found an awesome Airbnb in Zona Romantica. We were two blocks from the only sandy beach in town (Los Muertos) and within walking distance to street tacos. The condo was brand new and there was an infinity pool on the roof! Cost $120 a night. Total steal, especially compared to the resorts.
There are delicious tacos to be had if you just walk to the outskirts of town. There are a bunch on Caranza and Cardenas between Aguacate and Naranjo. This is an excellent guide!
If you are from a place where fish tacos are really cool (NY, LA, SF, etc.), you can pass on the fish tacos here. Yes, even from the “best” places. It’s mostly oily breading. We are spoiled. We still win because we get to eat them at home.
Burritos DO exist in Mexico! They are way smaller and most of the ones here didn’t have rice in them. They were just whatever protein you order plus lettuce and sauce. Pretty tasty, I must say.
Al pastor is great.
Eat shrimp… in all its incarnations! Shrimp quesadillas, shrimp ceviche, fried shrimp tacos…They are big, juicy, and so sweet and delicious. They are not actually from PV (they are from Mazatlan) but they are still really fresh. You’ll hear locals talk about camarones a lot!
Eat smoked marlin. You’ll find this at any of the mariscos or seafood restaurants/taco stands.
Get a whole red snapper grilled over coals on the beach.
Eat tacos cabeza (cow head) and tripo (cow tripe). They are cooked to perfection here. Super melt-in-your-mouth tasty.
Drink mango daiquiris. And those silly mango/strawberry daiquiris they call Winnie the Pooh. You can ask for them without sugar – the fruit is sweet enough.
Ask which of the salsas is “not for gringo” and stay far, far away from that one. Trust. You cannot handle it. Don’t try to be tough.