[Puerto Vallarta, Mexico] Dining & Adventuring - seeking recommendations for eating well in Mexico

(ChristinaM) #1

My husband and I, Americans, are considering a trip to Mexico with our toddler sometime between Jan.-Apr. Originally we thought maybe Mexico City, but it seems overwhelming and awfully fast-paced for a vacation with a little person. A friend recommended Puebla, but after a little research I’m leaning more towards Puerto Vallarta for a good mix of city and beaches with great food.

Have you spent any time in Puerto Vallarta or either of the two other locales? We’d love to get your advice on food/restaurant/general gastrotourism.



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(Ailsa Konzelman) #2

I’ve been going to the Vallarta area since I was 12.

There is a great food scene there- lots of good restaurants, foodie tours.
What would you like to know??


(ChristinaM) #3

Everything! Where to eat, especially. We don’t care about fine dining so much as just really good food. All types. We love spicy, seafood, vegetables, meat.

Also, fun things to do/good bases to stay from which to travel.


(Ailsa Konzelman) #4

Puerto Vallarta has a hotel zone south of the city, there are some older hotels in the zona Romantica which is the old town of Vallarta and then there is northern hotel strip which has a number of all inclusives. You can also consider staying in Nuevo Vallarta which is North of the city and airport. We stay in the Bucerias area which is even slightly further north but have stayed in the hotel zone south of the city several times.

The zona Romantica has lots of good restaurants and interesting shopping. If you check the Puerto Vallarta forum on Trip advisor, there is a lot of good advice on places to eat if you are looking for particular things. Shrimp are a solid choice if you go as San Blas/Mazatlán which are just further north up the coast are major shrimp areas.

For places to eat that I like in Vallarta are the River Café on the Rio Cuale, Café des Artistes (very high end) and there are lots and lots of good street carts which I couldn’t give exact directions to.

I admit I 'm a bit rustier on my Vallarta restaurants because we have been going further north of Vallarta ( 25 mins or so) and there are also a TON of good restaurants up that way.

There is a Costco there if you want to buy liquor (although there are lots of places to buy liquor) or in particular wine which has typically been a weak point in Mexico. Check out the Vallarta Eats tours, there are links on Trip advisor. Cooking classes are also highly recommended. We took one at La Estancia in Nuevo Vallarta which was fun.

There is a really cool zoo and botanical gardens south of Vallarta. There are really nice beaches and surfing up the north coastline. Zip lining is also very fun there.

Tequila is also produced in the province, so lots of artisanal tequilas, mezcal and tequila tasting opportunities.

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(ChristinaM) #5

This is all excellent info, thanks!

What do you think as far as best times to visit between now and end of May? Is winter the high season? Is there a rainy period to avoid?

Would you recommend the northern area you frequent over PV? What is it called?


(Ailsa Konzelman) #6

Hi Christina,

Winter is definitely the high season. Dec, January, February. I think things start dropping off towards the end of February. My mom stays for January and February and says she finds it getting too hot by the end of February- we are Canadians so never used to excessive heat per se. The rainy season is more the late summer/fall.

I really like Bucerias which is north of Nuevo Vallarta about 25 mins from the airport. The beaches are nice, there are ample good restaurants. We typically go into Vallarta for a separate days each time we are down there. Typically do a couple of Costco trips, more out of interest, shopping and people watching in the zona romantica, walking on the Malecon etc.

We rent a car and do all sorts of side day excursions. Sayulita, Punta de Mita, La Cruz- there are lots of neat places up the northern coast. Lots of those places have great condos to rent through VRBO. Punta de Mita has a number of resorts and nice beaches but a car is a must if you like to explore unless you want to spend time waiting for buses.

The food is very good for the most part. Puerto Vallarta has a gastronomic festival in the fall. I’ve never been down there at the time its been on.

A couple of good websites:



(ChristinaM) #7

Many thanks!

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