Although a lot of visitors to Puerto Vallarta are happy to laze their vacation away either lying on the beach or poolside, there are some that are a little more ambitious and want to explore the amazing city of Puerto Vallarta. Located along the Bay of Banderas, this former fishing village is now a bustling city with a gorgeous malecon (boardwalk), luxurious beach hotels, international restaurants and over 250,000 inhabitants.
|View of Old Town and the Bay of Banderas from the hills of Puerto Vallarta|
Because there is so much to do in Puerto Vallarta, the city can be a little intimidating for first time visitors: where to go, what to do and, most importantly, where to eat?? That’s why we were so excited to recently discover Vallarta Food Tours, a local company that offers a 3 hour tasting and cultural walking tour through the streets of the central historical district, also known as “old town”. It’s a great way to get to see the sights, learn about the history and eat some amazing local cuisine along the way.
On the day of our tour, we were told to meet Ricardo, our passionate and knowledgeable guide, at 10:45am and to come hungry! Ricardo (aka Lobo) started the tour by handing out a map of our route and the various locations we would be stopping at. He gave an introduction on what we could expect from the tour and then we were off — it was time to eat!!
|Ricardo, our Vallarta Food Tours Guide, giving us the low down of what to expect|
Our first stop was at a local mole restaurant where we were introduced to the owner and given 3 different types of mole to try: brown, green and pink. Mole refers to the sauce that the chicken is cooked in and the variety of mole recipes throughout Mexico is astounding. All mole recipes start with a base of spices and roasted chiles, which give the sauce depth, but not necessarily heat. The ones we sampled were rich with flavor and incredibly delicious.
|Sampling three different varieties of Chicken Mole: brown, green and pink|
Now that we had our appetites whetted, we were off to a local and extremely popular birria stand. Birria is a shredded meat stew that is a specialty of the state Jalisco and usually made with either goat or lamb, however the one we tried was made with beef. They prepared it dorado-style, which is in a crispy, fried tortilla and served with a side of the consomme that the beef was stewed in…this stuff is like liquid gold!!
|A very busy birria taco stand|
|Adding lime juice to my taco de birria, “dorado” (golden) style|
On the way to our next stop, we took a detour through the Zona Romantica and over to Vallarta’s famous Malecon (boardwalk). The malecon stretches over a mile and is dotted with performance artists, vendors, food sellers and sculptures by local mexican artists. Along the way Ricardo educated us on the various places we passed and the history of Vallarta.
|The Malecon in Puerto Vallarta|
Now it was time for our next stop, a family run restaurant that considered to serve the best ceviche in Vallarta. Ceviche is fish (or any variety of seafood) that has been mixed with onions, tomato, chiles, and cilantro and “cooked” in lime juice. It is usually served with tostadas, a deep fried tortilla, and hot sauce. Our ceviche came with a refreshing glass of hibiscus water. Amazing!
|Fish ceviche from a family run restaurant|
|The plethora of hot sauces to spice up our ceviche tostada|
|Agua de Flor de Jamaica – Hibiscus Juice|
The tour continued on with many more stops, including a tortilla factory, homemade ice cream, a fresh coconut water stand, a fabulous local restaurant that specializes in tortilla soup, “tuba” juice and a mexican candy store. All along the way, Ricardo stopped at places of interest, such as the famous Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe or pointed out the hang outs of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton (the infamous couple that put Vallarta on the map). The tour was informative, interesting, a great way to see Puerto Vallarta and, most importantly, delicious!
|Smoked Marlin Dip|
|Visiting the tortilla factory|
|Carving out fresh coconut to be served with lime juice and chile powder|
|Stopping along the way to play hopscotch with some local kids|
|Tortilla soup served with a little tequila on the side|
|Serving up some “tuba” juice — you’ll have to go on the tour to find out what this is!|
|Tuba juice while people watching on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta|
|Our incredible tour guide, Ricardo, offering up some local candies|
Vallarta Food Tours offers daily tours at that start at 11am. The tours are 3-4 hours and have a maximum of 10 people per tour. Tickets costs $49 USD per person. They have also just recently started a new food tour of Pitillal. Get more information at https://puertovallartafoodtours.com/ or call them at 1-888-457-2210.
|A great day was had by all!!!|