Puerto Vallarta Travel
Three words that best describes Mexico and the people who live here. There’s so many misconceptions about Mexico it’s hard to know what’s true. You can only find out by seeing for yourself. I had a basic idea but I was totally wrong (I love when that happens). It turns out we love this place (especially the food) and as each day, passed loved it more. We already can’t wait to come back. In addition to the misconception, I totally had a reality check here. Once we get home I want to live even simpler. I love trips that inspire you to be a better person.
Q & A
1. Did you feel safe?
Yes! When you step off that plane, you clearly are a tourist. Both Caleb and I are Hispanic and thought we might blend in but they knew we were not natives. The whole state is dependent on tourism and they cater to tourism. We felt welcomed and had so many instances of kindness from people. Not once did I feel unsafe.
2. Do you need a rental car?
Not Really. We stayed a week and did not rent a car. If we went back, I still wouldn’t rent a car. Transportation is cheap. Taxis are everywhere but we chose to use Uber instead. It was cheaper and more convenient. No price negotiations or waiting for a taxi. Buses are very efficient. They only cost about 50 cents to ride. There’s only one main highway and it takes you to all the stops. Just look at the front of the bus to see which areas they cover. The most time we waited for a bus was 15 minutes. They accept pesos and US money is necessary.
3. How are the prices?
Cheap! I mean really cheap. We ate at all types of food places. The most expensive meals averaged around $10 but a typical meal was around $5 USD or less. Souvenirs prices are all negotiable. They will start off high so be ready to haggle. US money is welcomed if it makes it easier to calculate the cost.
4. Do you need to know Spanish?
No but it really really helps! Most people only speak Spanish so I would suggest learning a few simple phrases. They were very patient and kind with the language barrier so a little Spanish will go a long way. If you stay in the tourist areas, English will be fine.
5. Was money exchange a problem?
Money was not a problem. US dollars are accepted at most places. ATM’s are all over so you can withdraw money from your account and receive pesos. If you bring Cash, there are also currency exchange places downtown. We noticed quite a few and exchanged our cash at two places.
6. Is Puerto Vallarta Vegan Friendly?
Yes, but look up a few places before you arrive. There are many options for vegetarians and vegans. All over town are fruit and vegetable stands that cut and prepare them to eat on the go. We also came across many juice stops. I searched vegan friendly places on Trip Advisor and a ton of places came up. We only tried one place but loved it so much we ate there twice. If you can make it to Sayulita, that’s a very vegan friendly place. It has a total hippie vibe with a lot of healthy food options.
Where We Stayed
Place: Mismaloya Bay
Location: Casa de Mary Lou
Spectacular! Most beautiful home we have ever stayed in. This gorgeous Cliffside home has the best views. The tri-level home has 6 bedrooms with all in suite full bathrooms. A grand living area connected to a large dinning space and kitchen. A lower level with another sitting area, satellite TV (Not that you need to watch TV in such a beautiful setting. It just happened to be playoff season and my husband is a huge NBA fan), swimming pool and bar area. Wi-Fi is included although its not a strong signal.
The small town of Mismaloya is about a 25-minute car or bus ride from the city center. It has a very picturesque beach and a few restaurants on the beach. Also nearby are various activities such as Eden, zip lining, hiking and water sports. From this beach we took a boat ride to the secluded beach Las Animas and went snorkeling at Los Arcos.
Place: Las Gaviotas
Beachfront restaurant on the Mismaloya Beach that serves fresh seafood. We just asked for a platter of fresh fish and a few margaritas. Our meal included Red Snapper (a PV specialty) 3 ways, shrimp cooked 3 ways, lobster, salad, beans, rice, guacamole, beer and bread. The platter was meant for 4 people but it really could’ve fed 6 or 7. All this food for less than $40 USD.
Place: Tony’s Hideway
A rooftop restaurant with quite the views. This restaurant is difficult to find but is really popular. Its in Mismaloya but tucked away in a local neighborhood. I recommend taking a taxi there especially if going in the evening. You climb three sets of stairs to unique fancy restaurant. The floor is sand, which we wondered how fun that was to do.
The waiter will bring you the “menu” to choose your dinner. Not your typical menu. It’s the actual food they’ll prepare for you. Whether it’s the local catch, filet mignon, kabobs or chicken. We went with mignon, chicken and kabobs.
Bread is served before the meal. We also order the queso appetizer. Oh wow! That was good! It’s a bowl of melted cheese with chorizo on top. Served with fresh tortillas. Its pretty much a quesadilla set up. SO SO good!
I thoroughly enjoyed our meal here. Great service and a beautiful spot to watch the sunset from a high location.
Place: Planeta Vegetarianano
Location: Puerto Vallarta Downtown
This place was a such a gem! The food was amazing and healthy. I honestly feel it was one of my favorite restaurants. So much so we went there two times. Its super affordable, all you can eat and drink (non alcoholic) for under $5. It had tons of salads, sides, soup, main dishes, juices, coffee and dessert. All the food was freshly prepared and seasoned very well. They kept bringing out fresh juices. The service was really good too. I couldn’t get enough of this place. Even if you’re not a vegetarian, it’s a good spot to go to if your stomach needs a break from heavy foods.
Place: Malibu Jugos y Cafe
Location: Puerto Vallarta
Juices, sandwiches and pancakes! We went to this juice shop a few times during the week. Juices were my favorite by far. I especially liked the “Verde” green juice. It was a nice, refreshing HUGE glass of veggies and fruit. Also on the menu are paletas (fruit pops), pancakes (really good!) and sandwiches. Prices were great and produce was fresh.
Location: Puerto Vallarta
This was a special place. If it was in the states, it would be upper scale restaurant. Impeccable service, beautiful restaurant, live music, amazing food, the biggest margaritas in PV and the best guacamole in town. Many foreigners go here, it’s a pretty popular place. You can tell when the owner and workers take pride in this place because service was above and beyond. They cleared plates quickly, constantly cleaned the table of messes and checked on us frequently. They food was very good and the portion sizes are large. My recommendation is order a margarita. Its so big you can swim in it as my uncle would say. Also be sure to get guacamole. The prepare it in front of you. They are known for fajitas. My husband ordered that and was impressed. I ordered the combo plate was really happy. The best thing to me were the taquitos. Still thinking about how good those were!
Pipi’s will always be a special place because this is where we celebrated our anniversary. Our uncle had mentioned that it was our anniversary and they pretty much went over the top to make us feel special. I mean we got serenaded, shots or tequila, dessert and big sombrero to single us out. Thank you Pipi’s for making a memorable anniversary dinner for us.