Taking a food tour is one of the best ways to explore a city. Vallarta Food Tours takes hungry travelers to some of the best restaurants and food carts in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. In addition to tasty bites and sips, participants learn about the history and culture from locals.
The gazebo in Lazaro Cardenas Park – the meeting point for the Original Downtown Tour
Vallarta Food Tours operates nine different food tours in Puerto Vallarta (more about those are at the bottom of this post). My husband, son, and I went on the Original Downtown Tour. Participants on the tour meet at the gazebo located at Lazaro Cardenas Park, located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta.
A little pre-tour selfie
We allowed ourselves plenty of time to get to the park prior to the tour. This allowed us the ability to check out the park as well as to snap a few pictures. Our tour guide was Amanda, a native of Puerto Vallarta. With ties to the United States, she is fluent in both English and Spanish. Not only does she know languages and Puerto Vallarta history, she knows food.
A little oasis in the middle of the street.
Once a person books a Vallarta Food Tour, he/she is sent all of the information that they need in order to participate. We were advised to eat a light breakfast before the tour and to arrive 15 minutes before the scheduled tour time start. (Our tour time was from 10:30 am – 2:00 pm.)
Once all of the participants had arrived, we began walking towards our first destination. The first stop on our tour took place at Tacos El Cuñado. Amanda explained that Cuñado means brother-in-law and she told us all a bit about the history of this Puerto Vallarta favorite street cart while we all enjoyed taco asada. We were able to select from a few toppings for garnish.
Our next stop was for aguas frescas.
Aguas frescas translates to “fresh waters.” Similar to lemonade, aguas frescas is a combination of fresh fruit blended with sugar and water. Sometimes, cereals (grains), flowers, and seeds are used as well.
Sipping on agua fresca is a great way to hydrate while enjoying the beautiful surrounding that is Puerto Vallarta. At this stop, we tried several different varieties of aguas frescas.
A stop at Carnitas Lalo for breakfast tacos was up next.
Carnitas Lalo is a spot for early risers to grab a breakfast taco. They are served until they run out.
One thing you might notice is that our plates are covered in plastic. While it is different than what we see in the United States, it is an affordable and clean way for them to serve food on a sturdy surface.
Taco de Carnitas
After enjoying our breakfast tacos, we made our way to Mariscos Cisneros, a seafood restaurant.
On the tour, participants are kept well hydrated with water. Adults have the option to purchase alcoholic beverages. Being in Mexico, I thought it was only proper for me to order a Margarita. Many of the restaurants accept American dollars for payment. Sometimes your change will be in pesos.
At this stop, we were asked if we liked spicy foods. There was an option for those who didn’t. I went with the menu item on the tour – Stuffed Pepper Taco. Ay caramba! It was spicy but quite delicious.
Stuffed Pepper Taco
Along our journey, Amanda talked to us about the history of Puerto Vallarta. Before it was known as Puerto Vallarta, the small fishing village was called Puerto Las Peñas. Before 1918, it was not recognized by the federal government as a municipality, meaning that it did not receive any funding for roads, etc. The local people had to make do with the resources around them to pave the roads, therefore many of the roads (particularly in the Old Town) are paved with river rocks from the Rio Cuale.
As we continued on our culinary adventure, we made our way to Mariscos El Guero, another seafood restaurant.
Our tasting menu consisted of Ceviche Mahi-Mahi, Smoked Marlin Tacos, and Agua de Jamaica.
Agua de Jamaica is a tea made from Hibiscus and I found it to be quite refreshing.
The last item we had at Mariscos El Guero ended up being my favorite on the tour – smoked marlin tacos. I would definitely go back and eat them again.
Leaving behind all of that great seafood, we crossed the footbridge that spans the Rio Cuale. It is a swinging bridge and was fun to cross.
We arrived at the flea market which is full of colorful wares for sale.
We continued on and made our way to Vallarta Factory to sample chocolate and coffee.
Oh the chocolate! We each were able to select one sample from the collection on display. I chose a piece that had coffee and it was incredible.
Next up we were able to sample authentic Mexican coffee. My son told me it was much better than what we drink at home. We left that location with fewer dollars and a bag full of coffee and chocolate.
We then set out on foot toward our last destination. On the way, we walked in front of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, a beloved Puerto Vallarta landmark.
Our last dining locale was Gaby’s and mole and tequila were on the menu for us.
There is beauty all around Puerto Vallarta, from the tiles on the stairs to colorful Catrinas (Mexican skeleton dolls).
Most of us are familiar with the gringo way of drinking tequila – the salted rim, the lime, and taking a shot. At Gaby’s we learned the proper way of enjoying one of Mexico’s national treasures.
The three glasses below are somewhat symbolic of the flag of Mexico – red, white, and green. On the left is sangrita, tequila in the middle, and lime juice on the right. You start with a small amount of lime juice, followed by a sip of tequila, then finish it off with a sip of sangrita.
We learned about mole while dining on the dish below covered with both a brown and verde (green) mole.
The finale of our trip was flan, a sweet custard dessert with a creamy caramel sauce on top.
Sadly, at that point our tour was over and our bellies were full. We left with a map outlining the different locations we visited as well as 25 other restaurants,some coupons, and a small shopping guide.
The cost of the tour that we took costs approximately $50 per adult. It takes place rain or shine, and it is wise to dress comfortably, including good walking shoes. The guide takes care of everything for the participants, excluding the aforementioned alcoholic purchases. At the end of the tour, it is perfectly fine to tip the guide for their work.
Vallarta Food Tours
Here are some of the tasty food tours offered by Vallarta Food Tours:
- The Original Downtown Tour – A day time walking cultural food tour exploring the best of Centro and Old Town neighborhoods.
- The Street – An evening taco tour.
- Mex-Ology – Tequila, tacos, and Mexican cocktails.
- Taste of Pitillal – A day tour exploring the local cuisine of Pitillal, a charming authentic Mexican neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta, off the touristy path.
- Bikes & Bites – A guided 3 to 3½ hour bike food tour featuring eight food tasting locations carefully chosen to highlight the best regional flavor.
- Vallarta by Road – A backstreets tour that explores the foodie gems around Puerto Vallarta in the comfort of an air-conditioned, 20-seat Mercedes Sprinter.
- Seafood Lovers – A tour dedicated entirely to fresh-caught seafood prepared with authentic regional flare.
- Discover Versalles – A tour to discover the hottest international restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.
- Mayto – Cuisine and culture beyond Puerto Vallarta. This “tour” also includes a 1-night stay in the beachfront Mayto Hotel.
Vallarta Food Tours is rated 5 stars on TripAdivsor, Google, and Yelp! Visit VallartaFoodTours.com to learn more and to book your tour.