Your ultimate foodie travel guide to Puerto Vallarta, I’ll show you where to stay, what to do and what to eat!
Last month I checked another tropical destination off my travel bucket list: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico! A long time fan of other Mexico destinations such as Cancun and Tulum, I couldn’t wait to experience the western coast for a change.
Their newly renovated guest rooms feature luxurious bedding, 24-hour room service and breathtaking views of the pool and beachfront.
Each room has a balcony with a gorgeous view so you don’t have to worry about requesting (or paying extra!) for a good view.
Pro Tip: Do yourself a favor and catch the sunset from your balcony. It was one of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever witnessed.
In addition to newly renovated guest rooms, the lobby had an extensive makeover as well.
Pretty sure I could have chilled on these swinging chairs in the lobby all day.
Of course, it didn’t take long for me to head out to the beautiful pool at the Marriott Puerto Vallarta.
The perfect spot for a casual lunch, a frozen cocktail or happy hour bites, be sure to carve out time to grab a bite by the pool.
Want a little privacy? You can rent your own private cabana – ideal for one or two – overlooking the beautiful beach.
Want to get social? Head to the swim-up bar to mix and mingle with other hotel guests.
Of course, you can’t have a tropical getaway without having at least one drink straight out of a coconut. Don’t worry, there’s a bar for that too. (They have non-alcoholic options for littles too!)
Speaking of littles, while I wasn’t with my kids for this visit they have a very extensive list of activities for the whole family including separate play spaces and kiddie pools.
After a day relaxing by the pool, you will have worked up quite the appetite. Be sure to explore the many dining options available on property.
One of my favorite foodie experiences during my visit was the hands-on ceviche making class.
Together with the culinary team we whipped up the most delicious Caribbean inspired ceviche. They even made a spicy cocktail to go along with it.
Not a fan of seafood? Don’t miss the short rib tacos. They were out of this world.
Another fun foodie experience at the hotel was the tequila tasting dinner. Similar to a wine pairing meal, the hotel’s tequila master walked us through each course and the ideal type of tequila to pair with each bite. It was truly incredible what I learned about tequila!
The next day I decided to venture off property to explore other foodie hotspots throughout Puerto Vallarta but not without having a quick bite to eat off the beautiful breakfast buffet at the Marriott’s La Estancia restaurant.
If you’re looking to maintain your healthy lifestyle while traveling, the Marriott makes it easy. Their breakfast buffet offered endless healthy options – both sweet and savory. From juice bars to salads to whole grains and more, I was blown away by the variety of Mexican food and traditional American breakfast dishes offered.
Now that I was fueled up to start my day, I headed about 25 minutes away to downtown Puerto Vallarta starting at the infamous arches (Los Arcos.)
From there, you can explore the city easily by foot. Be sure to check out Puerto Vallarta’s official tourism guide for endless suggestions on attractions, shopping, art galleries, adventures and more.
Be sure to walk along the famous Malecon Boardwalk. It is lined with shops, galleries, restaurants, night clubs and more.
When you’re ready for lunch, look no further than La Bodeguita del Medio located right along the Malecon boardwalk.
This Cuban restaurant offers live music daily and serves some of the most delicious, authentic Cuban food I’ve ever tasted. Don’t miss it during your visit to Puerto Vallarta!
While you’re there, keep your eyes peeled for Los Voladores de Paplanta (The Fliers of Paplanta.) These men are performing a cultural tradition of the Totanac people. You can read more about this beautiful, ancient tradition here.
Want to get some steps in and burn off lunch? Head to Mirador Cerro de La Cruz, a scenic lookout offering panoramic views of Puerto Vallarta and the coast.
Don’t make the same mistake I did and wear silly sandals – you’ll want proper walking shoes for this steep climb of stairs but it’s worth it when you get to the top!
After walking all those steps, you’ll be getting close to the happiest of hours: happy hour. Head to Bar La Playa, a casual, fun, open-air bar serving fresh made fruity cocktails.
They even make fruit-filled Jell-O shots directly in the fruit itself! The strawberry one were tasty and super refreshing in the hot sun.
If you’re looking for an elegant, special occasion dinner in Puerto Vallarta I highly recommend Cafe des Artistes located right downtown. Offering haute cuisine in a lush, romantic setting for the last 27 years, you can’t beat the hands-on service and beautifully crafted food.
Love wine? Be sure to try their wine pairing meal. It’s a great way to sample a little bit of everything. Vegetarian pairings are also available.
Prefer to keep it casual at dinner time? Probably my favorite experience of the entire trip, I highly a street taco tour with Puerto Vallarta Food Tours.
The three hour tour is led by a knowledgable, local foodie who will walk you all over town so that you can sample tacos and other goodies at eight different stops.
It’s hard to pick my favorite but the smoked marlin fish taco and the tacos pastor with pineapple were high on the list. I would do anything to click my heels and be back in Puerto Vallarta eating these tacos!
Last but not least, a Puerto Vallarta vacation is not complete without a little R&R at the beach, am I right?
Once you arrive to the secluded beach, you can choose between water spots, kayak rentals, hammock lounging, hiking, nature trails and much more.
Personally, I was ready to relax and soak up as much sun as possible before heading back to cold and snowy Michigan.
The experience includes an open bar which was super convenient because I didn’t have to worry about carrying cash with me around the beach.
The turquoise waters were unbelievable, the perfect end to a wonderful first visit to Puerto Vallarta.
What are your favorite foodie spots in Puerto Vallarta? Did I miss anything? Let me know in the comments below!
Your passport is waiting.
Disclosure: Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa hosted me during my visit. Some meals and activities were arranged by Visit Puerto Vallarta. All thoughts are my own. Photography by Alejandro Photography.