We just got back from our trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and it was amazing (PLEASE GO CHECK OUT OUR AWESOME PUERTO VALLARTA VIDEO)! Words can’t describe how awesome it was. We were looking to go somewhere different yet close enough to Florida that we wouldn’t have to spend so much time on our way there since we were only able to go for 5 days. We decided on Puerto Vallarta after having two pages opened, one with Expedia for prices and the other with a map to look up places. On our quest, we actually found really cool places to visit, but it was just not the right time to go. Until we finally found Puerto Vallarta and at a great price!
We didn’t expect to need more days than we booked our trip for, but man were we wrong! Five days was just not enough. We did so much, yet we missed out on doing so many things we wanted to do. We are thin, but definitely not in the greatest shape to be doing so many outdoorsy things so we would do an excursion one day and would want to take it easy the next just because we were so sore the next day from all we did. I do barre classes which really prepared me more than I thought, but my husband hasn’t had the time to work out as much as he’d like so he struggled more in certain activities.
When we got there we were tired and really hungry. While walking to the Malecon we saw a restaurant/pub that looked pretty cool and saw they were airing a soccer game, so we went in and grabbed some drinks and relaxed while watching the game. Our vacation had started!
Our Airbnb host recommended we walk around a close by area to the house and find some local eats and that’s exactly what we did! We just found a whole bunch of locals sitting down at this long table in a hidden street and a whole bunch of vendors to the side selling food. This dish had meat, rice, beans and a salad. Super good!
At night we walked around a nearby neighborhood and found a restaurant called El Mole de Jovita and decided to give it a try. I’m usually really picky and don’t like to risk trying things when I’m really hungry but I always make an effort when we’re traveling to try things, especially when I’ve never heard of or seen it before. I’ve heard of “mole” (pronounced Mo-Leh. Like the MO of the word “MOtion” and the LE like the word “siLEnt” is the best I could explain the pronunciation in English as.) before but didn’t know what it looked like or what exactly it was. It looked interesting though because the lady was actually making it outside and giving samples as people walked by, so we decided to stay and eat there after tasting it. After talking with our waiter for a while we found out he actually lived in the Tampa Bay Area a few years ago but had decided to move back to Mexico and live in Puerto Vallarta. What a small world!
They have 3 different type of moles. Mole Jovita, which is the original mole (chocolate base), Mole Pipian (squash base) and Mole Verde (tomato base). I liked the Mole Jovita and Mole Verde and my husband liked the Mole Pipian and Mole Verde, so we both ordered chicken with the two mole sauces we liked. It tasted like something I’ve never tried before, but very good and we’d definitely come back here again if we ever get the chance to visit again.
The next morning we had breakfast at around the same place where all the locals were eating at the day before. Again there is no name for the place, so you’d just have to pick whichever of the stands or spots you like the food from what you see and order.
After, we went to like a 7-eleven type store called Oxxo and bought a Mexican energy drink to try something other than the regular red bull we always get. I’m not really into green tea (it was green tea flavored), but it was really good. Tasted much better than red bull in my opinion.
We then headed out to Conchas Chinas beach. Throughout our trip, we noticed that asking taxi drivers for recommendations was a good idea and this beach was a great beach to take our drone and our cameras to since it wasn’t a beach where there’d be many people at. Actually, when we went there were just a few people and no one really stayed long since the current was strong.
After we flew our drone (the DJI Mavic Pro, which we totally recommend) for a while and enjoyed the view of Conchas Chinas beach we wanted to head to the other beach the taxi driver suggested we visit, Mismaloya Beach (a popular beach in Puerto Vallarta with a view of Los Arcos which I will show below). When we got there we actually ended up horseback riding up to “El Eden” where one of the scenes in the movie Predator (1987) with Arnold Schwarzenegger was filmed at. They take a picture of you in the entrance and then you can enter the park. We didn’t do anything in the park but just have lunch at the restaurant there. You can, however, do many things there like zip lining, swimming in the river and hiking. The restaurant honestly was a bit over priced (we guessed it was due to how touristy the place is) and the food was ok. I personally didn’t really like my food, which was just chicken with rice. My husbands fish tasted great though, so I guess it’s a hit or miss. The view of the river where we sat was nice because it was a little farther from all the kids at the other side playing in the water. If you have kids though there is a closer area by the water where you can eat while your kid plays in the river. The river isn’t deep and the zip lining is right across from the restaurant.
As for the horseback riding tour, there really isn’t much to say other than it was EXTREMELY HOT and it takes an hour to get to El Eden from where the tour starts. It was just my husband and me so that was nice, but I wouldn’t take that tour again if they offered it to me. Beautiful horses, but I didn’t like the fact that they gave me a horse that had just had her baby about 3 months ago and was really impatient and honestly I wouldn’t have ridden on her if the guy didn’t offer to hold her while I was on the whole trip to El Eden because I was so scared. I felt sorry for the guy cause he had to walk holding my horse the whole 2 hours to and from the Park, but they shouldn’t have done that. The horse was wanting to go back to her baby the whole time and I felt horrible about her being away from her newborn after I found out. I don’t think it was a specific tour agency because it was just some random guy that was by the tour agency stands at the Mismaloya bus stop, so I can’t tell you the tour agency name since I think it was just a local with a ranch full of horses trying to make some money. Of course, leave it to us and follow the guy *sigh*.
At night we went to an event (maybe like a fair) they were having with a show and a whole bunch of food game stands. We had crepes and got a little too addicted to the shooting game lol (no pictures of that though).
The same guy that we bought the horseback riding tour from sold us the Marietas Island tour the next day with a legit tour agency called Vallarta by Boat. I will be talking about that tour on a separate blog post because I have quite a lot to say about it, so stay tuned for that!
In that specific tour, we met a group of people and decided to meet up at night for dinner. They were from Puebla, Mexico and it was their first time in Puerto Vallarta as well. We waited for them at the Malecon (an oceanfront promenade that borders the shoreline along the downtown area’s main street, Paseo Diaz Ordaz) while we took pictures around the area. They said that they also got suggestions about where to eat from their taxi drivers and so far all the restaurants were great, so we decided to try another restaurant they had on their list called Cuates y Cuetes. It was right by the water and you could choose to eat inside or outside on the sand. It was by far our favorite restaurant on our whole trip! Definitely, give it a try if you are in the area!
The next day we took another taxi drivers suggestion and tried a restaurant called Cafe de Olla and it didn’t disappoint! Absolutely wonderful! It was full of locals, so we knew it had to be good!
After we had brunch we went to Los Arcos to fly our drone and get some cool shots for our video and after, Mismaloya Beach to relax on our last day. We don’t know what the big hype was about Mismaloya beach because you could barely swim with all the small boats anchored so close to shore and more kept coming in. I also had the impression it’d be a long beach, but it was extremely small and full of people. I would’ve gone back to Conchas Chinas Beach in a heartbeat if it hadn’t been so far away from Mismaloya. The only thing it has that makes it special in my opinion is a view of Los Arcos.
When we got back to our Airbnb to watch the video we had taken it turned out it was out of focus the whole time, so we made the decision to go back to Los Arcos (a 20-minute drive) to take the video again. We just couldn’t leave Puerto Vallarta until we got the shot of Los Arcos. I mean that’s one of Puerto Vallarta’s main sites. We couldn’t miss it! We made it at sunset and actually got some really cool shots!
The same taxi driver who took us to Los Arcos a second time was the one who recommended the last restaurant we went to and that’s when we found out they are not all going to recommend the best places to eat. Many taxi drivers get a commission for taking people to certain restaurants/places, so you have to be keen in observing who is who, something I lack completely. My husband could tell he was trying to get us to go to this restaurant and found it fishy (he’s pretty street smart) he said it had a nice view though so we just let him take us. The restaurant truly did have an amazing view and great food, the only thing was that it was really expensive and full of foreigners, something we usually avoid because it’s a sign of something being expensive and also we like to try what locals eat. Be careful about being fooled to go somewhere expensive when you could eat good and cheap somewhere else. Either way, we enjoyed it! The view really was incredible and we got to meet a really sweet 10-year-old boy who was in charge of preparing guacamole for anyone who asked for some. He said that after school he would go straight to the restaurant to work and that when he grows up he wants to be an architect. We thought he was adorable and commended him for staying in school and not dropping out.
Our waiter recommended everything we ate and we just went with it. We don’t regret it even though some things I would’ve never ordered had I been back home lol. Everything was delicious, but I completely forgot to get the name of the dishes, so I’ll come back to update it if I find it.
Below are other recommendation from taxi drivers.
Restaurants (recommended by several taxi drivers)
Pipis (2 taxi drivers went on about how great this restaurant was and said it’s cheap and delicious Mexican food)
Hotels recommended by one of the taxi drivers we met
PHEWW!! That was a longgg post! Hopefully I didn’t bore you too much. Since it was way too much information I decided to split it into parts, so look out for our post on the Airbnb we stayed at and for the review of the Playa del Amor tour!