Puerto Vallarta, Mexico: The Ultimate Food & Beach Getaway

Edited: We went to Puerto Vallarta on a quick birthday trip for Brian. The COVID-19 virus had just been reported as potential threat for the United States. We, along with so many others, never dreamed it would affect our lives the way it has. By the time we came home, one case of COVID had been found in Arizona. We limited our interaction with everyone for the next few weeks, just to be safe. Over the month of March, all hell broke loose in the US. The state of Arizona is now on a lockdown order. Only essential businesses remain open and every day is a battle between grief, boredom and fear. I am very thankful that we were able to go on that last trip before all of this happened. Honestly, it gives me something to dream about. My heart goes out to all the people affected, and to the people working on the frontlines of this pandemic: the healthcare workers, delivery carriers, the “essentials.”

Until life returns to normal (and it will, loves), I am reading up on all the places I want to visit, all the people I want to meet, all the foods I want to taste. And I’m taking the time to write more about our travels in hopes that, if you’re like me, this will give you some measure of normalcy and add fuel to your travel dreams.

We recently jetted away to Puerto Vallarta for a quick birthday trip for Brian. We had some airline miles and hotel points to burn and decided the Mexico was a good idea.

Mexico is always a good idea.

Just minutes from our hotel was a lively downtown area called Zona Romantica and the Malecon or boardwalk. When visiting PV, the Malecon is a must-see. Small shops litter the main drag that’s mostly only open to foot traffic. A quick wander down any side street reveals more shops and some of the best restaurants. We found a gem of a place called Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana nestled along one of the side roads near the beautiful church called La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe, or the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe located on Hidalgo.

La Iglesia de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.

Traditional to the Jalisco region is the molcajete, a solid stone mortar used to cook and serve some of the tastiest fajita-style cuisine you’ve ever had.

Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana blew us away.

The stone mortar is heated over a fire and to it is added steak, shrimp, nopales (cactus), chicken, baby onions, cheese, peppers and a bubbling, spicy tomato sauce we have yet to replicate in our own kitchen (unfortunately). We will keep trying!

Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana does a table side salsa and guac that may make you weep.

It’s hard to describe how incredible this meal was: fresh made tortillas, rice and charro beans with each morsel I pulled out of the steaming, saucy bowl.

Molcajetes are used for everything from a traditional salsa made from all grilled vegetables, to guacamole to this fajita dish we absolutely enjoyed every single day. We’re hoping to purchase our own molcajete in the future. Because of the very heavy weight (they are completely made from stone), ordering one is probably out of the question.

For more stories on our travels, check out my other posts here.

The time we were in Mexico just so happened to be during the migration season for blue whales. We were originally going to take a whale watching tour, but after seeing them from the beach on the very first day, we decided to spend the time with our toes in the sand instead. We found the perfect spot in The Burro Bar to sip on a bucket of beer and watch our new friends splash and breach.

The Burro Bar is right on the beach: perfect for toes in sand, whale watching, buckets of beer and r-e-l-a-x-a-t-i-o-n.

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful coastal town that checks all the items off the perfect vacay list (for us). It’s safe, it’s beautiful, the food is amazing, you can spend all day on the beach or hiking in the rainforest or just lying by the pool. The culture and city are vibrant emissaries of the Mexican people.

Puerto Vallarta can’t-miss:
•Zona Romantica
•The Malecon
•Oysters on the beach
•The Burro Bar
•Casa Tradicional Cocina Mexicana
•Any street vendor selling tacos
•Playa Los Muertos (beach downtown, busier)
•Playa Conchas Chinas (beach, less busy)

Check out more shots from our PV trip:

Jenna Danielle