Travel Mexico — By Ben on 22 May 2012
A week in Puerto Vallarta – Last day

Leaving Puerto Vallarta was very difficult. I hadn’t taken a proper vacation in many years and after a week in paradise I was ready to just stay there. We arrived at the airport around 8 am for our flight, but since we were on the standby list (that’s the downside of getting cheap tickets) we found out there were not going to be any sits available until the 10 pm flight. When life gives you lemons… well you know how the saying goes. We suddenly were granted another whole day in paradise and we took advantage of it.

After a nap at a friend’s place, we went back to the malecon (the embankment or esplanade along the waterfront) for a walk and to enjoy the view and have dinner on the beach. During the week we were in PVR, I walked, ran, had dinner and enjoyed the malecon every day so I became very familiar with this beautiful space. Here are some pictures of what you can find in and around it:

Even though I had this big plan to write about the local cuisine, I just didn’t have the time and energy to do an in-depth research. Don’t get me wrong, we had some great food and I learned a thing or two about the food (like the fact that sopes have no refried beans and quesadillas ALWAYS come with cheese). But I think I also took a vacation from being a food blogger and from the food we usually eat in Mexico City.

Because Puerto Vallarta has a lot of expats and receives a lot of visitors from the US, a lot of the food offered in the tourist areas is tailored to that audience. For example, we had some great “Mex-Tex” food at Nacho Daddy. I hadn’t had this type of food in a very long time and it was a nice change from our traditional diet. The hotel where we stayed (La posada de Roger) has this amazing breakfast restaurant called Fredy’s Tucan. They serve typical Mexican breakfasts, but most of their menu resembles what you can get in an American restaurant for breakfast.

The last day I wanted to try something more local, though. I asked my friend Eric, who has lived in Puerto Vallarta for almost a year, where the locals would go for fish and seafood. After a couple of phone calls we were on our way to a small restaurant right on the beach that didn’t look as fancy as some of its neighbors. That’s always a good sign, right? Right. The pescado sarandeado (roughly translated as shaken fish) Marco and I had was the cherry on top of this great vacation.

Pescado sarandeado is a red snapper that is cut in half and then marinated in a mixture of spices, including achiote or annatto seed, and peppers. Then it’s grilled and served whole on a plate. This red snapper was HUGE, around 4 pounds of fish for two people. But that didn’t scared me. I finished it and I also ate the shrimp on a stick that you see on the picture above. I’m not a big fish person for two reasons. I only like fresh fish. I mean, REALLY fresh. And after reading so much about how commercial fishing is depleting the fish population in the oceans of the world, I just don’t want to be part of it.

However, there is something different about eating fish in a lot of small towns in Mexico. The fish is really fresh and most of the fisheries are small businesses owned by local people. And you know this is true when they are fishing right in front of you while having dinner:

After our delicious dinner we witnessed our last sunset of this trip over the Pacific, walked some more, got some ice cream and just enjoyed the night as it took over the sky, ocean and town. I had the chance to take some last pictures of this great place. Vacations like this are a reminder that life is worth living and make you appreciate hard work even more. Puerto Vallarta, I shall return some day, maybe as a resident… only time will tell.

¡Buen provecho!

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grew up around food. His family owned a restaurant in Mexico City and he spent a big deal of his childhood helping and learning after school the art of creating delicious dishes from simple ingredients. He created this blog to share his kitchen adventures with the world.

(13) Readers Comments

  1. The food just makes me drool and I’d love to relax on one of those beaches or walk along one of those pretty streets.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    • With a good book in one hand and a margarita in the other :)

  2. The end of a vacation is always a sad thing. =(
    But it looks like you had a great time and some good eats.

  3. I’m falling in love with Puerto Vallarta too (through your photos).

    A whole fish on the beach and that sunset … HEAVEN!

  4. Oh if only we were all in your suitcase and walked along the beach and had a grab food alongside you all.

  5. I definitely have those moments where I just want to relax and not worry about taking photos. It happens. I’m glad you had fun!

  6. I know all aabout standby. I love Puerto Vallarta and I remmebr many beautiful days there. That fish was looking so good. Great pictures and glad you enjoyed….

  7. Love all the sculptures…just great. And the seafood makes me want to weep. Is there anything better than fresh, really fresh, straight from the ocean seafood? Nice post, Ben.

  8. Awww lovely lovely lovely I have tried the sarandeado and there are no words to describe the flavour… there is nothing best than fresh fish from the Mexican beaches!!

  9. Your photos are absolutely beautiful. I need vacation!! Mexico is a very beautiful country and we are very lucky to discover it through your photos.

  10. When I get back to Puerto Vallarta, you won’t find me at that Tex-Mex place. That local fish sounds wonderful. Thanks for sharing your trip. Wonderful photos.

    • I was wary of going there, but for me Tex-Mex food is now a luxury, something I don’t find down here, so it was a good change. :)

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