Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Who doesn't like street food? If you do and love Mexican food, please make a visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Probably the most famous street food vendor in Puerto Vallarta - the Churro Guy. (Video by Digital Nomad Foodie)
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Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is a fun and safe beach resort town in the Mexican state of Jalisco. The beautiful blue skies provide the perfect blanket and the blue bay water of Bahía de Banderas gives you a wide-variety of water-borne activities to stay busy during your well-earned vacation.
If you happen to live on the West Coast or in the Southwest, then you can easily plan a 3 day weekend trip to enjoy Puerto Vallarta and to eat some cheap and delicious street food.
This plate of red snapper, plantains, rice, onions, tomatoes, cucumber and avocados is 100% Puerto Vallarta street food. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
Where do I find street food in Puerto Vallarta?
The area that I have written this blog about to find street food is in an area of Puerto Vallarta called, Zona Romatica. This southern part of town has the feel of a small town, but with the added benefit of lot's of activities and street food options. The locals love to eat the street food because not only is it easy on the wallet, but it's also because it's freakin' good!
When my wife and I visited on a recent trip we scoured the internet for "street food in Puerto Vallarta". We also used Trip Advisor and Yelp to read reviews. This is probably what you are doing right now, so I'm glad you landed on my blog!
One very good website that helped us and which will help you is VallartaInfo.com, but more specifically the street food section. This informative website along with Trip Advisor and Yelp helped us big time so make sure you check it and bookmark it.
After researching what we wanted to eat first, we mapped out where we wanted to go. Remember, that good planning is always essential whenever you are away from home. It not only can save you both time and money, but more importantly it will reduce stress.
The one thing that we learned very quickly was that the directions and locations of places were not 100% accurate (although that is to be expected when you are dealing with mobile, street food vendors). Luckily Zona Romantica isn't too big of an area, so everything is easily walkable. Like I always tell all of you readers, get those daily steps in!
Fish-on-a-stick is found at Balam Balam by the Río Cuale. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
Grilled fish on a stick at Balam Balam
If you love seafood, specifically grilled fish on a stick and fresh ceviche (which is raw seafood cooked in lime juice), you need to pay a visit to Balam Balam. I've written a short and concise review you can read on Google Maps here. Here you'll find mackerel or red snapper being grilled upside-down on a metal stick over hot coals. They also sell superb-tasting octopus and shrimp ceviche on crunchy all-you-can-ask for tostadas!
Fresh octopus ceviche at Balam Balam. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
These yummy empanadas were only 10 pesos each. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
If you love crispy, yellow empanadas made right on the spot, then you'll be happy you are vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. My wife and I stumbled upon a tiny empanada stand where the empanadas were just about to come hot off the griddle. As soon as you take a bite of this excellent street food your immediate instinct is to order another! Just pay your 10 pesos (about 50 cents USD) and walk away as quickly as possible so you don't order anymore because you'll end up eating a bunch.
You can find elote almost everywhere in Puerto Vallarta. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
The classic Mexican street food called elote is found in many places in Puerto Vallarta. There are some booths on the Malecón, which is a mile-long esplanade along the Bahía de Banderas that set-up shop when the sun sets. My wife and I randomly found a stand on the corner of Insurgentes and Calle Francisco I. Madero which has been in business for over 40 years according to the owner. His main seller were tamales, but I wasn't too impressed with them, however his elotes were pretty good. They were about 15 pesos (about 85 cents USD each) and you can add a bunch of condiments to this corn treat!
Me doing a photo op with the "Churro Guy" and documenting his process. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
The Churro Guy
I think the "churro guy" could run for mayor of Puerto Vallarta and win. Seriously, we stopped by his street food location three times: once during the early evening and a couple other times later at night. His set-up (like many street food vendors in Puerto Vallarta) is very simple: he has a bag of churro dough, which is put into a compression machine (turned by hand), that falls into a vat of boiling oil. After the churros harden up, he expertly pulls them out with some metal tongs and into a big metal bowl filled with sugar. Once they are tossed around, he'll fill up a brown paper bag and they are ready to eat.
Churro anyone? (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
You'll understand why we came back multiple times, the churros are damn good (and I don't even like sweets)! Make sure you find him as soon as you get settled into your accommodation and don't go too late because he does sell out (which we found out once).
Puerto Vallarta has some outstanding street food especially these tacos from "El Chulo". (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
Los Originales Tacos de Cabeza La Santa Cruz "El Chulo"
If you waiting for me to report on street food tacos well here you go! The place we found is pretty much right next to the "Churro Guy". Just look for a gray pickup truck that has a wooden sign, which reads, "Los Originales Tacos de Cabeza La Santa Cruz "El Chulo".
These tacos de cabeza are classic street food - delicious! (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
The tacos here are made from a cow's cheek and other assorted leftover meat from the head (not brains though, brains are sold as sesos). It is known as the most tender part of the cow. Now think about that for a second. Sure it might disgust you or delight you, but let you tell you that this place has some very tasty tacos. You can order just one to try it out and if you like it you can definitely order more. Be advised though, that this is a very popular street food stand with the locals so the food can and will sell out.
You will find this street food vendor and many others starting at the intersection of Insurgentes (Highway 200) and Lazaro Cardenas. (Photos by Digital Nomad Foodie)
The main street food strip
Handmade tortillas, tortas, burritos, quesadillas and more will be plentiful as soon as you see the intersection of Insurgentes (Highway 200) and Lazaro Cardenas. This is probably the most congested area of street food vendors. You'll hear music, see lot's of people and smell delicious meats and spices coming from all the vendors. Click here and then scroll all the way to the bottom of the page, you'll see a map of the area I am talking about. Look for numbers 7, 8, 9 & 10 this is the main street food area in Puerto Vallarta.
Watch this short 22 second clip of handmade tortillas made in the streets of Puerto Vallarta. (Video by Digital Nomad Foodie)
A fresh, ice cold coconut during a hot day in Puerto Vallarta is the perfect thirst-quencher. (Photo by Digital Nomad Foodie)
What's visiting a hot, tropical part of the world and not enjoying a ice cold coconut juice from a fresh coconut? Your vacation wouldn't be complete if you didn't drink at least one. It was actually harder to find fresh coconuts in Puerto Vallarta. I was expecting it be plentiful and easy-to-find like in Thailand, Vietnam and Hawaii. Besides the electrolytes the coconut provides, don't waste the meat. Coconut meat is the soft, white lining inside the shell. It's full of vitamins and minerals so eat it! After you drink your coconut ask the vendor to chop up the meat for you and they will happily do it.
I hope the examples I provided about street food in Puerto Vallarta help you with your upcoming vacation planning. Please let me know how your trip goes and what you think about the street food in Puerto Vallarta in the comments below!
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