What do you think about when you hear the word “Mexico”? For me it’s tacos and amazing food.
Mexico was one of the places I frequently visited on family vacations growing up. My mom has visited Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for almost 20 years now and our house at home is decorated in vibrant Mexican colours and decor. Lets just say that Mexico is almost like a second home to our family.
However, being a kid traveling to Mexico I was a picky eater. I hated how they put guacamole on everything I ordered and to be honest didn’t eat much more than grilled cheese sandwiches. So when I finally went to Mexico for the first time as a non-picky eater in 2014, I was so excited to try all the flavours this country had to offer.
When I returned then, I did a food tour with Vallarta Food Tours in one of the neighbourhoods of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was delicious so when I returned back to the same area this past February I knew I needed to do another tour.
Food tours can be a great way to try different local favourites around a city and also learn about the cultures and traditions of the food you’re eating. So naturally, being someone who loves tacos (I mean, who doesn’t?) I headed out on “The Street” tour which is an evening taco adventure.
This tour took us to eight local-approved places in about 3.5 hours. It’s safe to say that I was beyond full by the time the tour concluded but with each stop I was blown away at how delicious all the food was. We started our tour at Güeros Fish Tacos where we met our group of eight and our tour guide Ricardo. At Güeros we tried some yummy ceviche and a breaded fish taco. This is also where we had an intro of what to expect for the rest of the evening.
Ricardo explained to us that each place on the tour was specifically selected based on how good the food was, whether or not it was approved by locals and of course that it was aesthetically pleasing (and clean). As we visited each stop, you’d see a mix of locals and tourists enjoying the food which made us feel like we were actually experiencing the real Mexico versus just hitting the tourist traps.
As we continued on our tour, we walked between the first four stops and then hopped on a local bus (included in the tour price) to head to another area where we visited an additional four stops. We tried things such as:
- Churros (a sweet treat to cleanse the pallet)
- Taco volcan (piled high with toppings on a crunchy shell… be prepared for a mess)
- Taco al pastor (similar meat to a shawarma and one of my favourites on the tour)
- Tequila (served a little differently with an orange with worm salt)
- Taco de cabeza o cachete (beef cheeks taco)
- Taco marlin (this one was so good I wanted more than one)
The stops ranged from taco stands on the side of the road to actual sit down restaurants. Often times tourists are too afraid to eat street food because they’re unsure what is clean and are afraid of getting ill. Our guide taught us what to look for when choosing a street vendor to get food from.
- Ensure the counters and salsas are to the standard of what you would have at home.
- Look at the server and ensure he/she looks clean.
- Does the stand have someone handling the cash register? You don’t want someone cooking your food who is also handling money.
- Look at the heat sources that the stand has. Heat doesn’t let bacteria grow so if you are getting food from a vendor who just has a pile of meat sitting there for God knows how long, you should walk right by.
However, although these seemed to be quite straight forward, when our guide tested us at a row of taco stands to pick which ones looked the best to us, I thought all four looked fine. I then found out there was only one the guide (a local) would eat at. Apparently this is harder to pick out then you would think!
Overall the taco tour was super educational and delicious. Not only do you get to see parts of the city you may not usually explore on your own, you also get to learn about some great places to come back to and eat. Tickets only cost $49.00 USD and you get a lot of food (even for those people that can eat a lot). You can also pay more to have alcoholic beverages along the way ($53.00 USD). Puerto Vallarta Food Tours offers several other tours too, not just the evening taco tour. There’s a tequila, taco and cocktail tour, a biking tour, and tours that explore different neighbourhoods you might not usually find yourself.
Disclaimer: I received complimentary ticket from Puerto Vallarta Food Tours to conduct a review. I only recommend things that I enjoyed, and think other travellers would also enjoy. All opinions in this piece are my own and 110% honest.