Even in an affordable location such as Mexico, it can sometimes be tricky to find the really good deals when you are staying in a touristic location. I was once told by a Mexican trying to sell us a tour that there are two types of Gringos, the cheap Gringo (who likes to eat locally and elects to travel independently rather than a tour) and the expensive Gringo (who will pay just about anything for a care free vacation). Right now, we are definitely in the cheap Gringo category. With this in mind, here is a list of the really cheap eats that we hunted out while staying in Puerto Vallarta. All of these places are within walking distance of the touristic romantic zone of Puerto Vallarta.
Dinner & Lunch
Taco Stands (located at La Hormiga)
There are three or more taco stands situated at La Hormiga. The best deal is at the one at the far left where you can get 5 delicious Tacos for 35 pesos ($1.8 USD). One serving is probably enough for a light dinner.
Quekas Quesadillas (located on Route 200 between the streets Calle Francisco & Lazaro Cardenas)
During our time in Puerto Vallarta we became a regular at Quekas Quesadillas due to their cheap & delicious Quesadillas that they make before your eyes on a large hot plate. You can eat in or take away. My personal favourites are the chicken (pollo) quesadilla for 25 pesos ($1.3 USD) or the pork & potato quesadilla for 20 pesos. It is amazing that you can have a light dinner for so little!
Cenaduria Celia (located at Lazaro Cardenas 506)
For a step up from the ‘street style’ food listed above, try Cenaduria Celia for a cheap local restaurant in Puerto Vallarta. The meals at this restaurant are very reasonably priced. We ordered the Enchilada and the Goritas (both meals were 60 pesos or about 3 USD each). Both meals were very yummy. The restaurant also serves Coronas for 20 pesos (1 USD).
Traviesos Restaurant (located at Insurgentes 221, Emiliano Zapata)
For another affordable restaurant option frequented by locals try Traviesos which serves great affordable food. We ordered huge chicken Burritos for 80 pesos (4 USD) and delicious guacamole for 50 pesos (2.5 USD). The restaurant also serves Coronas for 20 pesos (1 USD).
Little China Town (not real name) – (Located next to Quekas Quesadillas located on Route 200 between the streets Calle Francisco & Lazaro Cardenas)
By our penultimate night Mexican food was losing its appeal so we caved in and went Chinese. We were glad we did. For 40 pesos ($2 USD) we had a chicken and vegetable stir-fry with rice. The ingredients were surprisingly fresh and tasty. If you want a break from Mexican food, this place is worth a try.
Yarita Bakery (located at Basilio Badillo 244)
You can find a delicious selection of pastries & breads at Yarita Bakery for under 20 pesos ($1 USD). Try their apple strudel at 14 pesos (.70 USD) it is a great deal.
Spot the mango man (no fixed abode)!
If you are lucky you might come across one of Puerto Vallarta’s ‘mango men’. We bought a bag of delicious mangoes off the back of a local’s truck for 20 pesos (1 USD).
The donut man who can be often spotted on the Malecon
An older gentlemen can often be seen selling chocolate donuts on the main strip (the Malecon) for 20 pesos ($1 USD). These donuts are huge and totally delicious and worth giving a try of you spot him in Puerto Vallarta.
Street stands on the Malecon
Directly before your eyes on the Malecon a variety of great cheap street food is offered. There are shrimp skewers (30 pesos), spicy corn (20 pesos), crunchy tacos (25 pesos for 5) & delicious ice-cream (30 pesos for large size.)
Salud Super Food (located at Olas Altas 534)
I must admit, I am quite partial to a delicious smoothie. You can get an absolutely delicious, thick, cold fruit smoothie at Salud Super Food for between 50 – 60 pesos ($2.5 – 3 USD). I tried the Sallud Super Antioxidante (Mixed berries, banana, yogurt & soy milk) & I would recommend it.
Where to get great coffee in Puerto Vallarta
The Big Kahuna Cafe (located at Basilio Badillo 152, Emiliano Zapata)
I am a big coffee fan. I need my daily fix. During our visit to Puerto Vallarta we visited the Big Kauna Cafe almost daily. It has great coffee at reasonable prices. You can get a large latte for 39 pesos ($2 USD). They have free, fast wifi & cold air-conditioning. For the non-coffee drinker, I noticed their oreo frappes were popular and cost 56 pesos ($3 USD). I have also been to Starbucks in the area and (while I’m usually a big Starbucks fan) the prices here are cheaper, the coffee is better, the wifi is faster and there is no air-con at Starbucks.
A Page in the Sun (located at Lázaro Cárdenas 179, Emiliano Zapata)
Sometimes it’s nice to mix up where you go for a coffee. A Page in the Sun is a nice alternative to The Big Kahuna Cafe. While the coffee isn’t quite as good as the Big Kahuna, the ambience, atmosphere & variety of choice certainly makes up for it. A Page in the Sun is located in a really cute second hand bookstore. The price of a large latte is very reasonable at 36 pesos ($1.9 USD). but if you are in the mood you can also order a corona here for around 25 pesos ($1.3 USD). They also sell a variety of smoothies, cakes and other light lunches. A Page in the Sun also offers free wifi.
Where to get cheap beers in Puerto Vallarta
Everywhere in Puerto Vallarta has cheap beers. The average price of a beer is between 20 – 30 pesos at most bars in the tourist area. However, these are my favourite places for SUPER cheap beers in Puerto Vallarta (less than 20 pesos):
- My personal favourite is the Sea Monkey as you can get 15 pesos (0.80 USD) coronas and sit right on the beach.
- If you are up for a big session, La Cebolla Roja or La Langosta Loca on the Malecon offers 6 coronas or pacificos for 100 pesos in a esky.
- The absolute cheapest option is to grab a local Carta Blanca beer from Oxxo for 10 pesos (0.50 USD). As you can drink your beverage anywhere in Mexico you can get the best seat in the house by sitting on the beach or on the pier at the Malecon and watch all the locals fish.