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Puerto Vallarta Food Tour: Tacos, Tequila, and Mexican Cocktails!

Being a resort town on Mexico’s Pacific coast, I knew about Puerto Vallarta’s beaches but it was interesting to learn that it’s also one of the most beloved food destinations in the country. Google “best food cities in Mexico” and you’ll find it mentioned just as often as the more popular food destinations of Oaxaca, Puebla, Mexico City, and Guadalajara.

Like any food-obsessed traveler, we enjoy seeking out hidden gems and hole-in-the-walls but we also love going on food tours. For me, it’s one of the best ways to learn about the local cuisine and culture, especially if you have limited time.

Authenticity is always important so I try to seek out the best food tour company in many of the cities we visit. In Puerto Vallarta, that company was Vallarta Food Tours. They’re the number one rated tour provider in Puerto Vallarta with a perfect 5-star rating, even after over 3,350 reviews!

I went on their Mex-ology food and drinking tour which is one of their most popular. If you’re visiting Puerto Vallarta and want good local food and drink, then this food tour is definitely for you.

You can keep reading to learn more or click here to book this food tour in Puerto Vallarta. If you’re looking for suggestions on where to eat, then be sure to check out our guide on the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

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Crab enchilada and cocktails in Puerto Vallarta

VALLARTA FOOD TOURS AT A GLANCE

As their name suggests, Vallarta Food Tours is a food tour provider based in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. They offer several themed food tours that take you on a gastronomic journey through the different neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta like Zona Romántica, Pitillal, and Versalles.

As previously described, they’re currently the top-rated tour provider in Puerto Vallarta on TripAdvisor.

WHAT ARE THEIR MOST POPULAR FOOD TOURS?

As of this writing, they offer about a dozen small group food tours in Puerto Vallarta. They can also create a private and customizable tour for larger groups and events.

Described below are their three most popular Puerto Vallarta food tours based on rating and number of reviews (listed in order of popularity).

1. Downtown Puerto Vallarta Food Tour

This is their original and still most popular food tour. It’s a 3.5-hour culinary adventure that gives you eight tastings in the downtown neighborhoods of Puerto Vallarta.

If you’d like to go on a cultural food tour that teaches you about Mexican culture and shows you where the locals eat, then this is the tour for you. It maintains a perfect 5-star rating with over 1,000 reviews on TripAdvisor.

Schedule: Monday-Sunday
Start Time: 10:30AM
Duration: 3.5 hours
Capacity: 8 people
Food Tastings: 8
Cost: USD 55 for adults, USD 44 for children under 13
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.

2. Food and Mixology Tour: Tequila, Tacos, and Mexican Cocktails

This is the tour I went on. I wanted to learn more about Mexican spirits so I chose a tour with a good mix of food and drinks. This Mex-ology tour is a spirited 4-hour walking tour that gives you five food tastings and six alcoholic beverages from seven locations in the Old Town. Like the original Downtown Tour, it has a perfect 5-star rating on TripAdvisor with over 400 reviews.

Schedule: Monday-Saturday
Start Time: 2:30PM
Duration: 4 hours
Capacity: 10 people
Food Tastings: 7
Cost: USD 85
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.

3. Taco Adventure Evening Food Tour in Puerto Vallarta

Like in other parts of Mexico, some of the best tacos are served only at night in Puerto Vallarta. This 3-hour walking food tour starts at 5:30PM and takes you to eight restaurants and taco stands in the Old Town.

This is their signature taco tour so if you have a fondness for mouthwatering tacos, street food, and truly local eateries, then this tour is definitely for you. Like the previous two, it boasts a perfect 5-star rating with over 300 reviews on TripAdvisor.

Schedule: Monday-Sunday
Start Time: 5:30PM
Duration: 3 hours
Capacity: 8 people
Food Tastings: 8
Cost: USD 49.99
Book This Tour: CLICK HERE for more information and to book this food tour.

MEX-OLOGY: TACOS & TEQUILA IN PUERTO VALLARTA

Here’s what you can expect from the Mex-ology tour. Please note that some stops, dishes, and drinks may change based on availability. I left out the names of the bars and restaurants we visited out of respect for the tour provider.

FIRST TASTING: Fish Taco and Ancho Mezcal-tini

For our first stop, our tour guide Gio took us to this popular restaurant/bar in the Zona Romántica neighborhood to have fish tacos and this ancho mezcal-tini. If I remember correctly, an ancho mezcal-tini is a cocktail made with mezcal, passion fruit, lemon juice, and Ancho Reyes. Mezcal is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey (agave) plant while Ancho Reyes is a brand of chile liqueur produced in Puebla.

Based on online cocktail recipes, ancho mezcal-tini is typically made with a slice of orange but ours was made with a pineapple wedge. Delicious!

Ancho mezcal-tini

If you have a taste for regional dishes like I do, then shrimp and fish tacos should be tops on your list in Puerto Vallarta. They’re absolutely delicious.

Situated on Mexico’s Pacific coast, this city is a haven for seafood lovers. Aside from seafood tacos, you can enjoy a plethora of dishes made from fresh caught seafood prepared in a number of different ways.

Fish taco

SECOND TASTING: Crab Enchilada and Raicilla

Yes, this soft shell crab enchilada is every bit as delicious as it looks. My god was this good! We had it at this charming hole-in-the-wall in a less touristy part of Zona Romántica. Finding these small family-owned eateries is exactly why I love traveleating with a local guide.

Crab enchilada

We were given shots of raicilla to wash the enchilada down. Raicilla is a distilled spirit produced in the southwestern part of Jalisco. Like tequila and mezcal, it’s made from the agave plant.

Raicilla is smokey, earthy, and herbal in flavor. It’s also quite strong so Gio gave us the option for half or full shots. Obviously, I went for the full.

Raicilla

THIRD TASTING: Tlacoyo and Pulque

I love experiencing the local cuisine so this was one of my favorite stops. It’s a pulqueria where we were given three different versions of pulque and a taste of tlacoyo.

Pulque is an alcoholic beverage made from the fermented sap of the maguey plant. Milky and viscous in consistency, it’s sour and a bit yeast-like in flavor.

Pulque

This version of pulque was mixed with guava and other ingredients, giving it a sweeter, more fruity taste. I liked them all but I enjoyed this one the best.

Pulque with guava

I don’t remember what this one was made with but it was the strongest of the three. Whoo!

Pulque is traditionally from central Mexico where it’s been produced for thousands of years. It dates back to the Mesoamerican period where it was considered a sacred drink and reserved only for certain classes of people.

Since the 20th century, the popularity of pulque has been on the decline, mostly because of competition from beer, but efforts are being made to revive the drink’s popularity through tourism.

Pulque

If you enjoy experiencing local food, then you’re going to love tlacoyos. Meaning “snack” or “appetizer” in Nahuatl, it’s an ancient Mexican dish that pre-dates the Hispanic period.

Small, oval-shaped, and thicker than a corn tortilla, tlacoyos are made from masa stuffed with different ingredients like beans, cheese, and chicharron before being fried or toasted. They’re typically served as an accompaniment to soups and stews or as an appetizer during celebrations.

Tlacoyo

FOURTH TASTING: Paloma and Mezcal

For our next stop, Gio took us to a bar to have two drinks – paloma and a shot of mezcal. The paloma is a light and refreshing cocktail made with tequila and either grapefruit juice or a grapefruit-flavored soda.

Paloma

Take a good look at the picture below. You recognize the shots of mezcal and the slices of orange, but do you know what those black things are? They’re fried crickets! Crickets and grasshoppers have been consumed in places like Oaxaca for thousands of years and are very much a part of the local cuisine.

Some people may be averse to eating fried insects but there’s really nothing to it. They’re crunchy and packed with protein and don’t really taste like anything. Plus, as I just learned, they go well with oranges and mezcal.

Mezcal with a slice of orange and a fried cricket

FIFTH TASTING: Seafood Taco and Margarita

Next up was another restaurant/bar in one of the busiest parts of Zona Romántica. Unless I’m mistaken, we were served some type of margarita and another fish taco. Whatever this margarita was, it was mighty tasty!

Margarita

The alcohol was starting to get to me at this point so I don’t recall exactly what this was, but I believe it’s a fish taco. Unlike the usual fish tacos that are battered and deep-fried, this one was served with chunks of unbattered fish. It was delicious.

Fish Taco

SIXTH TASTING: Jalapeño Margarita, Tequila, and Watermelon Shots

Who doesn’t like Jell-o shots? At our next stop, we were served these watermelon Jell-o wedges. The top half of the wedge was Jell-o mixed with some alcohol (probably tequila?) while the bottom was pure watermelon. So delicious!

Watermelon Jell-o slices

No self-respecting Mexican cocktail tour can ever be complete without a shot of tequila! This iconic Mexican distilled beverage is made from the blue agave plant, primarily in the city from where the drink gets its name – Tequila. Salud!

Tequila shot

For our third drink at this stop, Gio gave us a choice between jalapeño or cucumber margaritas. I love all things spicy so I naturally went for the jalapeño. It was delicious and refreshing with the characteristic heat and bite of jalapeño peppers.

Jalapeño margarita

SEVENTH TASTING: Tacos al Pastor

Next up was our last tasting – the iconic tacos al pastor. I believe tacos al pastor originated in Mexico City and Puebla, but it’s one of the most well-known Mexican dishes and widely available throughout the country.

Tacos al pastor is a type of taco filled with grilled meat (mainly pork) shaved from a vertical meat stack. You can think of it as the Mexican version of Lebanese shawarma or Greek gyros. In fact, it arrived in Mexico by way of Lebanese immigrants who moved to the country in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. All three dishes are descendants of the Turkish doner kebab.

Tacos al pastor

EIGHTH TASTING: Mezcal Cocktail

After nearly four hours of drinking and eating, we stumbled to our last stop for mezcal cocktails and what I believe to be mezcal shots.

Pictured below are the mezcal shots being aromatized in a wooden box by some type of burning organic material (dried twigs or herbs?). The box was initially closed to infuse the mezcal with a smokey herbal aroma.

Aromatized mezcal shots

Like a classic tequila shot, we sprinkled a chili pepper and salt mixture onto the back of our hands before licking it off and downing the mezcal shot.

At the beginning, some people in our group (myself included) were shy and tentative but we were all pretty much family at this point. Muchas gracias mezcal!

Taking a mezcal shot

And finally, the piece de resistance – a mezcal cocktail mixed with god knows what. Gio did a fantastic job explaining all the dishes and drinks to us but I don’t think anyone was listening at this point.

Muchas gracias Gio! Viva Mexico! Salud!

Mezcal cocktails

FINAL THOUGHTS ON THIS PUERTO VALLARTA FOOD TOUR

This is a great tour for people looking for a little bit of everything in Puerto Vallarta. It offers a good mix of food and cocktails from both trendy restaurants and bars and more authentic family-owned eateries.

At first, I couldn’t decide which tour to go on because they all looked interesting and offered different things. The original Downtown Tour is their most popular for a reason, while people interested in street tacos should choose the evening taco tour. As described, I ultimately went with this Mex-ology tour because I wanted to learn more about Mexican spirits.

Aside from the three tours mentioned in this post, they also offer a Bike and Bites Tour (bike tour), a Seafood Lover’s Tour, and a Pitillal Food Tour. Pitillal is a charming authentic Mexican neighborhood that’s off the tourist trail. This may be the most interesting option for people looking to really dive into the local culture.

Vallarta Food Tours offers ready-made small group tours but they can arrange a private food tour for you as well. If you’re traveling in a large group or celebrating an event, then a bespoke private tour may be your best option. Check out their website for more information on private tours.

In any case, you’re in good hands no matter which tour you choose. Vallarta Food Tours is the top-rated tour company in Puerto Vallarta for a reason so it all depends on what you’re into.

Thanks for reading and have an amazing time eating and drinking your way through Puerto Vallarta!

Disclosure

This article was written in partnership with Vallarta Food Tours. They gave me a complimentary tour in exchange for an honest account of the experience. As always, all words, thought, and opinions expressed in this post are mine and mine alone.

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