Skeletons You Will Love—Day Of The Dead In Puerto Vallarta

Día de los Muertos is an Aztec tradition and festival celebrated throughout Mexico. Here’s what you need to know if you will be in Puerto Vallarta during Day of the Dead.

Day Of The Dead In Puerto Vallarta-Vallarta Food Tours

What Is Day Of The Dead?

Día de los Muertos is actually 3 days, October 31 to November 2. During these days alters are built to honor loved ones who have passed away. Their favorite foods are cooked and their headstone is cleaned and decorated. There are parties, processions, and community festivals. Most importantly, it is believed that the deceased awake from their eternal resting place and communicate with their loved ones.

Day Of The Dead In Puerto Vallarta-Mexican Holidays

No Need To Be Scared Of These Skeletons

In many countries, skeletons are used for fear and fright, but not here in Mexico. Expect to see colorful and elaborate artwork featuring skulls and skeletons—which you can find in art and gift shops year-round. This includes Catrina and Catrine dolls, oversized puppets and paper mache figures, which are global collectibles. As a holiday of honor, these decorative skeleton dolls are dressed in formal dresses and suits.

If you will be in Vallarta on November 2nd you can walk the Malecon to find artists who will paint your face into a beautiful skeleton. This is also the perfect time to view the giant catrinas along the boardwalk.

Day Of The Dead In Puerto Vallarta-Kid's Activities In Puerto Vallarta

What About Halloween?

Halloween is celebrated in Mexico, but not across the board. If you are out and about on October 31, you might find a few kids dressed in costumes on the Malecon trick or treating. You might find pumpkins in a grocery store, but carving pumpkins isn’t much of a tradition in Mexico. With the Día de los Muertos festivities missing out on Halloween is really a non-issue.

As with most Mexican holidays, one day is never enough. If you will be here during the Day of the Dead take advantage of the opportunity to partake in one of the biggest celebrations of the year.

5 Reasons To Spend Christmas In Puerto Vallarta

Let’s face it, the holidays can be stressful. One way to escape the stress and immerse yourself in the joy of the holiday season is to head to Puerto Vallarta for a tropical Christmas getaway.

 

The Perfect Place To Christmas Shop

Skip Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year and wait to do your holiday shopping in PV. Look beyond the average vacation chochkies and bring back gifts of tequila, coffee, candy, cigars, pottery, textiles, clothing, jewelry, and more. As an added bonus you are likely to spend a bit less on your gift budget, but you may need to check an extra bag on your return flight home.

Christmas In Puerto Vallarta-Mexican Vacation

 

A True Vacation

Most of us have time off for Christmas and New Year’s so why not use them to travel? It’s not that spending time with or traveling to visit family isn’t important, but if it’s been a while since you’ve had a real vacation—a holiday away can be a nice change of pace. Spend part of your time on the beach resting and relaxing but be sure to schedule in some fun-filled excursions and activities.

Warm Weather

Whether it’s just you and your partner, your immediate family, or a full family vacation—you will enjoy at least a few days away from the cold. Even if you live in a fairly warm climate where winter blues are a non-issue spending Christmas in Mexico is a nice change of pace.

Warm Weather

Whether it’s just you and your partner, your immediate family, or a full family vacation—you will enjoy at least a few days away from the cold. Even if you live in a fairly warm climate where winter blues are a non-issue spending Christmas in Mexico is a nice change of pace.

Christmas In Puerto Vallarta-Delicious Food

Delicious Food

While you certainly want to enjoy as much regional cuisine as you can during your holiday vacation, you still want Christmas to feel like Christmas—and there’s no better way than with a traditional turkey dinner. Many hotels and resorts host holiday dinners, with a fan favorite being Casa Isabel. Several restaurants in town such as Daiquiri Dicks and River Café also have prefix holiday menus. Reservations are required and be sure to confirm that it is a turkey dinner or a special Christmas menu.

Christmas in Vallarta-New Year's Fireworks

 

Christmas Pilgrimage

If you are Catholic or Christian or have always wanted to experience a religious pilgrimage firsthand, you can while in Vallarta. There are daily pilgrimages from December 1 to December 12, celebrating Día de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe—the Festival of Guadalupe. Guadalupe is the patron saint of Mexico. The final pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is the largest pilgrimage. There are fireworks, music, and fiestas downtown and throughout the city on the 12.

Las Posadas begins on December 16 and ends on Christmas Eve. This includes a reenactment of the journey of Mary and Joseph as they search for an inn. The Noche Bueno on Christmas Eve is the final mass, a midnight mass.

While there’s no chance of a White Christmas in Mexico you can create holiday memories you will cherish for years to come. Feliz Navidad!

How To Beat The Heat In Puerto Vallarta

We know you came to PV to get some sun and sand but if you are visiting between the months of July and September you may find the heat to be a bit intense. Here’s how to make the most of your vacation without overheating. These tips will work for expats and locals too!

Beat The Heat In Puerto Vallarta - Hydrate

Hydrate And Electrolytes

Not only do you need to increase your fluid intake when it’s hot and humid out but be sure to add electrolytes to the mix. Carry water with you, purchase electrolyte beverages in any Oxxo or Kiosko such as Gatorade, coconut water, and the local Electrolit which is available in many flavors. Enjoy fruit infused water (aqua fresca) which you can find from street vendors. Fresh squeezed juice and smoothies are easy to find, and give a limonada or naranada a try—sparkling mineral water with freshly squeezed lime juice or fresh squeezed orange juice.

If you purchase pre-cut fruit from a fruit stand, have the vendor add lime and salt which will turn your sweet treat into an electrolyte-filled snack. Don’t stress about the salt intake like you would at home, as you lose sodium when you sweat so it needs to be replenished. Opt for sangria and mojitos when drinking as they have a bit of aqua mineral which makes them hydrating and refreshing.

Beat The Heat In Puerto Vallarta - Peak Heat

 

Plan Your Day Around Peak Heat

Download a local weather app so that you can plan your day around peak heat, which is typically between 1 pm to 6 pm. These are the ideal hours to find a shady spot on the beach or at the pool so that you can hop in the water to cool down. It’s also the ideal time to enjoy a water excursion. This is also the rainy season so keep in mind that there may be afternoon and evening storms.

Beat The Heat In Puerto Vallarta - Cool Yourself Down

 

Cool Yourself Down

The goal is to keep yourself as cool as you can. These tips will help you stay cool, and cool you down fast when you are overheating.

  • Turn on the fans and air conditioning in your hotel, villa, or apartment.
  • When out and about, frequently pop into stores with air conditioning.
  • Walk on the shady side of the street and slow down when walking.
  • Bring a rosewater spray with you and keep it in the fridge to mist and cool yourself down.
  • Carry a washcloth or hanky with you to pat away sweat when out and about.
  • Dampen a few washcloths and place them in your freezer to drape over your neck when you are overheating.
  • Take cold showers when you are hot.
  • If your hotel doesn’t have a pool purchase a day pass somewhere to cool down.
  • Invest in a handheld fan that you can find at just about any gift shop.

Yelapa - Fresh Fish In Puerto Vallarta

Take A Day Trip

You don’t have to drive, cab or Uber too far to enjoy a drop in temperature. It will be an average of 10 degrees cooler once you get an hour or so up the coast, or head up to the mountains to visit San Sebastian, Talpa, or Mascota where you won’t feel any humidity. Also, consider taking a water taxi to one of the many nearby beaches and towns. It’s always a bit cooler on the water and you can find a shady spot to lounge on the beach.

The warmer months of July through September is low season, in part due to the humid weather, but it’s an excellent time of year to enjoy Puerto Vallarta without the tourist traffic of high season.

Gay Pride Puerto Vallarta 2018—What You Need To Know!

It’s exciting enough booking your tickets to an international Pride but even more exciting this year as Gay Pride Puerto Vallarta 2018 falls during Restaurant Week and the 100th Anniversary of our great city—which is why this year’s Pride theme is “100 Reasons to Celebrate”. A city put on the map by Elizabeth Taylor herself after filming the 1964 movie Night of the Iguana, PV has much to offer. Here’s what you need to know!

Where To Stay?

It’s up to you as there is no shortage of boutique hotels, LGBT-friendly resorts, and Airbnb’s in Zona Romantica (The Romantic Zone) which is the equivalent of a Chicago-esq Boystown. Amazing restaurants, shopping, and just 1 block from the beach. There are also some excellent resorts in nearby Conchas Chinas which is just a short cab or Uber ride away, but rethink staying in Nuevo Vallarta. While the resorts there are amazing, you will be pretty far from the action—unless that is what you prefer.

Gay Pride Puerto Vallarta 2018--What To Do In PV

What To Do In Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta 2018 Pride runs from May 20th to May 27th. The full calendar of Pride events can be found here. But what about when you aren’t enjoying the festivities? Here are a few ideas:

  • Book an LGBT excursion. There are many to choose from.
  • Take a taxi to Boca and hop on the water taxi to Yelapa.
  • Or also from Boca, get a group and rent a Grumpy Old Men-esq boat (but bigger) for the day, just $10 to $20 USD per person for a drop-off and pick-up at one of the small nearby beaches.
  • Do a guided or self-guided Art Walk, which is an official Pride event on May 23rd.
  • Book an excursion at Bucket List-worthy Islas Marietas Island this is a full 8 hour day.
  • Take a day trip, maybe to Tequila—the Champagne of Mexico, the only place where authentic tequila can be made.
  • If you aren’t staying at a resort purchase a day pass to lounge at the pool of almost any resort or spend the day at the Mantamar Beach Club.
  • Book a guided food tour with Vallarta Food Tours. We are an LGBT-friendly tour company who offers tours of authentic Mexican cuisine. We’ll take you to the hidden gems you probably won’t find on your own. Our 3 hours tours can be done on foot, in a van, or on bicycles. Check out our tour calendar, or book a private tour with a group of friends!

How To Get Around? PV Has Uber!

That’s right if you came to PV Pride last year there was no Uber—but this year there is! That being said, as in many tourist towns, taxi drivers have not embraced Uber. This has led to designated Uber “pickup spots” throughout downtown Vallarta. These pick-up spots are not always convenient. For example, your Uber may be 3 minutes away, but your pickup spot a 5-minute walk away. If you are at your hotel you should be fine—but when out and about a cab may be easier. And due to the taxi/Uber driver tension, there will not be an Uber sticker in the window so look for the license plate number instead.

Before you hop in your cab, be sure to confirm the fare or you may arrive at your destination changed with a steep “gringo tax”.

No need to rent a car in PV.

What To Tip?

Taxis and Ubers don’t need tips unless they have gone above and beyond—helped with your luggage, made an extra stop, or held your hair back when you’ve had too much to drink. At casual dining local spots or street taco stands 10% is fine, but restaurants geared toward tourists 15 or 20 percent is expected. This guide will help with other tipping scenarios.

Can I Drink The Water?

PV has some of the most impressive plumbing and water treatment systems in Mexico but it’s wise to purchase your bottled water. In resorts and almost every restaurant, even the ice will be made from filtered or bottled water. When out and about there are convenience stores everywhere for when you need water on the go.

Drink Too Much?

I know, the last thing you want to do when hungover is eat—but aguachiles is the local hangover cure. Or fight fire with fire and order a Michelada, which is a Mexican Bloody Mary but made with beer.

Can I Use My Phone?

If you are from the US or Canada your phone is likely to work, but make sure you are clear on your international calling rates—or consider upgrading to an international plan for the time you will be here. If you don’t have an international plan learn how to turn off roaming while still accessing your Wi-Fi. Your hotel and most restaurants have Wi-Fi so download What’s App before you leave your home country so that you can call and message friends back home. You can also call and message on Facebook Messenger and Skype.

Gay Pride Puerto Vallarta 2018

Is Puerto Vallarta LGBT Friendly?

Tourism is the primary source of economic income and ongoing growth in Puerto Vallarta. It’s a year-round international LGBT vacation destination, with a growing digital nomad presence, and PV is a popular place for US and Canadian residents to retire or snowbird. So, you will find a mix of everyone. The Romantic Zone (PS I’m from Chicago) is very much like any other LGBT-friendly big city neighborhood—but more vacation-centered. Will you run into the occasional ignorant local or tourists? Yes, just like anywhere in the world. But you can be out and proud in PV. One of the exciting things that gay tourism in Vallarta has created is an LGBT-haven for nationals. For gay Mexicans, Vallarta is an early San Francisco.  For locals, it often begins with a vacation to see if it’s too good to be true, then a move to the city.

Don’t see what you were looking for? Just ask! Shoot us a message on Facebook or call or email.

Happy Pride!

 

 

How to celebrate like a true Revolucionario!!

Revolution day in puerto vallarta with vallarta food tours

Revolution day in Puerto Vallarta

November 20th is a Mexican holiday commemorating the Mexican Revolution (1910-1920).  The Mexican Revolution’s impact on Mexico is enormous.  The images of Emiliano Zapata (Vallarta Food Tour’s personal favorite revolutionary) and Pancho Villa  are inextricably linked to their birth country and the Mexican Revolution they helped take shape.   The Mexican Revolution was hard fought, bloody and long.  That much exertion surely needed some food and drinks!  In a sort of homage, Vallarta Food Tours thought we would compile a list of fantastically, revolutionarily great places to eat like a revolucionario.  

Yep, we are going to exercise a bit of creative license.  I mean, we are positive that  the likes of Villa, Madero, Zapata, Carranza and Obregon would have enjoyed our chosen spots.  They did have taste buds, after all. There were definitely times that they enjoyed foods like charro beans and tamales that could be cooked on the field and travelled well.  Maybe sometimes they waxed poetic about an aromatic birria or even a warm pozole, both dishes that harken mama’s home cooking.  We are pretty much positively sure that they did. 😉 If they were in Puerto Vallarta, these are the walking tours of restaurants we would take them on.
Our list of the what to do in Puerto Vallarta if you want to eat like a revolucionario or are just a helluva cool person:
El Arrayan Allende #344, Colonia Centro.  Step into El Arrayan and you will find a colorful, kitschy restaurant that “gets it”.  They create authentic dishes that capture Mexico’s culinary soul.  Among our favorites are the Duck Tostadas and, for those that like adventure, the Cricket Tacos as starters. For entrees, give the Beef Barbacoa, Enchiladas en Mole Poblano and Cochinita Pibil a whirl.  To wash it all down, we really cannot get enough of their namesake cocktail, Arrayan Margarita.  VIVA MEXICO!!
MaiaCalle Pulpito #120.  Maia bills itself as poetic cuisine.  Nothing could be truer.  Maia’s food is artistic, inventive and divine.  Culling ingredients from that day’s freshest ingredients, Chef Hugo is driven by a reverence of Mexico’s gastronomical flavors and ingredients while incorporating international techniques and styles.  Start your meal with a jarrito drink, a raicilla drink served in a clay mug.  Our fave is the the tamarindo flavor.  For starters, give the Maia bruschetta and Hugo Cesar Tostada a try.  Follow it up with Lamb Bolognese with Mole, Hugo’s whimsically Mexican take on an Italian standard or the hearty vegetable, Bacon-wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breast with a mole tamarind glaze. PROVECHO!!
No Way Jose! – 5 de Febrero #260, Old Town.  Specializing in modern Mexican cuisine, No Way Jose! has a mantra ” tu casa en Puerto Vallarta“.  The warmth permeates throughout this lively restaurant with a decidedly fun vibe. Their service is impeccable and their food is well-crafted.  When we have a hankering for Mexico’s famed chiles en nogada , this is our restaurant of choice.  It is a specialty and rightly so. No Way Jose! knows how to start out the evening with their signature “Hot chile love” margarita.  Their Mexican beef carpaccio and Mussels al Tequila couples wonderfully with the atmosphere at this wonderful restaurant! DELICIOSO!!!
Red Cabbage –  Calle Rivera del Rio #204. Tucked inside Puerto Vallarta’s traditionally Mexican neighborhood of El Caloso, Red Cabbage is a hidden gem relished by locals and savvy travelers.  Kitschy in the best sense of the word, Red Cabbage offers up authentically delicious Mexican cooking including the elaborate chicken mole from Puebla, chiles en nogada and Jalisco’s very own carne en su jugo.  Red Cabbage will not disappoint even the most discerning of diners!
There it is fine folks, a quick guide on where to go eat on Dia de la Revolución, or heck, any day!

 

The Great Holiday of “Day of the Dead”

day of the dead 1
Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is cause for celebration, a time when families pay tribute to beloved members of their families that have passed away.  Taking place over two days – November 1st and 2nd – families congregate, create altars in homage and make ofrendas, or offerings to their deceased. It is not spooky or macabre, but rather reverential – a time when the spirit of the deceased is thought to pay visit to those family members that have been left behind.


Anticipating the Day of the Dead, families clear a section of their home to install an altar comprising of appropriate offerings that reflect both the tradition and the deceased’s individual likes. Offerings could include candles to help light the path, soap to aid the traveling spirit’s clean-up, photos, a favorite beverage such as tequila or beer, food and welcoming flowers.


Among the most popular ofrendas are sugar skulls – colorful sugar skulls hailing from Central and Southern Mexico. The skulls are prepared from a sugar mixture that is pressed into molds and later dried. After the drying, they are decorated with both edible and non-edible decorations.


Pan de Muertos, Bread of the Dead, is a sugary, sweet bread that is eaten by the families of the deceased and sometimes placed on the altar. The bread is molded into a loaf with the top being twisted to resemble bones. The bread is then baked, glazed and covered with colorful sugar.


Another dish, is candied pumpkins made from fresh pumpkin slices that are glazed with piloncillo, made from pure, unrefined sugar that is similar to brown sugar with a molasses flavor. All of this sweetness pairs up perfectly with atole, a warm cup of corn and masa that is meant to nourish and warm the living and the dead.


The festivities continue outside of the families’ homes with a pilgrimage to the cemetery to decorate and clean up gravesites.  Day of the Dead is a fitting celebration of their loved ones that have passed on- a wonderful tribute.
Here in Puerto Vallarta, you will find some of these dishes in the main square by Guadalupe church and  El Arrayan is having a special Dia de los Muertos menu from now until November 3.  Also, Happy Halloween!!

Celebrate Mexican Independence in Puerto Vallarta

September 16th, Mexican Independence Day, is a day of celebration, cultural pride and overall revelry.  The celebration officially kicks off a bit before midnight on September 15th with the grito, or cry, ushering in the festivities.  Meant to symbolize the moment in 1810 that Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a Catholic priest, declared independence from Spain in Dolores, Guanajuato (now Dolores de Hidalgo), the grito is now reenacted by municipal, state or federal officials throughout Mexico.  President Peña Nieto will do the honors at the Zócalo in Mexico City.

Mexican Independece September 16

Mexican Independence September 16

Here in Puerto Vallarta, the festivities begin on the 15th with various events taking place at the main plaza, including an morning salute of the flag.  The traditional grito takes place before midnight in the main plaza and is followed by fireworks and a street party enjoyed by all!  The following day, the 16th, a civic parade takes place with military and local school bands participating in the patriotic display. 

chiles en nogadaOne of Vallarta Food Tours’s favorite ways to celebrate is do our own Vallarta city walking food tour and hit one of the many local restaurants featuring Mexico’s exquisite cuisine.

We can start with The Red Cabbage for its menu inspired by Frida Kahlo for some delicious chiles en nogada. Then off for some amazing tortilla soup at Gaby’s Restaurant and No Way José for some one-of-a-kind tamales. We can finish it off with one of our favorites, El Arrayán, for some delicious duck carnitas and enjoy a jalapeño margarita. Happy Independence to everyone and VIVA MEXICO! 

Cinco de Mayo in Vallarta

In the minds of many non-Mexicans, Cinco de Mayo (5th of May) signals a day to bust out the sombreros, head out to your local Mexican joint and enjoy some “adult beverages”, namely tequila and cerveza.  Why not? Celebrating Mexican Independence is important and signals to this warm country that they respect and honor their sovereignty.  One small problem… Cinco de Mayo is not Mexican Independence, the September 16th is. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Battle of Puebla.  In this battle, an overmatched Mexican army defeated the French, who had invaded the country.  Though its strategic value in terms of war is arguable, the Battle of Puebla symbolized a David vs Goliath moment in the Mexican consciousness.  It became a rallying cry of the strength and ganas (chutzpah) of the Mexican people.
Who doesn’t love it when the underdog wins?  We know we will be celebrating this example of prowess and determination.  We may have a well-crafted Margarita or Mexito (Mojito with tequila) at Fish Shack. Maybe we will saunter beach-front to enjoy a mezcal cucumber concoction at Barracuda’s.  Or maybe we’ll have a frosty Pacífico or the Agave Maria at Los Muertos Brewing.   For some of the best Mexican food head, over to El Arrayán. With this much to celebrate, the possibilities are plentiful in our beautiful Puerto Vallarta. If you decide to celebrate in your home why not do some margaritas popsicles? So many things to do, and too many reasons to celebrate!

margarita 2