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Guadalajara, Puerto Vallarta, Rivera Nayarit, Mexico

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#1 vj

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Posted 22 March 2015 - 10:48 AM

Hi all -

I'm planning a trip in May to Guadalara and environs, and then my favorite little beach town, Bucerías, just north of Puerto Vallarta, and I'm looking for food and drink recommendations.

 

Here's the deal. I'm planning to see Guadalajara proper, Lake Chapala and Ajijic, Atotonilco El Alto (where Siete Lenguas makes its tequila), Amatitán (Herredura), and Tequila. Then I bus down to Bucerías. From there I plan to see Sayulita, Punta de Mita, San Pancho and la Peñita, PV, Yelapa, and other boat-only beach towns. Do you have any recc's for me? I don't have a lot of money to spend, but there will be a couple of splurges. 

 

Many thanks in advance.



#2 ariel88

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Posted 27 March 2015 - 11:42 PM

I did a taco crawl when I was in PV for the day last spring. Totally worth it. I'm sure you could cobble together your own crawl for less $, but I'd never been to PV before and I didn't have a lot of time to explore, so it was a great compromise.

 

http://www.tripadvis...o_Vallarta.html

(Signature Taco and More tour)



#3 vj

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Posted 28 March 2015 - 07:11 PM

Thanks so much, Ariel88. I'll check that out!

#4 vj

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:35 AM

I wanted to just share a couple of tips for some great eating and drinking in Guadalajara:

Go to Karne Girabaldi which features carne en su jugo ( beef in its broth). It's the fastest restaurant in the world according to the Guinness Book of World Records. It works like this. You walk in the door and you'll be greeted, and pointed to a table. The waiter will meet you there with bowls of cilantro, chopped onions, limes, and refried beans with corn. You tell him small, medium or large, and what you'd like to drink. In less than a minute, you'll have your carne en su jugo, some roasted onions, and warm tortillas, as well as your drink on the table. 

 

It's not sexy food -- but it's crazy delicious. The original location is off the beaten path in the Santa Tere neighborhood. There are also 4 locations in Zapopan.

Garibaldi 1306
esq. José Clemente Orozco,
Col. Sta. Teresita
Tel. 01 (33) 3826.1286

http://karnegaribaldi.com.mx/

 

Like fish tacos? Be sure to go to Tacos Fish La Paz, which is only open until 4-ish pm. Not cheap, but so delicious.

Av de la Paz 494, Col. Mexicaltzingo, 01 33 1200 4647

 

Tacos y Gorditas El Gallo is the best place in Guadalajara for Tacos a la Cañasta or Tacos al Vapor. These are tacos that assembled, then put in a basket, covered with dishtowels. The tacos stay warm and steamy, and delicious. I loved the tacos, but I ended up trying a gordita and that was even better. This place is also only open til 4pm.

Prisciliano Sánchez 167, Zona Centro, 01 33 3613 2235

 

If you are near the Templo Expiatorio (del Santísimo Sacramento) (Calle López Cotilla 935, Col. Americana) in the evening, if you are facing the church's entrance on the plaza, there are a number of food stands to the right. At the elote (roasted corn) stand, be sure to order some esquites (corn in a cup) -- this stand makes a righteous version. Just beyond it is a sandwich cart with grilled burgers, hot dogs, and lonches (another version of a torta) -- there is always a line for this cart, and when you eat there, you'll know why.

 

Drinking

For the cantina experience, you can't go wrong with the oldest cantina in the city, Cantina La Fuente (Pino Suárez 78). This is old school -- get your shot of tequila (though non-tequila fans can get other liquors), your salt and lime, a soft drink, a beer. This place has great ambiance, and great people watching, and you can easily get lunch, dinner or a snack -- the cafe next door's waitstaff come over with menus (the food is good, too). There's always also people coming in selling snacks and desserts. Unlike many old school cantinas, La Fuente welcomes everyone, including women. 

 

Guadalajara has a young craft beer scene, and the best way to try some out is in the trendy neighborhood of Chapultepec. There are lots of taverns serving cerveza artesanal in the area, but my favorite is the bottle store El Deposito World Beer Store (Av. Chapultepec Sur 129, Col. Americana, 01 33 3825 0233). They have all of Cervecería Minerva's beers on tap, as well as a great selection of other craft beers from the Guadalajara area and Mexico.

 

And hotel tips:

I stayed at the Hotel Morales, and the Hotel de Mendoza. Both were good hotels, around the same price.

 

If I had to just recommend one, I'd recommend Morales, which is charming, provides newspapers in the lobby, has a heated pool, a concierge on staff, a bar, and a much better restaurant. They are also around the corner from one of the larger bus stops in the zona centro, and there are more food options nearby (and later).  Many packages offer an American or buffet breakfast, and these are worth getting -- they make decent coffee and breakfast items are quite tasty -- with the exception of chilaquiles. (That said, lunch and dinner menus items are just sad, though not as sad as De Mendoza)

 

De Mendoza is closer to the Cathedral, Teatro Degollado and the Rotunda of Illustrious Men (as well as Cantina La Fuente), you can leave your AC on during the day (though neither hotel lets you get your room Houston cold), and you're more likely to get upgraded to a balcony over the courtyard room -- but food options in the neighborhood mostly suck and mostly close early. The hotel decor is stuck in the 70s, and the restaurant at De Mendoza makes Morales' restaurant seem like high dining -- which is all kinds of sad.



#5 vj

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 12:54 AM

If you are visiting Nayarit's capital, Tepic, here are a few suggestions...

 

 - if you are looking for a clean, friendly, no-frills place to stay, try Hotel Los Girasoles, about a block and a half from the plaza prinicipal.

Sebastián Lerdo de Tejada Pte. 181, Zona Centro
01 311 216 3736

http://www.hotel-los-girasoles.com/

 

- if you'd like a market lunch in Mercado Municipal, look for Fonda Extravaganzas, which is bonito, barato y bueno, and has a huge selection of menu items.

 

- the best steak I had in Mexico was at Restaurante Argentino El Quincho, which oddly enough is about two blocks from the bus station. While inexpensive by US standards, this was the most expensive meal on my trip, and worth every penny. 

Calle Av Preparatoria 33, Cd del Valle, 63157 Tepic, Nay., Mexico
Phone:+52 311 210 8283



#6 vj

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 03:41 PM

I had a couple great meals on the Riviera Nayarit, and a whole lot of really good ones. These are all in Bucerias unless otherwise mentioned.

 

- Armando's Place, Francisco I. Madero #34, Zona Dorada

This place is open from lunch to about midnight, and has a menu ranging from delicious 25 peso tacos de camaron or arrachera, to real meals like steak, etc. One of the best meals I had on this trip was his grilled octopus (180 pesos, or $12) -- a huge serving, literally the most octopus and one of the top three octopi I've ever had. He doesn't have an alcohol license, so bring your own bottle.

 

- Sonora al Sur, Blvd. Nuevo Vallarta 64, Col. Mezcalitos, Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit -- http://www.sonoraalsur.com.mx/

A steakhouse with reasonable prices and alcohol. It was almost as good as El Quincho in Tepic, and quite a bit cheaper, and a huge amount better (and cheaper) than the Argentine steakhouse we went to in Neuva Vallarta. You buy your meat in the onsite butcher shop by the kg -- arrachera, sirloin, ribeye, prime rib, vacío, etc, as well as hamburgesa, chorizo asador, and chorizo argentino, tell the cashier how you'd like it cooked, and order the huge, good for 2-4 people, sides of salads, potatoes, veggies and mac-n-cheese, etc. Waiters bring it out when it's ready. An added bonus -- the restaurant is chilled like a meat locker.  I bought a meal for myself and a friend there and in came in just over $20 for more food than... well, it was a lot of food.

 

- Mariscos Villareal, Dr. Abraham González 10
Open from noon to 6pm everyday but Wednesday (or is it Tuesday?). Great ceviche and fresh seafood in the form of salads and tostadas. Reasonable prices (a giant octopus salad made up of octopus, lime, maggi sauce, and avocado ran about 100 pesos, or $6.50), no alcohol, they have some tables outside but I always get it to go.

 

- Vera Bakery Cafe, Calle Lázaro Cárdenas 101, Zona Dorada

excellent coffee, great breakfast egg sandwiches. The beans here are fabulous.

 

- La Cocina de Jorge, Abasolo 5,  Zona Dorada

My favorite breakfast place. No frills, but delicious and inexpensive. The chilaquiles here are so good!

 

- Tacos de Güera, Francisco I. Madero, NW of Morelos, Zona Dorada

Open 8-midnight every night. Cheap and filling, bring your own bottle. Highlights are her papas, mashed potatoes with cheese and taco toppings, and her quesadillas. Veronica and her family are the sweetest. Taco meat selection tends to be limited.

 

Tacos Itzel, also locally referred to as Tacos Under the Trees - Cleofus Salazar just south of Estaciones

While this is not in Gringo Gulch, it's worth seeking out. Itzel and family make 6-8 delicious things to go inside tortillas (a decent cochinita pibil being just one; they always have birria as well), and the portions are crazy huge. If you usually eat two tacos, try just one here.

 

- le Bistrot, Galena 11, Zona Dorada

While it is closed in the summer, this is an excellent french restaurant, owned and run by actual French people. Generally, a limited menu with just a couple entrees but there is always french onion soup, and bifsteak au poive. Prices are reasonable (starting around 150 pesos), bring your own bottle.  

 

- Sandrina's, Lazaro Cardenas 33, Zona Dorada

Greek. Liquor. They make a mean margarita and what I've had foodwise is quite good, but at almost US prices. During high season, Sandrina is on site, and her desserts are well-regarded. Outside of high season, she does a bunch of baking before taking a summer vacation, and the desserts wait in the freezer for you. I'm told that's a bad thing. They have a gorgeous gardened patio.

 

- El Rinconcito de Ensenada aka Fish Tacos, Benito Juarez 80

This is my favorite place to get fish tacos in Bucerias. Prices are inexpensive (they start around a dollar) for delicious, simple tacos, quesadillas and tostadas of marlin, shrimp, and octopus (I'm sure there are others as well). It's unpretentious, family run, and perfect for your lunch or mid-afternoon cravings.



#7 vj

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 04:00 PM

One final post about this trip. In Jalisco and Nayarit, I found a miserable trend: hotel restaurants making chilaquiles with dorito style chips.

 

I wish I could say that this happened just once, but no. I tried chilaquiles at a number of hotel restaurants (sometimes not knowing they were hotel restaurants), and they were clearly made with some sort of flavored corn chip. Then, it was like poking a bruise. A horrible, horrible bruise. I had to keep ordering them.

 

Chilaquiles in non-hotel restaurants were made like your mom would make them, if your mom was Mexican and didn't work in a hotel restaurant. 



#8 EvaB

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 09:00 PM

great posts! I am ready for the trip now! Any picts?


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#9 vj

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Posted 15 July 2015 - 09:19 PM

Thanks, Eva! I still need to upload the pics to Flickr, but I'll post URLs when they are there... 



#10 ExtraMSG

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 02:01 PM

Trying to talk my wife into a Guadalajara trip with some beach time in PV area.  But are there any areas with decent beaches where you don't get hassled by vendors?


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#11 vj

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Posted 19 July 2015 - 03:11 PM

No. Well, not the popular, pretty beaches, at least. 

 

Actually, I'm sure there are, like in Careyes or in any of the really high-end resort towns where the public doesn't have beach access. 

 

Bucerias has very little vendor action, compared to PV or Sayulita. But I still encountered a lot of hey Amiga, hey lady, would you like a massage?, which I tolerate better than 7 year olds selling beaded jewelry. 

 

(I should add that I think I encountered 3 massage tables over a mile and a half's stretch of beach, so all things considered, not bad at all)

 

In both Sayulita and Yelapa, I sadly recognized vendors both times I was there, and knew their names. Oh, the Michoacan family where the whole family worked the beach. The only thing worse than a 7 year old selling beaded jewelry is being tag-teamed by her, and her younger sisters. Going off season means you encounter even more desperate vendor traffic. 


Edited by vj, 22 July 2015 - 09:51 AM.
# of massage offers per mile


#12 pwillen1

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 06:07 AM

San Pancho (San Francisco on maps) in the Nayarit is pretty quiet with a number of sit down restaurants. Lots of wood fired grilling of fish in that area.


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#13 vj

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Posted 22 July 2015 - 09:55 AM

I've heard such great things about San Pancho, but I didn't make it there (again). I guess I'll have to go back...



#14 pwillen1

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Posted 23 July 2015 - 09:27 AM

San Pancho is quiet. It's not really a destination but a great place to tack on a couple days. The beach is big but a bit more rough water than say Sayulita.

 

I had a street food there I've never seen before. a hand made sopa with a layer of cheese and another tortilla underneath. excellent.


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#15 ricechaz

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Posted 27 March 2017 - 11:53 AM

Any updates for PV? Headed there in two days. Thanks. 


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there you are."
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#16 vj

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 09:58 AM

I'm jealous, Charlie - report back on what you find!







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