Sunday was my last full day in Puerto Vallarta and I purposefully didn’t have much planned. I was up a little earlier than the prior 2 nights, just before 5am. I got the blog up and did some reading while thinking about how to go about my day.
At 7am the Malecon was surprisingly empty.
There aren’t a lot of places that open for breakfast by 8am but I found one that I hadn’t been to before on Ignacio Vallarta just off of Basilio Badillo called Azul – the same name as one of my favorite places at home in Sacramento (where I’d just been last Wednesday).
I got a dish called Huevos Azul just because that seemed appropriate. The description of the dish somehow didn’t connect me to what it was going to be until they set it down. Note the egg was not cut in half then. But I bet that yolk was not going to be fully cooked, and it wasn’t. Which is a good thing, because I don’t like dried yoke. I’d seen this dish done once before – in Cardiff, Wales – and was as intrigued now as I was then in how they did it: an egg hard boiled enough to be able to peel it, bread it, and deep fry it so the breading is crisp, yet not long enough in either of those cooking times to keep the yoke moist. The woman here was just as unhelpful as the woman in Cardiff was in telling the secret.
That spinach underneath was surprisingly spicy but it worked well with the egg.
I left with no particular destination in mind, but about a block away I came across an urgent care site that did COVID testing so I took care of that while I was thinking about it. The airline requirement is anytime on the prior calendar day to give more flexibility to the “24 hour” requirement. I was negative. Yay! But I wasn’t worried.
The Cuale River provides a lovely bit of nature in the middle of town.
Wobbly pedestrian bridges connect you from the town to the island in the middle of it.
There are lots of vendors out on the river island, along with restaurants and an arts center. It’s a pretty big island!
This bridge collapsed due to heavy rains from Hurricane Nora in August, 2021. It has changed the traffic patterns all over Old Town.
I spent the morning walking about town seeing if I needed to buy anything (I didn’t), and enjoyed exploring different streets I hadn’t been on yet this trip. For lunch I decided to return to Tacos Revolucion, where I’d come on one of my prior trips and remember being pretty good. It was also in an article I read the day before which I’d randomly come across proclaiming the “best 24 restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.”
Remember from the taco tour: it’s all about the salsas. And what this one is known for is the yellow one: pineapple habanero. It comes with its own hazard warning, but I found that if you merely coat the chip in it, then add guacamole, it’s perfect. The drink is hibiscus.
On the right is pastor with a nice big chunk of pineapple on top, and the dish the restaurant is named for: Taco Revolucion. It’s a monstrosity – and I mean that in the best way – that’s part taco, part burrito, with several kinds of meat, super flavor amidst wonderful cheesiness. Try it, you’ll like it. The onions were my addition.
After lunch I went to Acqua Spa for Men, another recommendation of mine if you fit the gender (regardless of orientation). I’ve been here several times before, at least once on every trip as I recall (sometimes more). It’s a very classy place with great services. I got a 90 minutes “balance” massage and a salt scrub after. Two-hours and 15 minutes of decadent laziness I will be doing again at some point.
So, the day before I’d told you about buying a new pair of sandals. At some point during the day I got the following from my friend, Pat: “An old PV acquaintance (40+ years ago) advised me to walk in the ocean with my new hirachis (sandals purchased in PV), then let them dry. That helps them mold better to your feet. I did this, and they were heaven to wear for the 6 years they lasted!”
And here I am, as suggested. As I replied to Pat, I was planning on walking along the beach at some point today anyway, I’d just planned on taking them off. But away I went.
While I was there I grabbed a shot to my left then right of the prior photo. That’s Los Muertos pier above.
And not 100 feet past this spot – WHAM. I was blindsided by a huge wave that knocked me flat on my butt. I quickly checked pockets to make sure I hadn’t lost anything (I didn’t), took my phone out to keep it from getting any more wet, and managed to quickly run towards the shore before another even bigger wave crashed that could possibly have taken me out with it. Oh well. Completely drenched, I continued to walk along the shore – just not as close to the waves – until I made it back to my condo.
I’d put my phone on “low batter mode” earlier in the day because I knew I would be out a lot and wasn’t sure when I’d get to recharge it again. I got back around 5pm and it wouldn’t charge, getting a message that essentially said “it’s wet, stupid, you need to let it dry first.” Thankfully, it was functioning properly otherwise. It didn’t dry out enough to start charging until about 10pm. And all that I’m grateful for because as wet as it got – it was in my back pocket when I went down – my initial fear was that it was out for good.
Greg and I had made loose dinner plans for Sunday evening, and right after my massage I’d sent him a “what’s for dinner?” text.
He suggested Sonorita, a place we’d heard of more than once on this trip from various people. And that article I mentioned earlier about the 24 best restaurants? This was #1.
We agreed to meet about 6pm and got there from different directions at exactly the same time. This place is famous for pastor, and one thing I learned on this trip is pastor – always pork as far as I know – is less about the spices used, which is what I used to think – and more about how it’s cooked. Notice the rotisserie again of thin layers of pork stacked. This is from its Lebanese roots, as we learned on Thursday’s food tour. And pineapple, which you saw on my lunch taco as well.
So of course we ordered the simple pastor tacos to share.
This is Greg’s. On the left, a volcano – think small, crispy tostada – with prime rib. On the right is a fairly thick but crunchy blue corn tortilla covered in cactus and cheese. It required a knife and fork to eat it.
I got a volcano with chorizo, on the left. Another thing I’ve noticed on this trip is that chorizo here isn’t greasy like it always seems to be back home. It’s wonderful. On the right, what they called hueras – meat and cheese in a flour tortilla – with prime rib. Best bite I’ve had on the whole trip maybe, wonderful in its simplicity.
Greg’s attempt to get everything in one shot. To drink he had hibiscus, I got horchata. Everything was amazing. This is probably my favorite meal of the trip. Definitely worth returning to.
When we got there at 6pm we walked right in. When we left around 7pm there was a line down the street.
We made our way to the beach to catch the sunset in above and the next two photos.
At the Blue Shrimp restaurant.
Los Muertos pier again, the gathering place for sunset viewing.
We made our way over to La Romantica for dessert. Greg had been talking about these churros all weekend so it was kind of required in my mind. And, he informed me that the owner here is the son of the owner of Taco Revolucion – one of the workers here even wearing that shirt – so it was even more fitting.
Just 5 tables inside, my orders are placed to go.
These are the “mini bites” believe it or not. We got these primarily because it was the only option that came with all 3 dipping sauces: condensed milk (the one we were least excited about but turned out to be our favorite), chocolate, and caramel. Oh, and I also got a milkshake that friends raved about, because the “flavor of the month” was coconut. So it was required.
Can you say “sugar coma”? Worth the stop but can’t afford to do this very often. Glad we did it, though.
And that brings us to the end of this trip. I will be heading to the airport around Noon and won’t be doing much worth writing about until then, primarily packing and balcony sitting listening to the waves and feeling the breeze. So I’ll do my traditional Final Thoughts now.
Pandemic travel. It’s still out there for sure, but hasn’t been a huge inconvenience. You just have to pay attention to instructions. American Airlines emailed the requirements for getting back into the country, and the check-in process took longer because they encouraged you to upload your COVID test results early, along with a CDC requirement for contact tracing. (I did all that yesterday afternoon when I got back from my fall in the water, worried about my phone charge; thankfully it didn’t die on me.) Mask-wise, don’t leave home without it. It’s still required on planes and in airports certainly. In PV there was little mask wearing outside, but even entering a restaurant they’d ask you to have it on (which always seems silly to me, even at home, since you’re going to take it off as soon as you sit down). In retail areas they always wanted it on,
When I was heading to the airport Thursday morning I was thinking “man I wish I was staying longer this time.” This is my 4th trip, and each time I’ve come Thursday – Monday, since I’m not much of a beach person, or partier, etc etc. But more and more I’m longing for as much unstructured time as I can get and this is a lovely place to spend it. That it’s beautiful and the food is amazing is enough.
Sometime yesterday afternoon it struck me that what makes PV stand out from other places I’ve been is I can’t think of anywhere else where there’s no other agenda than having fun and being happy. Every person I’ve encountered is happy, pleasant, and dedicated to make sure you’re enjoying yourself. Maybe it’s just because I haven’t been to that many resort towns. But I understand this is different from other Mexican resort towns in that the point of it here is Old Town, or Zona Romantica – which is the only placed I’ve ever stayed. I hear occasionally of people who come and never leave the resort hotel area over by the marina and think they’re missing So Much. But not everyone travels for the same reasons and I get that. I want to get a feel for what it’s like to live there, even if I’m never going to go back. and you definitely get that in the areas I’ve stayed in.
And speaking of living here, that idea is growing on me more and more, at least part-time. I’m years away (probably) from retirement still but it’s worth thinking about. I would never want to live here full-time – but something as a secondary residence with rental income in between would make sense. Ash is open to the idea as well, even though he’s never been here, relying on the opinion of people he trusts (me, Greg, Jon). Hence the real estate tour on Saturday.
So we’ll see what life has in store as far as all that goes. But as Greg and I agreed when we said goodbye last night, we will definitely be back. And hopefully with Jon the next time, who was sorely missed on this trip. (We hear he’s going great!)
This is it for now, will see you next time which will be Paris in May. Thanks so much for coming along!
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