The Best Puerto Vallarta Taco Crawl: Eat Like A Local At These Incredible Taco Restaurants

This Puerto Vallarta taco crawl takes you on a journey to find the best tacos in the city. From mahi-mahi to carnitas, these are the best taco restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

pulled pork tacos with corn on the best Puerto Vallarta taco crawl

Having spent the better part of my winters in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area I like to think of myself as a bit of an expert on the subject of where to find the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta. After 20 years of enjoying the warm Pacific coast of Mexico, the city is practically a second home for me.

However, until recently, my culinary experiences here had never focused on Puerto Vallarta street tacos.

I had always been attracted to the delicious aromas wafting from the taco stands all over town, but I wasn’t sure about the Mexican food standards and cleanliness of the taco stands. I sure didn’t want to find myself suffering from a case of Montezuma’s Revenge.

Seeing so many locals and visitors enjoying some of the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta, I finally gathered up the courage to take a Puerto Vallarta taco crawl. I read about Vallarta Food Tours, “The Street: An Evening Taco Adventure,” and I signed up.

Who would know better than one of the top food tours in Puerto Vallarta about where to enjoy delicious and safe Mexican street food?

Colorful street in Puerto Vallarta with shady trees and bright buildings
The streets of Puerto Vallarta

Mahi-Mahi Tacos at Cevicheria El Guero

Our group of five met our guide, Manuel a young fellow from Guadalajara, at the Cevicheria El Guero at the corner of Madero and Constitucion.

Manuel gave each of us a brochure that included all eight stops that we would make that evening on our Puerto Vallarta taco crawl. Each was laid out on a map, along with additional restaurant recommendations. Each of the taco crawl stops has been chosen for the variety and quality of the food, their status as some of the best taco spots in Puerto Vallarta, as well as the brilliant stories behind the folks who run them.

Cevicheria El Guero, for example, began as a small Mexican ceviche street stand in 1999. Now the family runs a casual restaurant specializing in Mexican seafood. We were served delicious breaded mahi-mahi fish tacos with all of the fixings including crunchy cabbage and a variety of sauces such as picante homemade house recipe and chipotle mayonnaise.

Volcanic Flavor at Taco Memo

At Senor Memo's taco stand in Puerto Vallarta a man stands behind a charcoal grill cooking beef for the best tacos
Senor Memo grilling up some meat – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

Tacos are arguably the best budget food in Puerto Vallarta. Probably my favorite version was the beef volcan at Tacos Memo Grill.

Senor Memo and his wife, Maria, are located on the corner of Basilio Bandillo and Aguacate. Memo sears marinated beef over a mesquite wood grill and serves it on toasted Maria-made tortillas.

Each hand-made taco at Memo’s Grill is served with a variety of homemade sauces. One of the sauces was a complex secret recipe from Grandpa and the condiments included pickled vegetables, radishes, and beets.

It was absolutely delicious.

All In At Tacos Don Juan

An elderly woman makes slow-cooked pork for a taco crawl in Puerto Vallarta
Cooking up the meat at Taco Don Juan’s in Puerto Vallarta – Photo credit: Anita Draycott

At Tacos Don Juan, they specialize in slow-cooked cow heads. This means that these Puerto Vallarta tacos may have eyes, lips, cheeks, tongues, and more. It sounds like a meal for adventurous taco lovers, but Tacos Don Juan gets rave reviews.

While some of the more adventurous folks opted for the eyes and said they were delicious, those of us with a slightly more selective appetite opted for tender beef cheeks served with chopped coriander and onions.

Manuel informed us that the last city permits for taco stands were issued about 35 years ago. Most folks who have the precious permits keep them in the family. It’s pretty incredible that these Puerto Vallarta taco vendors can make much of a profit as the average taco price ranges from 20 to 50 pesos.

Each of the meals at Tacos Don Juan(and many of the other Puerto Vallarta taco crawl locations) is cooked to your order on the spot. They always come piping hot with a variety of delicious sauces and condiments.

How To Prepare For Your Puerto Vallarta Taco Crawl

Mexican street food vendor sprinkles chili powder on the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta

The Puerto Vallarta taco crawl covers some of the best taco joints in the city. Some of the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta are spread across two nearby neighborhoods: Emilio Zapata and 5 de Diciembre. We walked off a few calories by taking a hike across the River Cuale on the swing bridge and then upstairs into Gringo Gulch, an upscale hillside residential area named for its popularity among foreigners, including the late Elizabeth Taylor.

You’ll want to wear comfortable shoes for this taco crawl in Puerto Vallarta, the cobblestone streets are definitely not suited for flimsy sandals or high heels.

Mezcal At El Tasting

Our next stop was El Tasting, a popular spot for tequila and mezcal tastings in Puerto Vallarta. We stopped for a shot of mezcal served with orange slices sprinkled with crushed dried worms and chili powder. Manuel informed us that Mexico has 29 kinds of agave cacti. Mezcal is a distilled Mexican spirit derived from the agave plant. The mezcal that we were drinking came from the Oaxaca area where it is slow-cooked over a fire to give it a unique smoky flavor.

A stack of Puerto Vallarta tacos at El Carboncita restaurant
Photo credit: Anita Draycott

A Taste of History At Lolita’s

Next, we headed to Lolita’s, the oldest restaurant in Puerto Vallarta, on Avenue Mexico. The original owner, Lolita, started serving food out of the front room of her house way back in 1935. Eventually, they turned the house into a restaurant and her family has since taken over the business.

One of the specialties at Lolita’s restaurant is pozole, a stew of hominy (corn kernels), and pork. Again, garnishes and sauces zip up this dish that Manuel informed us is often served in Mexican households at Christmas time. I must say it was the best pozole I’ve ever eaten. But go easy on Lolita’s red sauce. It packs a punch.

Marlin Like No Other At Mariscos La Tia

Who knew that marlin could be made to taste like bacon?

That’s what we discovered at Mariscos La Tia, also on Honduras. The chef smokes his marlin and then cooks it to a crispy finish. This delicious fish can be served inside tacos or in a mouthwatering seafood broth.

With its unassuming front, you’d never know that this restaurant serves up some of the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta. Make sure to try their shrimp tacos and tostada consentida, which include octopus, shrimp, cucumber, avocado, onion, and tomato.

Beat The Crowds At El Carboncito

At El Carboncito on Honduras, a huge crowd gathered, cervezas in hand, around the grill where the chef was serving up popular tacos al pastor. Originally developed in central Mexico, this dish is an
adaptation of the Lebanese shawarma or Greek gyro.

Pork is marinated in a combination of spices and then slow-roasted on a vertical rotisserie with a piece of fresh onion and pineapple on the top. The folks at Carboncito are open from 7 p.m. to 4 a.m. and sell about 1,200 tacos al pastor each day.

Enjoy Your Puerto Vallarta Taco Crawl!

So, if you’re wondering where to find the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta after a night on the town, now you know where the locals go.

End On A Sweet Note At Julio’s Churros

Our Puerto Vallarta taco crawl in Puerto Vallarta ended on a sweet note at Julio’s Churros at the corner of Uruguay and Peru. Here Julio and his wife cook spirals of dough in a huge pot of bubbling oil.

The hot Mexican “doughnuts” are then cut into chunks and tossed in sugar and cinnamon. Forget about the calories; these are too good to pass up. Julio has another location at the Malecon Boardwalk if you’re looking to enjoy some time near the water.

Are You Ready For Your Puerto Vallarta Taco Crawl?

Safe and delicious street tacos in Puerto Vallarta

I had my eyes opened to the best tacos in the city on this Puerto Vallarta taco crawl. If you’re looking to enjoy the flavors of Mexican street food in the city I highly recommend the Vallarta Food Tours’ Evening Taco Adventure.

This late-day taco tour covers parts of the town you many travelers never get the chance to visit. It offers a sampling of truly delicious and unique styles of Puerto Vallarta tacos as well as a range of other treats. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to munch and mingle with locals and expand your culinary horizons.

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A street taco in Puerto Vallarta over the words The Best Puerto Vallarta Taco Crawl

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