This article is from the April 2000 The Mexico File newsletter.
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Tips and Favorite Places in Vallarta

by Bernie Santos  

Here are a few tips to make your visit to PV more enjoyable:

•  The water (gasp!). No need for fear. Vallarta’s water source, Seapal, has won many water quality awards. It is one of, if not the, best in Mexico. No problem with the source – the problem is with the destination. Water must of course travel through many miles of piping, some of which may be damaged or corroded or rustic. Therefore, use common sense when drinking water out and about in town. Even mixed drinks or salads may be contaminated. Now, having said this, remember that hotels or restaurants want you to have a nice trip so that you’ll return. Almost all large hotels and restaurants use purified water. But to be as safe as possible, it’s best to use and drink bottled water. (Beer works great!)

•  Driving. Taxis are plentiful and inexpensive, costing on the average about three or four dollars (minus tip). Before you get into a taxi, always agree on a price to your destination. Generally taxi drivers are courteous and honest, but like in all large cities there exists some bad mazanas (apples). If you do encounter a dishonest driver, jot down his name and taxi (sitio) number and time of day. Report this information to any or all of the following:–  Department of Tourism.–  PROFECO–  American Consulate.(Buses, rental cars or your own personal vehicle, we’ll cover in a  later article.)

•  Information. Do your homework in the US by reading books, magazines, newsletters, and/or surfing the Internet. Once in Vallarta make a beeline to the main tourist office located at the corner of City Hall. This is near the south end of the Malecon and one block west of the Main Cathedral. The tourist office provides tons of free literature and advice – and they are quite helpful.

Out and About, in a peanut shell! Vallarta is an artisan community, famous not only for its painters and sculptors but also its haute cuisine. To name a few favorites is almost an impossible undertaking as entire books could be written on the subject. Plus one person’s choice could be another’s disaster.  Venture out and savor different dishes and establishments. Get involved in the renowned creativity in Vallarta.

Having said that, here are some of our suggestions:

The Malecon. This promenade is a great way to get a general feel for PV. Stroll along the seawall. Notice the famous sculptures by Colunga, Ramirez and Bustamante; note the large variety of dining establishments. You’ll see Cuban, American, Mexican, Oriental and Italian cuisine. Unfortunately this is very much a tourist area, indicated by the prices and generally not so good food. Our preference takes us to the South or South/Central. Trios has established itself as a culinary leader. Chef Bernhard has recently remodeled his restaurant and does magic with the fine Mediterranean dishes.

Daiquiri Dick’s is located right on Los Muertos beach. Longtime owner Bowman has changed the menu for the better. Long a favorite for its good food, ambience and friendly staff.

Really Rosie’s located North/Central. Rosie Sorenson creates really good American cuisine such as prime rib. And she has recently expanded with, guess what, Rosie’s Cantina!

Other mentionables are: De Santos, La Fiesta, Café de Olla, Felipes, Rincon de Buenos Aires, and Los Arbolitos...and a huge list of others that we’ll cover in a followup issue.

Salud, Bernie