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When I asked my Airbnb host – a pata salada (Puerto Vallarta local) who had been living in the city for 60+ years – what we should eat, she told me the doesn’t really have a food identity.
Unlike tacos al pastor in Mexico City or mole in Oaxaca, Puerto Vallarta doesn’t have a culinary identity or dish to call its own.
Maybe it was because of this (or just because I was kind of hot and sticky all the time), but I found the food in Puerto Vallarta to be somewhat uninspiring. Generally, I just wanted to eat something tasty and cheap without sitting down at an overpriced tourist trap every night.
After six weeks in the city, I’ve found a few places that fit the bill. For good food at good prices, these are, in my opinion, the six best cheap eats in Puerto Vallarta.
1. Shrimp Tostadas on the Beach at Mariscos El Paisita
Where: Food stand at the end of Muertos Beach (Mariscos El Paisita) – find it on Google Maps
How much: 30 mxn / 1.60 usd per tostada
Muertos Beach is the spot in Puerto Vallarta.
It’s always crowded, so the best place to lay down your towel is at the very end of the beach by the rock wall. There’s some natural shade here, way less vendors (we got asked to buy something once every two minutes when we sat closer to the center of the beach), and super tasty shrimp tostadas.
This little stand at the end of the beach is super casual, with a few tables and chairs spread out into the sand. They have a full menu on offer, but the 30 mxn shrimp tostadas are the most budget friendly.
Fresh and cool under the hot sun, this is a seriously underrated beach eat in Puerto Vallarta for less than two dollars each!
2. Homemade Tamales in the Zona Romantica
Where: Food stand at the corner of Venustiano Carranza and Pino Suaraz – find it on Google Maps
How much: 10 to 12 mxn / .50 to .60 usd per tamale
Tamales are one of the best cheap eats in Puerto Vallarta because they’re hot, delicious, and filling for only 50 cents each.
Every time Dan and I caught a morning bus to the beaches and jungle hikes in the south of the city, we stopped at this corner to buy tamales for the trip. The woman running it usually had a variety to choose from like pollo (chicken), costilla (pork rib), and rajas (poblano pepper) just to name a few. The chicken was my go to.
She’s there from Monday to Saturday starting at 7 am, so stand at the corner and eat them fresh for breakfast or throw them in your bag to pack for lunch on whatever adventure you’re heading to next.
If she sells out and is gone for the day by the time you arrive, you can always find tamales for sale at the nearby bus stop on the corner of Basillo Badillo and Calle Constitucion as well.
3. Pizza at Los Muertos Brewing
Where: Los Muertos Brewing in the Zona Romantica – find it on Google Maps
How much: 35 mxn / 1.90 usd for a slice of cheese, pepperoni, or hawaiian
Puerto Vallarta has three breweries, two of which have tap rooms in downtown PV: Monzon and Los Muertos.
Besides craft beer, Los Muertos also serves up one of the best cheap eats in Puerto Vallarta. Owned by a gringo, the brewery is well-known for their large, thin-crust pizzas that taste just like home.
I prefer the beer at Monzon, but the pizza at Muertos is hard to beat, especially at only 35 mxn per slice. Dan and I indulged in it for dinner more than once.
Full pizzas cost 210 mxn / 11 usd each (which is good if you’re in a group because they’re huge) and pints are only 35 mxn more during happy hour from 4 to 6 pm.
4. Baja Fish & Shrimp Tacos at Tacos Revolucion
Where: Tacos Revolucion in the Zona Romantica – find it on Google Maps
How much: 40 to 50 mxn / 2 to 2.50 usd per taco
Tacos Revolucion is one of the best cheap restaurants in Puerto Vallarta. It was my first and last meal in the city and I ordered the same thing both times. I highly recommend the baja shrimp tacos (pictured above) for 50 mxn each.
With a generous portion of shrimp, tons of fresh slaw, and spicy baja sauce, two is more than enough to fill you up. (I admit I paid extra for flour tortillas because I’m #thatgringa, and you can pay to add cheese too if you like.)
The baja fish are a little cheaper at 40 mxn each but I preferred the shrimp. If you’re really on a budget, they also have al pastor, chicharron, chicken, and chorizo tacos for 17 mxn each. Just remember this spot is cash only!
5. Breakfast on the Beach at Langostinos
Where: Langostinos Restaurant and Bar on Muertos Beach – find it on Google Maps
How much: chilaquiles with chicken for 85 mxn / 4.50 usd (add coffee for only .50 usd more)
Dan and I ate breakfast here on Thanksgiving so I’ll always have a soft spot in my heart for Langostinos.
We went back again in the afternoon another day, but found the lunch and the dinner prices weren’t as great – this spot is best for breakfast if you’re on a budget.
It’s nice to eat right on the beach with your toes in the sand, and the food is good too (Dan said they were some of the best chilaquiles he’s ever had). If you’re not into starting your day with something so heavy, they also have pancakes, omelets, and more for the same price.
6. Al Pastor Tacos at Sonorita Olas Altas
Where: Sonorita Olas Altas in the Zona Romantica – find it on Google Maps
How much: 17 mxn / .90 usd per taco
Last up on the ultimate list of cheap eats in Puerto Vallarta is Sonorita Olas Altas.
This is the nicest restaurant on the list. I thought the bar was really pretty and they always have lots of lights and a packed house at night. We went after eavesdropping on another woman recommending it on the beach, and we weren’t disappointed.
The al pastor tacos were so simple and good, and a seriously great deal at only 17 mxn each. Three was enough to fill me up!
Map of the best cheap eats in Puerto Vallarta
The best cheap restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are easy to find with this guide. Keep this map handy and check out my favorite spots for a budget-friendly (but always delicious) bite in the city!
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