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Things only the locals do in Puerto Vallarta

Things only the locals do in Puerto Vallarta
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When visiting Puerto Vallarta as a tourist you will obviously be drawn to the attractions and main tourist activities that your hotels and vacation brochures tell you about. This is definitely a great way to explore the city and get the most out of your vacation. However, there are some hidden gems that only the locals know about that you could experience whilst staying in the beautiful Banderas Bay.

Once you combine the knowledge of both the locals and the tourist guide you will have opened your eyes to the true Puerto Vallarta. Below is a selection of some of the things locals and expats get up to in Puerto Vallarta so you can plan your next trip.

Barracuda and el Solar


This is a local hang out that the young and old love especially on the weekend. Barracuda is a scrummy seafood restaurant nestled right on the beach. It is located at the end of the Malecon just before you reach the hotel zone. For this reason the locals flock here to avoid beach sellers and the crowds. It has a relaxed low key vibe where fresh fish tacos and ceviche is served daily. You can sit inside or on the beach where you can feel the sand beneath your toes.

El solar is the small beach bar that is adjacent to Barracuda. They are run by the same people and therefore you can relax on a sunbed whilst ordering food from the restaurant; the perfect solution for a lazy Sunday. El solar changes from reggae music in the day to jazz or techno music at night. You can let your hair down on the beach and dance in the sand, there is no need to bring your heels as this bar attracts the bare footed crowd from Puerto Vallarta.

The Farmers Market

Every Saturday morning the locals of Vallarta meet in the plaza in Olas Altas. They are greeted by local smells and produce from the people of the Puerto Vallarta. You can expect to find local Mexicans and expats alike sampling the local cuisine or buying their weekly shop from the fresh food sold at the varying stands. You may wish to treat yourselves and buy some locally made jewellery or artisanal crafts, either way you will not be disappointed by this lively local haunt. Rock up early as everything sells out pretty quickly. The market starts at 9am and ends around 2pm when the midday heat is too much to bare.

Las Gemelas Beach

In high season Puerto Vallarta’s Los Muertos beach can become overcrowded and noisy so the locals tend to look to other beaches to relax. Las Gemelas (or twin beach) is one such place that you can escape the hustle and bustle of downtown. Head south for 15 minutes towards Mismaloya and you will see the sign for las Gemelas on the right. You need to descend some fairly steep steps and then you will stumble upon this hidden gem. The beach boasts calm, clear waters and a small stretch of private beach. There are no stores so it’s best to bring a picnic and an umbrella so you can spend a few hours in tranquillity in Puerto Vallarta.

J and B Dancing Club

If you love to salsa this is the club for you in Puerto Vallarta. You will find this local night spot away from the main stretch of clubs. It sits on the main highway with a large J and B sign outside making it easy to find. This local dance hall is full of keen dancers who love to let the hair down to the band that plays merengue, cumbia and salsa. Unlike the tourist bars that only really get going on a Friday and Saturday, this club is lively even on a weekday. It is around 100 pesos entry and there is no fear of waiting a long time for floor space or a drink.


If you fancy a small adventure 2 hours outside of Puerto Vallarta then Mayto is worth the visit. Travel two hours past El Tuito following the signs for Mayto. You will bend around the corner to unravel 12 kms of untouched beach waiting for your enjoyment. Stay at the family run hotel El Rinconcito for the full Mexican experience. They will cook you local fish caught  that morning on the outside bbq. You can buy snacks from the small store which runs on an honesty system. You can chat to people travelling from far and wide and dance around a beach fire to the sounds of the owner’s guitar. This hotel has air conditioning and double rooms perfect for a long or short stay. You will feel as if you have a whole beach to yourselves and with hardly any phone signal you can truly switch off from the outside world.

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