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There’s no doubt that the almighty taco is the most famous Mexican dish. A taco can be so many things, but I’ll tell you what it’s not – ground beef with lettuce, cheese, and sour cream in a flour tortilla. Head to a certain American fast food joint if that’s what you’re after.

If you’re looking for some real deal authentic Mexican tacos, however, you’ve come to the right place! Read on for a detailed guide on where to find the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta. Whether you’re a carnivore, pescatarian, or even a vegetarian, there’s a taco waiting for you!

Just about every corner in Puerto Vallarta has a taco stand, and that’s one of the best things about this city by the bay.

There are only so many permits available for these, so they tend to get passed down from generation to generation. As such, many of the taco stands here have quite a long history.

Ask any Pata Salada (“Salty Feet” – the name for someone from PV) and they’ll give you their personal favorites. Of course, everyone loves their neighborhood taco spot. For me that’s primarily been the 5 de diciembre area, so that’s where we’ll start.

tacos in puerto vallarta

The Best Tacos in 5 de Diciembre and El Centro

I’ll admit that I’m a bit biased here, as my personal favorite taco joint in town was right down the hill from our place for three years in a row. That being said, it’s also a stop on the excellent Vallarta Food Tours “The Street” option, and for good reason.

Mariscos La Tía has been cooking up mouth-watering seafood for decades and is a local favorite. They’ve got some amazing shrimp tacos here, but the star of the show is definitely the marlin taco. Marlin – the bacon of the sea!

The marlin is grilled in what looks like a mix of butter and soy sauce and then served on hot tortillas with lettuce and a chipotle sauce. I seriously dream about these when we’re not in PV.

street tacos in puerto vallarta

Pepe’s Tacos is another PV institution with a loyal following. This place is famous for its tacos al pastor – marinated pork cooked on a rotating spit with a slice of pineapple. It’s undoubtedly the “King of Tacos” and Pepe’s makes one of the best in town.

While not technically a taco, their Vallarta quesadilla with shrimp and bacon is to die for. Best of all, they stay open super late if you need some food to soak up all the tequila after a long night out!

Just down the street, El Carboncito also makes excellent al pastor in the evenings. They’ve also got asada (grilled beef), arrachera (steak), chorizo (sausage), and chuleta (pork chop) tacos.

It’s a simple taco stand with plastic stools, but they have a few tables inside as well for all you classy people.. Be sure to load up on their delicious salsas but be warned – some of them will light you on fire.

street tacos mexico

Speaking of unassuming taco stands, there are a few directly behind the Ley supermarket on this corner that are all amazing. One has mouth-watering birria (stewed goat) while another has tacos de cabeza.

Don’t be freaked out by the name that translates as “face tacos,” because these beef cheek tacos are melt-in-your-mouth fantastic! Seriously, just try them. It will change your life.

tacos with meat and onion

The star of this trio, though, is definitely the fish and shrimp taco stand. You get three huge tacos on fresh blue corn tortillas with an agua fresca for just 80 pesos ($4)! These are definitely some of the best street tacos in the city.

On the other side of the supermarket, there are a few other 5 de diciembre taco all-stars worth mentioning. Birreria Liz is my go-to hangover cure. For those not in the know, birria is a delicious stewed goat and can also be lamb or beef.

Their tacos dorados (fried tacos) are my favorite, but you can get soft tacos if that’s more your vibe. Either way, you’ll get a cup of their amazing consomé in which to dip said tacos.

Just a few doors down is El Hidalguense, which specializes in barbacoa, which is also typically goat. The main difference between the two is that barbacoa is usually cooked in a pit that’s covered with agave leaves, whereas birria is cooked in a pot.

Actually, all birria was once barbacoa. It just gets the extra step of being thrown in the pot with some sauce. My personal recommendation is that you try them both at these two 5D favorites. You know, for research.

If you’re craving a gringo taco, look no further than Mama Caguama’s. That’s literally what they call them on their menu. These hard shell tortillas with ground beef, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream go nicely with an ice-cold caguama (32 oz. beer).

Their fish tacos are on point here as well. Oh yeah, and they have one of the most unique taco options in town with Korean bulgogi.

fish tacos in puerto vallarta

For all the vegetarians out there, don’t worry – there are delicious tacos in PV for you as well! A great spot to check out in 5D is Restaurante Vegetariano Mary. It’s well-known as a vegetarian buffet, but they also have some pretty awesome tacos.

After 6 p.m. they offer their taco menu, which includes soy al pastor and mushrooms with spinach. Of course, you can always make your own tacos with the offerings from the breakfast or lunch buffet.

Over in El Centro, there really aren’t that many taco spots to write home about. Much of the area is dominated by the oceanfront Malecon and all the shops, restaurants, and bars that line it. And I’m not going to send you to Señor Frogs to eat tacos in Puerto Vallarta.

Instead, your best bet is hopping off the Malecon and walking inland a block or two. That’s where you’ll find places like Taquitos Acapulcos – a no-frills taco joint that will fill you up without emptying your wallet.

If you’re short on time, why not join one of these taco tours in Puerto Vallarta?

The Best Tacos in Old Town Puerto Vallarta

It’s time to cross the bridge and head to Old Town. As the center of nightlife in Puerto Vallarta, it should come as no surprise that some of the best tacos are here.

Let’s start out with the reigning champion of al pastor – Pancho’s Tacos. This is definitely one of the most famous taco joints in town, as there is almost always a line around the corner.

pile of tacos

Is it worth the wait? I’ll keep my opinions to myself. They make some amazing tacos here, that’s for sure. My recommendation would be to try and get there right after they open when the line usually hasn’t formed yet.

If you’d prefer seafood options and no wait, head around the corner to Tuna Azul. I finally tried their lobster tacos recently and my only regret was not giving them a chance much sooner!

You get three tacos and a beer for 150 pesos, which is a pretty sweet deal. They have plenty of other options as well, including their fantastic garlic shrimp.

Another solid alternative is Sonorita, which cooks up some excellent al pastor without the throngs of tourists lined up out front. Grab some tacos here then hit up the nearby Bar La Playa, which is one of the best local watering holes in PV.

Speaking of shrimp, one of our go-to spots downtown is Memo’s Grill for their unbelievable shrimp quesadilla. They’re also well-known for their volcanes, which get their name from the melting cheese that resembles an erupting volcano.

fish taco puerto vallarta

If what you seek is a classic fish taco, there are a few notable spots.Mariscos el Guero always hits the spot and never breaks the bank. Mariscos Cisneros is another hidden gem with the best fish tacos in Puerto Vallarta at a budget price.

One of the most legendary spots for taco stands in Puerto Vallarta is the string of taco carts in front of the Farmacia Guadalajara. Here you’ll find La Hormiga, which took the bold move of labeling themselves “Best Taco Stand” on Google Maps.

In my experience, this local favorite named “The Ant” never disappoints. When I need a quick bite to eat downtown after a few too many Pacificos, I basically gravitate here like a zombie looking for brains.

taco with corona beer

Sometimes the party is too good to wander all the way down to the pharmacy corner. That’s when you call on late-night standbys like Tacos Flako. These guys are churning out all the classics for all the hard-partying people at nearby El Soñador, Roxy’s, and Mr. Flamingo.

Hungry For Tacos Yet?

My apologies if your keyboard now has a puddle of drool on it. There really are that many places to get excited about!

In fact, we’ve only just scratched the surface with this post. I’ve been living in PV on and off for five years now and I still discover new taco joints all the time. It really is the gift that keeps on giving.

If you’ve got a personal favorite place for tacos in Puerto Vallarta that you didn’t see here, please drop a comment below and let us know about it. We’re always up for a taco!

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Sasha is a teacher, writer, and video producer from Detroit, Michigan. He graduated from Michigan State (Go Green!) and has since lived in China, Indonesia, Mexico, and Colombia. Sasha and his wife Rachel run Grateful Gypsies, where they write about teaching ESL, digital nomad life, long-term travel, live music, and more.

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