In years past, shopping in Puerto Vallarta was an adventure that took us all over town, beginning in the early morning, extending through the afternoon as we made several stops. We traveled in style in our roomy combi (VW mini-bus), which had a side door that refused to close properly. No problem; we simply found someone to watch the combi and paid a security fee of ten pesos. These guards usually were denizens of the neighborhood, well on in age and knew everyone in town.
Customarily, our first stop was always Don Chuy on Aquiles Serdán across from the Rio Cuale. A well stocked liquor store, Don Chuy supplied us with bottles of tequila, rum, vodka, gin, triple sec and Grand Marnier for our margaritas. Now we find those supplies at Vinos América on Basilio Badillo. Super la Playa is also a good place to purchase liquor and there are often great sales at the grocery stores. For wine, we often head over to Cork and Bottle at Los Mercados on the west end of Aquiles Serdán. Discounts for cases and chilled wine are a specialty. While we’re there we stop in at Don Fresco to check out prices on produce and perhaps pick up spices and grains we can’t find elsewhere. Mikey’s, in the same location, offers wonderful sliced meats, deli items and will whip up a delicious sandwich for us to sustain us during our journey.
The famed, now closed and sorely missed Rizo sits empty and forlorn. Though constant rumors tell of corporate takeover and a Soriana or the like in the south end, our understanding is the streets are prohibitive from allowing the large supply trucks.
Ground coffee and whole beans were once nearly impossible to find in Puerto Vallarta. Now we fulfill this need with several great competitors, including K’Rico, also located in Los Mercados. Coffee is from The Hacienda Jalisco is another one of our favorites, when available.
We still buy fresh fish daily off the pangas (boats). Fishermen come in about noon until around 4 pm, often dropping their daily catch in contracted restaurants. If bargaining on the beach is not your cup of tea, there are wonderful pescaderias; our preferences are in the mercado at Palmar de Aramara, the fish vendor next to the Rosita Hotel on the Malecón and in the south end on Calle Constitucion, across from where we used to shop at Rizo. Shrimp is seldom local and comes to town frozen from places like San Blas and Mazatlán.
Meat is still the best quality and bargain in Puerto Vallarta at Carnicería Colin on Venustiano Carranza. For everything from ham and bacon to custom-cut beef and pork. Be sure to ask what is fresh for the day; you might get the chance to barbeque goat!
Some prefer the convenience of the big stores like Soriana and Mega, while others love the convenience of running into an OXXO, or even Farmacia Guadalajara, both of which supply most daily needs. For an adventure, however, we recommend the old fashioned style of shopping and don’t forget to bring your own bags.
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