Last updated: 03:00 AM ET, Thu May 21 2015

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  • Nick and Dariece | May 21, 2015 3:00 AM ET

    Traveling Independently to Puerto Vallarta

    Traveling Independently to Puerto Vallarta

    People from North America typically think of Puerto Vallarta (and most of Mexico) as being the perfect place to experience a typical all-inclusive holiday. Laze on the beach, drink loads of margaritas, eat too much, fall asleep in your hotel room and repeat. This is what many people want during their vacation to Mexico, and since they've worked so hard all year, they're totally exhausted and just want to relax and unwind.

    But what if you could do everything that I listed above, AND save money AND have local, authentic experiences? Travelling in Puerto Vallarta independently is absolutely possible, and in fact, staying in the downtown or old town will be a much better experience than if you chose to stay in Nuevo Vallarta (the resort area). Here's a breakdown of costs and an explanation of how/why you can and should travel independently to Puerto Vallarta.

    The Flight: The most expensive part of your trip to Mexico will be the flight and the longer you stay, the cheaper your trip will be. From Canada, flights to Mexico out of Vancouver can be found for around $400 return during October to December (book well in advance), or around $600 between December and February. Out of New York, flights can be had for $500. So, let's say your flight is $500, return. If you are able to stay for 2 weeks and you divide the flight cost over 14 days rather than 7, it makes it an even better deal.

    The Food: The best part about travelling is trying all of the must-try meals from around the world! Mexico has some amazing local dishes and each state has its own authentic meals to try. The problem with spending your time in the resorts is that you don't really get to eat the traditional food. Typically, resorts and big hotel chains gear their food towards the western palate. Puerto Vallarta has a good food scene and there are loads of restaurants serving up local food, at very affordable prices.

    Here's an example: At El Hurachan Restaurant in the downtown area you can find these prices: Hurache (a large, delicious tortilla with meat, cheese, veg, etc.) is $2; Huevos Rancheros is $3; Soft taco is 14 pesos (just over $1). These can also be had at Taco Republica. You have your choice of beans, pork, beef, fish or chicken as the protein. Cilantro, onions, cheese and tomatoes will be sprinkled on top, add a touch of fresh lime juice and hot sauces and voila, the perfect lunch! You'll probably want 3 in order to be full.

    Breakfast will be about $3 and lunch will be $2. There are numerous snack foods around as well. Freshly caught oysters, shucked right before your eyes are $0.50 each. Fresh ceviche of shrimp, oyster and vegetables on a tostada is only $2! 5 grilled shrimp on a skewer costs $2 and can be found on the beach and on the streets. For dinner, there are numerous restaurants serving a wide variety of food. Since Puerto Vallarta is right on the ocean, fresh seafood is very popular. You can also have quesadillas, tacos, or any other lunch type food. To enjoy a very nice (big) meal for dinner, expect to spend around $10. Or, you could go for something smaller and cheaper like a quesadilla or tacos for $2.

    Accommodation: There are so many cute little boutique hotels in Puerto Vallarta, which are very affordable. Check out Hotel Catedral which is only $50/night (if you stay for a week or longer, discounts can be had).

    If you're really on a budget, there are hostels as well, or if you're looking for something more upscale, there are many hotels available in the "hotel zone".

    We recommend staying in the center or the old town area to really get a good feel for Puerto Vallarta and all that it has to offer.

    Totals over two weeks:

    Flight (round trip): $500 Accommodation ($50/night): $700 Food ($15/day): $210 Total: $1,410.

    What an incredible price for a two-week trip to Mexico, wouldn't you say? By traveling independently to Mexico, you will be able to experience the real Mexico, for less. For more information, check out 5 Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta.


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Nick and Dariece Notes from the Goats

Nick and Dariece Nick and Dariece are the couple behind Goats On The Road, a website designed to inspire others to live a financially sustainable, location independent lifestyle. Masters at making money abroad and turning their travels into a way of life, they've been on the road since 2008 and have explored some of the least visited places on earth, finding adventure wherever they go. They are also full time contributors at Credit Walk where they share their expertise of making money and travelling forever. Check them out at Goats On The and follow them on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.
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