Puerto Vallarta is groaning under the weight of souvenirs....the 'one, tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor' t-shirt is always a top seller; until buyers remorse sets in, once sobered up. So each time a friend ventures south of the border to visit, I insist on helping them select goodies to take home. I always suggest: good tequila and local spices.
This summer a friend who was visiting was perplexed by what to buy for her large family and group of friends. My suggestion: Don't buy them anything. Purchase some essentials for yourself and share your travel experience with them by hosting a dinner party.
Here is an economical guide to buying souvenirs to share with your loved ones.
La Cofradia has quickly become my favorite distillery. I did not consider myself to be a regular visitor to the magical pueblo of Tequila where the distillery resides, but the last time I visited with a friend I was greeted with a kiss and warm welcome! Nothing screams boozer like a personal greeting from your local distillery]
There are two locations on the malecón in downtown Puerto Vallarta that always sell their tequila on promotion and let you sip as much tasty tequila as your heart desires as you decide. Make sure your purchase is bubble wrapped securely for your trip home.
Also take into account the following Tequila no-no's:
1. Good tequila is not for slamming and should not be accompanied by limes and salt. It is sipped slowly.
2. Read labels and make sure it is 100% agave. Blends are only good for mixed drinks & hangovers.
3. My personal rule: Friends don't let friends drink Jose Cuervo. Go for a small family-owned; unfamiliar label instead.
Find inspiration for your dinner party back home in Mexican street food. I am always intrigued by how each street taco stand has it's own unique salsa, style of tortillas and condiments.
Get a couple of blocks away from the malecón for the best options. My personal favorite: La Tia's Mariscos, located by the Pemex gas station on the north side of the .malecón – Best. Marlin Tacos. Ever! In Bucerias, check out La Reina's Taco stand just across the street from the church in the main plaza. This is a regular apres surf stop for us on the weekends.
The natural surroundings of the Bay of Banderas can create some incredible photo opportunities. However, it is the people going about their daily lives that prove the best subjects.
With your camera in your hand, you are more likely to engage with people. Most people are happy to pose for a photo when approached. Even if you don't speak Spanish, give it a go. Throw out the few basic words you know – hola, buenas tardes, gracias. Chances are they know a bit of English, too. Besides, it is good medicine for your soul to struggle and figure out how to communicate effectively in a different language....even if it means making buzzing sounds like a bee to try and ask for honey.
Once back home, organize a dinner party. Prepare fish tacos or another meal you really enjoyed while visiting Mexico, drop your tequila knowledge while sipping on a bottle you purchased, watch a slideshow of your pictures and relive your adventures south of the border! I promise your friends and family will enjoy this so much more than a lame t-shirt; which they pretend to like, then place directly into their thrift store donation bag.
~ Excellent traditional & modern recipes can be found in the Muy Bueno cookbook.
~ Keep your old tequila bottles and use them for flower vases.
~Try making your own tortillas; including your dinner guests in the process.
~ If sipping tequila is not your thing, try this traditional Mexican cocktail: The Cantarito.
Team Fuber came to be in 2001 in the small town of Freedom, New Hampshire. Since then, we have been vagabonding our way around the world together, as classroom teachers; finding it impossible to settle down in one spot for longer than three years.
A desire to transform what we understand about the world, a repugnance for a mundane existence & a nagging twitch for adventure has kept us packingour bags for the past thirteen years. We are currently shacked up along the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
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