Three Off the Beaten Path Adventures in Puerto Vallarta

by Craig Zabransky on April 30, 2012

Puerto Vallarta is famous for the romance, its beaches and the adventure that awaits.  But on my recent travels I discovered a few “off the beaten path” activities that made the destination even more special.

Salsa Dance Lessons

After the sun sets, both downtown and old town Puerto Vallarta come alive.  Visitors find a little Latin spice in the seaside town’s salsa. The bars and clubs become packed with talented dancers displaying both flair and flirtation. For many visitors salsa is just a spectator sport, but why  watch from the sidelines when you can take a lesson, learn some steps, and join the fun.

I met Marcella at Las Palomas on the malecon where she promotes a weekly salsa dancing get together. I arrived early for a quick lesson. I am no stranger to the dance floor, but salsa was always a bit difficult for me. Marcella instructed me on the basic 8 step (on one) with some side steps and turns.

salsa dance lesson in puerto vallarta

Marcella teaching me a more advance move...

I got the basics down and eventually even asked someone to dance. Did I mistakes? Yes, but I just followed motto – “stay adventurous.” If you are interested you can contact Marcella through Latin Motion PV.

Help the Community with Investours

Travel allows us all to take a time out from our daily routine. We often appreciate how fortunate we are to have such experiences. Many times, I personally want to give back. Now in Puerto Vallarta you can.

With Investours, you sign up to visit locals who need micro-loans to start up and grow small business projects. Participants learn about their daily life and the crafts the locals create.  Visitors get to gain insight to the communities that surround Puerto Vallarta and also assist them develop.

a mexican dish prepared on an investours tour

the night spear fisherman prepares machaca - a special dish made of sting rays. Photo: is (taken by photographer Kiersten Rowland).

A tour includes transportation, local beverages and authentic Mexican cuisine.  All the proceeds from the ticket prices are lent via a micro-finance loan to a community member. It’s a win – win.

Mexican Cooking Class at EL Arrayan

The Cooking Class at El Arrayan is more than just a class, it’s a complete culinary adventure. Participants meet early in morning at the restaurant and head to breakfast to fuel up before the tour of the markets and tortilla factories. Carmen, owner of El Arrayan,  explains about all the ingredients used in Mexican dishes. I was amazed at all the different peppers involved with Mexican flavors (the peppers were harder to remember then my salsa steps). Then it’s back to El Arrayan and the kitchen to cook.

Once inside, participants prepare their own lunch with the head chef of the restaurant. The meal changes each class and not every dish is on the menu, but rather are local Mexican favorites. We prepared fresh salsa, beans, a spicy meatball dish, and a very memorable Mexican pudding for dessert.

a mexican shortbread in el arrayan

dessert was a unique and tasty Mexican Shortbread or Pudding

Besides the tours of the markets, all “inspiring chefs” receive a book with the recipes (you can notes during the class), a special El Arrayan cooking apron, a house special margarita and sit down to eat the efforts from the kitchen. My meal was delicious.

Photos: The Salsa and El Arrayan image are from Craig Zabransky, the other is sourced above.


Craig travels around the world to write tales of travel aimed to encourage and inspire others to take and make adventure in their life. And after calling Mexico home for over a year, it secured a special place in his heart. He continues to return often and often considers it his second home. You can find more of his travels on his Stay Adventurous site and follow him on his Twitter: @stayadventurous..
Craig Zabransky
View all posts by Craig Zabransky

Previous post:

Next post: