“There’s a magical quality about this place,” says Bunny Shapiro, a Canadian jewellery designer who moved to Puerto Vallarta in 2015 and set up shop after spending 10 years working in the fashion industry in New York City. Although it’s off the main shopping strip, her eponymous boutique in Old Town is hard to miss – the exterior is painted bright pink and features a mural with two vibrant bunnies, painted in the Mexican folk–art style of alebrijes. The inside of her shop is as sunny figuratively as Puerto Vallarta is literally thanks to displays of her beaded wrap bracelets, earrings and necklaces, all handcrafted and available in every colour of the rainbow. To experience some of that Puerto Vallarta magic, check out Bunny’s favourite spots to eat, drink and explore.
Ontario native Bunny Shapiro shares her picks for vegetarian food, cold brew and the best drag show in town.
enRoute What song best encapsulates the city?
Bunny Shapiro “Say My Name” by Odesza.
ER Who has the best street tacos in Puerto Vallarta?
BS Las Güeras Taqueria has the most delicious chorizo quesadillas and the best al pastor. People are always asking me where they can get vegetarian food in Mexico, and they have mushroom quesadillas here. And all the tacos. It’s the best cheap–date place: You can sit outside on the plastic chairs lined up against the wall or inside the little restaurant under bad fluorescent lighting. It’s worth every delicious bite.
ER Best coffee in Puerto Vallarta?
BS It’s hard to find good coffee in Mexico, but they do an incredible cold brew at Petricor Coffee & Sweets. It’s like rocket fuel.
ER Where would you take a friend for a night out?
BS Hedda Lettuce is the best drag show in town. She’s from New York City and she has a sassy, Jewish edge and she wears sequin gowns and a green wig. She’s got a beautiful voice and sings her own material, including parodies of other songs. My favourite is about her thrift–shopping, bagel–eating aunt. She sings “I love pizza bagels” sung to the tune of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita.”
ER Best beach lunch in Puerto Vallarta?
BS El Barracuda is a small, open–air restaurant on a quieter part of the beach, so it doesn’t get super–packed. They have the best tacos: shrimp tacos, grilled–fish tacos, meat tacos and vegetarian tacos. And they have the best French fries. SUP Yoga Vallarta often has classes right next door, so you can take a stand–up paddleboard yoga class in the ocean and then go for a beach lunch.
ER Favourite non–beach lunch?
BS A husband–and–wife team own Salud Super Food, a cash–only restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch and has a lot of healthy soups, salads and wraps. They also have vegan food. The owners are so nice and down–to–earth. There can be a line out the door, and they take their time with each customer. I love the Moca Loco smoothie, made with espresso, peanut butter and banana.
ER Where’s the best place to shop in Puerto Vallarta?
BS Maracuya is right off the beach and it’s across from the famous La Palapa, one of Puerto Vallarta’s oldest restaurants. It’s super–elegant and they specialize in luxurious, Mexican–resort–style linen pieces. Big floppy hats, chunky jewellery, leather flip flops – stuff that you don’t see everywhere around town.
ER Go–to brunch?
BS Mi Café Coffee Shop is right around the corner from my shop. They have great American–style brunch, but it’s not quite a greasy spoon. It’s off the beaten path, but people travel there for the French toast: thick, fluffy bread topped with cinnamon, fruit and icing sugar. It’s epic.
ER Where do you go when you’re sad?
BS I like to take the water taxi down the coast to Yelapa. You can’t believe how beautiful it is the further south you go. The water is super–blue and the mountains feel like something out of Jurassic Park. There are several beach stops along the way and Yelapa is the final stop. Sometimes you’ll see a whale or dolphins from the boat.
ER Where do you go to get inspired?
bs I love to take a walk through the Río Cuale market. It has all the traditional artisan handicrafts and textiles, including Mexican blankets. It makes me feel connected to Mexico.
This story was originally published in February 2019 and was updated in January 2024.