Early chroniclers wrote that Aztec Emperor Moctezuma employed a platoon of runners to bring fresh fish 300 miles from the sea every day to his court. Around Puerto Vallarta, fresh seafood is fortunately much more available from dozens of shoreline establishments, varying from humble beach palapas to luxury hotel restaurants.
Seafood is literally here for the taking. When strolling certain beaches, I have seen well-fed, middle-class local vacationers breaking and eating oysters and mussels right off the rocks. In the summer on the beach at Puerto Vallarta, fish and squid have been known to swarm so thickly in the surf that tourists pulled them out bare handed. Nowadays, usually lacking such bounty, villagers up and down the coast use small nets (or bare hands) to retrieve enough fish for supper, while communal teams haul in big netfuls of silvery, wriggling fry for sale right on the beach.
Despite the plenty, Puerto Vallarta seafood prices reflect high worldwide demand, even at the humblest seaside palapa. The freshness and variety, however, make the typical dishes bargains at any price.