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Brazilian coconut egg custard recipe

One of the easiest and most delicious Brazilian desserts, Quindim is popular across the country and makes a fine ending to a heavy meal. Like Spanish flan, the dessert is essentially an egg custard made from yolks, sugar and vanilla with added coconut for that tropical touch. Perfect for a dinner party, make well in advance and leave in the fridge until ready to serve.

Serves: 4

Ingredients

12 egg yolks
250g granulated sugar
250ml water
100g shredded coconut
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence

Method

First, preheat the oven to 180°C. Put a small saucepan over a low heat and melt the butter. Take a large mixing bowl and add all the ingredients including the melted butter. Mix well until fully combined. Take four ramakins and grease the inside with a little extra melted butter or a touch of oil. Pour the mixture equally into each. They will rise slightly, so it should take up around a third to three quarters of the ramakins. Put a baking tray with deep sides and fill with water until around a third full. Add the ramakins in. They should be almost fully submerged in the water. Place the water bath in the oven for around 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool to room temperature before placing in the fridge until ready to serve. Enjoy.

Wildlife spotlight on the Andean condor

The mighty Andean condor is iconic in Latin America and tops most bird and wildlife lovers’ list of species to see. Here’s some interesting facts about these magnificent birds.

They are the largest flying bird in the world

Andean condors are the largest flying bird in the world with a wingspan of up to 10-feet. When they are fully mature, they can reach over a metre tall and weigh up to 15 kilos. With that size and weight, it’s not surprising that they need such large wings. That said, if they fly in ideal wind conditions, they can often reach more than 5,000 metres, circling on the morning thermals.

Andean condors are bald

Unlike there Californian cousins, the Andean condors have bald heads which are surrounded by white feathers along the neckline. The males are almost always bigger than the females, which is unusual for this family of avifauna.

They don’t just live in the Andes

Despite the name, Andean condors don’t just live in the Andes Mountains. They are commonly spotting flying around the coastal regions of Latin America, as well as the deserts of Northern Chile and Argentina and along the edge of Peru. Sightings are rare in Colombia and Ecuador, but they have been known to fly over the Amazon occasionally.

They live almost as long as humans

Andean condors have a life expectancy of over 60 years in the wild. In captivity, this can increase to a staggering 75 years, almost the same as a human. One of the only birds in the world to live longer is the Californian Condor in North America.

They don’t build nests for their eggs

Interestingly, unlike most birds which build a nest to protect their eggs, Andean condors lay on cliff ledges. Both parents are required to look after the egg during the incubation period to ensure it stays safe. They lay one egg every couple of years, and after hatching 2 months later, the chick stays with the parents for 1 year before flying the nest. It then takes over 5 years for them to reach maturity.

They are vultures

Though they may look graceful, the Andean condor is a scavenger and part of the new-world vulture family of birds. This means that most of their diet is made up of the leftovers of dead animals. They typically target large mammals in the mountains and fish along the coast, swooping in to pick at the carcasses.

They are classified as threatened

Sadly, the Andean condor is classified as threatened by the IUCN and could face extinction in the future. There are many reasons for the decline of these large birds, but like most threatened wildlife, human hunting and loss of habitat are the main culprits. Fortunately, there are efforts by zoos and conservation experts to ensure these amazing creatures are around for future generations.

If you’d like to see Andean condors in the wild, the best place is the enormous Colca Canyon in Peru. To start planning your tour, speak with one of our Latin American experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

The best bars in Mexico City

Mexico City is one of the world’s largest cities. What better way to meet other travellers and locals than at one of the many top bars in city’s lively neighbourhoods. From jazz clubs to rooftop bars, here’s our picks of the best places to grab a cold one or sip on a tequila.

La Casa de las Sirenas

If you want to taste Mexico’s national alcoholic drink, there really is no better a place than La Casa de las Sirenas. The bar, housed in a lovely old 16th century property, stocks more than 250 different tequilas. Remember, while we’re used to knocking back shots of tequila, in Mexico it’s sipped. When night descends, the bar transforms into one of the hippest places to be seen.

Calle Republica de Guatemala No. 32, Cuauhtemoc, Centro Histórico

Aurora

This cosy restaurant features a large outdoor terrace and a surprisingly good cocktail menu. If you are a gin lover, they have a particularly good selection. A wonderful place to while away an evening, away from the bustle of the city.

Santa Catarina, 04010

Jules Basement

Jules Basement have cleverly branded themselves as the first speakeasy in Mexico City. To reach it, you must first walk through an unassuming fridge door which opens into a large space, perfect for the live music they host. Try one of the excellent cocktails while you are there.

Calle Julio Verne 93, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc, 11560

Condesa DF

This romantic rooftop bar is situated in La Condesa district. Enjoy cocktails, cold Mexican beers and wines while taking in the breath-taking views from the decked rooftop. Bars don’t get much better than this in Mexico City.

Av. Veracruz 102, Roma Nte., 06700

Zinco Jazz Bar

This jazz club would surely rival any in New York City. Hosting live performances almost every evening, it’s one of the best places to see music in Mexico. Housed in the basement of a former bank in the historic centre, it’s got the décor and atmosphere to match.

Calle Motolinia 20, Centro, 06050 Cuauhtémoc

Wallace Whisky Bar

While Mexico is best known for tequila and mezcal, this cosmopolitan city caters to all tastes. Tickle those taste buds with interesting tapas-style dishes in the trendy Wallace Whisky Bar while you sample some fine whiskies from around the world. They also stock some excellent local craft beers.

Tamaulipas 45, Condesa, 06140 Cuauhtémoc

Bellini

The Bellini holds the title of earth’s largest revolving restaurant, and it doesn’t disappoint. Located on the 45th floor, the restaurant bar offers an extensive list of drinks, great food, and views across one of the world’s largest cities accompanied by soothing piano music.

Montecito 38 Piso 45, Torre WTC Cd. de México, Col. Nápoles

Miralto

Literally translating to ‘high view’, this rooftop bar is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. It’s central position in Zócalo means it is easy to reach and the views over this enormous city from the 41st floor are astonishing. They also do some excellent international cuisine.

Eje Central Lázaro Cárdenas 2, Centro Histórico, Centro, 06000

La Unica

Not only does La Unica serve up some incredible Mexican fare, the restaurant bar has one of the best selections of wine in the city. Sip on reds and whites paired with dishes created from fresh local produce as well as seafood. It may not be cheap, but it’s worth the extra. They also have a mean cocktail menu to kick off the evening.

Anatole France 98, Miguel Hidalgo, Polanco, 11550

Puebla 109

This exclusive bar restaurant, housed in an early 20th century building, is popular with the city’s elite. Dine on mouthwatering Mexican cuisine washed back with some inspired cocktails. If you want an evening of sophistication in Mexico City, this is the place to come.

Esquina, Puebla, Roma, Cuauhtémoc, 06700

Articbar

Cool down at the first ice bar in Mexico. No need to bring a coat with you, the bar has warm clothing, so you won’t freeze in the -26˚C. Shoot a vodka in an ice glass and then make your way over to the dance floor for a below freezing boogie. It’s as unique as it sounds and well worth an evening to visit.

Av Nuevo León 73, Condesa, 06140

Area Bar

Located on top of the Hotel Habita, by day, the rooftop Area Bar serves as a relaxing spot complete with pool. By night, it transforms into one of the city’s most trendy night spots with live music and excellent cocktails.

Av. Pdte. Masaryk 201, Polanco, Polanco V Secc, 11560

Hostría La Bota

Situated in the historical centre, this lively bar is popular with locals who descend every evening to sip on cold Mexican beers and cocktails. They regularly host live music, particularly on weekends. Be sure to get there early or you might not get a seat. For such a centrally located bar, the drinks are surprisingly good value.

Peatonal San Jerónimo 40, Cuauhtémoc, Centro, 06050

Want to visit the bars of Mexico City? Call one of our Mexico travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

9 amazing places to visit in Bolivia

Bolivia remains one of the most isolated and misunderstood countries in Latin America. Completely landlocked and characterized by the towering Andes Mountains and the Amazon rainforest, Bolivia’s landscape is as diverse as its people. From islands that dot Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world, to the vast expanse of white salt -flats, Bolivia offers a wealth of unique natural wonders and experiences that would surely satisfy most travellers.

Explore Madidi, one of the most biodiverse places on earth

Flickr: Joe Lazarus

Madidi National Park won’t disappoint nature lovers. Spanning thousands of square miles of mountain and rainforest, the park is home to more than 11% of the world’s entire bird species. As you wander through the park, you’ll be treated to the sight of monkeys, giant otters playfully swimming down the rivers and if you are lucky, you may even spot an elusive jaguar. You won’t regret adding this one to your Bolivian itinerary.

Wander past the Jesuit Missions of Chiquitos

There are six 18th century Jesuit Mission towns dotting the area, and while their counterparts in other countries have been left to fall into disrepair, in Bolivia they area rather well preserved. The biggest and most interesting is the town of San Jose de Chiquitos which boasts some spectacular colonial architecture. Before you visit, watch the Robert de Nero film, “The Mission” to learn about their historical importance.

Bicycle down the Yungas Road

Flickr: wanderlasss

Often cited as the world’s most dangerous road, the Yungas Road (more commonly referred to as Death Road) winds its way down 15,000 feet to the town of Coroico. Riding down this steep gravel road flanked by a cliff on one side and a sheer vertical drop off the other will certainly get your heart-pumping. Just be careful of the lorries which steam around the bends on their way up to the city.

Go down the Cerro Rico mines in Potosi

Literally translating to “Rich Mountain”, Cerro Rico once brought much wealth into the small city of Potosi. Controlled by the greedy Spanish Conquistadors, they plundered all the silver from the mountain leaving only tin which is still mined in much the same way today. Be sure to take a tour of the mine so you can see the conditions of the workers. The nearby Casa Nacional de Moneda is also fascinating and worth an afternoon of exploration.

Watch the colourful Oruro Carnival

Carnival is an important festival all over Latin America, but there are some particularly good places to see the event in action. Oruro comes alive each year in February which thousands of dancers dressed up in colourful garb as well as accompanying musicians. It’s an amazing sight to see.

Cross Lake Titicaca

One of the highest navigable bodies of water in the world, Lake Titicaca straddles both Bolivia and Peru. It is considered to be the birth-place of the Inca and pre-Columbian cultures. The pretty shorefront town of Copacabana is well worth a little time to explore, as is Sun and Moon Island which have some fascinating historical attractions.

Admire the magnificent Tiwanaku

Tiwanaku lies south east of Lake Titicaca and represents one of the most important pre-Inca civilizations on the continent. The site thrived during the 8th century and it is estimated to have had between 15,000 – 30,000 inhabitants. While only a small part has been excavated, you can still see one of Bolivia’s greatest architectural achievements. It’s easily combined with a day or overnight trip to Lake Titicaca.

Drive across the vast salt flats of Uyuni

The Salar de Uyuni is one of the most amazing natural wonders in Latin America. This 4,000-square-mile salt flat was formed from a prehistoric lake. At its centre is an island teeming with giant cacti. The best way to explore the salt flats is by a guided 4×4 tour which takes you from one end to the other. When it rains, the reflection of the sky in the water-logged salt is simply spectacular. You can even stay in a hotel built entirely out of salt.

Explore the City of Four Names

Flickr: Mundo Sussa

Sucre, is a 500-year-old Spanish former colonial town also known as La Plata, Chuquisaca and Charcas. Just a wander around the city will bring its history to life. Here, you can see Bolivia’s National Library, La Casa de la Libertad and many other relics from its rich historical past. It is also the constitutional capital of the country.

Want to explore Bolivia? Speak to one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here to start planning your trip today.

A guide to Uruguayan Food

The culinary delights of Uruguay have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Like Argentina, the Uruguayan diet is meat-heavy making it a little tricky for vegetarians, but a paradise for carnivores. Here’s our rundown of the best things to eat during your visit.

Asado

Let’s start with the most famous and most popular. The asado is essentially a barbecue, but unlike any you’ve known back at home. Huge cuts of beef, pork and lamb along with sausages and offal are slow cooked over huge charcoal parrillas. Best washed down with plenty of Uruguayan red. Visiting Uruguay without trying an asado is unthinkable.

Asado con cuero

Similar to a normal asado, the only variation being the whole animal, skin and all, is cooked over the flames. Typically, a cow or sheep, the body is spread eagle and then slow cooked for hours. The sheer space required to cook this means you’re more likely to find it in the countryside than the city.

Choripán

Choripán is a favourite of ours. This spicy chorizo sausage is cooked over charcoal and usually served in a bread with lashings of chimichurri sauce. Often one of the first things to come off an asado barbecue.

Empanada

There is nothing quite as iconic as the empanada. Almost every Latin American country has their own variety and Uruguay is no different. Typically filled with minced beef and cheese, these crispy baked pastry morsels are delicious. Just remember to order more than one! For something a little different, try the empanadas Gallegas, a fishy version packed with tuna and peppers.

Morcilla dulce

Black pudding, boiled pork blood sausage, tends to divide people. Some love the earthy flavour and texture, others can’t stand the stuff. In Uruguay, their morcilla comes with added raisins and nuts to give it a slightly sweeter taste than other versions.

Milanesa

A popular dish all over Latin America with roots firmly in Italy. Beef or chicken is flattened before being breaded and fried until golden brown. For something more luxurious, go for a milanesa rellena which includes melted cheese and ham.

Ñoquis

Flickr: Vince Alongi

Also known as gnocchi, this potato based pasta from Italy has long been eaten on the 29th of every month in Uruguay when the average worker gets paid. You can’t beat a bowl of homemade gnocchi which sometimes has a coin or note placed below it which is supposed to attract prosperity.

Pancho

Flickr: Rix Arg

Take a frankfurter and place between a bun called a pan de viena. Add plenty of condiments, and you’ve got the South American version of a hot dog. Great at the end of a heavy night to help soak up the booze.

Pizza por metro

Flickr: Simon Law

Literally meaning ‘pizza by the metre’, here it’s sold in rectangles not circles. Usually cooked in a big wood fired clay oven, you choose the ingredients you want it topped with.

Dulce de Leche

While not a dessert itself, it’s used in any manner of ways from spreading on toast to eating with your morning medialunas pastries. You won’t go far in Uruguay without seeing sweet, caramel-like dulce de leche.

Alfajores

Like Argentina, Uruguay have somewhat of an obsession with these short bread biscuits filled with sticky dulce de leche. We can see why. They are as delicious as they sound and best eaten with a strong black coffee.

Churros

These long star-shaped cylinders of fried dough covered in icing sugar have their origins in Spain, but they are just as popular in Uruguay. Look out for vendors setting up on street corners in the early evening and buy them as soon as they’ve come out the fryer.

Arroz con leche

Delicious, creamy rice pudding. What’s not to  like?.

Bizcochos

Usually served for breakfast, these little pastries of different sizes and shapes are eaten in the morning with strong black coffee. They can come as either sweet or savoury, both of which are delicious.

Grappamiel

The national drink of Uruguay, grappamiel is made from distilled spirit mixed with honey. It’s strong, so be careful when you’re drinking it.

Mate

Flickr: kweez mcG

Like the gauchos in Argentina, the yerba herbal drink of mate is consumed in the sort of quantities British drink tea. Many Uruguayan’s can be seen headed to work carrying a thermos flask of hot water and mate cups.

Want to try the food of Uruguay? Start planning your trip to the country today by calling one of our experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email us here.

8 treks in Argentina you simply cannot miss

Argentina ranges from tropics to frozen steppes. It’s a mecca for outdoorsy types who descend each summer to hike along spectacular trails, from towering snow-capped granite peaks of Patagonia to the dry deserts in the north. With such a choice, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s our handy guide to the 8 best treks in the country.

Mount Fitz Roy

Flickr: Chris Ford

Mount Fitz Roy is Argentina’s answer to the Torres del Paine National Park. If you’re going to do just one trek, make it one of the trails which departs from El Chalten and winds around the Los Glaciers National Park. There’s something for all abilities here, with trips ranging from easy half-day hikes to challenging five-day camping adventures. There are few places in the world where you can walk in such awe-inspiring scenery. Think large granite peaks punctuated by turquoise mountain lakes and pristine glaciers.

Huemul Circuit

This one’s a toughie. The 45-mile takes at least 4 days and you’ll need to bring your own GPS and camping equipment, as well as harnesses to get across several river crossings. It’s well worth the effort though to see the Southern Patagonian Ice Fields. If you’re looking for a relaxed trek, this isn’t for you. If you want to push yourself and experience some of the most spectacular scenery in Latin America, lace up your boots.

Paso de las Nubes

Flickr: Sean Munson

Literally translating to ‘Path Through the Clouds’, this spectacular trek traverses a 14-mile route from the town of Pampa Linda through the forests and over Mount Tranador on the border with Chile. It’s a challenging trek which takes two days, so you’ll need to overnight in a refugio or bring camping equipment with you. One the second day, you’ll descend to the beautiful Laguna Frias where you can take a return boat journey.

Iguazu Falls

Flickr: seretide

There’s a reason why Iguazu Falls is part of Argentina’s well-trodden tourist path. The falls are truly awe-inspiring and there’s no better way to experience them than walking along the wooden boardwalks, getting so close you can feel the spray on your face. The upper and lower circuits are distinctly different, so try to do both if you have the time and be sure to visit the Devil’s Throat which brings you nearest to this natural wonder.

Refugio Frey Hike

Flickr: McKay Savage

The Frey Hike is popular all summer due to the ski gondolas which takes hikers to the top of the mountain. Departing from here, you can either take a tough but shorter route clambering over boulders, or a longer but easier walk through forests. Along the way, you can overnight at the Refugio Frey which has comfortable beds and facilities or pitch your own tent. For reasons unknown, this trek is not as popular as the others, but those who take it on enjoy gorgeous scenery and uncrowded trails.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Flickr: Alex Berger

Short but sweet, to complete the Perito Moreno Glacier trek you’ll need to don crampons and cross over the lake by boat. From here, your guide will take you over the top of one of Latin America’s most beautiful glaciers. The trek lasts around an hour or two and at the end, you can enjoy a well-deserved glass of whisky served with ice carved off the glacier.

El Bolsón

While most travellers stick to Bariloche, those in the know head to the charming little town of El Bolsón. Here, you’ll find 13 mountain refuges dotting the wild landscape and linking a series of paths that work their way across valleys, around lakes and through lush forests. You can choose from a short one-nighter or a long hike that could last more than a week. With challenging hikes to shorter walks, everyone can enjoy the hiking around El Bolsón.

Quebrada de Humahuaca

The desert northern region of Argentina is home to some of the country’s most colourful natural wonders. Be sure to visit The Hill of Seven Colours just a short distance from Purmamarca. There are plenty of hikes through the Quebrada de Humahuaca, best with the help of a local guide. The scenery, friendly locals and year-round good weather in Northern Argentina make it one of the most popular places to hike.

Want to hike through Argentina? Speak to one of our experts at +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here to start planning your journey today.

Join us at the Luxury Travel Fair

We are pleased to announce that next week from 2 – 5 November we shall be at the Luxury Travel fair at Olympia, London. Come & feel inspired by one of the talks which take place every day including, critic and TV presenter Giles Coren, Planet Earth 2 Producer, Chadden Hunter, The Natural Navigator Tristan Gooley & Author Lord Norwich who will be talking about their travel experiences in a Q&A with members of the Condé Nast Traveler Editorial Team. You can also come and talk to us on Stand E31 about planning your trip to the Galapagos, Antarctica or Latin America. For free entrance go to the Luxury Travel Fair website and use the code: LTEX062.

Should you pick Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker

Whether to visit Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker is a question that every travellers who goes to Belize faces. Both lie in the Caribbean Sea just a few miles from each other and the mainland of Belize, but they are a world apart from each other in many ways. It’s a tricky one as both have their merits, and it really comes down to personal taste, and perhaps budget. Some people will defend the smaller Caye Caulker for its laid back atmosphere, while others will push for the nightlife and things to do on Ambergris Caye. Here’s everything you need to know to make the right decision for you.

Caye Caulker

Caye Caulker is the smallest of the two, at just 5 miles long and 1 mile wide, though in parts just100 metres wide or so. When you arrive on the island, you have a couple of choices for getting to your hotel – walk or golf buggy taxis. No vehicles are allowed on the island. During the high season, there are around 40 little hotels and guest houses, as well as a couple of dozen restaurants and bars, which close fairly early. It’s got a laid back atmosphere, with tiny little beaches flanked by shallow and calm aquamarine waters. Though it’s 5 miles long, much of the island is inaccessible due to dense mangroves. The island buildings are colourful wooden Caribbean shacks. Days can be spent on the little spits on beach, swimming or snorkelling in the ocean, paddle boarding or sea kayaking, or eating in the local restaurants. Towards the top of main island, there is ‘the split’, a break in the island caused by a hurricane in the 70’s. There are only 1,500 or so permanent residents on the island, though this swells with tourists during the high season.

Ambergris Caye

Ambergris Caye is much larger, with a population 10 times the size of Caye Caulker. It stretches for 25 miles and is up to a mile wide. The main town of San Pedro is much bigger than its Caye Caulker counterpart with hundreds of hotels and guest houses on offer. There are also countless bars and restaurants offering everything from Belizean to Italian cuisine. Ambergris Caye doesn’t have any cars either, but unlike Caye Caulker, the distances can be far, so it’s worth hiring a golf buggy to get around. Ambergris Caye is much more built up with large concrete buildings. The clubs and bars teem with tourists that spill out onto the beach and offer live music and cold drinks.

Both cayes offer access to the Belize Barrier Reef, the second largest reef in the world after Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, so this shouldn’t sway your decision. In conclusion, if you are looking for a quiet holiday in a more charming location, and don’t mind the lack of beaches or the limited variety of restaurants and bars, Caye Caulker is your island. If more choice for restaurants and nightlife is important, and you don’t mind the quicker pace, later nights, and noise, then stay on Ambergris Caye.

To visit either Caye Caulker, Ambergris Caye, or any other part of Belize, call or travel experts on +44 (0) 207 407 1478 or email us here.

How to spend the perfect day in Puerto Vallarta

The sleepy city of Puerto Vallarta has been drawing in tourists for more than 50 years. It was brought to international attention during the filming of John Huston’s ‘The Night of the Iguana’. The beautiful colonial architecture, cobbled streets, white sandy beaches, and friendly locals have been charming visitors since the 1960s, and has largely managed to stay fairy undeveloped compared to other Mexican coastal cities. If you find yourself in the city, here’s how to spend the perfect day.

9 a.m.

Start the day right with a visit to Coco’s Kitchen located in the old town. This Puerto Vallarta institution serves up some of the best breakfasts in town including crispy churros, omelettes stuffed with ham, cheese, mushrooms, and sausage. Be sure to try the huevos rancheros, a hearty plate of fried tortillas, fried eggs, refried beans, and salsa. Wash everything down with the restaurant’s signature mimosas.

10 a.m.

Flickr: smcgee

After breakfast, hop in the rental car or taxi and drive out to the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens, a half hour drive outside the city. Nestled in the Sierra Madre mountains, these beautiful gardens are teeming with rare orchids, hummingbirds, and butterflies. Wander through the sunny gardens. It’s a wonderful way to while away the morning.

1 p.m.

Arrive back in the old town. By this time, you will have worked up a bit of an appetite. Dotted across Puerto Vallarta are little taco stands. Pull up a pew and order a couple of the meat tacos. Little flour tortillas are topped with shredded beef, salsa, chili, fresh cheese, and sauce. It’s going to get messy. There is no way to eat these politely, but they are delicious. Most sell refrescos, icy cold fruit juices. Hungry afterwards? Order another or head for the nearest seafood taco stand.

2 p.m.

After all that food, it’s time for a little rest and relaxation. Head down to Olas Altas or Los Muertos, the two nearest beaches to town, and work on the tan or swim in the sea. The beaches in Puerto Vallarta never get busy, so you’ll always be able to find a private little spot. Have a siesta or cool off in the Pacific Ocean. If you are feeling a little more energetic, you can rent some surf boards or body boards nearby and hit the waves. Alternatively, if you are not a beach dweller, head off the explore the beautiful architecture of the old town.

5 p.m.

The Malecon is a series of boardwalks which span a mile or so along the coast. It makes for a beautiful walk as you watch the sun setting and are cooled by the sea breeze. There are some interesting sculptures to see along the way, as well as little shops, bars, and restaurants. Towards the end of the boardwalk, there is a concrete pier underneath which a vendor sells seafood. Pick from the huge pile of fresh oysters, cover in lime juice and chili sauce, bury your feet into the sand and dig in.

8 p.m.

Flickr: sadaqah

Head up to La Palapa Restaurant nearby. Not only does the beachfront restaurant enjoy some particularly good views over the beach and ocean, they also serve up some incredibly fresh seafood from grilled lobster tails, barbecued tuna steaks covered in lime juice, or prawn tacos. The cocktails here are pretty good as well.

10 p.m.

Wander back to Mango’s Beach Club. As the name suggests, the bar is nestled right on the sand. Here they have an extensive cocktail menu (the margaritas are particularly good), as well as having live music at weekends. If you visit between Monday and Thursday, they often have two for one drinks available. The perfect way to finish your day in Puerto Vallarta.

Staying for more than one day? There is plenty more to do in the surrounding area. The little town of Sayulita is located around a half hour up the road and offers some of the best surfing in the area. There are several surf schools if you want to learn. The Islas Marietas National Park are some 8 miles of the mainland. Daily excursions will take you out to snorkel with the rich marine life or explore the underground beach. For a restaurant with a view, look up the Ocean Grill, a wooden restaurant built onto the side of a cliff edge overlooking the sea. To reach it, you will need to either hike across a thick bit of jungle or take the restaurant’s water taxi around the bay from Boca de Tomatlan.

Want to go to Puerto Vallarta? Start planning your tour by calling one of our Mexican travel experts on +44 (0) 207 1478 or email here with your request here.

Authentic Mexican steak quesadilla recipe

Flickr: Hungry Dudes

Quesadillas are a street food favourite in Mexico. The basic recipe are floury tortillas toasted with cheese, but they can be filled with everything at the back of the fridge. Their origins stem back to the colonial Mexico, though the recipe has changed and evolved somewhat over the years. Here’s our authentic recipe including steak, a luxurious version of the humble quesadilla.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

8 flour tortillas
½ kilo sirloin steak
1 medium onion, finely chopped
400 grams Mexican cheese
2 avocados
1 lime
Vegetable oil
Salt & pepper

Method

Add a little of the oil to a frying pan and heat over a medium flame. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft and translucent.

While the onions are cooking, chop the steak into thin slices and season with salt and pepper. Add the meat to the frying pan and cook with the onions for a few minutes until the meat has browned.

Grate the cheese. Lay out four of the tortillas on a clean surface. Add one quarter of the steak and onion mix onto each tortillas, and top each one with a quarter of the grated cheese. Add the other tortillas on top.

Clean at the frying pan and place back on the heat. Don’t add oil this time. When the frying pan has heated, carefully life the quesadilla onto the frying pan and leave to toast on one side. It should take a couple of minutes. Flip carefully with a spatula and toast the other side allowing the cheese to fully melt. You can press the tortilla gently on the top to help it cook and seal everything together. Take out when the cheese starts to ooze out.

Quickly cut in half and top with a squeeze of lime and top with sliced avocado. Eat immediately while the melted cheese is hot. Optional extras include topping the quesadilla with fresh zingy salsa and Mexican cream.

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