This May, Puerto Vallarta will celebrate its 4th annual Vallarta Gay Pride event. It’s estimated that the event brought 18,000 tourists to the area in 2015 and expected to increase this year.
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Vallarta Pride is an opportunity for the city to demonstrate its friendliness, community of inclusion, and world-class tourism industry to the LGBT community.
The area along the Mexican Pacific coast has been a celebrated stable in LGBT tourism for years. With its mix of traditional Mexican culture and modern amenities, it has grabbed the attention of gay travelers worldwide.
With Puerto Vallarta’s bustling nightlife, miles of beaches, lush nature, luxury resorts, and recent state approval for same-sex marriages, Puerto Vallarta is increasingly recognized as a top destination for gay travelers, including gay destination weddings and honeymoon destination for the LGBT community.
Puerto Vallarta is a top destination for the LGBT community, not only because of the friendliness of the locals, but also for the amount of entertainment available to the community at the destination.
Popular LGBT businesses and entertainment in Puerto Vallarta by Out Traveler:
ANONIMO: This good-time cantina is a friendly place to stop for a Corona or evening cocktail. It’s small and a bit hard-to-find, but when you get there, keep your eye out for drag shows and some seriously sexy bartenders.
CC SLAUGHTERS: This nightclub is relatively new, opening in 2011, but has already become a P.V. institution. Billing itself as the “premier club in Puerto Vallarta,” this gay venue is an off-shoot of the Portland, Ore. club. There’s a martini lounge on one side and a wild, multi-level dance club on the other.
PACO’S RANCH: Don’t let the humble name fool you, this is a big ol’ discotheque, akin to something in Ibiza. The music is loud, the lights pulsating, and the dancing doesn’t stop until 3 a.m. It’s not the most sophisticated place in the world, but after a few rounds of tequila shots, you’ll be dancing to “Y.M.C.A.” with everyone else. Great drag shows, too.
PLAYA LOS MUERTOS: Puerto Vallarta’s most famous beach is a mile of yellow sand stretching sound of the Cuale River. Thronged, but not uncomfortably crowded, with vacationers, fishers, and strollers, the beach is classic P.V. Beach clubs and restaurants line the playa. Check out the Blue Chairs Beach Resort, a gay-friendly beach club that doubles as a hotel option.
THE MALECON: The grand boardwalk of Puerto Vallarta. Strolling through this grand walkway, rebuilt after a devastating 2002 storm, is a wonderful way to get a handle on the city. You’ll hit the main town square, the Plaza de Armas, as well as amphitheaters, street art, and historic churches. Food stalls, trinkets, artists, and musicians also make the Malecon an unforgettable highlight of P.V.
TRIO: Popular since opening in the Clinton era, Trio’s Mediterranean food is renown. Try the Lebanese salad (baked beets, goat cheese, and parsley) or the Chile roasted red snapper filet over vegetable ratatouille. As inviting is the food is the ambience; the restaurant occupies a restored townhouse, with numerous levels and an open courtyard.
DAIQUIRI DICK’S: A local favorite for decades, as well as a tourist draw, Daiquiri Dick’s sounds like a sad Senor Frog’s type of place, but it’s not. The Mediterranean/Mexican/Asian fusion is delicious and hearty, pours on drinks are substantial (obviously, you have to try a daiquiri), and the views of the Playa de los Muertos (beach) divine.
RED CABBAGE: Named the best Mexican food in P.V. by Arthur Frommer’s Budget Travel, Red Cabbage is a bit of a hike from the beach, but worth it. This is authentic Mexican food, served in a colorful atmosphere (literally) with the work of local artists on the wall and much love shown to national treasure Frida Kahlo. Smoke-free and cash-only.
WHERE TO STAY
CASA CUPULA: This property describes itself as “one of the world’s finest gay luxury boutique hotels.” Don’t expect the smell of bleach and weenie roasts on the patio; this property may cater to gay tourists, but it offers professional massages, not “massages” (not that there’s anything wrong with that!). The rooms are spacious and modern and the gym will help you burn off those margaritas.
WESTIN RESORT AND SPA PUERTO VALLARTA: Reviews are glowing for this family-friendly, yet romantic, hotel. Massive in size and with all the amenities you can desire, this will provide all the creature comforts for those who expect nothing less than immaculate rooms, tidy pools, and excellent service. The pool is amazing.
HOTEL MERCURIO: Another boutique hotel that caters to the LGBT crowd, Hotel Mercurio is centrally-located in Zona Romantica. Very close to the beach, and pretty much everything, Mercurio is a perfect pick if you’re not high-maintenance and really want to experience P.V. Happy hour, from 3-6 p.m., shouldn’t be missed.