Why Puerto Vallarta Is A Gay Mecca You Have To Visit (Plus Pride 2016 Photos)
It’s not just the 19 gay bars and clubs that make the Mexican Pacific Coast destination of Puerto Vallarta a gay mecca, but they certainly help and keep the evenings entertaining. After spending a few days in PV for its annual Pride festivities, this year with a 15-day agenda that brought together thousands of locals and visitors for the Pride parade and to celebrate this year’s approval of same-sex marriage in the state of Jalisco (where Puerto Vallarta is located), I really got to see the power of the beach escape for the LGBT community – and how it’s been blossoming for decades.
In Puerto Vallarta, since it’s a beach city, locals have a ‘live and let live’ attitude, which help the LGBT community plant its roots. Today, the community has grown and flourished in the super LGBT-friendly Romantic Zone (which is also known as Zona Romantica or Old Town). Here, travelers can find a majority of the gay hotels, bars and clubs, and gay-owned or openly LGBT-friendly businesses. There’s at least five gay-specific stay options in the Romantic Zone, but honestly, everywhere in PV is welcoming and you’re sure to find other gays in your hotel, resort or if you’re staying in a villa or apartment, there’ll be some right down the block.
The golden-sand beaches stretch from the Romantic Zone, around the Banderas Bay and from further south, all the way up to the Riviera Nayarit. To stay right on or near the Romantic Zone gay beach, Los Muertos Beach (above), Blue Chairs is a popular gay beach resort (allegedly the first one in PV), and a couple others include the Sapphire Ocean Club (which is a new beach club that has a couple beachfront suites and is right next to Blue Chairs), the Villa Mercedes Petit Hotel (a block up from the beach), and the new luxury Almar Resort (minutes from the beach). In northern PV, visitors can find all-inclusive resorts (both family-friendly and adults-only) and major international hotel brands. The CasaMagna Marriott Puerto Vallarta Resort & Spa is one of the LGBT-friendly luxury resorts in the area, overlooking the bay in the Marina Vallarta district. Further north, Nayarit is also filled with (and known for) a number international resorts – and starts just about 40 minutes away from the Romantic Zone (with no traffic). An LGBT-friendly resort in the area is the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Vallarta in Nuevo Vallarta.
As mentioned, there’s a lot of bars and nightlife options to choose from. Along with Blue Chairs and Sapphire, there’s also other beach clubs right on the gay beach. Another one to check out is Mantamar (above), a still new, hip, adults-only beach club with a large infinity pool. For when the sunsets, there’s everything from small gay bars and lounges to pop- and retro-influenced bars, a strip bar, and a couple clubs. There’s so many gay bars and clubs, that PV even has its own gay bar hopping tour simply called Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping.
Since LGBT travelers, for the most part, need more than the beach and bars (though traveling for either or just those is never a bad thing), PV also offers a range of dining options, cultural spots, adventure and water activities, shopping options and more. Stay tuned for a full guide on PV in the future, but in the mean time, in case you haven’t been to PV before or missed the action during Pride last weekend, check out some of the fun below:
PV Pride Drag Derby
Glow Job Pool Party at Casa Cupula
PV Pride 2016 Parade
Pride Closing Pool Party at Mantamar
Los Muertos Beach
Photos by Andrew Villagomez