According to the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Bureau, this exciting destination is considered one of the most popular gay friendly getaways in the world because of its tolerant environment, great gastronomy, awesome weather, beautiful beaches, and Mexican charm with a cosmopolitan touch. Fortunately, there have been additional hotel and villa options in recent years, so you can stay in the heart of the action at the more casual options, or venture out a bit to find some of the more luxurious options. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy Puerto Vallarta!
Where to Stay
If you want to stay in the heart of gay-friendly Puerto Vallarta, then the Zona Romantica (romantic zone, also known as the old town) is where you’ll want to stay. Most of the gay venues and hotels can be found here in the rather bohemian beach area of town with cobblestone streets. Everything is walkable here, with many stays along the beach, or just a block away.
The Olas Altas Suites is a modern, affordable apartment hotel located a block away from the beach in an ideal part of the Romantic Zone – in the central west and across from bars, restaurants, banks, cafes, shops and minutes from the main pier. A perfect hotel for solo travelers and couples looking to explore different parts of the town and waters, all the apartment rooms feature a fully equipped kitchen, air conditioning and wifi included with the rate, and several of the rooms even feature a private balcony. I personally loved the colorful tones used in the bedrooms, the large closet space and local bath products. Make sure to have a dinner at the hotel’s yummy Italian restaurant – Trattoria Michel – on the ground level of the building.
If you are looking for a resort stay, there are a number of options in the marina zone just north of the hotel zone. Among them is Casa Velas, an adults-only luxury boutique resort filled with lush tropical gardens, an oversize swimming pool with plush cabanas, an 18-hole golf course, 80 suites throughout the property, a private ocean club and more.
Beaches and Daytime
While savoring time at a private ocean club and beach is lovely, sometimes mingling in the public beaches can be more fun. For the LGBT part of the beaches on Puerto Vallarta, head to the southern end of Playa Los Muertos in the Romantic Zone. When in the area, head south past the main pier (Los Muertos Pier) and when you stumble into an area of blue chairs (from the Blue Chairs Beach Club from the resort of the same name), you’ve made it to the original gay beach of PV.
During the day you may also be tempted to take a gay cruise around Banderas Bay. Do it! Diana’s Tour is one of the most popular gay cruises and activities in PV, which has been operating for 15 years. A full day at sea (which is about $70 USD per person) offers guests a spot on the day’s cruise outing with a snorkeling stop and beach time at Playa Colomitos (main photo above), a continental breakfast and snacks throughout the day, an open bar, an on-shore lunch, and ends with a cocktail after the cruise at the rooftop lounge of the Blue Chairs.
There are so many gay bars and clubs in Puerto Vallarta, which makes it a gay nightlife destination that is almost on par with West Hollywood or Washington DC (if they were given a beach destination makeover). Among the nightlife options is Paco’s Ranch, a big dance club with two levels, about three bars and fun drag shows. Another dance club to know is CC Slaughters, which is newer (about four years old now) and offers a massive, multi-level and multi-room dance area and a separate martini lounge option as well. Both of these clubs are across an intersection from each other making bar hopping a blast. For a bar that is much more quant, which also caters to older night owls, you can always count on Reinas. Meaning queens in Spanish, the bar is filled to the brim with quirky royal decor, statues and figures, wigs and playful motifs throughout.
For the first timers to Puerto Vallarta, or those looking for a group nightlife outing, look to Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping to be your guides for a night out in gay PV.