Gay Mexico: highlights from Puerto Vallarta Pride
“Not today Satan, not today!”
Mama Tits was one of the drag queens we met at Puerto Vallarta pride in May 2017, who you may recognise from her extremely bold and highly entertaining put down of the anti-gay protesters at Seattle Pride 2014.
She was also was one of the many inspiring and thought-provoking celebrities who attended this year's gay pride in Puerto Vallarta, an event which as well as being a whole lot of fun, also reminded us of the importance of pride.
To put Mama Tits into perspective, watch her video at Seattle Pride 2014…you just don't piss off a 6'3 drag queen!
Puerto Vallarta: the gayest place in Latin America!
Puerto Vallarta is a beach resort city in Mexico's Jalisco state, situated on the Pacific Ocean. It has a large LGBT community, with the majority of the city's gay bars, nightclubs and hotels based in the charming cobblestone streets of the Zona Romántica neighbourhood.
And bloody hell, it's super gay! In fact, it's so gay that many rate it as one of the most popular destinations for LGBTQ travellers. For example, in a 2016 survey jointly commissioned by the New York Times and Scruff, Puerto Vallarta was rated as the #1 off-the-beaten-path LGBT Travel Destinations and Expedia recently reported PV as one of the 15 exciting LGBTQ-friendly cities around the world.
For us, it definitely ranks as one of the gayest places we've ever been to, kind of like the Gran Canaria of the Americas: just as gay Europeans flock to Gran Canaria in Spain, Puerto Vallarta is popular with gay travellers from the USA and Canada.
Puerto Vallarta gay pride 2017
As if PV couldn't get any gayer, head here in the last week of May for Pride and you'll be pleasantly surprised. The entire city becomes one big pink party, with rainbow flags everywhere and all the locals warmly embracing this unique cultural event.
Puerto Vallarta Pride began in 2013 and has since been going from strength to strength each year, now becoming one of the most popular events in the Pride calendar. It takes place annually to coincide with the US Memorial Day weekend in late May. We attended the 5th PV pride in 2017, which included a mix of pool parties, boat parties, beach parties, a drag derby, the pride parade itself and many other festivities.
The meaning of Pride and its importance
The most memorable thing about Puerto Vallarta gay pride was a reminder of the importance of pride events by personalities like Mama Tits. Pride began as a fight for equality, which is still, sadly, so very relevant today.
There are many countries in the world today where being gay is not only illegal, the mere mention of the word gay is enough to put your life at risk. As a gay couple travelling for 2 years in Asia, we saw the sad side of gay life in places like the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka, which really put into perspective how lucky we are in West Europe and North America to have the freedoms we enjoy.
At Puerto Vallarta pride, we met Canadian director Robert Christie whose award winning film Beyond Gay followed various pride events around the world and what they mean to people. Some of the locations included places like Warsaw in Poland, Moscow in Russia and Colombo in Sri Lanka. The most harrowing story was by the group trying to organise the Moscow Pride 2009 who faced such stiff opposition from not only ultra Orthodox religious groups but sadly from the very people who are meant to protect them – the police.
Whilst we in the West are arguing about the commercialisation of Pride events, seeing them as a day of party, Puerto Vallarta reminded us not to lose sight of the fact that Pride is still very necessary. We are lucky we're able to attend an event like Puerto Vallarta gay pride and celebrate who we are so openly. Head over to places like Russia or Uganda however, and it's a whole different sad story.
The meaning of pride to us is to celebrate who we are in a fun way. However, it's also an important reminder to society that we exist. The government may pass legislation, but at the end of the day, it's the views of the people that govern how accepting society is to us. Even in the US, UK, France etc where gay marriage is legal, we always think twice before walking the streets holding hands, unless we are in a place we know is gay friendly.
The path to equality is a long and challenging one, but we will get there. We believe attending events like Puerto Vallarta Pride is a small but crucial step along this path and by god we fully embrace and support them in any way we can!
What do gay pride events mean to you?
We'd love to know what you think in the comments below.
Gay travel recommendations for Puerto Vallarta
Gay hotels in Puerto Vallarta:
- Costa Sur Resort & Spa: gorgeous resort with massive pool, stylish new gym and ocean facing rooms. Prices start from $120/£93 a night.
- Casa Cupula: one of the finest gay luxury boutique hotels in Zona Romantica. Prices start from $340/£265 a night.
- Almar Resort: large gay hotel near Zona Romantica and minutes from the beach. Prices start from $130/£100 a night.
- Garlands Del Rio: one of the most highly rated gay friendly hotels in Puerto Vallarta by Tripadvisor. Prices start from $85/£66 a night.
For more information about more fun, affordable and gay friendly accommodation in Puerto Vallarta, Sea Side Mexico offers a wide assortment of gay friendly vacation rentals and reservations throughout Mexico.
Best gay bars in Puerto Vallarta:
- Reinas Bar: our favourite gay bar in PV where you can dress up in fabulous drag.
- Los Amigos: cool gay bar playing the latest Latino pop hits.
- Paco's Ranch: popular gay club open everyday from 10pm till late.
- Blondies: gay bar near Los Muertos Beach open Wednesday-Monday from 1pm.
- Slaughters Portland: gay bar open from 3pm everyday.
- La Noche: an upscale indoor martini bar with a beautiful rooftop.
- Mantamar Beach Club: popular with the gay boys although it's also #straightfriendly(!)
- Sapphire Ocean Beach Club: stylish beach club on Los Muertos Beach.
There are of course a lot more to discover. We did a tour of the gay scene in Puerto Vallarta with Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping, which we recommend as a way to get a feel for all the many gay bars and clubs here.
Best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta:
- Deux Mec: delicious local classics in the heart of the gay scene.
- Maia: a unique twist on Mexican food, like duck tacos and enchiladas.
- Café des Artistes: one of the best fine dining restaurants in the city.
- Mike's Beach Club: delicious lunch located right on the beach.
- El Arrayan: excellent Mexican restaurant near the Malecon.
Best tours in Puerto Vallarta:
- Vallarta Adventures: for an experience beyond the gay scene in Puerto Vallarta, we recommend the Hidden Mexico tour with Vallarta Adventures.
- Mike's Fishing Charters: grab a group of friends and rent a yacht for the day!
For more inspirations check out this awesome guide about the best tours in Puerto Vallarta.