Puerto Vallarta in Mexico is one of the hottest gay destinations. Over the past few decades it has become a popular draw for gay men, particularly expats from the US and Canada. It has tons of bars, clubs, boutique shops, beach parties and events happening throughout the year.
Whether you visit Puerto Vallarta for Pride or at another time of the year, the city always seems to ooze a feeling of acceptance, tolerance and outright fabulousness!
This is our comprehensive gay guide to Puerto Vallarta featuring all the best gay places to hangout, hotels to stay, events, things to do and loads more.
Discover Puerto Vallarta's gay bars
First time visiting Puerto Vallarta? Join a gay bar-hopping tour to visit some of the city's liveliest bars and clubs with an exclusive group of gay men. You'll have a local guide to show you all the best spots to party with your new friends!
Gay rights in Puerto Vallarta
Mexico has some pretty progressive LGBTQ laws. Homosexuality was decriminalised as early as 1871 during its brief French occupation, and a wide range of anti-discrimination laws were introduced in 2003. It's also slowly heading towards full gay marriage equality.
In relation to the Jalisco Province, where Puerto Vallarta is based, gay marriage was legalised in March 2016 following an unanimous decision by the Supreme Court of Mexico that the state's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. As a result, the offending law was quickly revoked and as of 20 April 2016, gay weddings were allowed to take place.
Since this date, Puerto Vallarta has quickly become one of the most popular gay marriage destinations.
Gay travel in Puerto Vallarta
We found Puerto Vallarta to be very relaxed and very gay friendly, particularly in the “Zona Romantica” Old Town, which is the heart of the city's gay scene. We felt super comfortable walking the streets holding hands here.
We never had any problems booking double beds in (non-gay!) hotels here. Locals are incredibly welcoming and clearly accustomed to seeing gay guys.
Gay travellers may want to schedule their trip to coincide with Puerto Vallarta Pride, which takes place in May. Though anytime of the year is always going to be a lot of fun in Puerto Vallarta.
And that's before we've even mentioned all the pretty local guys…
Landing in Puerto Vallarta soon?
Arriving at a new place can be stressful, and the last thing you want is to be worrying about getting from the airport to your accommodation without getting lost or ripped off. Book a private transfer from Puerto Vallarta airport so you'll be totally ready to have fun partying in the gay clubs after your relaxing ride with an English-speaking driver.
The gay neighbourhood of Puerto Vallarta
Zona Romantica is the main gay area of Puerto Vallarta, the old town area that is most popular with expats and travellers. Since the 1980s many gay expats from Canada and the USA starting retiring here, buying up land and creating gay friendly businesses.
The “Playa de los Muertos” is the main gay beach of Puerto Vallarta. It has a handful of gay beach clubs and pool parties happening during the day and events in the evening.
Gay hotels in Puerto Vallarta
Over the last few decades, LGBTQ tourism to Puerto Vallarta has increased so much that today you are spoilt for choice with regards to gay hotels to choose from. These are some of our favourite gay hotels in Puerto Vallarta, where you are guaranteed to have a fabulous time:
Casa Cupula Luxury LGBT Boutique Hotel
Why we love it
- Adults-only gay hotel close to the beach
- Two swimming pools, one clothing optional
- Weekly gay pool parties!
- Luxurious spa and gym
Casa Cupula is an incredibly luxurious gay boutique hotel that only caters to adult guests.
The rooms are really spacious. Bonus tip: splurge and get a suite, which has a private hot tub with a stunning ocean view. We can't imagine anything more romantic than this.
The views from the hotel look out over the jungle and ocean, but you're only a short walk away from the “Playa de los Muertos” gay beach. If you don't feel like leaving the hotel there are two swimming pools on site, one of which is clothing optional. They also host weekly gay pool parties featuring GoGo dancers and DJs from CC Slaughters Nightclub.
The Taste restaurant is famous for its brunch. It includes a mix of American and traditional Mexican food. Casa Cupula also has a bar to enjoy a few cocktail as you watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean. We love the wide assortment of relaxing and rejuvenating treatments available in the hotel's spa. The gym is huge with really modern equipment (and also get quite cruisy in the evening!)
STAY WITH A GAY LOCAL
Misterb&b is the Airbnb equivalent for the LGBTQ community. Unlike on Airbnb, you know your host is gay, avoiding any nasty surprises when you check in. It is also a great way to meet gay locals and discover the underground gay scene. Click below to get 10 € (or $10) off your first booking.
Almar Resort Luxury LGBT Beach Front Experience
Why we love it
- Adults-only LGBT resort on the beach
- Beach club with infinity pools and Balinese beds
- Rooftop Sky Bar with hot tubs
- Lots of fun activities and events
Located right on the Playa de los Muertos gay beach is this extensive LGBT resort with so much to offer.
Almar Resort is an adults-only resort for LGBTQ travellers (it's also straight friendly) which includes the famous Mantamar gay beach club.
The rooms and suites are incredibly spacious, often with a private balcony overlooking the sea. But the real draw-card here is the incredible Mantamar Beach Club with its infinity pools, pool bar, cabanas, Balinese-style beds, restaurant and regular gay parties!
This is the perfect place to stay if you want an action-packed gay holiday. As well as all the fun you can have at the beach club, Almar Resort also offers yoga, diving, volleyball and can arrange tours of the area. The rooftop sky bar is also a cool place to chill or grab a bite to eat.
Must do: the secluded Caletas Beach Paradise
For a truly romantic and secluded experience, join a private tour to the Las Caletas Beach. Only accessible by sea you'll be able to swim, snorkel, relax in hammocks, visit an orchid garden and even be pampered at the spa.
Why we love it
- In the heart of the gay neighbourhood
- Swimming pool and pool bar with regular events
- Buffet breakfast included
- Adults-only gay hotel
For a fabulous time without the hefty price tag, gay-owned Mercurio Hotel is the place to go.
Located in the heart of the gay neighbourhood of Zona Romantica and a five-minute walk from the beach is this comfortable hotel with super friendly staff.
We love the little details here, like the fact that the buffet breakfast (which is included in your rates) can be upgraded to breakfast in bed. Even though this is a mid-range option the staff are very attentive and you'll even receive a welcome gift of drink vouchers, fresh fruit and chocolate.
The swimming pool is open 24 hours a day and the pool bar is open late. On Sundays, the pool is also the location of the popular Beers, Boys and Burgers pool party. Both guests and locals alike come here to enjoy unlimited beers and burgers at a fixed price.
Discover the historic town of San Sebastián
Join a day tour from Puerto Vallarta to the historic town of San Sebastián and explore the pretty streets. You'll also get to visit a traditional coffee hacienda, taste homemade tequila and have lunch in a family-owned restaurant.
Piñata PV Gay Hotel
Why we love it
- Male-only gay hotel
- Clothing optional pool and hot tub
- Lovely gay owners
- Regular male-only pool parties
Piñata PV Hotel is a very unique choice if you're looking for a nice hotel with private rooms but also the option to attend some incredibly fun gay pool parties.
This is an exclusively male-only, adults-only gay hotel with really cool decor and a fun vibe throughout.
We love the quirky, colourful signs to be found all over the exposed brick of Piñata. The hotel is located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta's gay neighbourhood and minutes walking distance from the gay beach. Rooms are big and clean, with private bathrooms.
Piñata's swimming pool and hot tub is the location of the awesome weekly gay pool parties. There's also a good gym on site, as well as a popular steam room, which gets quite cruisy later in the evening! Piñata is the perfect option for solo travellers looking for an affordable place to stay and where you will definitely make lots of new friends.
Gay hostels and guesthouses in Puerto Vallarta
If you are travelling on a budget to Puerto Vallarta there are a variety of gay hostels and guesthouses to choose from. These are our favourite gay hostel and guesthouse choices in Puerto Vallarta:
Jet's Gay Hostel
Why we love it
- Stylish and comfortable hostel
- Exclusively for young gay travellers
- Walking distance to the gay neighbourhood
- Excellent budget choice
Jet's is famous for being Puerto Vallarta's first gay hostel. It is inspired by the gay hostels of Berlin and the capsule hotels popular in Tokyo.
Even though this is a budget choice Jet's Hostel is very clean, stylish and comfortable. We love those quirky mannequin lights!
The bunk beds come with very comfy memory foam mattresses and privacy curtains. The shared bathrooms feature rain showerheads. Shared areas include a nice lounge with board games so you can relax and meet other travellers. The kitchen is pretty basic but there's a nice coffee shop next door.
Jet's has a strict 18-35 age policy so that they can provide affordable accommodation for gay youth and students travelling in the area. The owner of Jet's also owns a tour company, so guests of the hostel can take advantage of discounts for exploring the area.
Taste the delicious food of Mexico
Escape the overpriced tourist traps in favour of local, authentic Mexican cuisine on this three-hour tour. Your local guide will take you into the cobbled old-town streets to sample delicious cuisine and learn about the area's history.
Garlands Del Rio
Why we love it
- Beautifully restored Vallartan property
- Gorgeous unique rooms
- Lovely swimming pool
- Jacuzzi on the river deck
Garlands del Rio is a charming boutique bed and breakfast located in a quiet area of Puerto Vallarta next to the Rio Cuale.
While it looks like it's a bit further away from the main attractions than other properties it's still only a short walk to the main beaches and gay neighbourhood.
The rooms at Garlands are simply stunning. Each room is unique with names like “Ariel” or “The Countess”, and they all feature gorgeous artwork. For a small fee guests can enjoy a continental breakfast each morning, served in the cute Portuguese style kitchen under a huge chandelier.
There's a charming terrace swimming pool, as well a Jacuzzi on the deck overlooking the river. Garlands del Rio is a perfect mix of romance and privacy, whilst also having public areas where you can socialise with others.
Gay bars in Puerto Vallarta
There is no shortage of gay bars in Puerto Vallarta. The majority of them are located in the gay neighbourhood called “Zona Romantica”. We love the variety of places on offer, from piano/jazz bars, cowboy bars and even a slushbar loft! These are our favourite gay bars in Puerto Vallarta:
- Marco Reinas Bar: Reinas means “queens” in Spanish, which is an apt name for this little gem. They really go all out with the royalty theme at this little gay dive bar and even have tiaras, dresses and lots of feather boas to play dress up! They also have lots of drag queen shows happening throughout the week. Marco Reinas is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 361 and is open every day from 4pm until 2am.
Check out the best gay bars of Puerto Vallarta on a tour
First time visiting Puerto Vallarta? Join a gay bar-hopping tour to visit some of the city's liveliest bars and clubs with an exclusive group of gay men. You'll have a local guide to show you all the best spots to party with your new friends!
- La Noche Lounge Rooftop Bar: This is one of the most popular gay bars in Puerto Vallarta, popular with both locals and tourists. It has a great vibe and also becomes one of the main gay clubs later in the evening (see more below). La Noche is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 263 in the heart of the gay district and is open daily from 8pm until 3.30am.
- Bar Frida: inspired by the iconic Frida Kahlo, Bar Frida is a cantina and restaurant. This is also a popular hangout for the bear boys. There's a jukebox filled with English and Mexican hits and the staff are some of the most welcoming you will meet in PV. Open daily from 1pm until 2am, Bar Frida is located at 333 Calle Insurgentes.
- Diva's Bar: Diva's is an intimate bar famous for their Happy Hours. Come here before 9pm for some of the best drinks offers. Diva's is one of our favourite gay bars in Puerto Vallarta to start the night. It is open daily from 4pm until 2am and is located at Calle Francisco I. Madero 388.
- Los Amigos: If you want to meet a gay cowboy then you need to visit Los Amigos! This is a super fun and friendly cowboy bar where the waiters are dressed to look the part. They play country music and there's a nice outdoor terrace if you find the main area too crowded. Los Amigos can be found at Calle Venustiano Carranza 239 and is open daily from 6pm until 4am.
- Garbo: Garbo Piano Bar is something a little different, more up-market and sophisticated! Garbo means “graceful” in Spanish and it lives up to its reputation. This is the place to come with a romantic date to enjoy live piano and jazz music shows. Garbo is located at 142 Pulpito Street and open daily from 6pm until 2am.
- Paco's Ranch: Paco's is another cowboy-themed gay bar but it's also a club where you can dance the night away (see more about this below). The drag shows are a hit, make sure you get a spot on the second-floor balcony for the best views. Paco's Ranch can be found at Ignacio Luis Vallarta 278 and is open Wednesday to Sundays from 10pm until 5am.
- Blondies: Blondies Loft and Slushbar is another very unique (but awesome) concept – a bar that serves alcoholic slushies! These aren't your regular slushies though, they are premium frozen cocktails like the “Big Tease Blondie” – a mix of Absolut vanilla vodka, dark chocolate liqueur and Bailey's Irish Cream – yummm! There are also more traditional cocktails (and snacks) available in the second-floor loft. The pop art decor with matching staff attire is so cool and they host regular events, particularly bear parties. Blondies is located at 115 Pulpito and is open daily from 11am until 2am.
- Backstage Martini Bar: Backstage is a small cocktail bar, ideal for starting your evening. It has a lovely terrace to sit and enjoy a romantic cocktail served by some of the most handsome waiters in town! Backstage also hosts regular live music. It is located in the heart of the Zona Romantica at Olas Altas 510.
- Slaughters Portland: CC Slaughters is a gay bar and nightclub originally from Portland, Oregon in the United States that also has a location in Puerto Vallarta. The venue has two sections, the front smaller section, which is where the bar is. The back is the nightclub part (see below). The bar in the front plays a mix of pop/music and is the perfect place to grab a few drinks with your mates before heading to one of the clubs. Slaughters is located at Lazaro Cardenas 254 and is open every day from 6pm until 6am.
- Mr. Flamingo: This Tiki bar has a Hawaiian themed decor, cute staff and a super cool vibe. We recommend coming here during their Happy Hours (2-7pm) for the best drinks offers. Mr Flamingo is open every day from 2pm til 4am and is located at 295 Calle Lázaro Cárdenas.
Gay clubs in Puerto Vallarta
These are the main gay clubs in Puerto Vallarta where most of the late night party boys will end up at:
- La Noche Club: Spread out over three levels, La Noche is the place to go on weekends for the best gay parties. They have lots of sexy gay GoGo Dancers, drag queens and spectacular views from the rooftop bar. La Noche is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 263 and is open daily until around 4am.
- Paco's Ranch: Dance the night away with the hottest gay cowboys in Mexico! There are GoGo dancers most nights and sometimes even a few free line-dancing lessons! English drag shows take place earlier in the night with Spanish ones later on. Paco's Ranch can be found at Ignacio Luis Vallarta 278 and is open only Wednesdays to Sundays until around 5am.
- CC Slaughters PV: the club part of CC Slaughters is perfect if you're into techno and house music with some of the best DJs. Slaughters is located at Lazaro Cardenas 254 and is open every day until around 6am.
Gay beach of Puerto Vallarta
Los Muertos beach is the main unofficial gay beach with three “hetero-friendly” beach clubs you'll want to hang out at during the day:
- Mantamar Beach Club: Mantamar is part of the Almar gay hotel. If you're staying elsewhere you can still come to Mantamar to enjoy the beachfront, infinity pools, bar, restaurant, beach beds and cabanas. The food and drinks here are delicious, with regular gay pool parties featuring live DJs.
- Blue Chairs: this is the original gay beach club on Los Muertos and part of the reason why this became the gay beach. You'll know you're in the right place when you see the dark blue chairs on the sand. Look out for their parties and sunset Happy Hour offers.
- Sapphire Ocean Beach Club: the Sapphire Ocean Club is our favourite gay beach club at Playa los Muertos for food. The food here is delicious and one of our favourite places in Puerto Vallarta for brunch. They also provide sun beds and umbrellas on the beach you can rent out.
Board a romantic night sunset cruise
Go on a sunset cruise to the secluded Las Caletas beach where you will dine under the stars in true romantic fashion. Afterwards, you'll be treated to an incredible dance performance you will never forget!
Gay events in Puerto Vallarta
As Mexico's numero uno gay holiday destination, you can be certain that there are plenty of fabulous gay events taking place in Puerto Vallarta! Here are some of the best gay events taking place in Puerto Vallarta, which you may want to plan your trip around:
- BeefDip Mexico Bear Festival (January): this is the largest bear festival outside of the US and gets very busy! It is a week-long festival with lots of pool parties, foam parties and more.
- Puerto Vallarta Carnival (March): Puerto Vallarta Carnival is one of the city's most popular gay festivals, with lots of dramatic outfits, dancers and street performers. The 2019 Carnival was unfortunately cancelled, but if you join their Facebook group you can keep up to date with details of the next one.
- Puerto Vallarta Pride (May): this is the largest gay event in Puerto Vallarta. It's a week-long festival in May featuring some of the best circuit parties, pool parties and drag show events. The climax is the big parade on the Saturday evening, which attracts around 30,000 people.
- White Party Thanksgiving Circuit Event (November): as soon as it starts getting cold in the US, the gay boys flock to Puerto Vallarta to soak up the sunshine and party on the beach during Thanksgiving weekend. There are four days of parties during the White Party Circuit, which culminates with an epic White Party.
- Gay New Years Eve (December): the entire city becomes one big gay fiesta with all the major bars and clubs spilling out into the street outside becoming one giant fabulous street party to welcome in the new year. New Year's in Puerto Vallarta is usually a four-day affair, so pace yourself!
Gay friendly restaurants in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta has a wide variety of cuisines, from big chain restaurants to local taco stands. Be sure to check out the delicious seafood here. These are our favourite gay restaurants in Puerto Vallarta:
El Arrayan is a gay friendly Mexican restaurant that offers vegetarian and gluten free options. We love the picturesque courtyard where you can dine among leafy plants and twinkling lights. The food is traditional but gourmet Mexican cuisine – think empanadas, ceviche and duck carnitas. It's located a little back from the main beachfront and you can even attend cooking lessons if you want to learn how to make some traditional Mexican recipes for yourself.
Taste is the restaurant at the gorgeous Casa Cupula gay hotel. Even if you're not staying at the hotel, then you need to come here for their Sunday brunch. It's absolutely divine with different stations set up so you can eat anything from fresh fruit to pancakes, waffles, ceviche, tacos, bread and eggs cooked anyway you want. Taste is open for breakfast, brunch and lunch, serving a mix of American-style foods as well as traditional Mexican cuisine. They also organise private romantic dining under the stars for special occasions.
Sapphire Ocean Club – Bistrot Local
In the heart of the Zona Romantica gay neighbourhood and right on Los Muertos Beach is the Sapphire Ocean Club. Not only is this a lovely spot to sunbathe and have a cocktail, but there's also a bistro serving yummy food. Bistrot Local is the brainchild of Swiss chef Michel Pascal Ferrari. He combines the sophistication of his homeland with the warmth of his adoptive Mexico. We loved the huge prawns and the very pretty beachside ambience. Bistrot Local is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
El Mole de Jovita
Another authentic Mexican restaurant that's worth visiting is El Mole de Jovita, where you can taste the mole recipe passed down to the current owner by his mother. Mole is a traditional Mexican sauce and El Mole de Jovita serves a few different variations, all delicious! This streetside restaurant also features a cute outdoor terrace where you can often listen to live music while dining. Make sure you try one of their fancy margaritas with your meal.
No Way José!
Not only does No Way José have one of the best names ever, but this restaurant serves mouthwatering contemporary Mexican cuisine representing every region in Mexico. We love that their menu includes things like ‘sexy coffees' and the dessert ‘chocolate ecstasy'! No Way José has won quite a few culinary awards and the staff are very happy to accommodate dietary requirements or even personal preference. They also have regular special events with live music to enjoy as you eat.
Café des Artistes
Café des Artistes is the place to go for haute cuisine in Puerto Vallarta, although we are in love with the stunning decor as well. Chef Thierry Blouet has created a menu of Mexican inspired French cuisine in this little urban oasis. The dress code is ‘casual elegant', making it the perfect place to come for a special occasion. The multi-level building provides a variety of experiences, from the leafy interior jungle to a room dripping with crystals. You can choose from an incredible six-course tasting menu, which also has a vegetarian option available.
Derby City Burgers
There's a time for fine dining and then there are the times you just want to devour a huge juicy burger; perhaps after a night of partying? The best burgers in Puerto Vallarta to feed that hangover can be found at the gay-owned Derby City Burgers, located right in the heart of the main gay strip of Zona Romantica. There are lots of burger varieties to choose from, as well as salads, sandwiches, deep fried pickles, delicious milkshakes and the very yummy home-made sweet potato (or regular) fries.
Top things to do in Puerto Vallarta
Whilst you could just spend your entire time in Puerto Vallarta sunbathing, swimming, eating delicious food and partying with hot boys…but if you do want to get out and try some other activities, then there are plenty of things to do! These are our top picks:
Wander the Old Town
All visitors to Puerto Vallarta should spend some time simply wandering around the pretty old town and seeing its most famous landmarks. The local market is a lovely spot for some shopping and the iconic Our Lady of Guadalupe church is a must-see. First-time visitors to the city might like to join a historic tour to orient themselves and learn about the history of the area with a local guide. We love this one which includes lunch at a Mexican eatery and a demonstration of tequila-making, with tasting opportunities of course!
Join a food tour
We love sampling the local cuisine when we travel. On a secret food tour like this one, you will be taken away from the touristy hotspots to discover some truly authentic Mexican dishes. This three-hour tour is a great choice if you want to try dishes from all around Mexico with a knowledgable guide. This is also a great way to explore the historic old town and learn about its history.
Rhythms of the Night Sunset Cruise
For something truly romantic and unique, the Rhythms of the Night Sunset Cruise will take you the beach of Las Calatas, which is only reachable by boat. In this secluded cove, you and your loved one will dine in style under the stars while listening to the waves. After a delicious dinner, you will be treated to a mesmerising performance by one of Mexico's most innovative dance troupes, telling the story of mysticism and magic. This is an absolutely breathtaking experience you will not get anywhere else!
Dinner and a cruise on a pirate ship
If you're tired of all the ‘normal' gay guys at the pubs and clubs then perhaps you'd prefer to watch some cute pirates fighting on a pirate ship?! This is a very quirky experience, where you'll cruise around the bay on a real pirate ship, eat dinner and watch a show depicting a pre-Hispanic ritual. After enjoying sunset from the deck of the ship you'll also be treated to a fireworks show. Find out more about this wild adventure here.
Relax on a secluded beach
Obviously, there are fantastic and gay friendly beaches throughout the city of Puerto Vallarta, but if you want something truly secluded then you might like to visit Las Caletas. This isolated sanctuary is only accessible by sea, but if you join a tour then you can sail by catamaran to this enchanting tropical beach. Once there, you can relax in the hammocks, go snorkelling in the pristine waters, visit the orchid gardens and an interactive parrot centre. There's even a spa here where you can indulge in a massage or a facial before you return to Puerto Vallarta refreshed and ready for a night of partying!
Go zip-lining in the jungle
Adrenaline junkies will find plenty to enjoy near Puerto Vallarta, with zip-lining, jungle trekking, swimming and speed-boat rides available in the jungle nearby. We found this exciting tour which includes a river speed-boat ride, zip-lining over the river, a visit to an animal sanctuary (with monkeys!) and the opportunity to play in natural water slides. There's also some tequila tasting included, in case you need a stiff drink after all the action, and you'll be taken to a riverside restaurant for lunch.
Visit Aquaventuras Park
Aquaventuras Park is one of Puerto Vallarta's top attractions with 12 different water slides, a variety of rides, a ‘lazy river' to float along as well as shows and experiences with marine animals. If you're looking for a day of silly fun then this is a great place to come as an alternative to Puerto Vallarta's beaches. If you purchase your admission ticket here you'll also get lunch included in your visit. The park is a fair distance away from the old town area, so you will need to get a bus or an Uber if you don't have a car. Read more about getting around the city in the next section.
Day trip to San Sebastián
The old mining town of San Sebastián is the perfect distance from Puerto Vallarta for a day-trip. If you're not using a car you can easily join a full-day tour to explore this historic town that looks like it's been frozen in time. You'll be able to wander the pretty streets, taste homemade tequila and visit a traditional coffee hacienda to learn about the craft of making good coffee. Afterwards, have lunch in a traditional family-owned restaurant before returning back to Puerto Vallarta in the afternoon.
Swim with wild dolphins
While we're not fans of experiences with captive animals we do jump at any chance to interact with wildlife in the wild. Puerto Vallarta is a great location to see wild dolphins and it's even possible to swim with them in their natural environment during a cruise with a reputable tour company. This small-group cruise will teach you about the wild dolphins in the area and give you the opportunity to swim with them if the conditions are right. Even if you don't get to swim with dolphins you'll definitely be able to enjoy snorkelling in the Pacific.
Make Mexican chocolate
If you've done all the tequila-tasting and enchilada-eating you can but still want more tasty treats then why not try your hand at making traditional Mexican chocolate? This bean-to-bar chocolate workshop will not only teach you about the history and importance of cacao in Mexico but you'll also be able to make a variety of delicious chocolates to take with you. You'll roast and grind cacao beans then use chocolate liquor as the base of three different chocolate drinks. This is the perfect experience for chocaholics… if you can stop yourself eating everything before you even leave!
Things to know before you visit Puerto Vallarta
Here we've put together some handy hints and tips to help you plan your own trip to Puerto Vallarta. Read on to find out everything gay travellers should know before they go.
How to get there: You'll probably be travelling to Puerto Vallarta by plane which means you'll be landing at the Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport (PVR), which is about five miles out of the city. The easiest way to get to the main gay neighbourhood from the airport is with a pre-booked private transfer so you can avoid the queues.
Visa requirements: Most European and North American citizens don't need a visa to visit Mexico on holiday for up to 180 days. Make sure you check your visa requirements here and always ensure your passport has at least six month's validity from your arrival date.
Getting around: Within the gay area of Zona Romantica, you can easily walk everywhere but if you want to explore further afield then you might like to use an Uber or catch a bus to get around. This website has a lot of detailed information on the Puerto Vallarta bus system.
Power Plugs: In Mexico, the standard power plug is Type A, which is the same as the US, Canada, China and Japan. If travelling from a country with different power outlets, remember to bring a travel adaptor with you.
Travel insurance: We never travel without comprehensive travel insurance and we always recommend other travellers to do the same. You just never know when you might need it for accidents, injury, theft or cancellations. We use (and love) World Nomads Travel Insurance because they provide excellent cover and it's very easy to make a claim online.
Safety and Security: Just like things can go wrong anywhere, you can also find yourself in danger anywhere as well. We like to use the ‘virtual bodyguard' app by CloseCircle when we travel so we know we can get help anywhere in the world; be it for a weather emergency or a terrorist attack. Read more about why we love CloseCircle in our guide to how travellers can stay safe.
Vaccinations: There aren't any required vaccinations for travellers to Mexico but it's usually a good idea to make sure your vaccinations are up-to-date for Tetanus, Typhoid and Hepatitis A. Always check with your GP before you travel.
Currency: Mexico uses the Mexican Peso which is shortened to MXN. The country uses the dollar symbol though, so don't get confused by prices for dinner being $200 as they mean 200 pesos! €1 is worth about 21 pesos while $1 (US) converts to around 19 pesos.
Tipping culture: Tipping is customary in Mexico and most workers earn a low wage so they rely on tips to make a living. In restaurants, we recommend tipping between 10-20% for good service. In hotels or resorts tipping will ensure you get that extra special treatment. Check out this detailed guide to tipping in Mexico for more information.
Internet access: Most hotels, restaurants, bars and other establishments will have free WiFi in Mexico, which is better quality than you might assume. Otherwise, consider buying a local SIM card when you arrive, or even a portable WiFi device so you can connect multiple devices at faster speeds.
Online privacy: Mexico is very gay friendly, particularly in Puerto Vallarta. You won't need to worry about using gay apps such as Grindr or Scruff. However, if you prefer to keep your internet activities private, we recommend ExpressVPN because it is affordable and reliable.
Accommodation: We've mentioned lots of excellent gay accommodation in Puerto Vallarta already, but if you want to browse some more options our favourite way to find hotels is through the Booking.com website. Here is where you'll find the best prices and the customer support is also really good.
Sightseeing and adventure: If you want to find more fun things to do in Puerto Vallarta we also recommend browsing the getyourguide.com directory. There are options for everyone, the booking process is very simple and they also have great 24/7 customer support.
When to visit: The best times to visit Puerto Vallarta depends on why you are visiting. If you want to come for a specific gay event we've mentioned the dates above. Between April and June, there are fewer tourists and the weather is pleasant. The high season is during the northern hemisphere winter (December-February), but this also means there'll be lots of fun stuff going on, like all the beach and pool parties.
Gay map of Puerto Vallarta
Here is a map we've made showing all the fantastic gay places that we've mentioned in this post. We hope it helps you plan your own wonderful gay trip to Puerto Vallarta!
For more inspiration:
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⭐️ TRAVEL INSURANCE — We recommend you always take out travel insurance before your next vacation. What happens if you suffer from illness, injury, theft or a cancellation? With travel insurance, you can have peace of mind and not worry. We love World Nomads travel insurance and have been using it for years. Their comprehensive coverage is second to none and their online claims process is very user friendly.
⭐️ SAFETY & SECURITY — All travelers (gay or not) can sometimes encounter danger when traveling. CloseCircle is your “virtual body guard” mobile app which provides security alerts and support wherever you are in the world. They have a 24/7 emergency response team monitoring their users who will contact you immediately if the SOS swipe button is activated. Support can include anything from practical advice, to free evacuation from areas with extreme weather or security risks. You can read more about CloseCircle in our article about how to stay safe whilst traveling.
⭐️ ONLINE ANONYMITY — A VPN (Virtual Private Network) is a must in many countries: it allows you to surf anonymously and maintain your privacy whilst traveling. You'll particularly need it in countries where gay dating apps are blocked by the government. We recommend ExpressVPN, a reliable and cost effective service which we used and loved during our travels.
⭐️ HOTELS or APARTMENTS — When we plan a trip, we always look for the best hotel deals. We love Booking.com because not only do they have a comprehensive listing of accommodation options, they also offer the best prices. Added bonus: they provide 24/7 support and free cancellation for most listings.
⭐️ SIGHTSEEING and ADVENTURES — When we travel somewhere, we like to seek out the best experiences, whether it is cooking with locals in Bangkok, hiking on a glacier in Patagonia, or going on a wildlife safari in Sri Lanka. Our favorite place to look is GetYourGuide because they have over 30,000 highly rated activities, a user-friendly booking process with free cancellation and a 24 hour customer support.
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