Rainbow Puerto Vallarta

The premier sun destination for North American gay travellers

Why It's Popular
 
It has the best known gay beach of any North American sun destination. The vibrant bar and club scene is a big draw for those wanting to combine sun with fun. It's a favourite year round weekend getaway for boys from LA, so there's a critical mass of gay travellers to support a wide range of accommodation and entertainment options.
Gay Beach
 
At the Blue Chairs on Los Muertos Beach
Gay Neighbourhood
 
Old Town (Zona Romantica): The area south of the "river" is home to gay bars, clubs, accommodations and Vallarta's gay beach.
Events
 
Beef Dip - late January
Best Known For
 
Being the only real openly gay sun destination in Mexico
Three Must Dos
 
Catch some sun on Los Muertos beach.
More Local Info
 
Gay Guide Vallarta is an excellent online guide with plenty of general, relatively objective information and advice. While we don't agree with all of the sites recommendations, it's a good place to start.
Tips
 
Package vacations which include airfare, accommodation (and in some cases meals and drinks) and are excellent value (particularly for travel over the summer and from November to mid-December and in January).

 

How To Get There

By Plane

By Plane Flights arrive at Gustavo Díaz Ordaz (airport code PVR) and the airport is located towards the north end of town beyond the marina.

If have purchased a package vacation, transportation between the airport and your hotel is included in the package price. A local representative of the tour company will greet your flight and direct you to the bus that will take you to your hotel.

All taxis from the airport terminal operate on a flat-rate, non-negotiable fare. Exit Customs, turn left and walk through the sliding glass doors straight ahead to the official Taxi Booth. You will pre-pay for your taxi here (based on the number of people travelling and where you're heading), get a receipt and then be directed to the vehicle that will take you to your destination. Once you've paid you the fare at the Taxi Booth do not pay any additional charges if you are asked to do so by the driver. The fare to the Zona Romantica is approximately $25.

Ignore all the offers from official looking drivers in the arrivals area of the airport. These are timeshare sharks - just head straight to the official Taxi Booth.

You can also pre-arrange a transfer by minivan from the airport to your hotel. The cost to the Old Town is $12. If there are two or more of you travelling together it is more economical to take a taxi.

If you're looking for a bit of an adventure and don't have much luggage with you, you can also take a local bus for 3 pesos (or approximately 30 cents).

 

Where To Stay

> The Abbey - A small, moderate hotel for gay men in Puerto Vallarta.
> Blue Chairs Resort - A beachfront gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
> Buenaventura Hotel & Beach Club - A good quality hotel just outside old town Puerto Vallarta.
> The Dreams Puerto Vallarta - A luxury resort on a quiet cove close to all the action in Puerto Vallarta.
> The Emperador Hotel and Suites - very close to the gay beach, near the Abbey and the San Marino.
> Golden Crown Paradise Resort - A top quality adults-only resort in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta.
> Hola Puerto Vallarta - Good value resort in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta.
> Holiday Inn Puerto Vallarta - Quality at a fair price in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta.
> San Marino - A beachfront all-inclusive hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
> Sheraton Buganvillias Resort & Tower - A brand name property in the hotel zone of Puerto Vallarta.
> The Tropicana - A moderate beachfront hotel in Puerto Vallarta.
> Vallarta Palace - An excellent resort but far from old town Puerto Vallarta.
> Villa Premiere Hotel & Spa - A luxury resort just outside old town Puerto Vallarta.

 

Where To Eat

THE SCENE IN PUERTO VALLARTA IS CONSTANTLY EVOLVING. KIT KAT ON PULPITO IS A GOOD PLACE TO START IF YOU'RE LOOKING FOR A PLACE TO EAT. IT'S SURROUNDED BY A NUMBER OF GAY-FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS THAT CAN EASILY FILL A WEEK'S WORTH OF DINNERS. WHILE A FEW BARS ARE INSTITUTIONS AND WILL PROBABLY BE AROUND FOREVER, THERE IS ALWAYS A SPRINKLING OF NEW CLUBS AND RESTAURANTS EACH WINTER TO MAKE THINGS INTERESTING. MANANASEEMS TO HAVE UNSEATED PACO PACO AS THE MAIN CLUB OF CHOICE FOR VISITORS AND LOCALS ALIKE. THERE ARE AT LEAST A DOZEN OTHER VENUES TO EXPLORE - AND THEY CHANGE OFTEN. SO PICK UP ONE OF THE LOCAL GAY GUIDES WHEN YOU GET INTO TOWN TO FIND OUT THE LATEST. 

MOST OF THE GAY BARS AND CLUBS ARE CLUSTERED IN AN AREA SOUTH OF "THE RIVER" (WITH STRAIGHT NIGHTLIFE CONCENTRATED ALONG THE MALECON NORTH OF THE RIVER). EVEN THOUGH YOUR HOTEL MAY BE A SHORT WALK AWAY, IT'S WISE TO SPEND A FEW BUCKS ON A TAXI TO TAKE YOU HOME AT THE END OF THE EVENING.

Other Important Stuff To Know

While Puerto Vallarta is definitely gay friendly, locals tend to be relatively conservative and expect visitors to behave appropriately. Yes, you're on holiday and you've had a few drinks, but having sex on a public beach will probably get you in trouble - just as it would back at home. 

Many smaller hotels will not allow you to bring an overnight "guest" up to a hotel room - especially if that "guest" appears to be a local. They're not being prudish. They're just looking out for your personal safety. For them it's easier to prevent you from taking someone to your room than it is to deal with a tourist who's been robbed by a "guest". So if picking up tricks is part of your holiday agenda, choose a hotel where this will be less of an issue. Gay hotels, while vigilant, are more flexible that other hotels. Similarly, upscale hotels take more subtle, less potentially embarassing security precautions. 

Generally, Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination for visitors. Just use the same common sense you would at home. If in doubt, take a cab.

 

What We Don't Like About Puerto Vallarta

The weather can be unsufferably hot and humid during the summer and into the fall. Expect daily afternoon rainshowers from July through October. Hurricanes are a possibility during this time. The gay beach is relatively small and can get extremely crowded during the winter (which some might consider a bonus). Unfortunately there aren't any really "nice" hotels within a short walk of the gay beach, so you have to choose between moderate hotels close by or better quality hotels further away.

 

What We Do Like About Puerto Vallarta

There's no doubt that Puerto Vallarta is a magnet for gay (and increasingly lesbian) visitors. The gay beach is probably the most obvious one you'll run across anywhere in Mexico or the Caribbean. Fellow visitors are pretty friendly, so it's easy to meet people to hang out with - a real plus if you're travelling on your own. The club scene is very active, especially during the winter season. Gay men and lesbians own a handful of local restaurants so there are a number of welcoming dining choices. A number of special events (like Latin Fever and Beef Dip) dot the social calendar, giving travellers an added reason come to Puerto Vallarta.