8 Reasons Why Puerto Vallarta is Mexico’s Best Gay Vacation
1. It’s super cheap
The USD to Peso conversion has been hovering around $1 to 20 pesos since 2016 – nearly doubling in value over the last decade. There’s plenty of ways to overspend on a vacation, but budget-conscious travelers can expect a great value: $2 per beer, $5 for a 10-15 minute Uber ride, $10 for a full meal, $50 for an AirBnB per night, $5,000 for a bottle of sunscreen (pack your own). Even with the sunscreen, a weekend in LA is much more expensive.
However, do be conscious of your tab. Less-reputable merchants have a tendency to overcharge at restaurants. As a general rule, the closer you get to the ocean – the more expensive the meal, and the lower the quality. You’re paying for the view. Go inside of Zona Romantica, away from the ocean for a tastier, cheaper meal.
2. Everyone speaks English
It’s always good to have some Spanish in your back pocket, but most of Puerto Vallarta’s visitors are from the States or Canada. So you won’t have to worry about getting an English menu or telling the Uber driver where you’re going. If you’re white – and even if you’re not – they’ll just assume you prefer English.
Naturally, some locals speak English better than others, but you shouldn’t have a problem getting around or buying things.
3. It’s gay as hell
How gay is Puerto Vallarta? Super gay. It’s probably got more gays-per-capita than anywhere else in Mexico. And despite the common perception, Mexico – and Mexico City – are pretty great for LGBT people. In PV, rainbow flags fly on the regular outside local businesses, public displays of affection are common, and there’s very little to worry about in terms of your personal safety. This isn’t Cancun. The crime rates in Puerto Vallarta are very low, and much lower than other gay hotspots in the U.S. like Las Vegas, New Orleans, Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco.
As a town driven by tourism, everyone is eager to accept LGBT clientele – and their money. The most you’ll need to worry about is some petty crime or an overcharged meal.
For a larger look at LGBTQ life in Mexico, check out this guide from my friends Ben and Sion at The Globetrotter Guys.
4. It’s not too crowded
Puerto Vallarta has the right amount of people. Its got a peak season and a low season, but it’s never a ghost town and it’s never jam-packed. I did, however, have enough luck to be in PV for the BeefDip Bear Week. So the image at the top of this article shouldn’t be seen as indicative of the usual pool scene (so many hair-clogged drains). Mantamar Beach Club is the location of that photo, and it’s a very popular gay beach spot in Puerto Vallarta. You should go early to get the best seats and a shot at a poolside cabana.
5. You can walk whenever, wherever
The gay neighborhood of Puerto Vallarta has great walkability. You can get between all of the bars in a matter of minutes – which made my review of Puerto Vallarta’s gay bars especially easy (and intoxicating). Now, many of the streets are made of brick and the area can be quite hilly, so nobody would blame you for taking an Uber if your next stop is a mile away.
Upon landing, you’ll need to take a fifteen or twenty minute Uber from the airport to the main strip of PV. But after that, it’s smooth sailing.
6. The locals are nice
My boyfriend Rafi and I were amazed time after time at how nice the locals were. They’re not annoyed by your presence – or your sexuality. And most of the time, they’re not even trying to sell you something. They’re happy to give you directions, even if you just look lost. Try to remember that kindness when the same guy on the beach tries to sell you the same glasses for the tenth time. NO GRACIAS.
7. You aren’t being compared
Maybe it was just BeefDip, but the bodies of people in PV aren’t like Greek and Roman statues. It’s not hot, shirtless gods at every stretch of sand. Honestly, it’s a nice break from the too-toxic culture of having to look really, really, really ridiculously good-looking whenever your shirt is off.
Don’t get me wrong, there are attractive people. Especially at some of those bars. But most everyone is just there to relax and enjoy the sun. Walk around in a jock strap – or don’t, whatever. It’s not Miami Beach, just have a good time.
8. The streets aren’t clean
A strange note to end on, I know. But in a world over-saturated with detached, luxury resorts – Puerto Vallarta is the right amount of charm and character. People are spitting fire on the streets, women in aprons make street food next to their homes, and some guy in the bathroom offers you cocaine. These are just the realities of a real place. Get out there and see what it’s all about.