Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel Guide

T here's a reason that Puerto Vallarta has been named the world's friendliest city — for LGBT visitors it has been a haven for decades, with a thriving, diverse nightlife scene, and a gay beach that is front-and-center of the city. Nestled between the magnificent Sierra Madre Mountains, and the inviting Pacific Ocean, this popular beach resort also formed the backdrop for one of Hollywood's most tempestuous on-and-off screen love affairs when Liz Taylor joined Richard Burton there during filming Tennessee Williams' Night of the Iguana in nearby Mismaloya in 1963.

  • Getting There

    Fly Alaska Airlines non-stop to Puerto Vallarta from Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego. You can also connect from dozens of other cities across the U.S. and Canada.
  • Festival

    Arts & Culture

    Although primarily a beach resort, Puerto Vallarta is also a festival city — catering to every taste throughout the year, from a jazz festival in May, and a food festival in November, to the Festival of our Lady Guadalupe in December. Art lovers will want to book themselves a place on the weekly art walk (November through April), a popular way to tour local galleries and meet artists, or simply browse the local shops for exquisite Talavera pottery from Puebla.
  • Off the Beaten Path

    Yes, you'll want to visit the popular gay beach of the Playa de Los Muertos, but don’t let that prevent you from discovering other beach hang-outs — including the pristine beach of Conchas Chinas, with its natural pools and snow-white sand, or Majahuitas, lying in wait at the foot of a jungle. For snorkeling there are few better spots.
  • Jungle Trail

    Not to be Missed

    If you’re lucky you might spot an ocelot as you wander around the jungle trails of the relatively new, and surprisingly extensive, Vallarta Botanical Gardens, located a half hour south of the city. As well as the home for a nascent national collection of Mexican Orchids, the attached Hacienda de Oro Taberna is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. Start your day early with Huevos Rancheros and some fresh-squeezed local juices.
  • Get in the Mood

    Read: What better beach read than The Ruins (2006) by Scott B. Smith?
    Listen: Volver Volver by the great, gender-defying (and late-lamented) Chavela Vargas, who refused to change the pronouns in love songs about women.
    Watch: Night of the Iguana, in which Ava Gardner — surrounded by local muscle boys — goes head-to-head with Richard Burton.
  • Puerto Vallarta Beach

    Insider Tips

    Puerto Vallarta is a fish-lovers paradise. Make sure you don’t leave without trying “pescado embarazado”; roasted pieces of fish (often marlin or shrimp) drenched in lemon and topped with huichol sauce.
  • Gay Trivia

    Gay-friendly whale watching? Check. A “straight-friendly” gay-and-lesbian day cruise? Absolutely. For the former try Oscar Frey and his Ocean Friendly humpback whale-watching tours. For the latter, make a beeline for Diana DeCoste, who has been hosting a gay and lesbian cruise

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