Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel
Browse wolfyy’s Puerto Vallarta gay travel recommendations for gay hotels, resorts, beaches, bars, clubs & the gay area.
The Gay Travel Experience: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mexico’s classic gay travel destination, Puerto Vallarta lures the LGBT community with ritzy beach clubs, budget-friendly hotels and animated gay nightlife. This small city is a frequent choice for Americans and Canadians, especially in winter.
Many of my gay friends and acquaintances rave about Puerto Vallarta. Before visiting Puerto Vallarta though, I never fully understood what specifically makes this destination so attractive to gay men. I quickly found out why.
Firstly, Puerto Vallarta gay travel is so popular because the city is quite conducive to group travel. The gay scene here is physically compact. This makes things super easy for groups of LGBT travelers to coordinate plans.
Puerto Vallarta is not only popular with gay travelers. The city has been a major tourist destination for decades, with tourism now comprising roughly 50% of the local economy.
Even with all these English-speaking tourists though, Puerto Vallarta maintains an authentic Mexican charm you’ll surely love. If you’ve never been to Mexico, it’s is a great first choice.
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Is Puerto Vallarta Gay Friendly?
Puerto Vallarta is undeniably gay-friendly. You’ll see gay flags everywhere as you walk the city’s streets. With literally dozens of gay bars and clubs, there is certainly a huge affinity for the LGBT community.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel: Where to Stay
Puerto Vallarta is geographically large, and tourists spread out everywhere. However, all the action pertinent to a gay traveler is actually quite concentrated. Accommodations stretch from the Hotel Zone to the north, all the way to Conchas Chinas, south of the gay district.
I recommend staying in the either the Centro neighborhood or the Emiliano Zapata Zona Romántica (Romantic Zone). These neighborhoods are most noteworthy and have a vibrant urban feel. Imagine low-rise buildings and cobblestone streets for a dozen or so blocks, lined with shops, markets and food carts.
Centro and the Romantic Zone are the heart of Puerto Vallarta. Getting around on foot between them is super easy, too. In general, Centro hotels will tend to be a little cheaper than in the Romantic Zone, but they aren’t too far apart.
Puerto Vallarta Luxury Villa Rentals
Puerto Vallarta has plenty of private luxury accommodations. They’re typically found in the Amapas and Conchas Chinas neighborhoods at the southern end of the city.
You can find some truly stunning Conchas Chinas villa rentals on Airbnb. While staying in these areas won’t offer you the convenience of walking out onto the liveliest streets, they will definitely make up for it with spacious, private accommodations.
If you’re planning Puerto Vallarta gay travel with a group of friends, check out the impressive private rentals south of Playa de Los Muertos. Keep in mind that some can be quite far down the coast. Take taxi times into consideration.
The Puerto Vallarta Gay Area
The Puerto Vallarta gay neighborhood starts in Zona Romántica and continues southward to the border of the Amapas neighborhood.
Most of the gay-friendly establishments and nightlife is within the five or so city blocks from the waterfront. East of Road 200 in the Romantic Zone, things become more residential and quiet.
I highly recommend staying in the Puerto Vallarta gay area. It’s convenient and you’ll never run out of things to do. Furthermore, meeting up with friends should easier here since there are so many hotel and resort options in close proximity.
Staying in the gay area, you’ll have tons of options for restaurants, shopping and beach clubs, all within a 5-minute walk.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Resorts & Hotels
Two popular and well-known resorts in the gay area are Blue Chairs Resort by the Sea and the Almar Luxury LGBT Resort. They are both convenient for their location in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s daytime gay scene. In this part of town, you’ll be close to the gay beach and within walking distance to all the gay nightlife venues.
Another popular Puerto Vallarta gay hotel is Piñata PV Gay Hotel, however I personally have never been. Famous for their rainbow-striped swimming pool, Piñata is highly rated for being fun, clean, modern and having a great location in the center of the gay area. They also have a popular clothing-optional hot tub!
Jet’s Gay Hostel PV
I stayed at a few different hotels while in Puerto Vallarta, but they were fairly standard and nothing too special. I also tried out the famous gay hostel in Puerto Vallarta at the beginning of my trip.
Why did I choose it? Well, so many websites and gay travel blogs mention Jet’s Gay Hostel, but I have yet to meet anyone who has actually stayed there. So, I went ahead and booked a few nights!
Jet’s Gay Hostel is very popular, and one of the most inexpensive places to stay in Puerto Vallarta. While it’s by no means a luxury accommodation, it definitely satisfies a big demand. It was quite similar to any other standard hostel, having bunk beds with privacy curtains, electronic passcode entry and a small fridge.
My experience at Jet’s was truly great. The staff member who tidied up every day was kind and eager to learn about the guests and where they were visiting from. Other guys in the hostel during my stay were polite. I felt completely safe sharing a space with them.
If you do book Jet’s, make sure to bring some ear plugs to block the street noise from traffic at night. I’m a heavy sleeper though, so it wasn’t a problem.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel Experiences
You’ll firstly want to get oriented with the most vibrant part of Puerto Vallarta in the streets of the Romantic Zone and Centro. Los Arcos is a fun spot to walk through after sunset to see street performers.
Before you relax with drinks at the beach clubs and bars, here are two quick local experiences to check off your sightseeing list. First, stop by Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The structure is particularly pretty at night when all lit up.
Afterward, browse the nearby Cuale Island Flea Market. A cluster of outdoor shopping stalls line adjacent Rio Cuale. While you’re there, take a fun walk across the wooden suspension bridge that links the Centro and Romantic Zone neighborhoods.
The Puerto Vallarta Gay Beach
Droves of gay men spend their days at the gay beach. However, this spot is not specifically marked online. The Puerto Vallarta gay beach is at the very southern tip of Playa de Los Muertos, a long stretch of the most popular beachfront.
It will be obvious when you arrive, as you’ll see all the gay tourists splashing in the ocean and people watching.
Plenty of men park themselves in the sand between the Blue Chairs Resort and the Mantamar Beach Club. Ritmos Beach Café is another popular gay hangout in this area, although all the beach cafés tend to blend together.
The beach is generally busiest between 1:00 PM and 5:00 PM. After 5:30, the area quickly empties out as everyone heads to dinner. It’s best to plan your beach time between 1:00 and 4:00 PM.
Lounge at Mantamar Beach Club
Mantamar Beach Club & Bar is a gay mainstay in Puerto Vallarta. Everyone spends at least one afternoon lounging by the iconic glass-walled pool or visiting for evening cocktails. The vibe at Mantamar is very relaxed, but there’s definitely a fun energy with background lounge/house music playing all day.
It’s best to make reservations for Mantamar to secure a specific number of chairs, or stylishly lounge in a cabana. If you would rather not commit ahead of time, just drop by day-of. Put in your name and then chill on the beach until space is available.
Explore Local Beaches: Playa Amapas & Conchas Chinas
There are plentiful options offering seaside serenity away from bustling Playa de Los Muertos. If you’re comfortable climbing some steep pathways, continue walking southward along the shore from the Mantamar Beach Club.
First, you’ll stumble upon Playa Amapas. Enjoy the stunningly picturesque views over the water of the wilderness to the south. Waves crash over rock outcrops along the shore, leaving lovely little channels of flowing water.
Even farther south, you’ll reach the dreamy Playa Conchas Chinas. You probably won’t find a tourist in sight at this beach. There’s plenty of open sand to claim.
The shoreline pathway continues southward, leading next to Playa las Estacas before the farther remote areas occupied by private resorts.
Get Slushies at Blondies Loft + Slushbar
Sit down and relax or grab them to go; the alcoholic slushies at Blondies Slushbar are perfect. In the humid heat, you’ll be glad you stopped by. They have almost a dozen delicious flavors.
Blondies has tables along the sidewalk as well as an indoor loft space seating. Ordering to go is simple as well, since they sell drinks at a bar right on the sidewalk.
Restaurants For Puerto Vallarta Gay Travelers
In a place as popular as Puerto Vallarta, travel websites tend to list inauthentic, recommendations where you’ll find yourself surrounded by clamoring tourists.
Below, I’ll make sure you find some authentic Mexican food in Puerto Vallarta with these spectacular local food spots and LGBT favorites.
Don Chava Taqueria Cantina
You absolutely have to chow down at Don Chava Taqueria Cantina. I had some of the best tacos al pastor here. The food was so good I came back twice!
They’re super inexpensive, have friendly service and they’re centrally located. Don Chava’s sidewalk seating is great for people watching, too.
Mariscos el Guero: Seafood Tacos
Mariscos el Guero is a superb alternative to traditional tacos, serving delicious seafood tacos and other traditional Mexican entrees. Super cheap (about $1 USD per taco) and undiscovered by tourists, Mariscos el Guero is definitely a restaurant worth trying. Note they’re closed on Wednesdays.
Apaches Martini Bar: Rowdy Gay Hangout
Gay travelers in Puerto Vallarta love Apaches. Live music and tables overflowing with a chatty crowd take over the sidewalk for drinks and dinner around 6:00 PM. It was so crowded, I couldn’t get a seat here!
If you’re traveling in a bigger group, this restaurant is definitely the place to be. Call Apaches Martini Bar and make a reservation ahead of time.
Lonchería las Americas: Order In
For a quick bite to eat while walking through Zona Romántica, or if you’d like to have food delivered to your hotel, order from Lonchería las Americas. They have an amazing fruit, yogurt and granola plate made with freshly cut fruit. If you stop by for lunch, try their amazing tortas.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Bars & Clubs
There are so many gay bars in Puerto Vallarta, that it can be difficult to figure out which fits your vibe best. I was lucky enough to try almost all of them while spending nearly two weeks in Puerto Vallarta, so I’ll gladly help you out.
Puerto Vallarta's Most Popular Gay Bar
You can party any day of the week at Mr. Flamingo, the most popular Puerto Vallarta gay bar. Perfect music selections, an open-air feel and space for dancing always attracts a crowd. They have one of the earliest happy hours in Puerto Vallarta, usually starting at 2:00 PM!
Earlier in the evening, Mr. Flamingo is calmer as vacationers casually grab drinks, but before you know it, this hangout packs in with a great mix of English and Spanish speaking partygoers.
My favorite part about CC Slaughters is dancing in the thick clouds of the fog machine. CC’s is quite a popular bar with more of an intense ambiance in a dimly-lit bar. The venue is medium sized, so it doesn’t take too massive of a crowd to feel full.
While CC’s is not the most prominent gay club in town, I certainly wouldn’t skip it!
The Gay Bar That Has It All: Paco’s Ranch
The only gay bar in Puerto Vallarta that’s open until 6:00AM, Paco’s Ranch is definitely a crowd favorite. No matter what type of traveler or partier you are, Paco’s is welcoming and is sure to entertain. There’s a pretty steady crowd throughout the evening, but the bar really fills up when all the neighboring establishments close for the night.
Get ready for a wild night after 4:00 AM when the late night partiers fill in. It’s easy to dance into the early morning hours at Paco’s, especially considering the abundant 20 Peso Jell-O shots. Paco’s has pretty good drag performances, too. They’re usually on the shorter side, with the last performance at 3:00 AM.
Industry Nightclub Puerto Vallarta
Industry is definitely the best place to go if you like house/electronic music. This is one of Puerto Vallarta’s bigger gay clubs. Expect pulsating beats in a warehouse-style space with high ceilings.
Colorful laser lights, a dark interior and a fantastic bar attracts lots of guys, especially those who love a good circuit party.
Industry tends to be much busier on weekends, but you’ll still find dancing on weeknights. It just won’t be jam-packed Cover charge for entry is 60 Pesos at the door.
The Biggest Puerto Vallarta Gay Club
CODE is the biggest gay club in Puerto Vallarta and is my personal favorite. The multilevel balcony-style venue is remarkable. I don’t often get the “travel chills”, but this awesome nightclub experience (with my newly-made local friend Luis), really impressed me.
The sound system, special effects, attentive staff and entertainment makes CODE one of the most unique clubs I’ve been to in a long time. On weekends, the staff concertedly hands out hundreds of sparklers during a monumental song as the time approaches midnight.
For those who dislike the traditional thumping gay club, you will probably have a great experience at CODE. This isn’t a club where everyone takes their shirts off. People here dress quite stylishly. I would compare it to a chic New York City nightclub.
You can expect a mixed crowd, with tons of LGBT people and allies. I would consider it more of a “straight-friendly” club, since it’s technically a gay club. They also offer VIP bottle service upon request. General cover charge to enter is 100 Pesos.
Divas Bar: Cozy & Lively
The crowd at Divas Bar is quite diverse, so you’ll find more than just gay men. The LGBT crowd along with some allies attend for a night of dinner, drinks and shows.
Puerto Vallarta's Gay Stripper Bar
During the week they have some of the most popular drag shows in town. Entry cover fee is 60 Pesos.
La Chachalaca: Gay Happy Hour
Expect a relaxed, casual vibe at La Chachalaca, a perfect happy hour spot. It’s great to visit after the beach, before dinner. The bar is less than a five-minute walk from the central part of Playa de Los Muertos. They have open-air seating overlooking a quaint garden area on a street near the beachfront.
You can’t miss La Chachalaca with their gay pride flags lining the bar’s facade. They offer cheap happy hour specials, too. I recommend this gay bar for groups since there’s a lot of space, seating and fun music.
Directly adjacent to Mr. Flamingo’s, Margarita Bar is calmer option. It’s a small gay bar with seating and some of the friendliest bartenders in Puerto Vallarta. I ended up laughing and talking with the bartenders after ordering a drink.
Margarita bar is also a good meeting point if you’re traveling with a group of friends. Since its more subdued and you can sit down with a drink while waiting for your crew.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel: More Bars
The bars described above are the mainstays of gay nightlife in Puerto Vallarta, but that is certainly not all of them. Here are a few other places you may be interested. I did not personally spend any time at the couple of establishments below, but I did walk by to check them out.
Wet Dreams is a subdued gay bar where you can watch gorgeous go-go dancers while perched on a bar stool. They don’t accept credit cards and require that you spend a minimum of $10 USD. It never seemed too crowded whenever I passed the bar.
If you’re seeking yet another option to gawk at male dancers, is Antropology Gay Dance Club. Antropology is exclusively a nude male strip club. This place gets mixed reviews, however that tends to be the case with most stripping establishments, no matter where you are in the world.
Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel Tips
Dinnertime in Mexico is similar what Americans are used to, Puerto Vallarta being no exception. Restaurants fill up starting around 6:00 PM and most do not stay open past 9:00 PM. If you tend to eat late like I do (or even later like Spaniards in Barcelona), don’t let yourself miss dinner!
Avoid Tourist Trap Restaurants
Since Puerto Vallarta is such a popular tourist destination, you’ll naturally encounter restaurants and bars that charge an arm and a leg for low-quality food. As a general rule, you’re going to find the best, most authentic restaurants away from the waterfront.
Restaurants that are farther south with seating directly on the sand are an exception in my opinion. Sometimes nothing beats a stylish beachfront dinner.
In general, avoid pub restaurants (this applies to pretty much any travel destination outside Europe. For example, Los Muertos Brewing & Pizzeria frequently buzzes with older American tourists while playing televised sports and overcharging for food. Plus, who wants pasta and pizza in Mexico, anyway?
Buy Swimwear & Beach Towels In Puerto Vallarta
If you’re in need of any new swimwear or beach accessories, there are a few spots I recommend. Directly behind the Blue Chairs beach bar, you’ll find a few stores across the street from the Sapphire Massage parlor.
The main store is called Men’s Boutique. They’re oriented toward the LGBT community and also carry towels.
Alternatively, you can shop at Liquid Men, a small boutique in the center of the Romantic Zone (exact location here). They have a wide range of clothing types.
Local Puerto Vallarta Gay Events
There’s always something LGBT-related going on in PV. Gay Guide Vallarta’s Event Calendar lists local activities for the LGBT community. Check it out to see what’s going on while you’re visiting.
They show events ranging from drag shows and karaoke to horseback riding. bird-watching breakfasts and boat tours.
When is Puerto Vallarta Gay Travel Busiest?
The high season for Mexico is November through April, but tourists certainly visit year-round. Puerto Vallarta is also quite popular for long weekend trips over holiday weekends.
On a weekly basis, Puerto Vallarta’s nightlife explodes Thursdays through Sundays. This is mainly because of an influx of weekend travelers.
Overall Puerto Vallarta tourism is so high though, that just about every weeknight has something going on. Gay bars on Monday through Wednesday nights are still lively, but not as much as the weekends.
Getting to Central Puerto Vallarta from the Airport
Licenciado Gustavo International Airport (PVR) is about a 30-minute taxi drive from the Centro neighborhood, the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s tourism. It’s a pleasant drive along the shore. You’ll pass through Marina Vallarta, an area called the Hotel Zone and Las Glorias along the ride.
Lastly, there is no need to book a taxi in advance since Uber is widely available in Puerto Vallarta. There are always drivers near the airport and rides are quite inexpensive. There’s definitely no need to take any special discount offers from your hotel or anywhere else.
Uber cab drivers pick you up outside the terminal exit, but not inside the taxi loop. Walk a minute toward the street exit to meet your ride. Then, your journey begins!