Puerto Vallarta Pride kicks off this week with a full lineup of events including everything from an Andrew Christian fashion show to concerts by the Puerto Vallarta Men’s Chorus and, of course, the Pride Parade. So, if you're able to pull together a last-minute trip for Pride or planning to go any time soon, we’ve put together a quick list to help you decide where to stay and play once you arrive:
Stay The Blue Chairs Resort may easily be the original and most well-known LGBT hotel in Puerto Vallarta. With its prime beachfront real estate and proximity to the Zona Romantica (where most of the gay clubs are), it is easy to understand why the resort continues to be booked solid by gay and lesbian travelers. However, a recent stay was plagued by so many issues, we find it impossible to recommend until some serious improvements are made. However, if you really just have a thing for blue chairs they did, in fact, have plenty.
Instead, check into the adults only Hotel Villa Mercedes, a chic petit hotel only a block from the beach. Its funky wall art and well-appointed rooms make Villa Mercedes a colorful, charming place to stay. And, if you have the chance, enjoy cocktails and appetizers in the relaxing courtyard (pictured above). The food - from Pulpito 116 and Maia Inspired Cuisine - is exceptional. Ampas 175, Puerto Vallarta. hotelvillamercedes.com
A bit further uphill beneath the shade of the jungle trees, Hotel Casa Cupula boasts 18 rooms and four suites (like the penthouse suite, above), all uniquely designed and each well-appointed with touches like original artwork and home theater systems. Taste, the on-site restaurant, also offers a satisfying Sunday brunch. 129 Callejon de le Igualdad, Puerto Vallarta. casacupula.com
Set on a dirt road along the Rio Cuale in the Zona Romantica, the Riviera del Rio is a magnificently quirky boutique hotel with Salvador Dali-esque design details and an M.C. Escher-ian system of staircases that must be seen to be truly appreciated. Originally built in the 1970s as a private home and crash pad for the glamorous and famous (think Raquel Welch), the Riviera del Rio offers guests spacious suites, a rooftop pool (above) and whirlpool for ten, as well as an indoor lap pool and made-to-order breakfast. 104 Rivera del Rio, Puerto Vallarta. rivieradelrio.com
The Gay Vallarta Bar-Hopping Tour, hosted by the oso dreamy Christian Serranostarts the evening off with dinner at a local hotspot before launching out onto a crawl of PV’s best tequila joints. A great intro to local nightlife, our tour took us through Reina’s (hats!), Wet Dreams (strippers!), Paco’s Ranch (dancing!) as well as a few other watering holes. Best perks? There’s no waiting in line and Christian makes sure your cocktail is ready at each venue when you arrive. (Told you he was dreamy.) gayvallartabarhopping.com
Soak up some sun or sweat out last night’s tequila with some quality beachside lounging at the Sapphire Ocean Club, a must-visit for its top-notch service, delicious cocktails, Wi-Fi and towel service, all included with a day pass. Melecon #1, Playa Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta. sapphire.mx/en/sapphire-ocean-club.html
If it's heart-pounding fun you’re after, book an afternoon with GO GAY! Jungle Zipline Adventure. Our afternoon took us to Paradise Adventure Park and included a hearty lunch, tequila tasting and, of course, some thrilling flights through the canopy. If you can somehow manage to get Ricky and Ivan as your guides: do it! Besides being expert guides that put safety first, they made for a lively comedy team that helped ease the fears of some of the more timid members of our group.
Maybe it was the rehearsal dinner happening next to us in the dining room, but there was a festive vibe at No Way José that made even our meal seem celebratory. The contemporary Mexican cuisine - such as the complex, flavorful Moctezuma soup and the tender beef medallions in mulato chile and raicilla steak sauce - is excellently prepared and served by a buttoned-up staff. For a flamboyant end to the meal, order a Sexy Coffee. 5 de Febrero #260, Puerto Vallarta. nowayjosemx.com
For a more subdued dining experience, Antonio’s or Barcelona Tapas, both from Chef William Carballo, offer spectacular views as a backdrop for the superb dishes like the tuna cebiche we profiled here. Matamoros & de Octubre, Puerto Vallarta. barcelonatapas.net
For more information, visit vallartapride.com and visitpuertovallarta.com.