Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s only beach destination with a gayborhood, La Zona Romantica, will be hosting its annual LGBT pride festival from May 16th to 30th, 2016, under the motto “We are one family.” With an estimated arrival of 15,000 national and international visitors to Puerto Vallarta in 2015, the celebration is the largest LGBT festival in the region.

During the festivities, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board will join local civil associations, private companies and Puerto Vallarta’s local and international LGBT community in this fifteen-day event which aims to honour and promote respect for sexual diversity in the city. Activities scheduled to take place this year include a circuit party, a local designers fashion show, a drag Derby and a film festival.

This year’s Vallarta Pride will also be part of Puerto Vallarta’s celebration of the approval of same-sex marriage in the state of Jalisco,where the city is located, which passed on January 27th earlier this year. The legalization of same-sex weddings in Jalisco means that gay and lesbian couples wishing to register and make their unions legal in Mexico can now do so just like any other couple.

Brought into the tourism spotlight by celebrities like Elizabeth Taylor and Tennessee Williams, Puerto Vallarta organically grew to become Mexico’s favorite LGBT winter beach destination. Visitors will find a broad array of LGBT-friendly bars,nightclubs, restaurants, hotels, stores, services, and entertainment in la Zona Romantica.

In recent years, the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board, the entity responsible for promoting the destination in the US and Canada, has partnered with G.L.A.A.D., GMHC and the IGLTA to promote the destination to the LGBT market. In 2014, Puerto Vallarta became the first Mexican destination to participate in a World Pride with its Noche Alegre event during the World Pride celebrations in Toronto, and in 2015 the tourism board became the first destination to sponsor the Human Rights Campaign on a national level.

PVR Pride Event Listings

LGBT-Friendly Businesses

Puerto Vallarta’s Downtown is home to some of the destinations leading LGBT tourism offerings with its Zona Romantica home to over 70 businesses targeting the LGBT consumer. In the past six months, the destination has seen an increase in its offering with a new concierge service, three new hotels, a boat tour and a new bar. The following are a list of the newest business to open in the zone.

The Alhambra Lounge takes its name from the palace and fortress of the Moorish monarchs of Granada, Spain. With its dramatically lit arches, warm woods, marble floors and fountain, La Alhambra promises to make any night something truly magical.

In the Zona Romantica, Almar Resort Luxury All Suites & Spa is a cutting edge luxury hotel in Puerto Vallarta incorporating the best traditions of Mexico into a beautiful setting, offering even the most exacting guests accommodations with style and distinction. Luxury meets distinctive contemporary design in each of the more than 120 suites which all offer spectacular ocean views and private terraces.

BLONDIES LOFT is a two-floor edifice with the first floor being a Slushbar featuring frozen cocktails and drinks made with fresh fruit, fresh squeezed juices, and top shelf spirits. The menu is ever-changing to provide guests with new drinks to cool off and chill out. The second floor is the Loft featuring classic cocktails and selections form Slushbar. Blondies is promoted as an LOFT. Featuring premium classic cocktails and selections from the SLUSHBAR below, this intimate space where ocean breezes and the sounds of summer make it the perfect place to start a new adventure, or to dish the details of the last.

On Bay Boat Tour this seven-hour tour of the Bay of Banderas is a party on water with guest and local DJs, gogo dancers of the region, lunch and a visit to a private beach. A second floor provides a private VIP area with 360 views of the Bay, VIP service, snacks, international dishes and signature drinks

Casa Kimberly is a true labor of love. The former homes of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were transformed into a luxury boutique hotel featuring nine suites, a spa, pool, open-air dining, a tequila bar and the preserved Puente Del Amor (Love Bridge) that links the two properties.

Garlands Del Rio is a brand new B&B located on theRio Cuale offering a rustic and magical ambiance in the heart of old Puerto Vallarta. The eight-room property offers the feel and luxury of staying in an upscale private Vallarta-style home with its blend of antique furniture, contemporary as well as traditional Mexican art and decor throughout, multi-level balconies, inviting sitting areas and individually decorated rooms and bathrooms that span around a pool and lush gardens.

Puerto Vallarta now has its own LGBT focused concierge service in Vallarta Paradise. The boutique destination management company, tour operator and meeting planner is gay-owned and operated and boosts Vicente Palacios, a 16-year-old vet and local Vallartense, as its Director. Founded in 2015, the company works with hand-picked providers in Puerto Vallarta to creates customized experiences for its LGBT guests and other travel providers.


About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist based in Toronto with a focus on tourism, lifestyle, entertainment and community issues. He has written several travel articles and has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He’s willing to take on any assignments of interest, attend parties with free booze, listen to rants, and travel the world in search of the great unknown. He’s eager to discover the new, remember the past, and look into the future.