Puerto Vallarta Feature
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Gay Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is a gay old town. Men check each other out over drinks and suntan oil at the south end of Los Muertos beach, dangle from parachutes above the bay, buff themselves out at South Side gyms. Rainbow boys (and girls) spend a day sailing on vessels flying the multicolor flag of love and then dance until morning in one of the city's oversexed discos. Mexico's most popular gay destination draws crowds of "Dorothy's friends" from both sides of the Río Grande and from the Old World as well.
The Romantic Zone is the hub for rainbow bars and sophisticated, gay-friendly restaurants. Here, many foreigners have—after falling in love with Puerto Vallarta's beaches, jungly green mountains, and friendly people—relocated to PV to fulfill their ultimate fantasy in the form of bistro, bar, or B&B. International savvy (and backing) teamed up with Mexican sensibilities has produced a number of successful gay businesses.
Gay hotels offer entertainment that allows you to party on-site without having to worry about getting "home." In addition to gay properties such as Blue Chairs and Casa Cupula, hotels like Los Cuatro Vientos, in Centro, and Quinta María Cortez above Playa Conchas Chinas are gay-friendly.
Gay Guide Vallarta (www.gayguidevallarta.com) has lots of listings for long- and short-term condo rentals.
Clubbing may be the favorite pastime in the Romantic Zone, but there's more than one way to cruise Vallarta. Gay boat tours keep the libations flowing throughout the day, and horses head for the hills for bird's-eye views of the beach.
Get the Scoop
Gay Guide Vallarta (www.gayguidevallarta.com) is an excellent and occasionally opinionated source of info about gay-friendly and gay-owned hotels, restaurants, and nightlife.
The Beach Scene
The undisputed yet unassuming king of daytime beach action is Blue Chairs. Shaded by the bright azure umbrellas that distinguish the restaurant/bar/hotel, boys from the 'hood mingle with asphalt cowboys from the Midwest.
Waiters range from snarky queens to cherubic heteros. Next door, the green umbrellas blend with the blue; at this end of the beach, though, it's pretty much gay no matter what color the umbrellas. This is PV's most popular rainbow beach scene, a magnet for first-timers as well as those sneaking away from social obligations in Guadalajara. South end of Los Muertos Beach, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta, 48350. 322/222-5040; 866/514-7969 in U.S. and Canada.
Sports and the Outdoors
Boana Hot Springs offers a twice-weekly romantic hot spring tour ($75). Included are transportation, a candlelight dinner, and open bar. In high season tours operate Tuesday and Friday, leaving at 4:45 pm and returning to PV at midnight. To hold a spot, make a deposit in person at Boana's office in Boana Torre Malibu, behind Blue Chairs on Highway 200 just south of the Romantic Zone. Boana Torre Malibu Condo-Hotel, Calle Amapas 325, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta, 48399. 322/222-0999. www.boana.net.
Diana's Gay Cruise is a booze-and-beach cruise (Thursdays and most Fridays also in high season) popular with lesbians and gays. Straights are also welcome, but minors are not. Go for the swimming, snorkeling, and lunch on the beach at Las Animas or another area beach, or for the unlimited national-brand beers and mixed drinks. Most of the time is spent on the boat. It's easiest to reserve tickets ($80) online using PayPal. Private tours are also available. 322/222-1510; 866/514-7969 in U.S. for reservations. www.dianastours.com.
On the South Side, gay-friendly Acqua Day Spa & Gym has a sauna and steam room in addition to free weights and machines, massage, body treatments, and more. It's $10 per day and is closed Sunday. Constitucion 450, Col. E. Zapata, Puerto Vallarta, 48350. 322/223-5270.
Serious muscle men and women head for Gold's Gym with aerobics, yoga, and Pilates as well as a sauna, steam, climbing wall, and hot tub. The $10-per-day ($28-per-week) price is reasonable, especially since it includes classes like yoga or Pilates. There's also free child care for toddlers to six year olds. Calle Pablo Picasso s/n, Plaza Las Glorias, Zona Hotelera, Puerto Vallarta, 48333. 322/225-6671.
For women only, Total Fitness Gym is sparkly clean and has a sauna and lots of classes: yoga, Spinning, Latin rhythms, Zumba, aerobics, and Pilates. The daily fee is $13, including classes, or $30 per week. It's closed Sunday. Calle Timon 1, at marina, Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta, 48335. 322/221-0770.
If you must break a sweat on your vacation, the best way is while experiencing a temazcal, an ancient Indian sweat lodge ceremony, at Terra Noble. The spa also has therapeutic massage, body treatments, and facials. Av. Tulipanes 595, Fracc. Lomas de Terra Noble, Puerto Vallarta, 48350. 322/223-0308. www.terranoble.com.
Three-hour, $45 horseback adventures with Boana Tours include one-way transportation to its ranch outside the city, a little more than an hour on the horse, a snack, and two drinks. You can take a swim in the river before returning on your own to PV. Most of the year there is just one daily afternoon tour at 2:15 pm. Torre Malibu, Carretera a Mismaloya, Puerto Vallarta, 48399. 322/222-0999. www.boana.net.
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