HONEYMOON DESTINATION: PUERTO VALLARTA
Tequila, Tacos and Twerking:
For some, Puerto Vallarta conjures up images from “The Night of the Iguana,” of Charro stepping off the “Love Boat” or simply of a sleepy, and possibly tired, Mexican beach town. But the fact is: Puerto Vallarta is having a major renaissance as a party town, and above all, a gay party town.
P.V., located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the state of Jalisco, is one of Mexico’s oldest beach resorts. The town, still charming with its cobblestone streets, is nestled between a sweeping bay and dramatic mountains. Mega resorts mingle with intimate B&Bs just as Mexican families at their weekend homes do with tourists from around the world.
But, for a time, P.V. was the land that the chic forgot, making it an opportunity for: the gays!! Its laid back and accepting vibe, incredibly cheap prices, spectacular Mexican colonial and modern architecture and a stellar beach scene, made a place for where the boys could be. Over time, boys, girls, moms and dads, made their way to P.V.
Today, P.V. is a fantastic combination of John Huston bad-ass throwbacks, Mexican elites, waxed and waned party boys, charming arts and crafts and tequila, tacos and… twerking. This is a party town, with plenty of nightlife and possibly the best all-day gay beach party anywhere in the Americas.
So, let’s get you ready for a bachelor party, honeymoon or great vacation in P.V.!
Rule #1: You will want to stay in or near the Romantic Zone, the epicenter of the gay day and nightlife. This could mean you staying in any one of the nice hotels in this area, or rent a super-chic villas nearby, including John Huston’s very own. Here are some of our favorite spots:
Puerto Vallarta Beach Club & Villa Verano has outstanding service and possibly the best location in Puerto Vallarta. Perfect for traveling with other couples, or a large group. It is private estate that includes an 11-bedroom villa and four individual beachfront villas ranging from one to four bedrooms. What sets this place apart is its flawless service. Each villa comes with its own private butler. They not only attend, but anticipate every need. The Puerto Vallarta Beach Club & Villa Verano are like your own Mexican beachside Downton Abbey.
For an ideal and quintessentially romantic small hotel, the Hacienda San Angel delivers on charm and atmosphere. Situated near the Cathedral in old town, this very private hotel, defines boutique hotel. They also have a lovely rooftop restaurant that is perfect for special occasions.
Casa Cupula is a quaint 22-room, gay-owned boutique hotel, in the Amapas neighborhood. This place is “dog-friendly” which is unusual for PV and features a fantastic Friday night happy hour.
And, if renting you own private Ida-HO! is your preference, Villas of Distinction is a great resource for renting exquisite private homes and villas around Banderas Bay. You will want to carefully consider where each villa is located relative to the Romantic Zone. You won’t want to spend too much time in taxi, getting to and from the beach and restaurants. However, if you’re traveling with a big group, it’s hard to go wrong renting a villa. Most come with a staff that includes daily housekeeping and cooks.
Get Your Sun On:
There’s no better place to get your sun on than Los Muertos beach. This is the epicenter of the gay beach scene that starts revving up each day at high noon and goes strong until around 4:00 pm.
Head to the beach early to get your pick of the enviable chairs (and views). The most popular spot on the beach are the “Green Chairs”. They have better than average food and service, and the staff is always willing to accommodate a growing group. Good news, given you’re gonna be making new friends.
However, our favorite spot on the beach is the Sapphire Ocean Club. Their food and service are definitely the best, and while the music may not be as loud and the party may not be as intense, a nice wine list and friendly service more than make up for it.
If you decide to take a break from the gay runway of banana hammocks and recently trimmed chests, head down the beach to La Palapa. This is one of the original beachfront restaurants and is an ideal spot to chill-out with a traditional menu and refined service. You will probably want to put a shirt on for this one. Make sure you check out the vintage photographs of what used to be a quaint fishing village in the back hallway.
After several pitchers of margaritas and a few buckets of Mexican beer, nothing makes for a day into night transition more than a (hot) tub and a nap. There is almost always a house party of two that pop-up each weekend and your accommodations will, no doubt, feature a hammock!
Don’t Get Your Sun On:
When a break from the non-stop beach party is in order to recharge your batteries and connect with nature, you might consider one of Diana Tours for a boat trip around the bay. This is a really well run tour with friendly hosts. The Ocean Friendly Tours are excellent for whale watching and depending upon the season, you might just lay eyes upon the largest tail you have ever seen.
If an afternoon tequila hangover is not your idea of fun, you might consider the Centro Historico Art Walk from 6:00 pm – 10:00 pm every Wednesday night. This is a fun relaxed stroll through one of the oldest parts of town. Don’t miss the Galeria Colectika and the Loft Galeria. The former showcases the Mexico’s famous folk art, while the latter features contemporary art.
Time to Chow Down:
Once you’re through hair and make-up, it’ll be time to make your way to the variety of culinary options P.V. has to offer. They range from elegant and chic to ultra casual. Mix it up, and try them all. You will find anyplace you go, comfortable and tasty. Here are few of our favorites:
Joe Jack’s Fish Shack is simple, but superbly delicious, comfort food. Don’t miss the mind-blowing seafood chowder. Ask for a seat upstairs on the patio, where the party never stops.
Just down the street from Joe Jack’s is Pancho’s Tacos. It will be easy to find with the long line outside. Go early or late if you don’t do lines. Regardless, it is well worth the wait. Their menu is limited, but just enough so that you can enjoy every savory morsel of some of the best handmade tacos in the city.
Café De Artistes is the ultimate destination for a more refined evening, attentive service and an award-winning menu.
For a meal with a beautiful view of old town is Barcelona near the cathedral. It offers Spanish-style tapas in an open-air dining room. Their sangria is outstanding.
Like the name implies, Vista Grill offers a commanding view of Bandaras Bay. It is a bit of chore to get to due to where it’s located on the mountain side, but worth the short taxi ride. Make sure you arrive before sunset to enjoy the endless ribbons of orange and red as the sun sings goodnight.
Shake it Off:
After dinner, you will not have any trouble finding nighttime distractions. Between the live cabaret shows, cocktail lounges and late nightclubs, there are always opportunities to find plenty of mischief.
Once you’re done with dinner, follow the crowd to La Noche. Drinks begin flowing around 11:00 pm.
From La Noche, most men “suddenly find themselves” at the locally notorious stripper bars where imagination is completely unnecessary.
Once you’re done with the pole, make your way to the dancefloor at CC Slaughters. Late, late night and early morning are the name of the game in this town and this high-energy club will leave you dripping with sweat and reliving your college days.
Puerto Vallarta is a dream destination for a honeymoon that can be as mild or wild as you are (or recently stopped being). It is a perfect spot to set your course for adventure and your mind on your newlywed life! There’s a reason the Love Boat always made a stop here.