Last updated: 01:00 PM ET, Mon March 21 2016

Puerto Vallarta’s LGBT Pride

Destination & Tourism | Dawna L. Robertson | March 21, 2016

Puerto Vallarta’s LGBT Pride

Photo courtesy of Thinkstock

When the 2016 edition of Vallarta Pride takes to the streets of Puerto Vallarta’s La Romantica Zone from May 16-30, a voice of unity will resonate via multiple messages. Chiming in with Pride’s “We Are One Family” theme is Jalisco state’s legalization of same-sex marriage on Jan. 27. Puerto Vallarta’s home state joined Chihuahua, Coahuila and Quintana Roo, as well as the country’s capital, Mexico City, in this milestone recognition.

Considered the largest LGBT celebration in the region, Vallarta Pride welcomed some 15,000 revelers in 2015. This lively Pacific Coast destination is once again expected to burst at the seams — especially in its La Zona Romantic “gayborhood” that will host the event.

READ MORE: Ellen Page Set To Take World On Inspiring 'Gaycation'

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board (PVTB) will team with private sector companies, city organizations, and the destination’s local and international LGBT communities in this 15-day fest honoring sexual diversity.

“Vallarta Pride has organically grown to become one of the most successful events in Puerto Vallarta, attracting thousands of international visitors who enjoy diverse offerings in the destination,” said Agustin Alvarez, PVTB’s director. “The festival attracts national and international celebrities, and media who put a spotlight on Puerto Vallarta during Pride. And that is good for everyone.”

Activities scheduled for 2016 include a local designers fashion show, circuit party, film festival and drag derby. A full calendar is available at Vallarta Pride’s website at

Over the past few decades, Puerto Vallarta has evolved into a top Mexico LGBT winter beach destination, welcoming diversity with a broad array of LGBT friendly nightclubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, entertainment and services in La Zona Romantica. 

“Puerto Vallarta has been recognized internationally as the friendliest city in Mexico. And this is because our people are so welcoming of everyone that comes to our shores,” Alvarez said.

“Our LGBT community has always been a part of Puerto Vallarta and its events and festivals. It is a pleasure to see families, boomers, locals, expats and lovers all commune in the Malecon daily,” Alvarez continued. “And this is also the case during Pride’s fashion shows and performances in the park.”

LGBT Businesses Booming

Puerto Vallarta’s La Zona Romantica is home to more than 70 businesses targeting LGBT clientele. During the past six months, the destination has witnessed an increase in its offerings with three hotels, a boat tour, bars and a concierge service.

“Puerto Vallarta offers so much to its visitors, we want our LGBT guests to feel welcomed at every and any tour, hotel or activity in the city and its surrounding (areas),” said Vicente Palacios, director of Vallarta Paradise. “We work to ensure that our guests are welcome with the highest standards and are safe.”

On the accommodations front, nine-suite Casa Kimberly has transformed the former home of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton into a luxury boutique hotel: Garlands Del Rio B&B, and Almar Resort Luxury All Suites & Spa. Spirits flow at La Alhambra and Blondies Loft, while the seven-hour On Bay Boat Tour splashes as a party on water with gogo dancers, local DJs, lunch and visit to a private beach.

As a festive feather in its “Mexico’s LGBT Capital” cap, Vallarta Paradise has debuted as a boutique destination management company, meeting planner and tour operator. The gay-owned and operated company creates customized experiences for its LGBT guests and other travel providers.

“Puerto Vallarta offers so much to its visitors, said Palacios. “We want our LGBT guests to feel welcomed at every tour, hotel or activity, the city and its surroundings. We work to ensure that our guests are welcomed with the highest standards and are safe.” For more details on the Vallarta Paradise concierge service, visit

Costa Sur Resort’s “On the House” Weddings

A member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, Costa Sur Resort & Spa is saluting the legalization of same-sex marriage by offering complimentary wedding packages. Couples booking 10 rooms or more for a minimum of two nights are privy to a complimentary wedding banquet, centerpieces and four-hour open bar.

On the wedding night, the resort will decorate the couple’s room, and treat them with complimentary chocolate-dipped strawberries and sparkling white wine. All-inclusive packages are from $135 per person nightly, based on double occupancy.

“Costa Sur has been around for many years, and we have many repeat and multi- generations returning to the property,” said Gerardo Cilveti, the resort’s general manager. “The LGBT market has grown into our consumer base, as the children and even grandkids of our guests continue the tradition of returning to Puerto Vallarta and staying with us. As a result, we have hosted multiple gay and lesbian weddings where entire families feel comfortable.”

READ MORE: Survey: Most LGBT Travelers Won’t Visit Places Where Homosexuality is Illegal

Of Puerto Vallarta’s 22,000-plus hotel rooms, more than half are in four- and five-star properties — including Hotel Mousai, the Pacific Coast’s first AAA Five Diamond resort.

For a full list of IGLTA hotels, resorts and activities, visit the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association website at  

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