The newest and only luxury beachfront LGBTQ hotel in Puerto Vallarta will make your tub bubbleth over. With hot tubs in 29 of its 78 suites; an infinity pool (featuring swim-up bar and more hot tubs) off the sands of Los Muertos Beach; member access to Mantamar Beach Club, the premier beach club in Zona Romantica; and a rooftop bar with heart-warming sunset views, drag shows and — yes, even more hot tubs — the Almar Resort is making sassy classy in Mexico’s favorite gay beach retreat…
A Perfect Day at the Almar Resort in Puerto Vallarta
I’ve recently had conversations with several gay men in their 20’s about the necessity, or lack thereof, of the “gay hotel.” First, I think it is truly amazing that many of our younger gay peers feel so completely comfortable in their skin in any surrounding. I think it is tangible evidence of progress. And one I celebrate—wholeheartedly—as I toast with my frozen cosmopolitan, pomegranate margarita or glass of crisp sauvignon blanc. But these conversations have made me examine why I personally am still drawn to the congregation of gay. Now, I love to travel often and on many different types of trips, frequented by many different types of people. And I don’t ever want that to change. But yet I find myself consistently drawn to the comradery of the gay hotel.
I’d guess this is greatly generational. Perhaps it’s the childhood years of being schooled in the appropriate ways boys gesture. Or the exhausting energy expended in youth hoping no one will figure you out. Or the many times you heard the f-word and continued walking pretending you weren’t the subject. And I am thrilled if kids these days don’t grow up with any of these same concerns. Because though I have never been targeted or mocked as a traveling adult, this well-adjusted gay New Yorker still can’t wait to return to Puerto Vallarta or Key West or Provincetown.
There is a world of difference between not feeling endangered and feeling truly welcome. I am so accustomed to my life in New York City, where I never worry about holding my boyfriend’s hand as we stroll through Hell’s Kitchen or fret if my shorts are the appropriate length on a hot, summer day (I’m bringing the 5” inseam back!). With so many elements of which to keep track on vacation—currency exchanges, language barriers, convoluted directions—watching yourself so you are not watched seems like wasted energy.
I prefer to spend that time meeting new friends—many of whom, especially now in the age of social media, will continue to be part of my life beyond my departure from the destination. I have been fortunate to share unforgettable moments with some pretty fantastic people who I may or may not ever see again. But if I ever visit their home cities, I guarantee you they will be my first call. Because they are now part of my community.
So, I will continue to travel everywhere and stay anywhere, but I will always have a soft spot for the gay hotel. And I hope all of our generations can join in the spirited, tipsy conversations which could never be replicated on an app or anywhere else, other than at that pool, with that fruity cocktail in hand, while blasting that Deborah Cox remix that will forever give us life.
The closest I’ve ever come to flying: parasailing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It was gorgeous and peaceful (and very comfy in that harness). And those views of Bay of Banderas and Playa de los Muertos were stunning. The entire ride lasted about 10 minutes but I would’ve stayed up there all day….
Activo o Pasivo? Regardless of your preference, Puerto Vallarta will satisfy. Whether swinging through treetops above mountainous jungles or cruising hidden coves off Mexico’s Pacific rim, Puerto Vallarta provides a vacation of complete versatility. Flaunting its natural beauty, colonial charm and cosmopolitan sophistication, Mexico’s premier gay destination will quench both your thirst for adventure and desire for relaxation.
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If variety is the spice of life, gay Vallarta just got tastier. Casa Cupula (http://www.casacupula.com), the decidedly upscale, boutique gay hotel in Puerto Vallarta, has opened its new restaurant Taste to the public. Perched on a secluded hillside, overlooking the Bay of Banderas, Taste is all about options. Choose to dine in the newly redesigned intimate dining room or under the sunshine/moonlight on the adjoining terrace.
What are you hungry for? Taste is prepared to satisfy all your culinary cravings— serving a sampling of Mexican, American, Asian and South American cuisine, available in both entrée and tapas (or “taste”) sized portions. With options including Shrimp Stuffed Ancho Peppers, Lamb Lollipops, Chicken Curry Samosas and Traditional Peruvian Ceviche, “you can Taste your way around the world in one meal, perfect for people on vacation who can’t return frequently,” says restaurant manager Erick Martinez.
Also, for the first time, the Sunday Mimosa Brunch previously enjoyed exclusively by hotel guests, is now open to everyone. The casa will keep the bubbles flowing, while you chat with old friends or make new ones at the community dining table. Afterwards, you are invited to work on your tan poolside while Casa Cupula hosts its weekly Sunday Pool Party for the boys (and girls) of Puerto Vallarta.
Doomsday predictions, economic woes and natural disasters got you down? Take a breath, relax and try to remember that you will never be as young as you are right now. So stop texting, disconnect the Blue Tooth, and activate your “Out of Office” reply. It’s time for a well-deserved break in a place where Blackberries are fruits, not handhelds; and handholding a fruit is a Public Display of Affection not a Personal Digital Assistant. Welcome to Puerto Vallarta!
Mexico’s premier gay destination is booming with new restaurants, fresh sights and revamped classics. In Puerto Vallarta you can relax by the beach, explore the great outdoors, savor gourmet meals and party all night long.
You like these options, don’t you? Come on. Stop and smell the flowers and discover why this sweet, sexy town is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Charm and Sophistication
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Madre Mountains, Puerto Vallarta combines the charm of colonial Mexico with the sophistication of a cosmopolitan, gay destination.
Start with a tan at the Blue Chairs Beach, truly the gay hotspot of the Mexican Riviera. Enjoy food and drinks served chair-side while you sizzle with the beauties of gay Vallarta.
Wind down your beach day with an unobstructed view of the sunset, hot strippers and zany drag queens on the rooftop deck of the Blue Chairs Hotel.
For those looking to explore the outdoors, Puerto Vallarta offers a little something for everyone. Take a walk on the wild side with the new GO GAY! Jungle Adventure Tour . Feel that heart pumping as you soar 250 feet above the jungle terrain on a 500-foot long zip-line. Perfect for both Tarzan AND Jane, this full-day expedition revs you up and cools you down.
After your adrenaline rush, chill with a tequila sampling, traditional Mexican grill lunch, and a splash in a private waterfall and swimming hole. Created by My Own Concierge, Vallarta’s premiere gay concierge service, this tour will leave you a little wet and dirty – just how you like it.
“You will leave happy and come back.”
Too intense for you? Unwind on Diana’s Tours full-day gay cruise. Your morning starts with continental breakfast and continues with an open bar as you glide on the Bay of Banderas and through its hidden coves. Later, debark on a snorkeling excursion and lunch on shore before heading back from your sun-soaked day.
I hope you are hungry because Puerto Vallarta’s restaurants are cooking up some of Mexico’s best meals. First, say yes to the new kid in town: No Way José delivers on a simple promise, “You will leave happy and come back!”
Winner of Virtual Vallarta’s Reader’s Choice Award for “Best New Restaurant 2010,” José serves contemporary Mexican cuisine that combines tradition and ingenuity. Savor the secret family recipe of Sopa Montezuma, a cactus soup with deliciously seasoned shrimp, before enjoying the grilled Mahi Mahi Carlotta, served on a bed of sautéed pumpkin flowers with a creamy mango sauce.
“Best Mexican Restaurant” Five Years in a Row
A quick-climbing classic on the Puerto Vallarta dining scene, gay-owned El Arrayán has won “Best Mexican Restaurant” five years in a row!
El Arrayán’s authentic Mexican menu blends pre-Hispanic ingredients (chile, cactus paddles, bean and corn) with European-introduced elements (pork, beef and cheese) now considered to be Mexican staples. Embark on a culinary tour of the country’s regions – Plantain Empanadas from Veracruz, Chapulines Tacos from Oaxaca, Cochinita Pibil from Yucatan – while sipping on their trademark margarita, made with tangy arrayán fruit.
It’s party time. Find some romance in the thriving gay nightlife of Zona Romantica. Ease into the evening with a martini at the relaxed lounge, La Noche, before hitting the dance floor at the new and improved, Paco’s Ranch.
That’s right, after fifteen years, Paco has moved across the street to an exciting, renovated location. Mingle with the locals on the dance floor or enjoy the show from the upstairs mezzanine.
Like things a little bigger? Club Mañana, the largest gay nightclub in Puerto Vallarta continues to expand with its latest indoor “Barcito,” providing a cool, air-conditioned break from your steamy Mexican night.
Don’t stop till you get enough: If you are craving a more personal encounter, make some new friends with the dancers at Picante and Anthropology strip bars.
You must be exhausted. It’s time to retire to your suite at Puerto Vallarta’s premier gay luxury boutique hotel, Casa Cupula. Yes, Puerto Vallarta has many gay guesthouse options, but none are as fabulous as Casa Cupula.
Just a ten-minute walk from the Blue Chairs Beach and the nightlife hot spots of Zona Romantica, Casa Cupula is close to all the action while providing the exclusivity of a hillside hideaway. It’s rare to find a gay hotel with five-star amenities. Enjoy the Cupula classics: chill by any of the three pools, snuggle in the seven-man (or woman) hot-tub, sweat in the full-service Pump Gym, or delight in a sunset-lit dinner at the newly unveiled Taste restaurant.
Serving American, Asian, Mexican and Italian specialties, in both entrée and tapas-sized portions, Taste is Casa Cupula’s latest temptation for a satisfying vacation.
Beware: once you check-in, you may never want to leave. And with free WiFi, delicious meals, spectacular sunsets, and the best accommodations gay Vallarta has to offer, you may wisely choose to make Cupula, your casa away from home.
Feel better? Recharged? Ready to conquer the world? Good. A little break in Puerto Vallarta does the body a lot of good. Now get back to work so you can plan your next visit.
This article was originally published in EDGE. Click on photo below to visit their website.
Ivan Quintanilla is published in the online magazine, TravelSquire.com
The term “Eco-Tourism” can trigger fear in many travelers. Sure, we all want to protect and celebrate the beauty of Mother Earth. But don’t worry, you don’t have to live in a tree house, drink rainwater and eat wild berries to enjoy nature on your vacation. Puerto Vallarta integrates an unspoiled environment with cosmopolitan sophistication, creating the perfect introduction to eco-friendly tourism. This unique destination allows you to explore the “green” through day excursions and still sport your little black dress at night.
Nestled between the Pacific Ocean and Sierra Madre Mountains, Puerto Vallarta is blessed with crystal clear beaches, tropical forests and secluded hideaways. Add a thriving art scene, elegant hotels, world-class restaurants and colonial character, and you create an ecological paradise for even the most refined urbanite.
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