Can We Be Gay Here? Puerto Vallarta, México
Short answer, yes. From our hotel, restaurants, and people we met, Puerto Vallarta proved to be the perfect (and LGBT friendly) escape from the city for a few days. We landed late Thursday evening and didn’t quite get a full view of the city on our taxi ride from the airport to Costa Sur, but the warm air and smell of the salt water was a refreshing change from the cold mid-Atlantic spring we’ve experienced recently. After a long day of travel, we unloaded our luggage in our new home for the next five days: a lovely studio style room fit with a small kitchen and private balcony overlooking Costa Sur’s private beach. We promptly grabbed a margarita (or four) by the pool before getting some rest before our first day of exploring. Throughout our stay, we enjoyed slow mornings of breakfast on the patio, learning the mental math necessary to convert pesos into dollars, and taking in the spectacular views before hitting the town.
The local bus stops in front of Costa Sur every fifteen minutes, costing a convenient eight pesos. At 10:30, we climbed aboard and road down the winding hillside road at alarming speed into Old Town, the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s tourist district. The bus seemed to encompass all of Puerto Vallarta: locals, elderly tourists, and a smattering of gays all comingling together under the sun. On one of our bus rides we were seated next to two large buckets of fish, which were likely served that night as the fish of the day. During our stay, we ate plenty of Mexican fare, some authentic and some not. Quite a lot of restaurants in Puerto Vallarta are owned by expats who were so taken with the city’s laid back attitude, weather, and proximity to the sweeping ocean views that they decided to stay and open up shop.
The Old Town where we spent most our time away from the beach, was full of restaurants, art galleries, and artisan shops. Unfortunately, we never did make it to the drag shows we frequently saw advertised. See you next time, Hedda Lettuce & Co. The town is also haunted by the ghosts of Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and John Huston since the filming of Night of the Iguana in Puerto Vallarta. We brunched at the beautiful Casa Kimberly, the villa Taylor and Burton occupied during their time in Puerto Vallarta. In nearly every restaurant or bar, we were seldom the only queer couple, although quite regularly the only female queer couple. We never hesitated for a moment holding hands or acknowledging we were a couple during the entire trip. It’s always a luxury to travel abroad freely as an LGBTQ couple.
We left México with several treasures in tow from our handmade huaraches, ceramics, and a sun-face coconut shell. Despite a brief (read: 48 hours) episode of travel sickness, our time in Puerto Vallarta was a relaxing oasis from law school and the hustle of D.C. And while we wait for the summer weather to reach Virginia, our lingering sunburns will keep us warm.
-Kathryn & Hunter