One of my favorite places to visit for an easy getaway from San Diego is beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I feel that Puerto Vallarta is much more authentically Mexican than Cancun or Cabo San Lucas and my first choice for a LGBT+ friendly vacation. An easy 2 hour and 20-minute direct flight on Alaska Airlines from San Diego or fly on Volaris from Tijuana. I prefer to travel one way on Alaska Airlines, which departs San Diego at 10:25am, arriving in PV at 3:30pm and return on Volaris to enjoy the last day until your 7:30pm flight home (which arrives at 8:30pm in Tijuana Airport), an easy return through CBX (Cross Border Express).
Did you know that Puerto Vallarta is known as The Friendliest City in the World, thanks to the warmth of its people and the welcoming of its visitors with open arms. For more than 60 years it has established itself as one of the LGBT+ community’s favorite places. Besides its warm hospitality, Puerto Vallarta is a destination with lots of allure, from restaurants and bars, to spas and exclusive tours to explore and admire the natural beauty and biodiversity that this privileged place has to offer. You can stroll along the Malecon under the sunset light, explore its streets full of lovely surprises, savor the gastronomy of its restaurants and bars, enjoy the nightlife in the Romantic Zone or take a moment for relaxation at its world-class spas or a massage by the sea.
My favorite Adult-Only properties located in the Zona Romantica area (or close by) are:
Almar Luxury Resort LGBT Beach Front resort
Villa Premiere Boutique Hotel
My favorite properties in Riviera Nayarit/Punta Mita
Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit
Marival Armony Luxury Resort
St. Regis Punta Mita
Puerto Vallarta has so many great restaurants to choose from. Here are my favorites:
For an exquisite Culinary experience:
– Cafe des Artistes
– Barrio Bistro by Memo Wulff
– Casa Kimberly, you have to experience this place!
– Le Kliff
– Tre Piatti
Great Dining Experiences:
– Joe Jacks Fish Shack
– Tacos Sonorita Olas Altas
– Barcelona Tapas
– La Tosca
– Mariscos el Guero
– Tacos Revolution
– Coco’s kitchen
– Vitea Oceanfront Bistro
My favorite bars and nightclubs are CC Slaughters, Industry and Garbo Martini Bar; make sure to say hello to German, the owner.
If you get tired of the bars and beaches, treat yourself to a tour. Puerto Vallarta, located on the coast of Jalisco, is not far from many of the hundreds of small-batch distilleries that produce tequila throughout the state. Besides tequila, Jalisco is also known for the production of raicilla, another agave spirit that has been passed down for generations. In 2019, the spirit was officially recognized with designation of origin status.
Here are a few ways to make the most out of your margarita or raicilla cocktail when visiting Puerto Vallarta this fall.
Get out to El Tuito
Roughly two hours south of Puerto Vallarta, in the hills of Cabo Corrientes near the stunning Costalegre, is the tranquil village called El Tuito. While heading out to the remote, wild and rugged beaches of southern Jalisco, it is worth stopping in El Tuito for a taste of local raicilla. Travelers can visit raicilla producers for personalized tasting sessions, along with sampling homemade panela cheese and traditional pastries.
Puerto Vallarta Walking Tours is offering a Raicilla in El Tuito excursion in the fall, led by professional photographer Sandra Cesca. The small-group tour is roughly six hours and includes a visit to Mi Pretexto, a 20-year-old raicilla distillery and farm to see how the spirit is produced as well as a stop at a family-run panaderia for homemade empanadas. Tours begin at $70 and include lunch at a restaurant.
Taste tequila in Puerto Vallarta
Of course, you don’t have to go far from the beach in order to get some great tequila (or raicilla or mezcal). Vallarta Tequila Tastings serves up sommelier-style, personalized tequila tastings across the city, from the privacy of guests’ casas or rented villas. The tastings include a range of gourmet experiences, including the Spirits of Mexico sampling, which includes a walk-through of the production of agave-based spirits. There is also the Tequila Food Pairing, which pairs four artisanal tequilas with Mexican cuisine, and the Tequila Chocolate Pairing, which pairs the earthy beverage with sweet, handcrafted chocolate.
Visit a raicilla plantation
Beginning in 2022, Hacienda El Divisadero will welcome guests for epicurean experiences, starting with a breakfast of handmade tortillas, cheeses and fruit before hopping on horseback and riding with a charro to a river for a refreshing dip. The experience includes a visit to the on-site raicilla distillery for a tasting.
Transfers are provided back to Puerto Vallarta, or guests can stay in a rustic cabin and be the first to see the production of raicilla on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.