AARP and Expedia pick best places for LGBT retirement and travel
Puerto Vallarta has been named as one of the top places for LGBT seniors to travel or retire according to AARP and Expedia.
With a growing LGBT aging population (there will be an estimated 7 million LGBT elders living in the U.S. by 2030), AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) and Expedia travel embarked on compiling a list for LGBT retirement and travel. They looked for LGBT-friendly destinations that are open and inclusive. They identified these destinations as having progressive legislation, gay-focused, and gay-run businesses, and welcoming attitudes.
Puerto Vallarta ranked 11th on the list, and was only one of three that is outside of the United States (see the full list here).
In describing Puerto Vallarta, they say that its “gay roots date back to the 1980s when expats began building gay businesses in the area. Then in 2016, the state of Jalisco legalized same-sex marriage. The beach town continues to thrive as an LGBT destination, becoming a favorite among tourists and retirees alike.”
Play: Zona Romantica is the gay neighborhood, but join an LGBT-specific tour to find out more about the area. Stake a spot down at Playa de los Muertos and stop in one of the many gay bars when you get thirsty. There are tons of attractions in Puerto Vallarta. Between exploring Isla del Rio Cuale and nearby Vallarta Botanical Gardens, you’ll soon realize the allure of this coastal hot spot.
Stay: There aren’t any LGBT retirement home options, but it’s very welcoming to gay retirees. Many expats enjoy the city for its affordable living and easy access to healthcare.
Mark your calendar: Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride is a week-long celebration that takes place each May. Festivities include parades, cultural events, parades, and more!
And here’s the full list:
- Palm Springs, California
- Provincetown, Massachusetts
- Stockholm, Sweden
- Guerneville, California
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Toronto, Canada
- Eureka Springs, Arkansas
- Wilton Manors, Florida
- Austin, Texas
- New York City, New York
- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Here’s Why Puerto Vallarta Is the Gay Beach Capital of Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is one of the favorite Mexican tourist destinations of the LGBT community. There are hotels, bars, nightclubs, beaches, and even drinks specifically for LGBT travelers, and due to the safety and welcoming environment for these guests, it is the first city in Mexico to receive the Gay Travel Approved distinction by GayTravel.com. Here we discover how and why Puerto Vallarta became the Gay Capital of Mexico.
In the south of Puerto Vallarta you will find the “Old Town,” also called “The Romantic Zone,” the tourist area favored by expats and foreigners who want to soak up local traditions. The Old Puerto Vallarta is also considered the gay neighborhood since 1980, when the gay community and retired Canadians and Americans bought land and properties in order to create gay-friendly businesses. Today there’s a wide variety of attractions with this focus, including bars, restaurants, stores, nightclubs, and both budget and boutique hotels.
In this zone is nestled the popular beach Playa de los Muertos, which, although not exclusively gay, for the last 20 years has been known as a gay-friendly beach (also called Blue Chairs, because of the many blue chairs placed by a gay resort which bears the same name), mainly in the high season, from November to March.
Why is this pristine beach the LBGT meeting point? Because the gay-friendly beachfront hotels in the area causes—and guarantees—a concentration of LGBT tourists, bringing a multicultural ambience where members of this community will be respected without discrimination. In the morning they can socialize and enjoy the party atmosphere, and in the afternoon walk holding hands under the dazzling sunset, in a romantic atmosphere free of hostility. Such is the high demand for LGBT-friendly vacation spots that the area has been extended to include the green chairs and as far as the north coast, in the elegant Oceano Sapphire Beach Club, owned by gays.
More than just the beach
Unlike certain countries, laws against homosexuality never existed in Mexico. There is, however, a strong macho culture and religious influence which disapproves it—nonetheless the locals show respect. Under these circumstances, the growing community has led LGBT organizations to work to promote a change of culture in the pursuit of equality. Their work has gotten results: they have achieved recognition of gay rights, and implemented laws against the provocation and incitement of hate or violence against LGBTs, and also to guarantee equality in employment and public accomodation and services. Even more, in 2013 Puerto Vallarta legalized civil union between LGBT couples, followed by same-sex marriage in 2016.
This city organized its first Gay Pride March and has hosted the Pink & Proud Women’s Party—the equivalent lesbian celebration—for the last four years, with assistance from the local Canadian and American communities. The multiple events in support of the LGBT community have marked out Puerto Vallarta as the “Mexican San Francisco.
The LGBT tourism industry
For the last 10 years, the number of LGBT visitors has increased in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco, and in order to meet demand, the number of LGBT-friendly resorts and touristic attractions has also increased. Now three of every 10 hotels in Puerto Vallarta are LGBT-friendly, and most also offer weddings and other symbolic ceremonies. Bars, nightclubs and other amenities are already focused on this market, and there are also tours—like the Gay VIP Bars Tour—and even drinks—like the Gay Tequila and the Gay Energy Drink—to make these guests feel extra welcome. As a result, Puerto Vallarta now hosts International LGBT Business Expos, with important conferences and events, including fashions shows, beach parties and music festivals to celebrate this booming market.
Puerto Vallarta: An open door for LGBT tourists
Some other cities have recognized the demand, and are now attempting to attract LGBT tourism to their destinations. Puerto Vallarta is not letting it happen: diverse businesses—no matter the sexual preference—are joining forces to create organizations to promote this targeted brand of tourism. The market gives consumers what they want, and they have identified this growing target and will not let it go. Beyond the marketing, Puerto Vallarta became a platform to support gay rights, and the LGBT community knows it and feels welcome here. What really keeps the LGBT community hitting Puerto Vallarta is the activism, respect, and freedom they find in this beautiful paradise.
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