Interesting Cities to Visit in Mexico
Puerto Vallarta is perhaps the most popular destination for the LGBTQ+ visitor to Mexico. The city’s Romantic Zone is a popular spot for LGBTQ+ people during the day with its panoramic sunset views of the bay. After the sun sets you can enjoy vibrant nightlife nearly every night of the week at its many popular bars and clubs where both locals and tourists mingle.
Mexico City is one of the world’s most populous cities and also has a large LGBTQ+ population within its famous Zona Rosa neighborhood where over 50 LGBTQ+ bars and dance clubs exist. The local pride festival and march attracts upwards of 350,000 people. Aside from its vibrant and visible LGBTQ+ scene, you’ll find art galleries, historical museums, world-renowned culinary experiences and entertainment throughout the bustling capital of Mexico.
Los Cabos is another top destination for travelers and is located in Baja California. In Los Cabos you will find natural island attractions as well as scuba activities, opportunities to swim with whale sharks and zip lining. Visitors can also enjoy scenic walks along a beautiful boardwalk with plenty of shopping and nightlife options.
Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and offers similar amenities, galleries, clubs, restaurants and entertainment as Mexico City. This city has a young energy with modern art and architecture that line the streets as well as impressive historical museums and palaces.
Cancun is located in the Yucatan Peninsula and is probably the most recognized city for partygoers from the United States. If you’re interested in the best resorts, swimming in cavernous ancient cenotes and don’t necessarily seek a large local LGBTQ+ community, Cancun might be a good option for you.
The vibrant colonial city of Merida, Mexico is a gem that you might be overlooking. The city is a true blend of Mayan and Spanish Culture. The Yucatan capital city is also within driving distance to many archaeological sites such as Chichen Itza and Uxmal. Every Sunday, the main road through the city closes down for a citywide bike ride and a street festival complete with food and dancing.
Interesting Attractions to Visit in Mexico
LAS ISLAS MARIETAS
The hidden beach at Las Islas Marietas is a national park preserve popular with tourists. In order to get to this hidden beach, you must take a small panga boat from Puerto Vallarta. After coasting through the bay, you are dropped off near the edge of the island where you swim through a tunnel cave and arrive to beautiful clear blue waters and sandy beach, only seen from the sky through its donut hole opening. You’ll discover why they call this Lover’s Beach. The best time to go would be during the summer when the tide is low and waters are calm.
Mayan ruins tower over the Caribbean Sea in Tulum and this site is one of the most well-preserved and last temples built by the Mayans. This pyramid temple hangs off the cliff over spectacular blue waters. Tulum is really trendy with a distinct hipster vibe. You’ll find vegan and vegetarian food here more easily than many other destinations in Mexico
The Great Pyramids of the Sun and Moon in Teotihuacan, also known as the City of the Gods, is a must see when you’re in Mexico City. Teotihuacan is home to some of the largest ancient pyramids in the world and was the largest Pre-Columbian city in the Americas, with an estimated population of 150,000 at its peak. It’s a 40km drive by taxi or bus. Try to arrive in the morning to beat the heat and crowds. Save time to eat at the Restaurant La Gruta located deep inside a subterranean cave, illuminated by two natural skylights.
GRUTAS DE TOLANTONGO
Grutas de Tolantongo in Hidalgo is another trip north of Mexico City, where you can find beautiful hot springs and thermal baths nestled along a mountainside. Entry into the tunnels to the Grutas is said to be similar to taking a hot shower or entering a steam bath. You can stay at one of the three budget-friendly resorts located near the Grutas.
MUSEO FRIDA KAHLO: THE BLUE HOUSE
Located in one of the oldest and most beautiful neighborhoods in Mexico City, the Blue House was made into a museum in 1958, four years after the death of Frida Kahlo. Today it is one of the most popular museums in the Mexican capital. The Museo Frida Kahlo preserves the personal objects that reveal the private universe of Latin America’s most celebrated woman artist. The Blue House also contains some of the painter’s most important works.
CANCUN’S UNDERWATER MUSEUM
Cancun’s underwater museum is a sight to see. You can view it by glass bottom boat, scuba or snorkeling trips. The museum has an impressive 500 statues and monuments underwater and was created to form a natural coral reef by Dr. Jaime Gonzalez MIki in 2008. The museum brings awareness to coral reefs and benefits their protection.
SWIM IN A CENOTE
A cenote is an underground sinkhole filled with fresh water. These underground caves and rivers can be found throughout the Yucatan Peninsula. Some of the cenotes have an entrance fee and are cleaned up for tourists while many others remain popular with locals or as a stop for small group tours.
Experiencing Mexican Food
Mexican cuisine has become world renowned with famous dishes including guacamole, tacos and nachos or even celebratory shots of Jose Cuervo tequila. However, you will be pleased to know that Mexico offers a wide variety of dishes, with each region having its own take on the popular tacos, quesadillas, fried seafood and desserts.
At indoor restaurants in Mexico City and along the coast you will find a variety of restaurants to suit every need. Eating outside, you will find an assortment of typical street foods that are the essence of Mexican food: quick, tasty and inexpensive. Staple dishes are usually made up of the following in different assortments: onions and cilantro, sauces that are based on tomatoes or fresh chilies, and different types of cheese accompanied by seafood or meat in a corn or flour tortilla.
Not-to-miss foods include street tacos wherever you are in Mexico, as well as pescado frito (whole fried fish) along the coast. Try the spice if you can! Even though you’ll hear stories of people getting sick while eating or drinking water in Mexico, truth be told this happens less often than you think. Drinking plenty of filtered or bottled water, along with not drinking alcohol on an empty stomach, can help you avoid any unnecessary travel sickness.
Tips and Safety Considerations for LGBTQ+ Visitors to Mexico
During your visit to Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara you will be pleasantly surprised at how vibrant and present the LGBTQ+ community is, including the array of pride festivals, clubs and shops catered to the LGBTQ+ community.
Like most countries, the acceptance of LGBTQ+ people can vary greatly based on the region. Large cities in Mexico have more developed scenes and are typically more welcoming than smaller cities and rural locations. In certain neighborhoods of Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Puerto Vallarta, LGBTQ+ people can be open without fear of harassment. However, as a tourist to any country, it’s best to get a sense of the area you’re in and be cautious with public displays of affection as well as being respectful of the people and cultures around you.
LGBTQ+ Travel Tips for Mexico
Mexico is one of the most welcoming and affirming destinations in the world. They have anti-discrimination policies, legal recognition of same-sex couples, same-sex adoption and marriage equality in some states. While they are still making progress in transgender rights, the indigenous cultures have long-standing acceptance of gender and sexual diversity.
Visiting one or all of the recommended cities will ensure you have a great time, making new friends and memories along the way. You will find one of Latin America’s largest gay pride festivals in Mexico City each June, as well as Bear Pride, which overlaps gay pride. If you aren’t visiting during Pride, Zona Rosa is Mexico City’s gay neighborhood. This area tends to be young, hip and welcoming. If you’re looking for LGBTQ+ nightlife, this is the most likely place to find it.
Gay Pride in Puerto Vallarta is celebrated in the middle of May each year. The heart of the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta turns into a block party that brings larger crowds, year after year. The event is definitely a must see if you’re in town because the entire community is out celebrating. During June, Guadalajara celebrates their gay pride one week before Mexico City’s Pride Festival.
Jet De La Isla has 15 years of travel around the world under his belt and is a professional boat tour guide in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico as his main profession. Along with running top rated boat tours with gay tour guides in Puerto Vallarta, he also owns a private ATV tour company as well as opening Mexico’s first gay hostel, Jet’s Gay Hostel. His love of nature and tech has made him a noteworthy contributor to LGBTQ+ travel. You can follow him on Instagram @jetAroundTheWorld
Featured image by Merida Gay Tours via Instagram