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Into the Night: 24 Hrs in Puerto Vallarta

by Matthew Wexler
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday Mar 23, 2017

One of Riviera Nayarit's greatest assets is its close proximity to the bustling city of Puerto Vallarta, so be sure to add a few extra days to experience its inviting pulse.

Puerto Vallarta received a firmly planted kiss from Hollywood in 1963 with the filming of Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana" starring Richard Burton, Ava Gardner and Deborah Kerr, and since then the spotlight has shown bright for an influx of star-struck tourists.

Casa Cupula

Today's Puerto Vallarta offers plenty of big resorts. But consider staying at a boutique property, such as the gay-owned Casa Cupula, which captures the city's unique charm. Founded in 2002, the property offers 23 rooms and suites, along with the on-site restaurant Taste and Pump Gym.

Its hillside location offers gorgeous ocean views and is within walking distance of the Mantamar Beach Club (the "it" place for LGBT day drinking and people-watching) as well as the gay bars.

"Puerto Vallarta offers a vital and growing 'gayborhood' in the Zona Romantica featuring bars, cafes, restaurants, shops, services, tours and activities and lodging. Unlike manufactured giant corporate tourist destinations, Puerto Vallarta maintains an accessible human scale and uniqueness -- some might say quirkiness -- that immediately endears it to the LBGT traveler," says Principal and Founder Donald R. Pickens. "Casa Cupula offers a level of individualized, luxury and personal service that is becoming a lost art in franchised properties. We treat every guest as a friend."

Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping

Things can get particularly friendly at night, when Puerto Vallarta rivals Provincetown, Palm Springs and Key West with its options for entertainment and bar hopping. Best to enlist the aid of a professional, such as Tim Wilson, who founded Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping as a way to introduce visitors to the myriad good times.

The evening starts with a three-course dinner then hits five additional spots. As founder of GayPV Magazine, Wilson knows everyone and offers a terrific introduction to the growing list of venues. Stops may include La Noche, a three-level complex with entertainment, terrace and DJs; Fiesta Bar & Lounge, which recently celebrated its two-year anniversary; and Reinas, a kitschy Anglophile tribute to Elizabeth II, where you're likely to spot many of the A-list drag entertainers in town, including Chi Chi Rones and Mama Tits.

Whether you're cabana-bound or looking for an adventure on sea -- land or man -- Riviera Nayarit and a swanky sidestep to Puerto Vallarta delivers an unforgettable south-of-the-border experience.

Matthew Wexler is EDGE's National Style and Travel Editor. More of his writing can be found at Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @wexlerwrites.


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