Mexico’s culture draws tens of millions of visitors every year, from its colourful Day of the Dead celebrations to the national reverence for gastronomy that means there is something delicious to taste around almost every corner. As a Latin American country, it might not be the first place that the phrase “LGBT+ travel destination” makes spring to mind, and of course, the Catholic church exerts a conservative influence, but legislatively it’s a different story.
Same-sex sexual activity has been legal here since 1871; same-sex marriage has been legal in Mexico City since 2010 and many states since; discrimination is outlawed.
Pride festivals are expanding across the country – so I decided to visit in June, Pride month, to see how Mexico fared as a long-haul travel destination for the LGBT+ community (that’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, plus a number of groups with other orientations and identities).
My first stop was Puerto Vallarta, put on the map by Elizabeth Taylor, who frequented it with Richard Burton in the Sixties. It now has a reputation as a gay-friendly seaside resort town. I’d been told to expect possibly the best fish tacos of my life, and spent a sensational few hours on the Mex-ology Vallarta Food Tour (£56), which gloriously combined tequila and tacos.
I discovered El Cuñado, the oldest (and best) street stand in town, and also La Palapa, a favourite dining haunt of Taylor’s, where days before, the annual Pride festival had seen drag queens race up the cobbled hill in stilettos. Along from here I found Mantamar Beach Club, popular with an older, gay male crowd, and its specifically LGBT-friendly hotel Almar, which hosts same-sex weddings and pool parties for Pride at its rooftop bar.