I am writing this article from the sandy beaches of the Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta. Chips and guacamole sit in front of me as I watch the people pass by and swim in the warm ocean and I think to myself – How in the world can I be so lucky? To say that I have recently fallen in love with PV is an understatement. I love it so much that I just bought a condo here…. more on that later.
Over the past year, I have seen the gays flocking to Mexico just like the native swallows that soar through the skies. It IS paradise on earth, and I am here to give you all the tips on making your next vacation there one you will remember forever!
We will start with travel to the country. I will never fly out of Palm Springs again. I recently stumbled across the option to use CBX (Cross Border Express) to get into Mexico. This is a ticketed option that allows you to simply WALK across the border from San Diego and land smack dab in the Tijuana International Airport. (Parking on the US side in San Diego is available to you for a minimal fee as well.)
From there you can take a non-stop flight into PV for a fraction of the cost. To get some perspective of the money you will save: Flight from Palm Springs totaled $1,100.00 which included a connecting flight. Flight from Tijuana totaled $250.00!!! You do the math. Volaris Airlines is my preferred airline and the flight attendant’s uniforms are so sharp, a full menu is available for purchase, AND when deboarding the plane I have never seen a more civilized system in place. I can’t stand when a plane lands and everyone has the need to get up and stand to wait,,, like HELLO we are all going to get off in the order of out seats anyway! On Volaris Airlines, the attendant’s head down the isle opening only a small section of overhead storage per section, and everyone stays in their seats until it’s their time. #BRILLIANT Flying within the country of Mexico also cuts down on time at customs, as there is none, no covid testing is needed, and the only thing you need to state when coming back to the USA is if you are declaring anything. This is simplicity personified!
My favorite restaurant is located at Casa Kimberly, Elizabeth Taylor’s estate that Richard Burton bought for her. For dining excellence, this is the place to go! The Iguana restaurant and tequila bar is located on the second floor of the estate, which was Liz’s living room. The views of the gorgeous country are spectacular and seeing the sunset on the ocean while being serenaded by the loveliest Mariachi band makes this experience like no other. Memorabilia flanks the estate with decadent chandeliers, a gorgeous photo of Liz as you ascend the stairs, a bronze sculpture of the lovebirds at the entrance, and you are also able to stand on the bridge that was built to Richard’s estate across the street. If you so choose, you may even rent and stay the night in Liz’s very bedroom, which you know is on my bucket list. The food and staff are delicious, and I can’t really put into words how marvelous the entire moment is. Whether you are with friends, a spouse, or a one-time lover, ALL occasions should be celebrated here. www.casakimberly.com.
If you want a drag show honnnnnnnaaaaaaaay the options are limitless. This trip alone I’ve seen Edie the Entertainer, Candis Cayne, and the one and only Mama Tits. If you’re looking for a cabaret show, most entertainers can be found at The Palm Cabaret and Act 2 PV. These venues have a rotating cavalcade of shows that range from everything under the sun. Most of your favorites from the states can be seen here and you just never know who you might see in town. The Mantamar Beach Club and Hotel has a nightly show on their roof top which showcases local talent and special guests. Check out the local hot spot at the Blue Chairs Resort for Dirty Bitches and Drag Queen international shows. Please note that most shows run during peak season, which does not include summertime.
Looking for a pool party? Casa Cupula’s “Naked Pool Party” is the place to DIVE IN! This party is all-inclusive and celebrates all body shapes and sizes. You don’t have to get naked, so if that deters you, have no fear. Sexy gogo’s will be on display, fantastic tunes, a twerking contest, and an atmosphere that is fun and festive waits. Pool towels are available for rent and be sure to mention “Lalo” at the front door to get a discount on the entry price. If you are looking to get frisky, you can head into the “Secret Garden” where the forbidden fruit awaits. This wonderful boutique hotel also offers a drag brunch on Sundays with delicious food and divas that always entertain.
Many excursions can be booked while on vacation, but my favorite is: Tamale’s Tours. Here you will delight in a day-tour on the Banderas Bay like no other. This tour creates a space to meet new people and explore the boundless beauty of PV. Swim in the seas, lounge in the yacht’s many open spaces, and mingle till you tingle. On board you will enjoy your own private chef, a premium open bar, gear for all the ocean activities, and most importantly towels and sunscreen. 5% of the ticket price is donated to local and queer charities, so your fun in the sun gives back to the wonderful community that your vacationing in.
Those that know me, know that she doesn’t cook. The magic of Mexico has changed that after I took an amazing cooking class at Gaby’s Restaurant and Bar. Classes are offered on Mondays and Fridays at 9 am with Chef Julio Castillon. This wonderful class includes a walking tour to the local market in search of cooking ingredients, making the best Mexican sauces, authentic mole, tamales, raicilla (similar to tequila) tasting and much more. This is a hands-on class and not just watching someone cook. I got to enjoy all the dishes that I prepared, which tasted good, and I got a little certificate that certifies that I actually turned on the stove without burning down the entire pueblo.
Now let’s talk about where to stay! As I mentioned before, I love PV so much that I recently bought a condo at Boana Torre Malibu. This condo complex is just one block from the sand, has a gorgeous, heated saltwater pool, and is located directly behind the Blue Chairs. There are nine floors of condos to choose from and the views of the ocean are nothing less than spectacular. My little slice of heaven is located on the fourth floor and is a one bedroom, two bath unit. Currently it looks like the Golden Girls would stay there, which I’m not mad at. Renovations will begin next month to turn it into “Ethyl’s El Matador Estate.” This condo will be transformed into a 1960’s Mexican revival of vintage and retro delights. The condo sleeps four and is truly the best place to stay, if I don’t say so myself. You can book your stay at my condo (#405), and it will be like I’m with you the entire trip, and who doesn’t want that?!?!?
Whether you vacation in PV often or you have been thinking about going, I hope these recommendations help to make it the trip of your lifetime.