July 19, 2014

Travel by P.L. Howard, West Hollywood, California

MEXICO – Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast is just 976 miles from Los Angeles and a two hour and 45 minute flight.

These two facts are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes this gay paradise on the bay so appealing – not only those from West Hollywood but for gay travelers from around the world .

The lobby at Signature by Pinnacle. Photo by P.L. Howard.

The lobby at Signature by Pinnacle. Photo by P.L. Howard.

After all, Puerto Vallarta offers a vacation experience for the LGBT traveler that is pretty much unmatched anywhere in the world. An expansive “Gay Beach” with multiple resorts and beach clubs; they all offer full food and liquor service, plus over 20 LGBT nightlife venues to enjoy steps from the beach.

Though this wasn’t my first time to this charming, romantic cobble stone city on Banderas Bay, it certainly was my most memorable in part because of the new luxury condominium accommodations they call Signature by Pinnacle just two blocks from the water’s edge of Los Muertos beach.

Located at the epicenter of the gay Zona Romantica I was walking distance to all restaurants, clubs, bars lounges, theater and so much more just steps away from my door.

My accommodations were made possible by browsing multiple search engines of travel where I found this 2 bedroom 2 bath condo thru the local PVRPV rental site on a summer special and then verified the complex had a ranking of # 2 out of 119 accommodations on Trip Advisor.

Making Mexican Coffee in the restaurant. Photo by P.L. Howard

Making Mexican Coffee in the restaurant. Photo by P.L. Howard

In the past decade it’s been almost impossible to find modern luxury with an old world charm in the romantic zone.

Leave it to a Canadian developer who moved down here nearly a decade ago to see the  advantage of tearing down a straight strip club on a hill in the gay neighborhood and construct a first class residence filled with its  owners and an abundance of very sexy guys from around the globe.

Boasting a very successful happy hour lobby bar it’s become the meeting place for the gay traveler in just 10 short months.

The two-story atrium lobby comes complete with all the vacation delights a guest could want – including a wraparound infinity pool to a swim up bar and a full sized gym, massage room, steam room and foot spa just steps away.

Happy hour brings us the renowned margarita drinks of bartender Manny whose specialty is to make sure you are “feeling” the full PV experience after only one of his drinks.

Oh and let’s not forget – fantasy land lobby overlooks the bag and the most spectacular sunsets imaginable! No wonder the Happy Hour here has become PV’s  gay sunset social hub!

On day two of my adventure, after an afternoon walk and relaxing at the Signature pool with swim up bar, I decided one of the best way to enjoy an evening would be trying out PV’s “speed dating method of bar hopping.

A dancer helping travelers to relax, I think. Photo by P.L. Howard.

A dancer helping travelers to relax, I think. Photo by P.L. Howard.

After all I was here to let the stress melt away so I  wasted no time signing up for a unique VIP Nightlife Experience in Gay Vallarta  – a bar hopping tour with dinner!  More info at

I had a chance to visit small cantinas (authentic Mexican pubs) and the hottest martini lounges, stripper bars, dance clubs and all the many Vallarta’s fun events. The tour included our very friendly host Christian and seven venues along with dinner and one drink at each stop, (stamina need here) and it covered the tips for all the venues and VIP access to the clubs plus discounts and freebies to use during my visit.

Pretty turn-key experience and since I was staying in the center of the action and was able to walk back to “mi casa” a few blocks away and rolled into bed for a very sound night’s sleep.

Day two found me using the awesome concierge services of to take a fabulous 5 hour SAIL cruise from the PV Marina (transportation was provided) along the Bay coast all the way up to Nuevo Vallarta and back.

This was a very large boat, with home cooked lunch provided that rivaled any restaurant on the mainland.  I high recommend the fresh shrimp or fish dish – cooked to perfection.

Also, drinks included specialty vodka’s mixes to wine and beer (and yes there is a restroom on board).  We stopped and dropped anchor in the middle of the bay for a while and everyone enjoyed a swim 80 degree plus water.

A great eatery. Photo by P.L. Howard.

A great eatery. Photo by P.L. Howard.

Your PV dining experiences can run the gamut from the small taco stand, to the award winning restaurant like Café Des Artistes with its romantic garden to Vista Grill with its spectacular views.

But this night I chose one of my favorite on the beach two blocks from my condo; La Palapa.

With a jazz band playing and the waves not far away, this culinary institution can seemingly do no wrong.

Food, service, ambiance, they all come together to make for a perfect experience.

I had the oven roasted best salad and the “melt in your mouth” slow braised short rib. But whatever you mouth-watering choice of food, be sure you end the night with the spectacular presentation of the making of Mexican Coffee!

On my day four, after a late rise and a lazy morning a quick breakfast and coffee a block away at Coco’s Kitchen was just want the doctor ordered. It’s a great place for people watching and healthy food and being so close to home base – one block from the condo and one block from “La Playa” – makes it very geographically desirable.

This final day was dedicated to catching up with reading that escape novel purchased at the airport, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol.  And what better place than to spend some time than at the Signature Infinity pool, near the bar, the gym, the steam room and the massage spa – all of which was put to good use through the course of the day.

And never forget that they have dancers in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by P.L. Howard.

And never forget that they have dancers in Puerto Vallarta. Photo by P.L. Howard.

After a poolside siesta and a swim to the bar, the final dusk was upon all of use gathered in the lobby – and what a spectacular sunset it was!  This trip offered the best of what a Puerto Vallarta vacation should be about – fun in the sun and escape from the pressures of daily life back in L.A. and lots of friendly locals.

As I headed to the airport the following afternoon, I couldn’t help but reflect on how fortunate Southern California was to have such a paradise for gay and straight alike so conveniently situated in such close proximity.

What with the two hour time difference, when my flight departed at 4:30pm Central Daylight Time, I arrived back at LAX at 5:15pm Pacific Daylight Time – now that is an efficient use of one’s day.

What more can be said other than – plan your own get-away to PV soon!