Picture this: sandy beaches, crystal-clear turquoise waters, vibrant nightlife, and a welcoming atmosphere that celebrates diversity.
Welcome to the Riviera Maya, the emerging paradise for LGBTQ+ travelers seeking an unforgettable vacation experience!
Mexico has been historically considered a somewhat conservative country, even more so than the US in some regards.
But fortunately, this has been changing progressively in recent decades. Destinations such as Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, and the Riviera Maya have been steadily emerging as places of inclusion, acceptance, and equality.
In terms of tourism, and also historically, Puerto Vallarta has been the ultimate champion of popular LGTBQ+ destinations, even being dubbed the ‘San Francisco of Mexico.’
However, let’s face it, the rocky and tiny beaches of Puerto Vallarta – as nice as they might be – are no match for the stunning (and way more Instagrammable) beaches the Riviera Maya boasts.
So, it’s no wonder that, fueled by a shifting zeitgeist and a progressive and inclusive spirit, the Riviera Maya is rapidly rising in the ranks when it comes to top-choice destinations for LGBTQ+ travelers.
But this is just the start!
So, let’s find out why the Riviera Maya is fast gaining popularity among LGBTQ+ travelers, explore the various natural and cultural gems it has to offer, and discover its top LGBTQ+ locations.
Cancun & Playa del Carmen
Cancun (the one you’ve probably heard of) is a world-renowned destination for sun-seekers and party enthusiasts. Moreover, it was recently awarded the title of the ultimate LGBTQ+ beach destination by the Gay Travel Awards 2022.
Cancun’s Hotel Zone is home to several LGBTQ+ friendly resorts where you can relax, unwind, and fully embrace the beachfront paradise.
It’s also home to historical landmarks like the awe-inspiring Chichen Itza.
Picture yourself standing amidst the ancient stone temples, their echoey noises resembling melodious bird songs. There, you’ll learn about the fascinating history of Mayan ceremonies and marvel at the architectural wonders of this iconic archeological site.
To beat the fiery temperatures, head to a cenote—a natural sinkhole filled with crystal-clear water. Cenote Tsukan, located just a short distance from Chichen Itza, provides a refreshing oasis.
Moving south of Cancun along the Riviera Maya, you’ll find Playa del Carmen, a small and lively coastal village known for its vibrant atmosphere and charm.
Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, or La Quinta, is a bustling strip filled with shops, restaurants, and lively bars. It’s the perfect location to let loose, make new friends, and dance the night away.
Unfortunately, the legendary Blue Parrot Beach Club, a beloved beachfront venue renowned for its vibrant parties and its special place within the LGBTQ+ community, has closed its doors.
However, you’ll still find plenty of LGBTQ+ friendly bars dotting the city’s downtown landscape. Among them, the illustrious Coco Mayan Club takes center stage, promising a night filled with drinks, pulsating beats, and pure enjoyment.
For those seeking a beachside experience, Mamitas Beach Clubs are a favored destination among the LGBTQ+ community, offering sun-soaked shores, refreshing drinks, and a lively atmosphere that’s hard to resist.
Continuing your journey through the Yucatán Peninsula away from the Riviera Maya, you’ll find Mérida – the cultural epicenter of the region and a destination LGBTQ+ travelers love.
Take a downtown walking tour with Merida Gay Tours, hosted by the friendly and accommodating Ricardo Contreras.
He can customize the trip to suit any group’s needs, providing insight into the city’s history and directing you to the must-see archaeological site of Uxmal.
As the sun sets over Mérida, the region’s LGBTQ+ friendly establishments come alive, creating a vibrant and inclusive nightlife that caters to every taste and preference.
Stop by La Negrita Cantina, a popular meeting spot noted for its lively environment, live music, and welcoming population.
Consider attending a drag show at Dix Bar in Santa Lucia or dancing the night away at Blue Gay Club, where you can revel in the vibrant energy of the local LGBTQ+ community.
From the lively streets of Playa del Carmen to the dazzling resorts of Cancun and the cultural allure of Mérida, the Riviera Maya and surrounding area welcomes LGBTQ+ travelers with open arms.
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