On the last Saturday of June, Mexico City celebrates LGBT pride at the Angel de la Independencia statue. // © 2017 Mark Chesnut/LatinFlyer.com
Feature image (above): More than 15,000 people attended Vallarta Pride in 2016. // © 2017 Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board
Mexico is one of Latin America’s most progressive nations for LGBT rights, making it a logical place to celebrate the annual tradition known as LGBT pride, which brings parades, festivals, parties and other events to a variety of destinations around the country.
Two Mexican cities — Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City — especially stand out due to their extensive array of offerings, but it’s possible to see the rainbow flag waving in places large and small.
Since Puerto Vallarta enjoys a reputation as one of the biggest vacation destinations for LGBT travelers, it’s no surprise that its annual pride event is especially alluring. More than 15,000 people attended Vallarta Pride in 2016, according to local tourism figures.
This year, Vallarta Pride takes place May 21-28. New York City-born singer/songwriter Johnathan Celestin is among the international performers scheduled to take the stage.
Visitors can participate in a variety of activities during Vallarta Pride, including the International March Against Homophobia, which runs from the Sheraton Buganvileas Resort and Convention Center to the famed arches in the center of the city on May 17, and a Welcome Party on May 21 at Mantamar Beach Club Bar & Grill. On May 22, offerings include La Mer Pirate Pool Party, which promises to exude a festive nautical theme, accompanied by live DJ music, as well as a Candlelight Memorial service themed “Ending AIDS Together.” Multiple pool parties take place on May 23 and 24, while the Pride Parade kicks off at the Sheraton Buganvileas on May 24 at 8 p.m., followed by a lively block party downtown. After several more days of events, Vallarta Pride closes with a grand finale party at Mantamar on May 28.
Travelers looking to make the most of their Vallarta Pride experience might consider the Pride Package from Costa Sur Resort & Spa, which is priced at $499 and includes four nights in a Honeymoon Suite on the adults-only floor, Mexican snacks and a bottle of wine upon arrival, a 50-minute couple’s’ massage, daily breakfast and airport-hotel transfers.
Mexico City Pride
Another must-visit spot on the pride map is Mexico City, where thousands of festively costumed participants gather at mid-day on the last Saturday of June to express their pride and make political statements.
The parade starts at the Angel de la Independencia, the soaring angel statue that sits just off the gay-popular Zona Rosa district. While this event isn’t as easily researched online (details are generally only published in Spanish, and often at the last minute), it’s a rewarding chance to view one of the capital’s most vibrant celebrations.
From the angel monument, the march heads down the grand Paseo de la Reforma boulevard, with a wide variety of floats and groups representing everything from political parties to nightclubs to non-profit organizations.
The procession ends at Zocalo, the giant city square, where live music and performers keep the crowds entertained from a large stage, and the rooftop bars and restaurants that line the square become “gay for a day.”
Night owls will find the bars and clubs in Mexico City especially lively on pride day. Downtown Hipster hangouts, as well as the many gay bars and clubs in Zona Rosa, pack in revelers who stay out until early Sunday morning.
Elsewhere in Mexico
Several more cities in Mexico now host some form of LGBT pride, albeit on a smaller scale than those in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City.
Guadalajara hosts a march on June 3, which has a family-friendly theme and will be complemented by a week full of parties, dances, art exhibitions and concerts. Playa del Carmen’s Playa Pride takes place on June 17, with theater, music, a “bear” pool party and catamaran party among the activities. Cancun and Acapulco usually stage their LGBT pride events in the summer months as well, but details had not been announced as of press time.