Puerto Vallarta has a particular draw for national and international gay and lesbian travelers for a number of reasons, among them the strong support system within the local community that goes beyond nightlife and beaches. Certainly Puerto Vallarta doesn’t match Mexico City in terms of organization within the gay community, as it tends to attract more vacationers than residents, and there is no gay and lesbian center per se. Nevertheless, a strong gay community has existed here as early as the 1970s, but in the last few years, numerous gay-owned businesses have opened, and, more importantly, are unabashed about their gay friendliness. For more information, take a look at www.gayguidevallarta.com  for tips on activities, venues, and more. In addition, most of the websites of the gay-friendly realtors include interesting facts and figures. Locals pick up the gay-friendly bimonthly, bilingual Bay Vallarta as an additional option for events for foreigners as well as nationals and other culture, art, music, and sports activities.
Locals have always adopted the “live and let live” attitude about Vallarta’s nightlife, and they tend to be respectful as long as restraints are recognized while in the public eye. But it’s important not to lose sight of the fact that there are locals who may not be open to shows of public affection between same-sex couples. Also, be aware that during this time of rapid growth in Puerto Vallarta, many people you might assume are locals are not locals at all but come from other areas in Mexico, some of which are not as liberal or as used to turning a blind eye.
Beyond the town of Puerto Vallarta, you can expect to find open and friendly people throughout the Bay of Banderas. In some of the smaller towns, however, it’s not that they won’t be as friendly, but their curiosity to see foreign-appearing visitors may get the better of them—their actions are not necessarily be aggressive—just curious. As always, speaking Spanish will be helpful.
As laws in Mexico are in the process of change (two states have voted to accept same-sex relationships and allow legal rights and benefits), those very changes may occasionally spark reactions. Resort towns are usually more open in that the population tends to be more aware not only of differences but of the economic importance of tourism. Be aware that nudity is not officially allowed on beaches in Mexico.
With regard to safety, most visitors should avoid areas that are unlit at night, whether in the Zona Romántica or elsewhere. Be aware that young men sometimes try to attract the interested foreigner with the intention of mugging or worse. If you’ve had too much to drink, don’t open yourself to trouble. Tell your friends where you’re going or who you’re planning to go with. And if you’ve met someone special during your vacation, be sure to protect yourself by wearing a condom as well as maintaining your common sense at all times—even after that third (who’s counting!) margarita.