By Don Church and Tony Schillaci, Out and Travelin’
The Mexican resort town of Puerto Vallarta, on the Pacific Ocean in the state of Jalisco, is a beach resort that is hot, hot hot – with an average yearly temperature of 88 degrees – perfect for enjoying the pleasures of the gay beach in the Zona Romantica.
Considered to be the most welcoming and gay-friendly resort in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta has developed into a premiere destination for gay travelers, and since the 1990’s has surpassed Alcapulco and Guadalajara for numbers of visitors, and is now in competition with USA towns like Fort Lauderdale and Key West for the LGBT tourist dollar.
For the past 9 years the Casa Cupula boutique hotel has been emerging as one of the most romantic spots for LGBT and gay-friendly tourists. Gay.com named it one of the 5 most luxurious gay hotels in the world. Our friends from Miami, Luis and Miguel, who often visit Mexico, introduced us to the Casa Cupula by simply saying “If you’re looking for paradise, you should go.”
Overlooking the beach and the Zona Romantica where the gay clubs, the “Blue Chairs” beach, and trendy shopping is centered, the Casa Cupula is a steep 15 minute climb down to the action near Olas Altas street. Taxis are usually plentiful and cost 40 pesos or $3.00 for anywhere in the central part of town – and it’s a good idea to taxi it back up to the Casa after a night of revelry on the beachfront.
The 14 rooms and 6 suites are perfect for those interested in terraces with beautiful views of the shimmering blue Pacific, a rooftop dipping pool, luxurious appointments and amenities, and an award-winning restaurant –Taste. This adults-only gay-owned resort is designed for those gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly straight visitors who enjoy sophisticated luxury and a romantic atmosphere. There is also fractional ownership residence information available on the website. www.casacupula.com
The three swimming pools, Pump gym, complimentary breakfast and wireless internet access, bar/ lounge and Taste restaurant give visitors the option to stay within the confines of the resort without ever leaving the premises, or the concierge can arrange horseback riding, whale watching and zipping through the jungle canopies for day-trips outside of Puerto Vallarta.
The staff will also help guests to enjoy the local nightlife in the Zona Romantica by recommending Antropology –the male stripper bar; the Sunday evening Dirty Bitches drag show at the Blue Sunset Resort Bar; the Garbo Piano Bar or The Palm Cabaret, all just a short cab ride away.
Dinner options off-premises can be recommended by the concierge, although many restaurants “down the hill” don’t take reservations. Be sure to try the relaxed atmosphere on the patio at Café Bohemio run by San Francisco ex-pats Chris and Sol, or, for a truly unique non-Mexican experience visit Rikard and Morgan’s restaurant The Swedes, which offers a 100% Swedish menu of made-in-house sauces, breads and even Swedish after-dinner drinks. Anyone for cardamom cake and coffee?
Many guests of Casa Cupula prefer to dine at Taste for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When not cooking at Taste, Executive Chef Oscar Rito’ teaches gastronomy at the Instituto FrancoMexicano, Puerto Vallarta’s best chef school, and he joined Taste in March 2011.
Try his Cochinita Pibil (slow roasted pork meat) accompanied with sweet plantain sope, habanero and red onions Xnipec or the filet of beef with a sauce of coffee and Gorgonzola, potato, broccoli and cauliflower sides. Chef Oscar’s crab cakes are made with chile serrano, cilantro, orange and lemon peel, and ginger, sauted in corn oil and served with a preparation of stewed corn and beans sautéed in butter with thyme and topped with an avocado and horseradish dressing. Wow.
Erica Manuele, who hails from Argentina, is Taste’s restaurant manager and sommelier, and also teaches the subject of wine at the Instituto FrancoMexicano. She can help guests to plan menus for events, parties and special dinner celebrations.
The Casa Cupula is currently undergoing yearly summer sprucing up and renovations, but will be open for the season on October 5.
Puerto Vallarta is considered by many to be gay North America’s number 1 beach destination, and once you’ve visited the Casa Cupula, at Callejón de la Igualdad 129, Col. Amapas, Puerto Vallarta, 48399, you might describe the resort, as Miguel and Luis do, to be “…paradise, you should go.”