This post is also available in: Español
A few months ago, we saw Jet de la Isla as he was leaving his workspace and told us he was about to start a long trip through South America, Iceland and some parts of Central and Southwest Europe; behind him, was a trail of joy and happiness that had to be shared with our readers.
In this interview, Jet explains to O&APV the reasons that anchored him to Puerto Vallarta and how – little by little – he has been sailing towards personal and professional success without leaving those who have always supported him, behind.
Here’s his story, in his own words.
How did you come to Puerto Vallarta?
In 2016, I had just broken up with my boyfriend from Texas – where I grew up – and I was on my way back to Spain where I was living at the time. Just before I returned to Spain, I decided to go to Mexico.
I told myself, “How about you check out the snorkeling in Puerto Vallarta for a month before you return home. Give yourself some time to think”.
With that idea I messaged my old-time friends Joey and Isaac who had been living in Vallarta the past 12 years (and who had now managed Puerto Vallarta Gay Guide). With their help, I came to Vallarta and stayed at their place for the first few nights while I found a one-month home for myself.
At the time I didn’t have much savings, so when Joey mentioned they needed a tour guide for an ATV gig, I jumped at the opportunity and said yes! In little time I was showing tourist waterfalls, jungles, mountains, beaches and the best food and drinks in the bay. In other words, I was in love. This job gave me the opportunity to meet travelers and fall in love with Vallarta.
Someone said “if you like Vallarta you have to stay for the whales. I extended my stay a few more months. Then they said “If you like the whales you have to stay for the rainy season.” I did and eventually I adopted a cat and then I told myself I could not leave my cat behind in Mexico. Giving myself any reason to extend my stay in Mexico. I was in love.
Why did you decide to live between the sea, the sand and the mountain?
One day, while enjoying my new life in Vallarta, my ATV tour boss invited me out on a day out to Yelapa. Yelapa was only accessible by boat and I made an edited video on my trip that day, as normally did during my travels, that I would show customers when they asked me about other cool things to do in the bay. Most of them asked if I could show them those places and quickly I became a boat tour guide! I was being invited to join their boats to show them my favorite places to snorkel, eat, cliff jumping, sail around and more. I decided to create a website with my programming degree background and some business cards for my newfound joy and bam I was in business.
One referral led to the next and one year later I shot up to #3 out of 150 on all TripAdvisor’s boat tours in Puerto Vallarta with a team of 10 friends who are also my co-workers and team. A year after that I opened Mexico’s 1st Gay Hostel. Around the same time, I created “Puerto Vallarta Gays: Everything Gay You Need Or Want To Know” which is now Vallarta’s most active FB group for LGBT tourism.
Did you have a mentor, someone inspired you?
I will forever be greatly for Joey and Isaac from Gay Guide Vallarta for their mentorship at the beginning with my marketing. They understood what worked and what did not work when it came to print marketing. This helped me get my first gay customers. As far as company culture I am a fan of tech companies like FB for the benefits they give their employees. My design and programming studies were inspired by my idol Steve Jobs which taught me the importance of tech making people’s lives simpler. I was one of the first private boat tour companies to have a website and I made it a priority to bring easy, reliable and fast booking to boat tours. Which I owe my success to.
Complete the sentence, “Puerto Vallarta is …”
Puerto Vallarta is a paradise for nature lovers and a business haven for Mexican Americans. I feel being Mexican American has helped me be an ambassador of sorts that bridges services between the local Mexican people and the tourist community. Understanding the needs from the locals such as higher wages, a positive work environment, environmental responsibility and the needs of our LGBT tourists such as convenient bookings, reliable services, fast communications and connections to locals like our gay guides.
What does nudism represent in your daily life?
Nudism has been such an interesting topic for me. I come from a conservative state in the US. Texas. And grew up understanding nudism as a taboo and I was too shy to even be shirtless in my own home growing up. Coming to PV I was very fortunate to meet Daniel Ferreiro. He’s my official naked tour guide. We first became friends and later roommates. Daniel is a nudism aficionado and has helped me be comfortable with my body through nudism and we now share that liberating experience with Puerto Vallarta.
How do you see Puerto Vallarta in 10 years?
I see a lot of positive things for Vallarta in the future in terms of growth and services being offered. With growth I have started early on creating the FB groups and businesses in order to be able to help with the environmental conservation efforts that we will need. Vallarta in my eyes is Gay Disneyland and we are simply adding more attractions to this fabulous Gay Disneyland.
The Business Networking Mixers are having a great response from many entrepreneurs, how did the whole concept come?
The idea behind the mixers was to help new entrepreneurs find the resources that I was lucky to find early on. I realized early on that I was able to start a business in Vallarta thanks to Joey and Isaac. They helped me find a new job, a new place and eventually with the marketing of my new business. Their help was pivotal to my success. Creating a business networking mixer would provide entrepreneurs with a place to meet old, new and future business creators and thus making Vallarta a better place for LGBT tourism. Ensuring my business and others would continue to grow and help each other.
On days off what do you find yourself doing?
I enjoy relaxing in my hammock seeing the sun set, checking out the art walk on Wednesdays and generally living life as it was meant to be in paradise.
What do people find most surprising about you?
Ah, most surprising? I would say everyone is shocked at how young I am and motivated in this once sleepy town. I love to help the community, create new ideas, adventure, socializing, food, drink and generally love life. I’ve traveled to 45 countries, traveled three times around the world, which is what inspires my work today.
Do you have any projects in hands?
My favorite new project I have in mind is doing a Gay Art Hop every Wednesday. The idea is to gather those interested in wine, art and good food and Entrepreneurhave a beautiful evening in Vallarta meeting new travelers. Stay tuned for more info!
I want to bring this to Vallarta this upcoming season. I also do Icelandic Road Trip Tours in Iceland to escape the summer heat. Join us if you dare in the land of fire and ice every September!