Remembering Vallarta’s Past That Shaped its Future

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Puerto Vallarta has not always been a gay mecca or even a gay-friendly beach town. It, like many places, has evolved with the times.

Many would say that the gay evolution of Vallarta began with the 1964 film Night of the Iguana. Richard Burton starred in the film, and had an affair with Elizabeth Taylor during their time in Vallarta. Even building homes and spending time here. But the true history of how Vallarat became Mexico’s gay San Francisco is much more complex. 

Many people played a part in its evolution, some of whom we profile in this issue. Politics and money also played a part – like it does in most cases. 

We’ve tried hard to capture the significant moments of Vallarta’s gay history in these pages and chronicle those tidbits of time – but realize that we’ve probably missed a few items. And because memories fade, some accounts that people have shared may or may not be completely accurate.

We also didn’t have space or time to research and capture all of the moments in history that we wanted to. We focused on those events that helped shape and form Puerto Vallarta into the welcoming gay city- and the neighborhood of Zona Romantica –  that it has become. 

We extend our thanks to the people who talked with us and shared their thoughts and photos on the history of Puerto Vallarta. These include Paul Crist, Don Pickens , Tim Wilson, Nancy Page, Isaac Carachure, Jose Ramon Martinez, Ricardo Brehm, Geoff Dodds, Tomas “Tom” Finley, Arturo Orozco Lopez, John King, Kevin Johnson, Mark Rome, Osiel Echeverria, Victor Ceja, and many others who provided insight. We could not have done this issue without their help. 

We hope you enjoy this glimpse into Puerto Vallarta’s rich gay history and some of the people that helped shape its future.

Jerry Jones

Editor and Publisher

history of gay Puerto Vallarta cover

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