Mercurio Swim: Swimsuits For Everyone

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Paul Crist is known throughout Puerto Vallarta as the gracious owner of Hotel Mercurio, which he has operated for 18 years (since 2002). But it might surprise you to learn that he is also the creator and owner of a unique line of men’s swimwear, with a store in Puerto Vallarta and an online store.

For many years, Crist bought bathing suits from a vendor in Guadalajara to sell in a small commercial space in the lobby of the Hotel Mercurio. But I was not very impressed with the quality of the fabric or the stitching of the garments. I wanted a higher quality product, but at reasonable prices. Always interested in the arts and design, he decided to develop and manufacture his own line, designed and produced in his own workshop in Puerto Vallarta.

Paul holds degrees in architecture and political science and a Master’s degree in International Economics. He is originally from Washington D.C., where he owned a construction business as a young man, and later worked in the U.S. Senate and in politics. He first visited Puerto Vallarta in 1993. When she moved to Vallarta in 2002, she met Luis Tello, a native of Vallarta, and they married in 2007 in the United States.

His plan for a new, exclusive swimwear company quickly came to fruition. In February 2018, he made the decision to move forward with the design and manufacture of his men’s swimwear line called Mercurio Swim®. In May 2018, the store opened, just in time for the annual Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride Festival. The store is located in Lázaro Cárdenas, in the popular “gay strip” where many of the gay bars and clubs are located.

As we celebrate the summer of 2020, we talk to Paul about his swimsuit designs and how O&APV readers can choose their perfect suit. The following are Paul’s own words describing the different swimsuits worn by Mercurio Swim.

PEPE Style

Our “Pepe” design is our most sexy and revealing swimsuit. It’s a classic bikini style, but with our unique design that helps lift and accentuate the wearer’s endowment.

Some swimsuits and undergarments designed to accentuate the package can be uncomfortable to wear all day, especially if you have an active day at the beach or poolside. Some designs may irritate the delicate skin in that area. Our design achieves this while being super comfortable to wear and very sexy to look at.

Many men think rigidly about what style of swimsuit or what cut is “right” for men with one or another “body type” or what is “age appropriate”. For my part, I follow a “body positive” attitude towards all fashion, including swimwear. I say, “use what makes you feel good, what makes you feel confident in yourself, and what feels comfortable.” And don’t be so afraid to try a style you may not have considered before. As they say, “there’s a first time for everything”. How do you know you won’t like it if you’re afraid to try it the first time? That applies to a lot in life, don’t you think?

“Pepe” is an excellent cut for any body, but especially for shorter guys. Here’s why: The waistband of all classic men’s bikinis falls in approximately the same place on the hips. Where the bikini differs is how high they are cut on the side of the thigh. “Pepe” is cut high on the side of the thigh, with only approximately 2.5 cm of fabric on the side of the leg. For shorter guys, that cut makes the leg look longer, so the wearer looks taller.


Our “Pedro” swimsuit is still a sexy bikini style, a little wider on the side of the leg, with approximately 4 cm of coverage. This gives us enough fabric to incorporate a separate waistband in the Pedro style, with a contrasting color or print fabric from the rest of the swimsuit. So, it gives us more creativity to combine different colors or patterns, and that’s very flirty from a design perspective. This style also incorporates our “package accent” design on the front, as does “Pepe”.

Also Pedro has a variation in the cut on the back from other brands. If you look at the typical men’s bikini, you will see that the cut from the side of the leg and across the butt is a straight line cut. A thong cut is something else: that cut is designed to show even more of the butt. Our “Pedro” has a slightly rounded cut, following the shape of the gluteus muscle. It has the effect of making the butt look more rounded, more like a bubble butt that everyone loves!

“Pedro” is a great style for guys of short to medium height, with slim to medium build, either muscular or not so muscular.

When people ask me “which famous artist would I like to see wearing this swimsuit”, I have to say Maluma. Actually, I would like to see Maluma without any swimsuit. But he has a beautiful body, not super muscular, not super slim. He has an average height of 1.78 cm. Then you have the perfect body for this style.

DIEGO” Style

The “Diego” swimsuit is what I would call a “modified square cut”. Basically it is a boxer style, slightly higher at the waistband and wider at the side of the leg (i.e. thigh) than a bikini. A “square cut” or “boxer style” is literally that. If you look at it from the front, it is square through the waist and square cut at the top of the thighs. Diego is cut a little higher on the leg than a square cut. For me it’s a little sexier than boxer shorts, without being “too much” for a guy who doesn’t feel comfortable in a bikini. This is a sexy swimsuit, but it wouldn’t surprise your mom if you show up wearing it to the family pool party on Sunday afternoon. Diego, because it covers more of the leg, it is not the ideal style for shorter guys. Medium to tall guys look great in this swimsuit.

I also think this is a good option for men who are mesomorphs, who are thicker, either because they are a bit chubby or very muscular. When I see this style on a really skinny guy, I always recommend they try one of the bikini styles, “Pepe” or “Pedro”.

JUAN Style

Finally, among our lycra swimsuits (fabrics with a lot of stretch), there is “Juan”. It is a classic “square cut” or “boxer” style, which incorporates our “package accentuation” design at the front. It is perfect for taller men of any body type. Stocky, compact or muscular men look great in this style, but shorter guys will look better in a bikini style. The “Juan” cut is high enough to make the legs look long and adds dimension in the torso and thigh area. This style, in deeper colors, small prints and vertical stripes can make the body appear slimmer.

Swim Shorts Design

In addition to our tight-fitting swimsuits, made with lycra fabric, we also manufacture beach shorts. These are shorter than the “board shorts” or “board shorts” they are called in English. Unfortunately some men still wear board shorts as early as the 1980s. Yesterday’s board shorts are knee-length, and the knees is not a place to have a tan line on your legs guys. Know it. So if they still have board shorts, throw them on your next beach bonfire.

Our play shorts are made of super soft, quick-drying polyester and come in solid colors and patterns. The side pockets and mesh lining make them ideal for everyday wear and as a “cover-up” if you don’t feel comfortable walking from the beach to your hotel in your bikini. More mature men, who are often uncomfortable with tight-fitting swimsuit styles, love this style because they are comfortable, yet sexier and more youthful looking than the old short styles of the past.

Available online, in the emblem store and in the lobby of the Hotel Mercurio.

Mercurio Swim® swimsuits are now available at the brand’s store on Lázaro Cárdenas Street and also at Hotel Mercurio. Mercurio Swim’s mission is to create high quality, excellent fitting, limited production men’s swimwear for men and local tourists in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Paul personally selects fabrics for Mercurio Swim from suppliers in Colombia, Brazil, New York, Guadalajara and Mexico City. The elastics used are imported from Italy, where the best elastics are manufactured to resist pool chemicals, salt water and sunlight that deteriorate the cheaper elastics. Paul says that even the thread used in sewing matters, and he tried threads from several manufacturers before finding one he was satisfied with. The Mercurio Swim line has become very popular again, enjoying excellent in-store and online sales. Shipping is available to people in cities throughout Mexico, the United States and Canada.

Special message from Paul Crist, owner at Hotel Mercurio and Mercurio Swim

I know we’d all love to be at the beach, swimming, having fun and debuting our sexy Mercurio Swim swimsuits. These days have been difficult for all of us. Even when the danger of contracting the COVID-19 virus decreases later in the summer (we hope), many people who have lost their jobs will not have the resources to vacation in our wonderful city. The global pandemic is creating unprecedented stress among millions of people in all countries. But we will survive this. And when this is over, and we can start living a normal life again, we hope that it will support all the small and medium sized enterprises of the local people of Vallarta.

At this moment, when I am writing this message, in April 2020, everything is closed in Vallarta. Visitors are not allowed on the beaches and the Malecon. Most hotels, stores, bars and restaurants are closed. The workers of thousands of small local businesses in Vallarta are out of work. Some still receive a salary, many do not.

All of these businesses will need your support when we are able to return to normal activities. At this time, our Mercurio Hotel and Mercurio Swim store are closed. We hope to be open by the time you read this.

As of now, in April, at the Mercurio Swim workshop, we have ditched the lycra fabric and are making disposable mouth masks and gowns for patients and healthcare professionals at local hospitals and public clinics. These essential medical items are extremely scarce, and we are proud to be part of a community effort to ensure that doctors, nurses, caregivers and patients have what they need to protect themselves and others from the virus. I’m sure we’ll be making swimsuits again very soon: we have some fabulous new fabrics you’ll love! See you soon!