Noted travel writer Andrew Collins calls Guadalajara “Latin America's most underrated gay urban getaway.” Anyone who’s been will know what he is talking about. Mexico’s second largest city is a few hours from Puerto Vallarta, meaning many travelers include both on their itinerary. A colorful colonial-era old city, it has streets lined with graceful mansions and towering baroque churches. Many old home have been turned into B&Bs, including a few that are run by and for gay men.
The many gay bars and clubs are one reason this has become a gay mecca. The scene is constantly changing, with new places opening as others close, and they range from swanky lounges to multi-level dance clubs that turn the beat around until dawn. Most are located a short stroll from downtown’s Plaza Tapita (which also happens to be cruisy after dark) busy with crowds of mostly young guys. Many of the clubs feature male strip shows, some nude, plus dark rooms and play spaces for fooling around with a new friend. If you’re exhausted from all that partying, you can relax the next day at one of the city’s saunas. Connoisseurs shouldn’t pass up the local tequila, as the liquor hails from the nearby town that gave it its name.
Guadalajara’s annual Marcha de la Diversidad is held every June. There are ten days of celebrations including fiestas, dance parties, art exhibitions, concerts, parades, pageants, a film festival, and a carnival.
Guadalajara International Airport is one of the busiest in the country. Getting to your hotel will mean a local bus, shuttle bus, taxi, or limo.
Puerto Vallarta, in the same state of Jalisco, is just over five hours away by car or coach. Mexico City is about seven hours by road. ETN (website in English) is one of several companies offering modern inter-city coach service, with eleven daily arrivals from Vallarta, and twenty from Mexico City from this company alone. They also connect Guadalajara with over 70 other Mexican cities, and some of their coaches offer Wi-Fi access.
Getting around town
Taxis may often be the best option, and a rental car is handy for visiting out-of-the-way sights. Buses are always packed, and drivers may or may not stop (even if you wave); also bus stops may or may not be marked, and there are no set schedules. Should you want to try anyway, the main stations are at Central Vieja and Central Nueva. Take exact change with you. A guide to bus routes is sold at most downtown magazine kiosks. Find rider information, in Spanish, for the Macrobus bus rapid transit system at the Siteur website.
The Tren Ligero light rail system is easier to use. On an underground and surface network of 29 stations on two lines, the trains run about every 15 minutes between 6am and 10:30pm. Unfortunately the stations aren't close enough to most favorite tourist destinations.
Currency and Money
Mexico’s currency is the peso, which is divided into 100 centavos. In 2012 the exchange rate hovered around 13 pesos to the US dollar. See XE for current rates. ATMs are everywhere in the city, so there’s no need to carry a lot of cash.
Media & Resources
GayGDL.com is a well-maintained, easy to use Spanish language website, the best source for all the information you'll need about gay Guadalajara, with photos and party dates.
Urbana Magazine is free around town, and can be read onine too.
SCTours (Marseille 80, upstairs) is a travel agency that caters to gay and lesbian travellers to Mexico and the world.
For local general-public English language information see the Guadalajara Reporter.
For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Guadalajara listings pages.
Casa Alebrijes (Libertad 1016; 52-33-3614-5232), boutique hotel, rooms and suites for gay men and women and friends, garden patio, remarkable fountain, near gay nightlife and tourist sites.
Dickinson Guest House (San Uriel 338) large home, easy taxi to downtown, perfect for a groups up to 8 to visit from beach resorts for long weekend party. Sat phones/free calls to US/Canada, WiFi, full cable TV, washer/dryer, breakfast.
Hotel Francés (Maestranza 35; 52-33-3613-1190), city's first hotel 400 years old, modern amenities, great old world atmosphere, penthouse suite, good prices, restaurant and bar.
Hostel Lit (Degollado 413; 52 33-1200-5505), central rooms, under US$15 per person/night, breakfast included, all new furniture and bedding; semi-private rooms with cable TV, internet, sauna and massage services, solarium, terrace,
Hotel San Francisco Plaza (Degollado 267; 52-33-3613-3256), colonial-style building, pleasant rooms, singles/doubles or suites with balcony, cable TV, at heart of the scene, traditional Mexican restaurant.
Old Guadalajara B&B (Belen 236; 52-33-3613-9958), central location, unpretentious luxury, 16th-century former convent house, opera, museums, restaurants, cathedral nearby. WiFi access, spacious suites, private baths, interior patio garden.
See another dozen options at our map & listings hotel pages.
Angels After Party Club (López Cotilla 1495), weekend dance club, top DJs; Saturday pre-hours cocktails and after-hours dancing 'til 11am Sunday, valet parking, lockers, VIP areas.
Babel (Morelos 741), shower go-go boys, resident and guest DJs, young mostly male crowd, pop and electro music zones, performers.
Botanero's Discoteque (Javier Mina 1348), reggaeton/cumbia/pop jukebox; men's dance club, drag shows, snacks, buffets, karaoke, terrace, most popular on Sunday nights.
Cabaret 159 (Galeana 159, upstairs), lively drag cabaret shows, karaoke nights.
Caudillos Bamboo Cantina (Maestranza 223), Thursday-Sunday gay and straight mixed dancing, sexy strippers, cruise area.
Caudillos Disco (Calle Prisciliano Sánchez 407), gay dance club with terrace, male strippers, drag show, cowboys.
Caudillos Galeana (Galeana 293, at Miguel Blanco), weekend disco on two levels, karaoke, terrace bar, go-go dancers, cheap beer, self-billed as "youngest, most fun crowd" downstairs; drag shows upstairs.
Doberman Bar (Lopez Cotilla 1495), men's levi/leather fetish cruise bar, bears.
Dolce Veele (Enrique G Martínez 177), Mexican home-style food, theme party rooms, WiFi, beer, wine, cocktails from 4pm, karaoke, young go-go boys on the bar; passes for Babel disco.
El Condado Bar (Colon 440), 6:30pm Wednesday-Sunday, Saturday 'til 5am, gay cowboy and karaoke bar, Wednesday drag show.
Green Light (Madero 494), art gallery photography, paintings; gay video/eco-bar and cafe, large terrace area, WiFi, singles nights.
La Marqueza Club (Ocampo 279), gay dance club, House and Pop music rooms, theme nights, karaoke, shows, sexy go-go dancers, open-air terrace. (Had closed for remodling, check ahead).
Planeta X Discotheque (Av Chapultepec Sur 601), big new gay/mixed dance club, go-go boys.
Platino Club (Hidalgo 838), mixed men/women gay dance club, drag shows, male stripper/go-gos.
Seven Sins (Pedro Moreno 532), top-rated DJs, 2 dance floors, cocktail lounge and desert bar, dark room beds for whatever "sins" you crave.
Sugar Club (Pedro Moreno 630), new gay dance club, men/women mix.
Voltio Bar (Mexicaltzingo 1521), leather, bears, men's bar, erotic shows, guest porn stars, site for Leather/Fetish Fest in November.
YeYé Club (Prisciliano Sánchez 396), central, all-week neighborhood video bar, snacks and basic meals, mostly women young crowd.
El Arenal (Leandro Valle 944), downtown sauna and gym, soda fountain social area, free WiFi, open daily 9am to 9:30pm.
Renacer Day Spa (Amado Nervo 106),men's spa, sauna, immersion tub, food and bar drinks, under age 23 discounts.
Riilax Sauna (Venustiano Carranza 313), sauna, steam and gym facilities, Mexico's largest Jacuzzi, massage, sun deck, private rooms, TV lounge, snacks, WiFi and computer access, open from noon until midnight weekdays, 11pm weekends.
Maxx Escorts (52-33-3397-8012), guys of all types from all around Mexico, with service 24 hours/day 365 days/year, at hotel, your home or their 24-hr facilities.
Vicarios (52-33-1043-3005), hombres para ti! Many kinds of guys, students, atheletes, models, local, all roles, 24 hours, hotel services.
Shops and services
Bite Gay Sex Shop (Garibaldi 1389), sex store focused on men4men, condoms, lubes, douches, underwear, DVD movies, calendars, posters, pumps, SM/bondage and leather accessories, toys and aromas.
Charchek Underwear (Marsella 80), good quality, design, price; young, dynamic crew; variety of fabrics, cuts, patterns, and accessories for body parts requiring comfort, ventilation and support.
Mosko (Antonio Pedro Buzeta 424), hard-to-find elsewhere men's casual and clubbing fashions, briefs, boxers, jocks, good variety of many brands.
Zodoma (Andres Teran 482), leatherwear, accessories: belts, bracelets, wristbands, vests, leather skirts, cock rings, shirts, necklaces and poppers.
For our coverage of the large and famous gay beach resort a few hours away, see Puerto Vallarta