The Mayan Riviera (Riviera Maya) is the coastline from Cancún down to Tulúm in Mexico.
It is fast becoming the vacation destination of choice for the international queer community. They are all the same reasons that heterosexual families flock to the Méxican Caribbean – the paradise setting; the tropical weather; the beautiful beaches; the Mayan archaeological sites; the party atmosphere; the food, drink and fun. However, there is the added benefit that, unlike many other countries, México welcomes them. The gay vacationer can enjoy the same civil rights in Cancun as at home or, in some cases, even exceed them.
For years Puerto Vallarta has been a haven for gays, but now many other areas like Cancun are becoming hotspots.
In 2009, federal law legalized same-sex marriage, though it was up to the individual states whether they wished to allow this under state law. So far, México City and the state of Coahuila have signed up, but Quintana Roo can’t be far behind. It is also legal in México for transgender people to officially change their name and gender; and for homosexuals to adopt children.
The Riviera Maya isn’t awash with exclusively gay resorts and clubs, though they do exist. This is mainly because it’s not seen as that big a deal. Gay men and women just merge with their heterosexual counterparts, simply eyeing up a different gender in the clubs.
Nightlife in Cancun doesn’t really get started until 10pm or later, and lasts until 5 in the morning. Looking for addresses in Cancun can be tricky, but the cab drivers know most of clubs by name. Buses run frequently between El Centro and Zona Hotelera and El Centro is walkable.
Cancún traditionally hosts an International Gay Festival in May and a smaller festival in the fall. There is a Pride Parade in the city during June.
But there is another reason to go to Cancun. On a recent visit there, we ran into some guys on the beach who said they were from Sandton. For vacation, but also for dental work!
Besides the white sandy beaches and gorgeous water (the Caribbean has 7-different colors of turquoise!), cosmetic surgeries and dental procedures can be had with huge savings. Sometimes as much as 70% off what you pay in South Africa.
While in Cancun you won’t want to miss a trip to the Mayan ruins at Ruinas del Rey and Yamil Lu’um, both in the Zona Hotelera. Whatever you do while in Cancun, you are sure to have an amazing tropical vacation. And you can even walk away with a new smile!