This ain't your mega-resort, Señor Frogs, college spring break trip to Mexico. We've brought together our favorite and most diverse spots across Mexico to create a 10-day gay holiday trip from the Caribbean coast, through central Mexico, with a celebratory finish on the Pacific coast. We'll be spending Christmas exploring beachside Mayan ruins, jumping into natural cenotes, and leisurely cycling through the streets of the naturally gifted area around Tulum, returning each day to our brand new (completed in March 2018) private 10-bedroom villa.
From our adventurous Caribbean stop we head to the cultural heart of Mexico City, long known as an exciting hub of cuisine, history, nightlife, and authentic Mexican life.
We'll visit the famous Mayan ruins of Teotihuacan (either by foot, or by hot air balloon for the most adventurous), Chapultepec park in the middle of the city, and of course some of the best food and museums in Mexico too.
And finally, a holiday trip wouldn't be complete without ringing in 2019 with a bang there's no better place than Puerto Vallarta, one of the favorite NYE spots for guys from all over the world.
Even in the popular vacation destination of Puerto Vallarta we retain an authentic feel to our trip through Mexico by staying in a historic family estate, hidden just one block back from the gay beach of Playa de los Muertos. Here we'll have the opportunity to explore the Zona Romantica neighborhood, join one of the many water activities, soak up the sun at the beach surrounded by guys from around the world, and of course ring in 2019 together!
Our 10-day holiday trip across Mexico includes many of the "big ticket" items of your experience, including your two domestic flights, ground transfers, breakfasts and even visits to Mayan Ruins! Check out our detailed list of inclusions and exclusions below.
• All Taxes
• All accommodation in hotels/guesthouses (detailed accommodation info here)
• Two domestic flights (Tulum to Mexico City, and Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta)
• All ground transfers between remaining destinations
• Full day exploring the cenotes and Mayan ruins of Tulum
• Afternoon traditional river float picnic at Xochimilco
• Visit to Teotihuacan and Chupultapec in Mexico City
• Welcome Christmas Dinner
• New Year's Eve street part in Puerto Vallarta
• All full breakfasts including 3 from a private chef
• Knowledgeable and fun DETOURS trip leader
• DETOURS pre-trip guidebook
• Group travel within Mexico
• Over a decade of trip leading experience
** - Trip prices based on twin share. Traveling solo? We'll match you up with another traveler at no extra charge, or just pay a $790 single supplement for your own room!
• Lunches and dinners not noted above
• Activities not noted above
• Optional tips for drivers/guides
• International Airfare
Our 10 days together over the 2018/2019 holiday season brings us to the adventure-packed Caribbean coastal town of Tulum, the culture-rich mega-city of Mexico City, and the sun-drenched beach town of Puerto Vallarta... a well-rounded and exciting way to spend the upcoming holidays!
Days 1, 2 and 3
We'll kick things off in the naturally gifted town of Tulum, set in the dense jungle of Mexico's Quintana Roo state, and just moments away from the incredibly white sand beaches of the Caribbean Sea. Although it's set in a perfect location, it's most well known for its dense jungle dotted with spectacular 13th-century Mayan ruins, and natural limestone sinkholes that have created incredible swimming spots in perfectly clear water surrounded by caves and stalactites.
Tulum town is located just a 2 hour drive south of Cancun airport, therefore, you'll want to book your international flight into Cancun airport (CUN). Upon arrival, you'll be picked up by your driver (airport pickup/transfer included) who will take you down the Caribbean coast directly to our beautiful private and brand new 10-bedroom/12-bathroom property! We'll start each day with a specially prepared breakfast by our local private chef, then spend our days jumping into natural cenotes, exploring Mayan ruins, or meandering around Tulum town on the bicycles provided to you through the stay here! This is the most adventurous of our stops on the trip and the location of countless different natural and manmade wonders to experience!
Tulum has recently made a name for itself as the "eco-chic" adventure destination in Mexico. No huge resorts, no chain restaurants, just unique trendy boutique shops, local fresh eateries, and plenty of downward dogs (yoga), cenotes (natuaral pools of crystal-clear water), and healthy living surrounded by dense jungle and Mayan ruins! It's a very unique place, located on the Caribbean coast just 2 hours south of super-touristy Cancun. White sand beaches, incredibly blue warm Caribbean water, and plenty of adventurous activities to take part in! While here, we'll spend our days exploring the natural cenotes, the impressive Mayan ruins, and the authentic little town of Tulum before retreating to our own private 10-bedroom, 12-bathroom property complete with a huge pool! For Christmas dinner this year we'll swap the squabling in-laws for a warm, poolside catered dinner at our very own private villa.
The area of Tulum itself was one of the last cities built and inhabited by the Maya and was in its height between the 13th and 15th centuries before being abandoned shortly after the Spanish occupation of the area. Tulum's own archeological site, as well as the nearby Coba complex, is one of the best preserved archeological sites in Mexico and offers a beautiful look into the powerful era of the Maya people.
The cenotes that surround the area of Tulum give us lots of opportunities to jump in and explore. Some of these natural limestone sinkholes are best for snorkeling, some for jumping in from the edges, some for cave exploring, and all for great selfies ;-)
Days 4, 5, and 6
On our 4th day we'll head back up the coast together and jump on a quick 2.5 hour flight to the cultural hub and largest city in Mexico. This buzzing metropolis is both cultured with endless museums and authentic Mexican tradition, as well as cosmopolitan with fantastic food, glitzy nightlife, and world class shopping.
Some highlights in the city include the ancient Mayan ruins of Teotihuacan (which can be experienced on land, or by hot air balloon), the massive central park of Chapultapec, fascinating museums dedicated to a plethora of subjects, or maybe we'll check out one of the more "unique" experiences on offer such as a flamboyant Mexican wrestling show, or a floating picnic down the canals of Xochimilco! We'll be in Mexico City over the weekend so it's a perfect time to experience Mexico City by night too.
Mexico City is the capital and by far the largest city in Mexico and is the epicenter of impressive cuisine, culture, architecture, and authentic modern-day Mexican life. We'll be staying in the trendy tree-lined neighborhood of La Condesa, surrounded by unique architecture, posh shops and bars, beautiful parks, and amazing dining options. Mexico City has one of the most populous metropolitan areas of the world, but our little neighborhood of La Condesa is the "it" spot to be.
We'll find ourselves exploring the surrounding streets together when we're not out checking out the massive archeological site of Teotihuacan, or floating on the Xoxhimilco River having our own Mexican picnic, or visiting the massive Chapultapec park. This 3-night stop offers many opportunities for all interests whether you're a shopoholic, a night-owl, a culture-seeker, or just love to eat tacos and drink tequila all day, it's an impressive city to experience.
Days 7, 8, 9, and 10
On day 7 it's time to head back to the coast, but this time it's the Pacific coast city of Puerto Vallarta, long known as one of the most popular places for winter getaways for LGBT travelers around North America - and for good reason! After a quick 1.5 hour flight from Mexico City to Puerto Vallarta we head down into the heart of Zona Romantica, known for its cobblestone streets and authentic taco carts, but also the hub of gay life in the city. From the gay beach of Los Muertos (just one block from our hotel) to the many gay bars just a couple blocks away, this is a very popular spot for guys to flock from all over, especially for New Year's Eve!
While there are plenty of activities to keep busy here, including snorkeling, exploring the hills by ATV vehicles, taking a boat trip along the coast, or heading up to the small surf town of Sayulita, we imagine that with all the energy of New Year's palpable in the warm Mexican air the pull of margaritas on the beach or gogo-boys in the bars may be the strongest! Whatever we end up doing here in Puerto Vallarta, and whether it's your first visit here or your 10th, we're sure to welcome 2019 with a bang in paradise before saying our goodbyes on the 10th day, January 2nd.
If you're from North America it's likely not your first time to Puerto Vallarta, as it's one of the most popular winter getaway destinations to escape our cold for the reliable heat, sunshine, and good times that Puerto Vallarta offers. Whether it's your first or your tenth time here to this city on the Pacific coast, we know you'll love it. There are many ways to "do" Puerto Vallarta from the highrise mega-hotels north of the city to the little boutique properties in the old town's cobblestone streets. We much prefer the latter and have chosen our favorite property in town (a restored family villa) to accommodate us yet again.
New Year's is the height of fiesta time in the city and the streets, beaches, and bars will all be buzzing with energy! Just one block from our property you'll find the famous Los Muertos Beach lined with margarita-sipping sun-seeking guys from all over the world. It's a fantastic place to meet people between jumping in the waves and returning to a plate of beach tacos. And if you're not a beach lover, don't fret, Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by gorgeous nature and plenty of ways to get into it whether it's by boat on a snorkeling trip, or by land on an ATV.
On New Year's Eve we'll celebrate with a big street party all around the area of our hotel with thousands of others celebrating the arrival of 2019! Grab a cerveza and ring in the new year all together before joining the bars that have spilled out into the streets - a NYE celebration to remember for sure!
We don't like staying in smelly shacks on our vacations, and we're pretty sure you don't either! After working hard for your trip, you deserve an enjoyable, comfortable place to wind down at the end of your day. We put a LOT of time into finding the perfect accommodation for your trip so after sniffing around, fluffing pillows, and testing showers we have narrowed down our favorite properties that won't disappoint. Check out our approved accommodation to get an idea of the types of places you can expect to lay your head during your Mexican holiday trip with us.
Private 10-bedroom property
Why we love this property:
• 10 bedrooms/12 bathrooms, private for us!
• Brand new, completed March 2018
• Private chef making fantastic breakfasts
• Beautiful terraces and gardens
• Fantastic pool area
• Contemporary style
Why we love this property:
• Small boutique property in a big city
• Gorgeous rooftop for breakfasts and coffee
• Spacious rooms
• Perfectly located in the La Condesa neighborhood
• Unique style
• Fantastic service
Villa Mercedes Hotel
Why we love this property:
• Only 1 block from the gay beach
• Bright fun decor
• All the character of Zona Romantica
• Beautiful swimming pool and bar area
• Spacious rooms
• Perfect location for NYE festivities
Don’t worry about getting chilly, Mexico is pretty much guaranteed to be warm and sunny at this time of year! December/January average highs are 81F/27C and lows of 70F/21C on the coasts with very little rainfall! Mexico City, however, will leave you wanting to bring a light jacket for most days for temperatures more in the 60's F (around 20 C). All this said, weather can sometimes be unpredictable so it's always good to pack a “just in case” outfit for the odd rainy day. But we expect plenty of sunshine!
The People and LGBT Community
You'll find that Mexican people are some of the most hard-working, friendly, and generous people you'll ever meet. You'll experience the more relaxed coastal energy of the communities along the coasts, as well as the big-city business energy of Mexico city through this trip. Family and religion are very big parts of most Mexican people's lives and you'll see that in the streets with families celebrating the holidays together and churches spread all over the country. The LGBT community is thriving in cities like Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta, and same-sex marriage is legal in all of the states that we'll be visiting on this trip. The Catholic church still exerts its influence in the country, but the LGBT community has quickly been making strides to ensure equality all over the country.
Spanish is the official language in Mexico, although the influence of the rest of English-speaking North America has rubbed off and many people speak good English here.
Tacos and tequila! Mexican food has been an important part of the culture here with many traditional dishes that have been developed over thousands of years. It's a complex cuisine with the most internationally well known staples including tacos and guacamole of course, but you'll find that once in Mexico you'll be presented with many different uniquely traditional options. All our breakfasts are included in this trip, which allows us to start our days on the right foot, then our lunches and dinners will be varied with different cuisines from the Caribbean coast, the Pacific coast, and the interior regions. Whether you like it spicy or not, you're sure to find some amazing flavors here in Mexico!
What to bring?
Our advice is simple. Pack your bag, then take half of those things out and leave them back home. It’s common to hear people wishing they’d packed less stuff, but we’ve never heard anyone complain that they didn’t bring enough. Even if you realize you forget to pack some crucial item you can always pick up a replacement once you arrive in Mexico. More packing information including a suggested packing list is included in your "Pre-trip Guidebook".
These days it seems that banks find every opportunity to ding us with fees from home and at each ATM we use. That's why we suggest using a credit card with no international fee, and bring some Mexican Pesos with you. Almost all business in Mexico will accept US Dollars, but you may find that the exchange rate they offer is really not in your favor! You still may need to use an ATM along the way, but it's best to try to minimize the number of visits. Travelers checks are a thing of the past so we don’t recommend them any more.
Tipping isn’t a native Mexican custom, however, it is always appreciated by local service staff and it has become expected in the tourist industry here. We suggest tipping for any good service. That extra bit on top of your dinner bill is very appreciated by the service staff.
We have pretty high standards when it comes to choosing our accommodations, and trust us, we’ve done plenty of room-sniffing, pillow-patting, bed-jumping and bathroom inspections to make sure we stay at quality spots. To be approved as a Detours accommodations provider, a hotel/guesthouse must: be locally owned (to support the local community), be in an amazing location (close to the beach or other hot spots), AND be gay-owned or gay-friendly. We won't be staying in 5-star Ritz-Carltons but we also won't subject you to anything we wouldn't want to stay in ourselves. Clean, comfortable, well-located spots that'll put a smile on your face, you can count on that!
All of our trip leaders are gay, and all certified leaders must undergo a rigorous training routine that includes deep-fried cricket eating, and impromptu dancing tests. Apart from these vital skills, we require our leaders to know their stuff really, really well. Underneath their fun and quirky facades, our guides are experts and passionate about what they do. Don’t hesitate to ask them about a random statue you might see along the way. Their job is to help ensure that this is your trip of a lifetime by taking the hassle out of your trip and enabling you to experience everything you came to Mexico for.
We do absolutely everything possible to avoid needing such a mundane awakening. A world without alarm clocks is one we want to be part of, and your “rise and shine” while in Mexico should come from the sound of crashing waves, an iguana jumping on your roof, or church bells in the distance. We've purposely booked our domestic flights at times that'll ensure we're not pulling you out of bed at the crack of dawn.
Extending Your Trip
For many people, 10 days in this part of the world just isn’t enough time. If you’re lucky enough to be able to stay longer, or if you decide to quit your job and become a beach bum on the coast for the rest of your life, we’d be happy to help you extend (or cancel!) your return flight. We’ve been all over the area, so don’t think twice about asking where to go or what to do after your Detours trip is complete. Many people will want to extend their time in Puerto Vallarta at the end of the trip and you're encouraged to do so! Just let us know if you'd like us to book extra nights for you.
Our Detours groups are run with a minimum of 4 travelers and up to a maximum of 15 travelers. Ages of group members vary but around 90% of our travelers are in their 30's, 40's, and 50's. Whatever the age of the guys on our trips everyone's already got something in common, an exciting new experience in a new country! Each group is led by a Detours trip leader who is there to ensure everything goes off without a hitch, allowing you to focus on having the time of your life! We welcome both men and women onto our trips although it’s important to know that almost all groups are 100% gay men.
A Little Bit About Modesty
The areas of Mexico that we'll be visiting are more open-minded than the rural countryside and most people will be welcoming of homosexuality. It's not uncommon to see same-sex couples holding hands in some areas of Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta so in most areas we wouldn't expect any issues at all. At the same time, just remember that the church plays a big part of many people's lives here so you may get some stares. Anything beyond hand-holding is probably best left to the comfort of your hotel room ;-)
No problem! Don’t worry, lots of our travelers come solo and our trip will provide plenty of chances to meet great people both inside and outside of our group, including other solo travelers. As far as your accommodations go, you’ve got two choices. We can either pair you up with another solo group member in a two-bed room for no extra charge, or you can have your own room for a reasonable surcharge.
Communicating with Home
Relax – we won’t keep you from updating your Facebook status the whole trip. There is WiFi all over the place and available at every hotel we stay at. If you’re more the “E.T.” type and would just rather call home, feel free to pick up a calling card at a corner store and make use of the many local payphones. Alternatively, if your mobile phone is "unlocked" you can pick up a local SIM card which is quite affordable.
Mexico uses the same two-pronged electrical plug that is used in USA and Canada (type A and B) The voltage is 127V with 60 Hz frequency. These days, the majority of items that are plugged into an outlet are built to handle varying voltage and frequency levels, but just to be sure, we suggest checking your item for its accetable range.