5 fabulous Mexican destinations to enjoy ASAP

The President of the United States is trying to build a wall between The U.S. and Mexico to keep the people apart, so now is a good time to remember how Mexico is actually a really nice place to visit. 

Here are five destinations in Mexican travel right now, where visitors can lay on the beach, stroll down historic cobblestone streets, eat delicious food, and enjoy the best of what makes Mexico so special.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta became famous in the 1960's, when Elizabeth Taylor would vacation here with her then-beau Richard Burton. Pristine beaches guarded by lush green mountains made the perfect setting for their romantic escapades, and they luxuriated on the sand and drank cocktails while enjoying the sunsets. Of course, wherever a glamorous movie star goes to have a torrid love affair with a handsome man, gay men will subsequently show up in droves to recreate the magic--and olé, a mecca was born. Puerto Vallarta is now filled with men in sexy swimsuits who lounge in the sun by day, and then after that magnificent sunset (photo above), they pack into the gay bars and cabaret clubs that fill the historic city center. Many of Provincetown's summer performers have found a winter home in Puerto Vallarta, with singers and drag queens headlining shows (in English). Did we mention the beaches, the gorgeous perfect beaches? 

Guadalajara

Grand plazas in the historic city center, cobblestone alleys lined with coffee shops, and of course vendors selling delectable street food everywhere--Guadalajara is a cultural capital of Mexico, and as a bonus it boasts a thriving LGBTQ scene. The city is an Instagram gold mine, with Spanish Colonial architecture around every corner. But Guadalajara is also a major center of commerce for Mexico, particularly IT, and the city has emerged as a hotspot for sexy modern design. February is a big party month in Guad, when Carnaval signals the start of Lent with festivals in the streets. Visitors to the city are also advised to save time on the weekends for popping onto the Jose Cuervo Express, a vintage train that brings guests on a 2 hour ride through the gorgeous countryside--artisan tequila tastings along the way--and arrives in the town of Tequila, where agave is processed to make the namesake beverage. And when guests get off the train, they go to wine tastings. Just kidding. Tequila, everybody drinks tequila.

San Miguel de Allende

Art lovers, pack your bags: the next destination on the cultural map is the cool little town of San Miguel de Allende, where neo-Gothic architecture looms over cobblestone streets that can perfectly define the word "charming." Cities like Guadalajara have a historic district, but in San Miguel, the entire town is historic, although new hotels are starting to pop up to serve the increasing numbers of visitors. The streets are lined with galleries that show works by locals, who were simply so inspired by the perfect sunlight, they had to create some art. So go to San Miguel now, before it becomes too popular, and enjoy the culture of the town in its beautiful surroundings and people. This little town is no longer an insider's secret haven. The San Miguel Writer's Conference welcomes erudites to town every February, and 2019's speakersincludes Susan Orlean, author of the bestselling novel The Orchid Thief (which became the movie "Adaptation"). Orlean's new novel, The Library Book, is partly based on the life of Harry Peak, a gay man who died of AIDS in the 1990s, and who also may or may not have been the arsonist responsible for of the most famous fires in Los Angeles' history.

Cancun

As the largest city in the Yucatan Peninsula, Cancun is host to visitors staying in the sprawling Hotel Zone year-round. Cancun is also the central hub for visiting the island of Cozumel, with its fabulous diving sites, or Tulum with its eco-friendly resorts. Chichen Itza is 2 hours to the west, and March 20-21 is the celebration of the Spring Equinox, when the sun is positioned perfectly to cast the shadow of a serpent slithering down the steps of the pyramid.

Beyond the miles of gorgeous beaches, there is also a real city here, and like other cities in Mexico, there is a visible community. The city center of Cancun has a few gay bars, but with so many people working long days and nights in the hospitality industry, the locals don't spend too much time going out at night, so they lack the energy of hotspots like Coco Bongo (which is really fun). Playa Chac Mool  and Playa Delfines are known as the "gay beaches," but they are not centrally located and don't attract the crowds of men in Speedos like the gay beach in Puerto Vallarta. But many unmarried people without children (hint hint) move here to find work in all of the shops and restaurants and hotels, and the result an integrated community. So escape the winter freeze, go to Cancun, and take a dip in that aquamarine water, because there isn't an ocean that is more beautiful than it is here. (Remember, for better or for worse, March signals Spring Break season...) And pack light because the shopping at Marina Puerto Cancun is amazing and the exchange rate makes shopping for clothing inexpensive.

Mexico City

You haven't been to Mexico City? Most Americans have not, and that is bewildering. This capitol city, which happens to be the largest metropolis on Earth, is a stunning conglomeration of historic sites, modern design, towering skyscrapers, quaint neighborhoods, and food that will redefine the meaning of the word "delicious." The months of January-March are an excellent time for a visit, with winter highs usually in the 70's, although this city is at a higher altitude than Denver, so temps at night can drop and be chilly. Warm up in the morning by going to Coyoacán, which was Frida Kahlo's neighborhood, for some hot chocolate--Mexicans take their chocolate very seriously. Then go shopping in the super-chic Condesa, or witness the hipster scene that is thriving in the Roma neighborhood (which was the setting for the 2018 film "Roma") and try to escape the food stalls at Mercado Roma before getting trapped in a spiral of binge-eating. The Zona Rosa is the LGBTQ 'hood, where young lads hold hands with their boyfriends while sashaying down the street, and the clubs are raucous and noisy and fun.

The Zona Rosa is part of Colonia Juárez, which happens to be the hottest district in Mexico City right now, where new restaurants open with much fanfare and historic hotels like Hotel Geneve is one of the nicest hotels in town, and thanks to the exchange rate the rooms are priced on par with staying at the airport in Indianapolis. No offense to Indianapolis intended.

Mexico City hosts lots of festivals in the winter, because the residents of Mexico City like to throw themselves some festivals, so expect parades parties in the streets on any given evening. There are also numerous museums of Mayan culture and Mexican artists like Diego Rivera and did you remember to stop by Frida Kahlo's house, which is also a museum?...there is so much to do, there almost isn't time for tacos. But of course there is time for tacos. (For those who are feeling courageous, try chapulines.)

By Daniel Renzi