Often over-shadowed by the raging gay scene in Mexico City, Puebla – just a few hours drive away – has quietly and steady grown its own unique gay scene that is beginning to tempt tourists away from the chaos of Mexico City.
Combining historic architecture, famous food and a decidedly slower pace of life than Mexico City with an expansive gay scene seems to be have been a winning formula for Puebla which has gone from strength-to-strength since establishing a National Day Against Homophobia in 2017 (May 17th) and Puebla Pride (held every year in June) which was quite the move for a city once considered a stronghold of conservatism, tradition and Catholicism in Mexico.
With a population of 1.5 million, Puebla is no small city – and the thriving nightlife and arts scene is testament to this. Travellers going to experience gay Puebla can expect to tour beautiful churches and an incredibly well-preserved old town covered in painted ceramic tiles by day and indulge in famed mole poblano by night before heading out to one of the many gay bars and gay clubs in Puebla. Top this all off by staying in a luxury gay-friendly hotel in Puebla and you can see why LGBT travellers in Mexico are flocking to Puebla in droves!
Note: Same-sex marriages became legal in the Mexican state of Puebla on 1 August 2017 and has energised gay life in Puebla, as it has across Mexico especially in states where it is legal. Mexicans in general are becoming more accepting of differing sexuality and lifestyles, though the Catholic Church’s influence remains strong. Thankfully LGBT travellers rarely experience open discrimination or violence.
Gay Puebla Guide: The Essential Guide To LGBT Travel In Puebla Mexico
Being such a queer-friendly city, many of the attractions in Puebla gay travellers will want to see are the top attractions in Puebla anyway. All travellers in Puebla should take caution in less-developed areas with valuables and take taxi’s or ride share apps (especially if you do not speak Spanish) at night – and always listen to local advice when exploring.
Gay travellers in Puebla should take special care in less developed areas in terms of public displays of affection where many residents may be less exposed to LGBT culture and may hold conservative attitudes…Though any reaction is more likely to be curious than outrage. Overall Puebla is very safe, especially compared to other Latin American cities, and a common-sense approach to travel will general ensure you have no issues exploring this beautiful and diverse city.
The city of Puebla is one of Mexico’s most popular tourist destination in large part because of its diverse mouth-watering culinary heritage, awe-inspiring colonial architecture and close proximity to Mexico City. Most of the top attractions of Puebla can be seen wandering the historic downtown, but there are a few things you will not want to miss. Adventurous travellers will want to make a day trip to the nearby famed volcanoes of Mexico; Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl for some unique hiking.
Don’t forget to steep inside the Talavera tiled Casa de los Muñecos or Casa del Alfeñique to see amazing examples of the Puebla tiling that helped bring this city UNESCO status. For lovers of Mexican Art you should plan time for a visit to Museo Amparo, which is not only free but has incredible views out over the city. If you have had enough of the old town Xanenetla, once one of Puebla’s most dangerous neighbourhoods, is now a great option for street art and cafés for the artsy type through closer to town is the famous Frog Alley which is jam-packed full of antiques dealers and artisanal furniture hawkers if you want to pick up something special.
Gay-friendly Dining in Puebla
As previously mentioned, Puebla has a very gay-friendly vibe and with so many places to explore (and a booming foodie scene) there is no need to limit yourself. Below are a few of the more popular, trendy places that have opened and you really should try to visit, perhaps as a warm-up for the crazy gay nightlife in Puebla Mexico… Just no matter what you do, don’t forget to try the delicious mole poblano, which is chicken or turkey served under a thick chilli and chocolate sauce. Today it is considered the national dish of Mexico (not tacos, who knew?), and any local will proudly tell you how it originated right here in Puebla.
Ki bok Cafe Gourmet ($) – A beautiful little coffee shop focussed on crafting world-class espresso drinks from organic coffee grown right here in Mexico. Pastries and light snacks are also available.
Taco Tony ($) – The battle of the Twin Taco Titans in Puebla rags on between the two taquerias La Oriental and Tacos Tony, though in our minds Tony wins out on price, service and tastier meat.
Antigua Churreria de Catedral ($) – You can’t go to Mexico and not have churros right? And this is the place to fill your cravings – though you if you don’t enjoy the spectacle of queuing in Mexico you best come early!
Zaranda Cafe Palafox ($$) – A centrally located coffee shop popular with gay travelers in Puebla for an opportunity to people watch.
El Mural de los Poblanos ($$$) – Located in a gorgeous colonial courtyard, they serve a variety of traditional poblano dishes – though the best is the house special five kinds of mole. Great service and strong cocktails!
La Noria ($$$$) – One of the top restaurants in town serving Mexican food like you have never had before. Stylish fit out and a very sophisticated clientele, La Noria is also known as one of the best places to try Mole Poblano though there is also a wide variety of other tempting dishes available.
La Textileria ($$$$) – Hyper-chic with Instagrammable food for days, this is one dining experience you don’t want to miss if you love the ‘modern spin on a classic dish’ experience.
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In Puebla Mexico you would be hard pressed to find a major hotel which had any issues with gay guests – but some hotels are more popular with queer travellers due to their location and inclusive environment or vibe, which are featured here. These gay-friendly hotel in Puebla are frequented by members of the LGBT community and have great reputations. Each hotel and area offer something very specific, so be sure to choose the right style and location to meet your needs.
Prices are cheap compared to North American and European hotels (thought quickly rising) and standards are high – so it’s a great place to splurge! Of course there are also hundred’s more hotel and hostel options in Puebla if none of these suit your desired budget, facilities or area!
Gente de Más Hostel ☆ – For those who want to party or meet other travellers this eclectic and colourful hostel has a reputation for openness and inclusivity.
Hotel Rio ☆ ☆ – A straightforward hotel located in the historic centre with clean rooms. Low-key with private bathrooms, this is the cheapest private room in Puebla with good reviews.
Hotel Casa de la Palma Boutique ☆☆ – A gay-friendly hotel in Puebla with elegant, old world rooms, and suites with balconies overlooking the historic centre. Set in a 18th-century house this is a great option for a polished hotel in Puebla on a budget.
Hotel La Alhondiga ☆☆☆– Well known as a gay hotel in Puebla, but in reality is mixed. Set in a 17th-century former corn exchange, expect a low-key hotel with some ornate features in a location that cannot be beat.
Hotel Casa del Callejon ☆☆☆ – Another great mid-range gay friendly hotel in Puebla on a quite side street just a few minutes walk from all the action. Expect to bump into other LGBT travellers in the central courtyard which is a great place to relax and chat.
Ikonik Hotel Puebla ☆☆☆☆ – Strikingly modern, this contemporary hotel is houses inside recycled shipping containers. Minimalist yet outrageous, this is not your average hotel. There is an on-site cafe with gym and roof-top terrace.
Courtyard by Marriott Puebla Las Animas ☆☆☆☆ – Sleek and modern, this is a popular mixed / gay hotel in Puebla thanks to its well-known brand and standards. With a beautiful pool and stylish restaurant close to the main business district and shopping malls, this is one of the most booked hotels by gay travellers to Puebla.
Casona de los Sapos Hotel Boutique ☆☆☆☆ – Elegant and refined, located in a Spanish Colonial–style building on a quiet cobbled street in the central city. Large rooms with wood-beamed ceilings and four-post beds make this the option of choice for a Gay Puebla romantic getaway.
Rosewood Puebla ☆☆☆☆ – Newly opened with stunning views and an infinity pool on the rooftop, this is a refined hotel houses in a stately old stone building a 15 minute walk from the historic centre. There is an on-site spa, farm-to-table restaurant and gym.
Gay Bars and Gay Clubs in Puebla
While the beautiful colonial architecture and delicious Mexican food many lure you in – It is the Puebla gay bars and clubs that really make Gay Puebla worthy of a visit for your vacation. Anyone who knows anything about Mexicans knows they love to a good fiesta, and while Puebla might me laid back and chilled by day, it’s nightlife is anything but!
New clubs and events are taking place consistently here so it pays to ask around when you arrive (hotel staff are a good bet) but at the moment here are the most popular nightlife spots and gay clubs in Puebla for travellers and locals. Things will get crazy – but just go with it. Just don’t forget your common sense.
Franco’s Disco – A gay nightclub that been on the Gay Puebla scene for many, many year. It’s staying power comings from its incredible dance atmosphere, sexy go-go boys and world-class drag acts. this is one place you don’t want to miss!
La Cigarra – A small gay bar which is known to go off thanks to its incredible drink specials. A great place to start the night and see what happens, especially on a Friday when plenty of locals head here.
Coktelito Bar – A cute little gay / lesbian cocktail bar with a rainbow flag funning outside. Popular with the young and trendy crowd, there is karaoke here, a great happy hour and themed parties (check out their FB page).
Secret Coffee & Beer – A great little venue with nice beer specials, events, karaoke and weekly drag shows/ cabaret. See their Facebook page for latest prices and specials.
Sibari Disco-Club – Large dance venue with disco-balls and lighting with a heavy focus on nightly drag shows. Recently closed down and opened up at another venue, but plenty of big gay events and DJ parties.
Red Bay – A no no-sense gay beach-bar, though the mixed crowd is welcome. Perfect for a beer and a chat and to strike up a conversation.
Zuntra Pop Club – While the original location burned down, Zuntra is back in a new location. Dj’s pump out everything from quintessential gay music to salsa, merengue, reggaeton and while it’s a gay club it is very popular with the alternative scene also. Nightly stripper shows, but somehow it remains very classy so dress to impress.
Gay Saunas in Puebla
Unlike some more Western countries, saunas and bathhouses in Puebla are still all the rage. Here are the three biggest, with a reputation for being friendly to foreign travellers. Be aware that rent boys are somewhat common in sauna’s here, but at your own risk.
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Baños Las Termas – One of the nicest gay saunas in Puebla, and in Mexico. Safe with a mix of both locals and gringos, the highlight is easily the sun terrace on the top floor (though the three floors of sauna beneath are pretty great too!). Well equip with friendly service, this is the best sauna in Puebla.
El Atico – A bathhouse in Puebla quite far from the city centre. Information is sparse but you can check the Facebook page before going. Please let us know how it goes!
Baños San Jose – A centrally located sauna in Puebla close to the university district. Spacious with clean lockers with and two types of steam showers
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