Merida – One of the Safest Cities in the World has a great Gay Side

Does it matter how gay a city is? Sometimes I just go to a city just because I haven’t been there before and I’ll write about my experiences with the hotels, the food, the culture, shopping, history, etc. And all that makes me content and happy. I may miss out on writing about the gay nightlife, businesses, and population. Sometimes it’s not the main focus of my trip there.  Something else might be turning me on to the location, and it’s not always about the boys.

One of those cities I traveled to just a year or so ago and wrote about all the aspects without dabbling in the gayness too hard was Merida, Mexico, located on the Yucatán peninsula. I popped down there for Tianguis Turístico, an annual national tourism conference held in Mexico. We had some downtime between the excursions outside of the city and the walks we had throughout the city. But I didn’t really see a huge gay nightlife present at the time. I did do some searching and asking around, but, of course, this was during the pandemic, COVID, mask-wearing times, so many of the bars and exploratory options were not happening and many have not reopened.

So when it came time for me to consider another visit, I told myself, “this time was going to be different. I want to see the gayer side of Merida, Mexico.”


Now, of course, visiting gay districts and gay bars in cities outside of United States (or even cities within the US) sometimes are wonderful and sometimes are questionable. Do gays, have a position of respect, tolerance, or a position of a lower class in these countries or cities? Merida as a rule, and as a statistic is one of the safest cities in the world. Sometimes it’s number two or three or one on the list, behind places like Quebec City and a small island of 420 inhabitants. The locals will say Merida is safe because The Mexican Cartel says it’ll be safe because that’s where they send their mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts to live.

Related Post: Travel Thursday: Merida, Mexico Has The Equation For 2022 Travel Success

So Merida is safe. Check. But is it gay enough?

Last time I was there, we did go to La Cantina, which was a great spot, but it was just a restaurant that was frequented by gays. The vibe was fun, but very mixed, and I wanted more. When it came time to go back to Merida, I gave the trip to one of my riders as I had an OK time there, but it wasn’t calling my name. And that happens with American cities as well. I’ve been to many cities more than once and had mixed experiences and so that third trip or so hasn’t happened for different reasons.


But this time, going back to Merida, I knew that I was going to gay it up, I just didn’t know that gaying it up would be so easy there.


Well, you need to find some drag.  And we found it at DIX. The night we went to the bar, the theme of the drag was The Muppets and Sesame Street. You’re never going to see that on RuPaul.


Sitting at the small tables on the dance floor, we had a great view of the stage and the pole area. Servers took very good care of us throughout the show and the rest of the night. Fun was being had by all. The crowd was young as I think I might have been one of the older men there, but it didn’t matter. It’s a great dance spot as well, if you stick around after the show.



Every city needs its little gay dive bar. There may have been locations before that we have missed and you may even miss this one too as Google says the Cantina Bar Jorge’s Imperial is permanently closed. Well, our tongue and our eyes know that it was very open.

Jorge’s Imperial

We dove into the online reviews to see what we were getting into:

I love this place. Super dirty, drunks all over the place….a down and super dirty gay bar. Walk on the wild side.


It has evolved over the years, it’s still a small place, but it’s still comfortable and fun. I like that today it is the meeting point for friends, friends and friends.

This bar is very famous for the gay community of Mérida and for all of Mérida’s society, the bad thing is that it is not very clean and the service is not that good.

Reviews are a dime a dozen and I realize that more people want to write bad reviews than good ones. What is our review? It’s a seedy gay bar where people arrive with simple expectations, can get cheap beer, see semi-amateur young men put on a go-go show as they dance to some great music and strip to their undies (for some crazy Americans). Lap dances and what not could be had, but we were just there for one drink. Unfortunately we could not video the dancers as, well, you shouldn’t, but that 5’2″ thicc one in the red boxer briefs… I actually could have stayed longer as it reminded me of some of my favorite dive bars back in the US. Bravo Jorge’s!


I did not have a good guide, nor did I do my research well at all the last time I came to Merida. But, I do need to remember that it was pandemic, mask-wearing times so this bar was most likely closed. Which bar? If you want to see the men and all their glory and every inch of their skin, cut, or uncut, check out PAPI’S.

I lightly borrowed this pic from Ricardo Godoy

The first eye-full we received when we walked in the door was a baseball player, releasing his bat and balls for the crowd to see as he walked along the bartop, making his way around the room so all could see is disco stick. I did not know it was this kind of bar, with these visuals that brought me back to my first trip to Montreal and visiting STOCK bar. This was darker, Latin not French, and a little faster pace than the boys of the north. The French way of doing a strip bar is the dancers do a clothed dance, and then would alternate with another dancer and do their strip dance down to nothing a little later on. The PAPI’S way was to do your fully-clothed dance, and then strip down to nothing and then flaunt it for all to see during the very next song.


One benefit this time when we explored the night life of Merida was that we had a guide. Ricardo Godoy from Merida Gay Tours helped us get to many different destinations during our stay on the Yucatan peninsula. But just exploring Merida was a great thing this time, as mentioned above, the internet has not caught up to the closures and openings that have actually happened. And he’s tracking you across the Yucatan Peninsula, he is also distracting as he is Mr Gay World Yucatan.\


We will talk more about Merida and the surrounding areas (flamingos, cenotes, Mayan ruins, crocodiles, salt beds, etc.) in future installments of Travel Thursday, but I just wanted to do a post where we mention the gay ol’ time I had at the gay ol’ establishments in that gay ol’ city. And since Merida a short direct flight from Miami, with its inexpensive and great hotels, many authentic and elevated dining options, and being a great safe and walkable city, this big gay second visit of mine has made my mind up … I’ll be going back again and soon. I’ll also be reaching out to Ricardo again for a chance for him to show us more, and maybe more of his speedos. 

Ricardo Godoy of Merida Gay Tours

2 thoughts on “Merida – One of the Safest Cities in the World has a great Gay Side”

  1. Does it matter how gay a city is? I would say yes absolutely, well especially if I’m going to travel in the area. I want to know how gay it is 😉


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