(This article was commissioned by Gay Entertainment Directory, and it first appeared in their February 2019 edition.)

Many gay destinations around the world feature saunas, bathhouses and other private clubs in which patrons can frolic in a safe, private environment, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. With three floors and almost 25,000 square feet of recreational areas, and attracting thousands of national and international visitors annually, Spartacus ( has been the sauna in Puerto Vallarta for the past six years.

Spartacus is the brainchild of Tom Budniak, a well-travelled Polish man who first discovered the gay friendly destination during a 10-day vacation with friends, some 25 years ago. He kept returning to Mexico on a regular basis until eventually obtaining his permanent residence and launching a real estate business in Playa del Carmen, Cancun and Puerto Vallarta in 2005. For a while, he tried the nightlife, opening Club Picante in Puerto Vallarta, but quickly realized that the late-night hours were not for him. “Picante was located in the same building as Spartacus is today,” he explains. “I’ve been a fan of bathhouses in my travels, and realized that Puerto Vallarta was lacking a comfortable space where guys could enjoy themselves in such an environment, so I decided to give it a go.”

As you step into Spartacus for the first time, it is difficult to imagine just how large the place is. Presently, the sauna features 180 lockers, 14 private rooms and six additional VIP rooms with air-conditioning, “very popular during the Summer months,” he comments. There are two steam areas with two rooms each, a dry sauna, a 20-person Jacuzzi with a water feature, an x-rated video room, and a dark room with swings, glory holes and other amenities. A dedicated massage area allows you to schedule enjoy a variety of treatments. All areas are kept extremely clean and suitably dark, to keep things interesting.

In the top level, a secluded roof area features a full-service palapa bar, a large splash pool and several recliners for sun worshippers. “Some people are under the impression that folks come to a gay sauna only to have sex,” he explains. “This obviously happens, but at the same time, we have many return customers that are simply looking for a comfortable, private place to chill, socialize, enjoy a cocktail and get some sun. Our upstairs terrace is perfect for this.”

With Puerto Vallarta so highly regarded as a friendly gay destination, it is easy to forget its conservative origins. Through the years, Tom has worked closely with the surrounding community, making sure that Spartacus is abiding of local regulations. “We are very strict with our ‘no minors’ policy and allow no prostitution,” he emphasizes. In addition, Spartacus works closely with SETAC, the local AIDS/HIV organization, providing visitors with free condoms and and encouraging safe sex practices. 

Spartacus is located at Lázaro Cárdenas 240, at the corner with Ignacio Vallarta. They are open from 2 pm to 2 pm, Sunday – Thursday, and 2 pm – 8 am the next day on Friday and Saturday. For more information, please visit

Images courtesy of Spartacus.

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