, May 22nd, 2013
by David & Dan Zucker-Freedman, Casa Gatos, Akumal, Mexico
Visit the Purple Roofs Quintana Roo page
Akumal has to be the least known of the Traveler’s Choice Ten Best Destinations in Mexico, but there is a reason it’s up there with the likes of Mexico City, Puerto Vallarta and Cabo San Lucas, and it’s not just the crystal clear Caribbean waters, accessible reefs and white coral beaches.
After all, it shares those with its larger neighbors on the Riviera Maya. It is that elusive thing called ambience, the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that we associate with small towns, where strollers and joggers greet each other, neighbors wave from passing cars or bicycles.
Visitors come to swim with the giant sea turtles of Akumal Bay, the graceful stingrays gliding through Half Moon Bay and the colorful tropical fish of Yalku Lagoon, a natural inlet fed by underground streams so that the rear portion is cold fresh water, while the front is a narrow sea water bay.
In the summer months you can stroll past the the numerous protected and marked turtle nests on the beaches or watch the release of the baby turtles and their race to the sea. The residents of Akumal take the ecology of the area seriously and resist the kinds of over-development that harm the environment of our neighboring species.
Akumal began as a diver’s resort and scuba enthusiasts and cave divers still come here from all over to explore the barrier reef and the untold number of underwater caves radiating in every direction.The area around Akumal has some of the largest water filled underground cave systems in the world, which served as the focus of several IMAX and National Geographis films., Qualified cave divers can swim past the grotesquely beautiful stalagmites and stalactites that abound in the tunnels and caverns that line the paths of the underground rivers of the Yucatan Peninsula, while snorkelers enjoy the sights in the the sunlit entrance caverns and swim in the open ponds formed where the roof of the caverns collapsed.
Akumal is also a great base for experiencing the nearby attractions of the region. History buffs can explore the legacy of the ancient Maya in such nearby ruins as Tulum perched on a cliff overlooking the sea,, Coba deep within the jungle and the awesome World Heritage site of Chichen Itza. Or they can walk through the streets and visit the chuches and markets in Spanish colonial cities like Valladolid and Izamal.
A half hour drive and you can be jostled by the crowds of shoppers, tourists and diners that throng Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue throughout the day and night. Nature lovers can cruise down ancient waterways in Sian Kaan Biosphere Reserve, skim over the jungle canopy on zip lines at one of the Eco Parks, trek through the forest monkey reserve beneath howlers and spider monkeys, or walk along the shore in Akumal and count the pelicans, herons, egrets and ospreys. Some just prefer to lie in the sun and absorb the laid back atmosphere along with the rays.
Located in Akumal, a quaint village resort in the very center of the Rivera Maya, Casa Gatos has a unique private home atmosphere with comfortable units, one, two or three bedrooms, each with an eclectic decor of antiques, oriental and mexican art. Can accomodate two to ten guests. Between Yalku Lagoon and Half Moon Bay and near Akumal Bay.
, May 22nd, 2013
The Spanish gay scene is renowned for being wonderfully open-minded, welcoming and inclusive, and although you’ll find a scene of some description in all of the most popular Spanish resorts, it’s fair to say that some are more impressive than others.
Popular with gay British holidaymakers since the 1960’s, the Costa Del Sol resort of Malaga has an outstanding scene, particularly in the cosmopolitan coastal town of Torremolinos which may be small, but still finds space to hold the massive Mad Bear Beach Party every summer!
Taking place this year on the 14th – 19th August, the Mad Bear Beach Party is the brainchild of Madrid’s Mad Bear association, a group of prodigious local Bears that have single-handedly created an extraordinary Bear scene in their city and beyond since 2001.
Although still a relatively new event in Torremolinos, the Mad Bear Beach Party attracts thousands of Bears from across Europe for a few unforgettable days of fun in the sun, with DJ’s on the beach, Bear Boat parties, a Mr. Bear contest and so much more. If you’re planning to be part of the action, here is our guide on where to stay, what to eat and of course, where to drink in Torremolinos.
Where to Stay
As Torremolinos has an area of just 20km2, you’ll never be far from the fun, but if you really like to be at the heart of it all, look for hotels close to La Plaza de La Nogalera.
This central plaza is the hub of the gay scene in Torremolinos, with more than 30 gay venues and numerous affordable gay-friendly hotels within walking distance. What’s more, getting there is easy too with flights to Malaga available from low-cost airlines like Jet2.com.
What to Eat
You’ll need to keep your energy levels topped up and in Torremolinos, you’re spoiled for choice of great grub. El Sabor is a firm favourite restaurant among locals and holidaymakers alike, serving delectable fish dishes, juicy steaks and cracking cocktails, plus it’s gay-friendly to boot.
However if it’s a quick bite to eat that you’re looking for, many of the bars lining the promenade of El Gato beach have an extensive menu of Mediterranean tapas on offer throughout the day.
Where to Drink
When the Gay Bear Beach Party winds down on the sand, we can almost guarantee that you’ll follow the crowd to the El Gato Lounge, which most people cite as the very best gay bar in the whole of Torremolinos.
With a prime location right on the beach it’s the perfect place to mingle, plus it’s open throughout the day, whereas most other bars don’t open until 11pm. You’ll find a varied and vibrant crowd at El Gato Lounge, but if you’re strictly on the lookout for a ‘grrreat’ time, Bacchus Bar is Torremolinos’ premier Bear bar – could there be a more perfect after-party venue?
, May 22nd, 2013
by Simone, Sand Castle in the Beach, US Virgin Islands
Visit the Purple Roofs USVI page
Are you looking for a vacation where there is plenty of opportunity to rest, relax and enjoy the thrill of a water or land adventure? Visit St. Croix, in the U.S. Virgin Islands, find your passion and play on a tropical island the American Caribbean, no passport needed.
St. Croix is located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, just 40 miles below the sister U.S. Virgin Islands of St. Thomas and St. John, 90 miles east of Puerto Rico, where the average temperatures are in the low-mid 80s throughout the year.
The island is rich with history and culture, and is home to a diverse pool of people, many of whom look forward to making your trip the best yet! It might be a tour guide, ready to take you on a hike through one the quaint towns of Christiansted or Frederiksted, or a scuba dive instructor willing to show you fascinating trails of underwater sea life.
Crystal-clear, turquoise-aquamarine Caribbean Sea provides an amazing backdrop for a variety of water sports: Sea thru kayaking, Stand up paddle-boarding, flying through the air on a Kite-surf, or simply put on snorkel gear and swimming with the turtles…
Scuba-diving is readily available all over the island for the novice and expert alike!
Interested in land-based activities? Varied terrain to explore, informational nature hiking tours through the rain forest, historic walks in-town tours, a visit to Annalay Bay’ falls to mention a few possibilities. There is always a chance to get some retail therapy and shop for the famous Crucian bracelet in all each various combinations, plus take advantage of the $1600 duty-free allowance!
And when you feel like off-roading it, rent or take a jeep tour around the island. Remember to stay left, left, left! Are you a golf lover? Book a tee-time at one of the island’s three courses, or simply hit a bucket of balls at one of the driving ranges.
For those whose fascination is history, then don’t forget to tap into the culture and heritage that makes St. Croix very unique. Visit the historic Forts, the old sugar plantation at the Whim Museum, tour the Botanical Gardens, where you can enjoy the flora and fauna of the island gets you started.
Discover both towns Christiansted and Frederiksted where you can appreciate the Danish architecture, and investigate the seven flags marking the seven nations that have ruled St. Croix: Dutch, French, English, Knights of Malta, Spain, Danish West Indian Company, and most recently, the United States, which purchased the tropical island in 1917.
The friendly West Indian culture is featured at numerous events throughout the year, and you can find several tour guides who will tell you about the island’s dramatic history through colonial and post-colonial rule. Check online for the calendar of events.
St. Croix boasts some of the most amazing and well-kept marine parks in the United States:
– Buck Island Reef National Monument is maintained and protected by the National Park Service and is a home to hawksbill turtles, brown pelicans, with an underwater snorkel trail of coral reef that is truly unique with deep grottos.
– Salt River Bay National Historic Park is known as the only place where Christopher Columbus landed in the United States and remains an archeological site that is replete with historical significance.
– Sandy Point National Wildlife Refuge boasts is a protected stretch of immaculate, white sandy beach where leatherback sea turtles nest. Visitors can tour the area, or if visiting during summer, might get lucky enough to see turtles nesting or hatching by planning ahead and coordinating with St. Croix Environmental Association’s educational tours.
Green Cay National Wildlife Refuge preserves the habitat for the largest remaining population of endangered Saint Croix ground lizard. Located on a small island of 14 acres between St. Croix and Buck Island, it consists of dry, forested areas, and serves to protect the lizard. It also serves to preserve the bird-nesting habitat on the island.
Did you realize that St. Croix is the Rum Capital of the Caribbean? Not to be forgotten is the tour of the two rum factories on the island! Taste the World Famous Cruzan Rum at the Cruzan Rum Distillery and Captain Morgan Spiced Rum at the Diageo Distillery, where the grand opening was this past April, 2012. See how the process works and purchase up to 5 liters to take home with you.
Gay-owned and managed Sand Castle On The Beach Resort welcomes you to enjoy the vacation of a lifetime on this beautiful tropical island in Frederiksted. With two pools on site, and a beachfront that boasts some of the clearest snorkeling around, you’re sure to nourish your senses in a relaxing environment. Launch your water sports’ experience right from the hotel grounds!
One of the leading LGBT properties in the Caribbean for well over 4o years! Sand Castle On The Beach Hotel features 21 studios, suites and villas on the beachfront property, offering an array of choices for your stay in paradise. Choose from an economy queen, king studio with a balcony, courtyard suites surrounding a pool, tasteful one bedroom suite with a full kitchen or a spacious, one or two-bedroom beachfront villas.
Dine at the hotel’s restaurant, the award-winning Beach Side Cafe, which carries a menu full of delectable fresh specials, plus a wide selection of menu items offered for Sunday Brunch, Lunch or Dinner. Open Thursday through Monday: Sunday Brunch 10 am-3 pm, Lunch from 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.; Dinner from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. Full bar services are available featuring frozen specialties, and an array of world-class beers and wines.
Sand Castle offers on-site massage promoting immediate stress relief and encouragement to take your relaxation to the next level. There is also an on-site, compact Fitness Center where you can boost your strength training, meet your cardiovascular needs or arrange one-one personal, wellness training.
Book your reservation directly at 1.800.524.2018 and qualify for the Purple Roofs’ Special Discount. The friendly, welcoming staff at Sand Castle On The Beach Hotel will assist in personalizing your vacation. You may feel intimately connected to St. Croix, and find your Caribbean home, a special place you’ll want to revisit time after time!
, May 22nd, 2013
by Eyal Feldman, Boy Butter Blog
Visit the Purple Roofs Alaska page
When people think of Alaska they immediately think of the arctic, snow, ice, and a general freezing cold. Well, when you tell people that you are going to Alaska in February they immediately think you are crazy.
I have travelled the world and seen tons of different countries and geographical areas, but nothing compares and nowhere I have been comes close to the uniqueness and rugged natural beauty that is Alaska. The sheer size of Alaska is so big it is difficult to grasp, it is 1/3 the size of the land area of the entire 48 states, or about twice the size of Texas.
Not only am I inspired and drawn to the extreme locals and geography, but as an astronomy aficionado the main astronomical phenomena I am chasing here on this Alaska adventure is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. The Aurora Borealis is a natural brightly colored occurrence as the Sun’s radiation hits the Earth’s magnetic field a beautiful display of charged particles light up the sky in our upper atmosphere, only visible near the poles and the best time of year to witness it is during the winter time when the nights are longer and chance of seeing the Aurora are the greatest, but you better pray for clear skies or it can be completely obscured.
The first stop on this arctic adventure is Anchorage, the most popular place to start your introduction into this sub-arctic wonderland. Surrounded by impressive snow covered mountains, Anchorage is a spread out bustling town of 300,000 out of Alaska’s population of 730,000 folks with plenty of things to do, places to go and people to meet.
By far Alaska’s largest and most sophisticated city, Anchorage is situated in a truly spectacular location surrounded by permanently snow-covered peaks and volcanoes of the Alaska Range. To the west of the city, part of the craggy Chugach Range is actually within the eastern edge of the municipality, and the Talkeetna and Kenai ranges are visible to the north and south. On clear days Mt. McKinley looms on the northern horizon, and two arms of Cook Inlet embrace the town’s western and southern borders.
Staying at the comfortable and classy Copper Whale Inn, a gay friendly bed and breakfast located conveniently in the heart of downtown Anchorage, just a short walk from the city’s restaurants, galleries, museums and attractions. One museum that I suggest is the largest museum in Alaska, The Alaska Museum of History and Art, where you can learn about Indigenous art, science, and the history of Alaska and it’s cultures.
Also a short distance away are the only two gay bars in town, Mad Myrna’s and The Raven, if you want to see a super hot bartender, please make sure to ask for Chris Jones at Mad Myrna’s (oucha mcgoucha). There is also a small Gay and Lesbian Center nearby on 5th Avenue just down the road so you can inquire on all things homo-Alaskan when you get there.
The next stop on the Northern Lights adventure is to Denali National Park, home of Mount Mckinley, the tallest mountain in North America at an elevation of 20,320 feet. Then it is on to Fairbanks and the famous Chena Hot Springs, a location so famous for the Northern Lights viewing that Japanese people fly specifically to Chena Hot Springs so they can conceive a child under the Aurora as it is considered good luck for the future child. I might not be conceiving a Japanese child there but I am sure it will be enjoyable nonetheless.
, May 22nd, 2013
TLAgay.com (http://tlagay.com), the leading retailer of gay home entertainment, today launched the Three Days and Two Nights of Hot Fun at Sand Blast Weekend sweepstakes. The sweepstakes is co-sponsored with Asbury Park Events (http://asburyparkevents.com) and offers customers and fans alike an opportunity to win a weekend filled with cocktails, dancing and friends at the beautiful Jersey Shore in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Taking place Friday, July 19th thru Sunday, July 21st, Sand Blast Weekend (http://sandblastweekend.com) will feature 23 thrilling activities from surfing to guided bike rides, beach dodge ball, a burlesque show, a downtown art gallery walk, two pool parties, nighttime dance extravaganzas and The Beach Party, the weekend’s main soak-in-the-sun event with music DJs Tony Moran and Hector Fonseca. Throughout the entire weekend a slew of the hottest DJs will play including Atlantis Cruise favorite DJ Grind and NYC favorites Eddie Martinez, Steve Sidewalk, Nando, Corey Craig, James Anthony, Stacy, Mick Hale and Susan Levine.
To enter, visit TLAgay.com/SandBlast13.
The prize package valued at over $900 includes:
–2 nights (July 19 & 20) at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel (http://berkeleyhotelnj.com)
–2 Sand Blast Weekend passes
–4 free cocktails at the Berkeley Oceanfront Hotel
–2 free beach badges
–$250 in shop/dine/activity discounts at participating venues
Entrants must be 21 or over. Visit site for sweepstakes rules. Sweepstakes ends 11:59PM ET on June 30th, 2013. Entrants that opt-in for TLAgay.com emails with their sweepstakes entry will enjoy a 20% discount offer on their first order!
“Our TLAgay / Sand Blast Sweepstakes is a great way for us to give a couple guys the best weekend of their summer,” said Brad Hurtado, Sand Blast Weekend Executive Producer.
Over 4,000 people attended last summer’s event. This summer’s Sand Blast Weekend promises to be even bigger and wetter!
Find more articles and gay wedding resources in New Jersey.
, May 22nd, 2013
If you’re looking for a romantic getaway for you and your other half, or just a fun trip in a beautiful locale for yourself, sign up for our sweepstakes to win 5 nights at Maryland’s Black Walnut Point Inn:
By any measure, Tilghman Island’s Black Walnut Point is unique. A private gate secures the half-mile drive through fifty seven acres of bird sanctuary before it emerges at our six-acre island of lawn. When the sun rises over the broad mouth of the Choptank River and sets over the length of Chesapeake Bay, guests enjoy wind, waves and endless water views.
We even have a pair of nesting eagles, osprey and black ducks, as well as migrating butterflies, water fowl and song birds. You might even see bay dolphins, skates and schools of bluefish, and the back dock overlooking the cove is an ideal location for watching the herons fish.
At night the sky is full of stars, another surprise of nature, making Black Walnut Point a quiet, secret, peaceful place – just an hour’s drive from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.
You can sign up for the sweepstakes here, and visit our Maryland page here.
, May 22nd, 2013
Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.
One of the Most Scenic Inn Locations: One of the most scenic inn locations on the Island. Spectacular views of the ocean, Cavendish sand dunes and coastal lighthouse. Upscale inn, featuring 7 stylish rooms & 2 self-contained, fully equipped cottages. Short walk to the beach. Enjoy Brenda’s scrumptious breakfasts with a breathtaking view of the water. Stay in a 1939 farmhouse refreshed with color and art.
See the Beach House Inn Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here
Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals on Prince Edward Island
, May 22nd, 2013
There are several big gay events this weekend in the United Kingdom.
GAY PRIDE IN BIRMINGHAM THIS WEEKEND
The first event is the gay pride celebration in Birmingham. Gay Star News reports:
Birmingham pride have sold ‘crazy’ numbers of tickets for this year’s event according to their Twitter page. Live acts confirmed for the main stage this weekend (25 – 26 May) include: JLS, Paloma Faith, Lucy Spraggan, Bananarama, Rylan Clark, Misha B, A*M*E and S Club. Gay Star News recently reported on this being the biggest line-up in the city so far. ‘OMG! Crzy ticket sales online for @BirminghamPride – HURRY! GET YOUR DISCOUNTED ADVANCE TICKETS NOW!’ the event organizers tweeted.
“AS ONE IN THE PARK” MUSIC FESTIVAL IN LONDON
Also this weekend, what’s billed as the UK’s biggest gay festival, “As One in the Park”, will kick off at noon on May 26th. Gay Star News reports:
This Bank Holiday Sunday (26 May), pop princess Rita Ora will headline the newest and biggest gay event at Victoria Park in London. The chart-topping singer, famous for her number one hits Hot Right Now, How We Do (Party) and RIP will join special guest Holly Johnson, lead singer of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. He once told us all to Relax (Don’t Do it). Organizers, Orange Nation, are aiming to bring the best of London’s gay music scene together on stage with some of the world’s biggest names in modern music. Hitting the As One main stage with Rita Ora will be dub-step and R&B singer Katy B, MTV music award winner Conor Maynard, X Factor contestants Rylan Clark and Union J, the four piece boy band, and Tornado singer Anttix, who’s has been tipped as one of the most exciting breakthrough pop acts of the year.
, May 22nd, 2013
Visiting or living in London, and looking for a place to take the boyfriend? Gay Web Source has you covered:
There are all the typical things to do in London; the bridge, the tower, the eye, and so on, but what if you want to network with other gays and meet people to take. Perhaps you want to take your friend to a new or different place. Here are 10 places you may not have thought of before.
Broadway Market: Get out and go to the market. In almost every city around the world there is an outdoor fresh market. In the London, this is the Broadway Market. Start your Saturday with a date at the market with all tastes and cultures that will satisfy any palate or shopping need. You will find the Market between Regent’s Canal and London Fields. There is everything from food, hand crafted items, and clothing. Bring your partner, take in the fresh air, and pick up fresh ingredients for a late picnic at London Fields and a candlelight dinner at home.
Gotta get to London one of these days and take my honey on a gay date.
Click here for gay travel resources in London.
, May 22nd, 2013
Last week, during my visit/stay at Four Seasons Punta Mita, I got to spend time at Puerto Vallarta. Four influences converged during the 1960s and early 1970s to launch Puerto Vallarta into its trajectory toward becoming a major resort destination, but without a doubt, the extensive coverage to Elizabeth Taylor’s extramarital affair with Richard Burton, during the filming of “The Night of the Iguana” in a small town just south of Puerto Vallarta, put them in the spotlight.
Although my final destination was Punta Mita, approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes away, in the state of in Riviera Nayarit, all flights arrive to Puerto Vallarta. Therefore being my first time I took two hours to explore it. I must say that I found the Malecon – waterfront promenade, and the Romantic district or old Puerto Vallarta, quite quaint and charming, I was not sold by the destination.
Puerto Vallarta is a mystic city that harbors tradition in its plazas, in its streets, in its people. Located on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, where Jalisco and Riviera Nayarit meet, Puerto Vallarta lays in the heart of Banderas Bay and offers both: tradition and vanguard. Only a few short hours flight from most major cities in the US and Canada.
For decades now, Puerto Vallarta has been the epicenter to the LGBT scene, the gourmet happening, and although I was very happy to spend time there for my tour, I found no comparison to my experience at Punta Mita and my time exploring the small towns along Riviera Nayarit.
Rapid growth in tourist volume in Puerto Vallarta has given rise to rapid growth in hotel and rental apartment construction, but to my understanding in a way that has lost in translation the spirit and heritage of this destination. Do not get confused with Nuevo Vallarta, which is a pseudo South Beach in the heart of Riviera Nayarit, and nothing has in common with Puerto Vallarta.
Visit the Mercado Isle Cuale and Mercado Municipal Cuale – there are two large public markets in the Centro along the banks of the Cuale selling a variety of artisanal and souvenir goods. Plaza de Armas and City Hall.
Unfortunately I did not have time to explore Playa Conchas Chinas – Chinese Shells Beach- the city’s most secluded beach, located to the South of the headland which forms the boundary of Los Muertos beach, which it might have changed my perspective of this destination.
Restaurant wise, this came highly recommended by locals: El Arrayan and Trio. And you must do a stop at one of the Coconut stalls and have your own Tejuino and Tuba experience. I did and I will blog about this separately.
Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog
Click here for gay travel resources.