Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai, Honolulu, Hawaii

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai - Honolulu, HawaiiPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

Beach Resort on Sparkling Coast of Hawaii: Standing at the gateway of world-famous Waikiki Beach and a magnificent streKuleanatch of white sand, the Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai provides the perfect setting for your next Hawaiian getaway. This resort in Oahu provides easy access to Waikiki Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the world.

See the Waikiki Marina Resort at the Ilikai Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in Oahu

Purple Roofs Lists More Than 5,000 Gay Friendly Accommodations Worldwide

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Purple Roofs Home PageIf you just read the Purple Roofs gay travel blog, you may not realize that we’re actually a travel directory too. We started the directory 15 years ago, and it has grown into one of the largest directories of LGBT owned and friendly accommodations on the web.

We’re different from other directories, in that we focus on the little guys. Sure, you’ll find a smattering of Marriotts and Hyatts on the site, but the vast majority of our listings are mom and mom or pop and pop businesses. More than a third of these are LGBT owned, and the rest are gay friendly, giving you places to stay that will welcome you and your partner in many places (both popular and out-of-the-way) around the world.

To search the directory, just go to our home page, and use either the map links there or the searches just below the maps.

Find your dream vacation, and have fun!

Sochi’s Gay Scene Thriving

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Sochi Winter GamesA man named Ravil catapults onto the dance floor and starts stomping out the lezginka, the arrogant rooster strut of the Chechen national dance.

Ravil’s spontaneous performance is made even more unusual by the fact he’s in one of the two gay clubs in Sochi, the southern Russian town that will host the Winter Olympics amid Vladimir Putin’s harsh crackdown on gays. The morality campaign – centered on a law banning gay “propaganda” – has threatened to overshadow the games as it provokes an international outcry.

Paradoxically, Sochi is a far cry from the conservative lifestyle that the president is trying to promote.

At club Mayak, for example, the dancers are as diverse as the city itself: a Muslim who is a former market butcher, an Armenian who owns a strip club in a nearby town, a Ukrainian who loves to sing like Whitney Houston and dress like Adele.

See the Full Story at the Wisconsin Gazette

Click here for gay travel resources in Russia.


Gay Flagstaff, Arizona – Cowboy Heaven

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Arizona mapThe laid-back, cultured and pine-studded college town of Flagstaff has plenty going for it and makes a terrific base for exploring northern Arizona.

The largest city on Interstate 40 between L.A. and Albuquerque, Flagstaff is known for its seemingly endless supply of inexpensive chain motels and restaurants. Sadly, too many road-tripping visitors never get much beyond the exit ramp before continuing on with their journeys. In fact, this well-kept, historic city of about 66,000 is worth getting to know — it’s renowned for cool, dry summers and snowy but sunny winters, and has enough diversions and attractions to keep you busy for several days.

The presence of Northern Arizona University infuses Flagstaff with a youthful, bohemian personality that’s enhanced by the many outdoorsy types who have settled here from smoggier and more crowded parts of the West. The gay scene is subtle but pronounced — plenty of gay men and lesbians live here or nearby, and the rest of the population seems largely split between those who embrace diversity and those who simply don’t care much about their neighbors’ gender, race or sexual orientation.

Authored By Andrew Collins – See the Full Story at GayTravel.com

Click here for gay travel resources in Northern Arizona.

Axel Hotels Closing Buenos Aires Location

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Argentina - Google Maps

from Google Maps

It is with some sadness that we report that the hetero-friendly hotel company Axel Hotels has closed its Buenos Aires location. The boutique hotel in the San Telmo district was our home base a couple of times when visiting BA as well as the location of our swimwear shoot in 2010. A message on their blog reads:

Axel Hotels announces that Axel Hotel Buenos Aires won’t be part of our portfolio any longer from next October 1rst on. It’s been 6 years plenty of good experiences, adventures and anecdotes that we will never forget, and we want to thank all of you. This decision represents a growth opportunity for Axel, as it will help to carry out the expansion plan in short term.

Authored By Joseph Pedro – See the Full Story at Passport Magazine

Click here for gay travel resources in Argentina.

Lesbian Travelers Spread Goodwill One Vacation at a Time

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Sweet LogoHeads up, ladies looking to book travel plans over the next year: Lesbian-owned travel company Sweet is currently booking all-girl trips between now and next September, heading to fab locales around the world like Cozumel and South Africa. But as blissful as that sounds, these trips come with an extra twist of sweetness.

Founded in 2008 by entrepreneur Shannon Wentworth, Sweet creates vacation getaways in countries around the globe, where travelers, known as “Sweeties,” can not only enjoy everything the destination has to offer but take part in community service projects that are aimed at bettering the lives of local women, children, animals and the environment.

So far they’ve visited 12 countries and clocked in 5,000 hours of aid. Some of the things they’ve done?: planted 7,000 trees, removed heaps of garbage from littered beaches, created school libraries, and provided water filters for a community in Puerto Vallarta that had no access to clean agua.

Authored By Josh Middleton – See the Full Story at G-Philly

Click here for gay travel resources.

Swimming in Mexico’s Cenotes

Author: , September 30th, 2013

Carlos MeliaCenotes are a natural pit, or sinkhole resulting from the collapse of limestone bedrock that exposes ground water underneath.

Used by the ancient Maya for sacrificial offerings. There are many of them all over Riviera Maya, but we visited one of the three located in the area of COBA only minutes away from the archeological site. There you can swim, enjoy the lovely caves and if you dear, try some jumps.

Cenote water is often very clear, as the water comes from rain water filtering slowly through the ground, and therefore contains very little suspended particulate matter.

The term derives from a word used by the low-land Yucatec Maya, “Ts’onot” to refer to any location with accessible groundwater. This could very easily become a new sport for me, Cenoting!

Authored By Carlos Melia – See the Full Story at The Carlos Melia Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Mexico.

Purple Roofs Gay Travel Newsletter 9/29/13

Author: , September 29th, 2013

Mark and ScottWelcome to the Purple Roofs gay travel newsletter.

Our articles section now has four parts – local news,
general interest, travel event news (including upcoming events and reviews and photos of past events), and finally sweepstakes and contests.

We’ve got lots of other great stuff for you this month, too – including a bunch of feature articles on Buenos Sires, Nova Scotia, Key West, Maui Pride, Ithaca NY, Margarita Island, and Seattle.

And we’re featuring a number of other gay travel articles from around the world.

You’ll also find some great accommodation specials and discounts, tons of upcoming gay travel events, and much more.

Seaton Dreams - Toronto, OntarioOur Newsletter Sponsor: Seaton Dream, Toronto, Ontario

Casual elegance in the heart of the city. Located on a quiet tree-lined street only three stoplights away from the main intersection of downtown Toronto. Whether you’re enjoying the Garden Patio, drifting off to sleep on our luxurious mattresses, or savouring a delicious hot breakfast, we look forward to making you feel at home every minute of your stay.

Visit the Seaton Dream Expanded Listing

Our Featured Articles This Month:

resort photoTRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Getting Ready for Going SOUTH For the Winter
by Don & Ray
It is time to start thinking about winter traveling for those of us who are retired or have the time and money to go south for a few weeks this winter. In the United States unfortunately we have few options however there are always new and exciting places to go. Ft. Lauderdale is still the #1 favorite for gays in the United States as well as Canada. When we winter in Ft. Lauderdale we are always running into dozens of Canadians. Monthly rentals are found everywhere down there and with all of the gay resorts you are sure to find whatever you are looking for. Our favorite is the Grand Resort and Spa, www.grandresort.net and we have been staying there for a dozen years. Greater Ft. Lauderdale really offers anything and everything that any gay person would want including fine dining, fabulous beaches, a huge variety of gay bars and wonderful shopping.
Full Story

Carlos MeliaARGENTINA: Buenos Aires: Myths, Legends, and Cafes
by Carlos Melia
Once again in Buenos Aires, city where I was born and left, many years ago, searching for new challenges and adventures. My family still lives in this beautiful city, reason why I visit at least three times a year. Every visit to me is a new discovery, always looking to learn more about it and to find new interesting things to share with all my followers and passengers. This time, expert guide Victoria Lustig, came my way and willing to work with me, she offer to take me around, to see a different side of it.
Full Story

2756936763_2089d2415fCANADA, NS: V-Day Wait? Or Nova Scotia Getaway?
Who said you have to wait until Valentine’s Day to have a romantic getaway? And who said anything about being confined to the basic destinations like Paris and the whole of Italy? Yes, they are lovely destinations but they’re also a lovely distance away from your humble abode; not to mention, the money to trek overseas. Try checking a little closer to home: Nova Scotia. It’s sitting right on the US northern neighbor’s edge just waiting to be explored. Yes, it is more than one of the top most gay-friendly destinations in the northern hemisphere. Check out a few of these gorgeous and ambient places.
Full Story

Santa Croce church, FlorenceITALY: Dreaming of Italy… Again
by Dolly Goolsby
I know I haven’t blogged for awhile. I have been enjoying the summer here in the United States, but there is never a day that I don’t think of Italy. There is just something that keeps calling me back. Although I was sitting in my lovely back yard this afternoon, enjoying the Indian Summer weather, I still had my head in Italy. I cannot tell you just one thing that keeps me going back. There are so many magnets. The food, the markets, the beautiful language that I keep trying to learn, the friendly people, the insanity of the roadways, the way of life that keeps the stress level down.
Full Story

Margarita Island BeachVENEZUELA: A New Gay Caribbean Paradise – Margarita Island
The Island or Margarita, or better, Margarita Island, is the largest of the New Sparta State Islands, one of Venezuela’s 23 states, which also includes the islands of Coche and Cubagua. It’s a Caribbean island, just northwest of the Venezuelan coast. Porlamar is largest city on the island, and tourism is the main industry on Margarita, with a dry and mild year-round climate, and many enchanting beaches, some perfect for wind surfing and kite surfing.
Full Story

blog1USA, FL: 5 Ways Key West is Perfect For a Gay Vacation
by David Hardy
Key West has a lot of really good gay accommodation: It makes a massive difference to stay at a place where the room is great, the service is fantastic and your fellow guests are interesting, right? Key West has 1 gay hotel and 8 gay run guest houses with LaTiDa hotel, Alexander’s and BigRuby’s the big names in town. Most of the guest houses in Key West were originally built by sea captains in the 1800s, and then renovated when Key West was re-discovered from the 1970s onwards. So they are historic and beautiful properties. Choose right and you’ll find a guest house which is more beautiful and more welcoming than any hotel. Make sure you choose a place which has a late afternoon happy hour as they are very social and really make the vacation special. Brace yourself though: no one will say Key West inns are cheap!
Full Story

Maui Hula DancersUSA, HI: Head to Paradise for Maui Pride Next Month
by the Maui Sunseeker
Didn’t get enough sun and fun this summer due to the weather or a busy work schedule? Not to stress! We’ve got the perfect solution to chase away your blues that summer has ended. Come to Maui for the big full weekend event of Maui Pride, October 4th-6th. Don’t miss this last chance to celebrate your Pride and our accomplishments for equality this year… Maui Pride has a larger all day festival than Honolulu Pride and much more!! The following is a short description of events scheduled.
Full Story

USA, NY: Ithaca, A Jewel in Upstate New York
by Rpbert Saldarini
As we pack away the beach balls and pails, let’s turn our attention to some autumn adventures. September is a great time for a weekend in Finger Lake region; especially, the town of Ithaca. This ‘Cornell Community’ has been LGBT friendly for decades and the natural beauty of the region is extraordinary. As a college-town, Ithaca is an easy commute by many means – even by bus. The expression, “Ithaca is Gorges,” is by no means shy of the truth. Visitors find the trails, the waterfalls (there are over 100-waterfalls in this region of New York), and views to be breathtaking. September may offer some warm temperatures. So, if the weather prediction is a hot late summer’s day, you might want to plan a water adventure on Cayuga Lake. Another appealing activity centers on exploring the wineries along the Cayuga Wine Trail. If you wish to do a wine tour in a grand way, companies like Finger Lakes Winery Tours can provide a limo and driver to take you about.
Full Story

Grand Central Station - NYCUSA, NY: Behind the Scenes at Grand Central Station
by Carlos Melia
If there is something that always intrigues and interests me about iconic landmarks and destinations, is to dig deep into their apparent facade and learn about the myths and legends behind them. You saw my recent post on Buenos Aires, from my visit last week, and now New York. Invited to join this exclusive group of luxury concierges of Manhattan, by my friend Michael Romei, I took part of this exclusive behind the scenes 3hs tours of Grand Central Terminal and Beyond. The tour was conducted to detail and perfection, by Docent-in-Chief Daniel Brucker, who not only is an erudite in the subject, but also is known and referred as “The Keeper of Grand Central’s Secrets”.
Full Story

Seattle Aerial ViewUSA, WA: Visiting Gay Seattle – Overview
by Scott & Mark
Just got back from a four night whirlwind tour of Seattle – we were just here a year ago with our friends from Italy, Marco and Fabry, and we decided to do it again. We arrived on a Wednesday morning, and the weather was a little gloomy – turns out we had arrived just before the first storm up here in months. It rained on three of the five days we were here, but the worst of it was at night, and it wasn’t bad at all except for one day.
Full Story

Espresso VivaceUSA, WA: Visiting Gay Seattle: Capitol Hill
by Scott & Mark
Looking for the gayborhood in Seattle? Check out Capitol Hill… home to the nation’s first LGBTQ Visitor’s Center, it’s just across the freeway and up a few blocks from downtown Seattle. The Capitol Hill neighborhood is really a series of little areas that each have their own charm. Walk up 15th Street near Volunteer Park, and you’ll find a neighborhood Safeway grocery store and a cute little set of shops with a couple local Cafes – we really liked Caffe Ladro, a local coffee chain. As we noted last time we were here, there’s also lots of construction – even in this market – especially new apartments.
Full Story

Terra Plata Restaurant - SeattleUSA, WA: Visiting Gay Seattle – Terra Plata, Our Top Restaurant Pick
by Scott & Mark
Last year, we came to Terra Plata for drinks and dessert. It’s a beautiful restaurant nestled between Pike and Pine about two blocks east of the 5. This year we came back for dinner – and it’s now our favorite Seattle restaurant. Owned by lesbian couple Linda (the host) & Tamara (the chef), this place has a really great, cool, comfortable atmosphere. One of our favorite things about Terra Plata is the rooftop bar – opened just last summer. We followed our host up the stairs at the back, and emerged onto a charming rooftop scene – a long, narrow triangle-shaped space with a fireplace at the pointy end, an urban herb garden along the edges, and an outdoor grill where chef and co-owner Tamara sometimes prepares food for the upstairs crowd.
Full Story

EMP Museum SeattleUSA, WA: Visting Gay Seattle – The Seattle Center
by Scott & Mark
The Seattle Center is where you’ll find that most-famous of Seattle landmarks, the Space Needle. But there’s so much more to see and do here – check out the science fiction and rock and roll museums at EMP, or explore the Pacific Science Center with its Lady Gaga planetarium laser show. Or maybe take a stroll through the Chihuly Glass Gardens, and afterward, enjoy a really good lunch at Collections Cafe. There are often food festivals and other events here during the summertime, too, and of course, the Space Needle has one of the best views in town.
Full Story

We also scour the web to bring you all the gay travel news we can find. You can see these posts on a daily basis at http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog, or sign up for our RSS feed. Here are some of our favorites from the last month.

Local Stories:

BELGIUM: Antwerp’s Got Game
So here’s the story: Long, long ago (right before the Roman Empire invaded present-day Belgium) in a land far, far away (present-day Belgium), the giant Druon Antigoon terrorized the people of the Schelde River by demanding a fee to cross.
Full Story

BRAZIL: Gay Guide to Rio
By any stretch of the imagination, Rio de Janeiro is one of the most spectacular cities on the planet – the blue-green South Atlantic Ocean laps a wide expanse of white beaches, abutting the lush greenery of a semi-tropical forest.
Full Story

BRAZIL: Lesbian Travel: Sao Paulo, Brazil’s Silver Lining
Sao Paulo is the kind of city that locals love to hate; like any metropolis in the world, you’ll want to scream during rush hour, complain about the crowds (the population is a little over 11 million), whine about the parking prices and cost of living.
Full Story

CROATIA: Guide to Gay Croatia
You’ve been to Ibiza, Mykonos, Playa del Ingles, Sitges…and now you are ready for something new?
Full Story

ICELAND: Iceland in Five Days
After spending five days in Iceland, I can’t understand what took me so long to visit.
Full Story

INDIA: What’s It Like in Gay Delhi?
Ryan C. Haynes at Honest Omissions looks at life in gay Delhi, India.
Full Story

SERBIA: Government Bans Belgrade Pride
For the third year in a row, yesterday the Serbian government banned Belgrade Pride, citing security concerns over threats of violence by neo-Nazi groups who battled hundreds of riot police at Belgrade Pride 2010.
Full Story

THAILAND: A Tale of Three Thai Cities
Translated, its ceremonial name begins with “City of Angels” and then manages to haul in immortals, palaces, nine sacred gems, the king Visvakarman, and the god Indra. I think the world will forgive me if I stick with “Bangkok.”
Full Story

UK, ENGLAND: Gay Couple Who Discriminated Against Gays to Sell B&B
A Christian couple that refused to allow a gay couple to share a room, because of their beliefs are now selling their nine-bedroom Chymorvah Hotel in Cornwall, because business has nosedived since their controversial court case.
Full Story

USA, CA: Nine Free Things to Do in the Castro
1. Free Chicken Wings at Lookout: The Lookout (3600 16th Street) is not only a great bar to people-watch from their prime balcony spot, but on Fridays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm, you can stuff your face with free chicken wings!
Full Story

USA, FL: Discovering Gay Miami
It’s hard to believe that in fewer than 100 years, Miami has grown from a small village to an important city on the world stage.
Full Story

USA, ME: Ogunquit – A Gay Family Friendly Getaway
For those still nursing memories of summer camp, Maine–touted on signage as “Vacationland”–conjures images of sleeping bags and tents, mosquitoes and frigid lakes. But if camping’s not your idea of a vacation, Maine has a lot more to offer gay families, especially when your destination is Ogunquit.
Full Story

USA, NM: Visit Albuquerque For The Food
The distinct regional tastes of New Mexico have become a huge draw for foodies, thanks to the cultural fusion of Anglo, Native, Mexican and Spanish cuisines.
Full Story

USA, NV: Kayaking Las Vegas
It’s easy to trade the wild ways of Las Vegas for the wilds of the nearby Colorado River: All it takes is a call to a boating outfitter and a federally-approved form of ID.
Full Story

USA, NY: Autumn in Boston
Summer may signal the end of high season at New England’s beach resorts, but early autumn is the perfect time for visiting the region’s largest metropolis, Boston, along with its smaller neighbors, Cambridge and Somerville.
Full Story

USA, NY: New York’s Catskill Mountains
Once Himalayas-high and populated by Paleoindians some 13,000 years ago, the Catskills (three hours or less from New York City) are truly ancient.
Full Story

General Gay Travel News:

What to Look For in a Gay Friendly Hotel (Venere.com)
Gay friendly hotels are popping up everywhere, which is fantastic news for the LGBT community. But what can you expect from a gay friendly hotel? Well, here are five of them.
Full Story

What Happens to the Men’s Room on a Lesbian Cruise?
“Do we need our lifejackets?” Lea asks as she passes me, heading toward the bathroom of our cabin aboard Holland America’s Nieuw Amsterdam.
Full Story

Is Gay Pride Too Corporate? Or Too Risque?
Initiated as small, defiant, sexually daring protests, gay pride parades have become mainstream spectacles patronized by corporate sponsors and straight politicians as they spread nationwide.
Full Story

Traveling With a Disability
Navigating after Achilles surgery on my right ankle last August was a tough experience. But being disabled for a short time opened my eyes to the very serious lessons of what it would be like to not be able to walk.
Full Story

Gay Event Reviews:

PORTUGAL: Gay Portuguese Film Festival Releases Braveheart Spoof Ad
Every September, Lisbon hosts Queer Lisboa, “the sole Portuguese Film Festival dedicated exclusively to screening gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and transsexual themed films.”
Full Story

Upcoming Event News:

This Winter’s Top Gay Ski Events
The days are getting darker and the warmth of the sun is lowering, while the mountains are preparing to go pink as gay and lesbian travelers look into their winter retreats.
Full Story

CARIBBEAN: Sea of Love Gay Cruise to Host Commitment Ceremonies
(Sept 27th-Oct 4th, 2014) Cruise Planners – American Express Travel has announced their Sea of Love cruise, the first of its kind for the company: a one-time only seven-night Caribbean cruise packaged with a group destination ceremony in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands, devoted to same-sex couples.
Full Story

CHINA: Hong Kong’s Gay Film Festival To Be Huge
Sept 18th-Oct 5th) Clocking in at a record 54 submissions, this year’s Hong Kong Lesbian and Gay Film Festival (HKLGFF) will showcase a diverse array of voices including two brand new categories, one for bisexual-themed movies entitled ‘Bi the way’ and ‘Les porn.’
Full Story

CHINA: Hong Kong Pride Takes to the Streets
(Nov 9th) Hong Kong Pride is coming in November.
Full Story

SWITZERLAND: Arosa Gay Ski Week Next January
(Jan 12th-19th) This 12-19 January, journey to the heart of gay Europe’s favourite ski event during Arosa Gay Skiweek! Set in the picturesque Swiss town of Arosa, this event will celebrate its’ ninth year of fun, frivolity and pride in the European Winter.
Full Story

USA, AZ: Tucson’s Pride in the Desert Coming in October
Pride in the Desert is in its 36th year. This event is our annual fundraiser allowing us to continue to give back to the community.
Full Story

USA, CA: Gay Days Comes to Anaheim October 4th
(Oct 4th-6th) The 2013 Gay Days at Disneyland are set to take place Friday, Oct. 4 to Sunday, Oct. 6.
Full Story

USA, CA: Palm Springs International Film Festival to Include Day of LGBT Films
(Jan 3rd-13th) The Palm Springs International Film Festival (PSIFF), scheduled from January 3 – 13, 2014, will mark its 25thAnniversary this year.
Full Story

USA, CO: Telluride Gay Ski Week Announces 2014 Dates
(Feb 21st-Mar 2nd) Telluride, Colorado’s gay ski week just announced their dates for their 2014 Ski Week.
Full Story

USA, FL: Next World OutGames Coming to Miami in 2017
(2017) A delegation of 12 civic and community leaders and volunteers from Miami Beach and Miami recently returned home from the worldOutgames III in Antwerp, Belgium, bringing back with them the official worldOutgames flag.
Full Story

USA, HI: Head to Paradise for Maui Pride Next Month
(Oct 4th-6th) Didn’t get enough sun and fun this summer due to the weather or a busy work schedule? Not to stress! We’ve got the perfect solution to chase away your blues that summer has ended. Come to Maui for the big full weekend event of Maui Pride, October 4th-6th.
Full Story

USA, IL: Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Film Festival Back in November
(Nov 7th-14th) Reeling: The Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival is back this November with gay-themed films hoping to make you laugh, cry, and everything in between. From November 7 through 14, audiences will be treated to a variety of films from up-and-coming as well as established filmmakers.
Full Story

USA, OH: Gay Games Coming to Cleveland in 2014 – Better Than the Russian Olympics
(Aug 9th-16th) The two quadrennial international sports competitions taking place in 2014 — the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, and the Gay Games in Cleveland — couldn’t be setting more dissimilar tones.
Full Story

USA, TX: Fort Worth’s Q Cinema Film Festival Announces Line-Up for Next Month
(Oct 10th-13th) Fort Worth’s Q Cinema has a new month (October) and a new line-up.
Full Story

US, TX: Fort Worth’s Gay Pride Celebration Adds Film Festival
(Oct 3rd-3th) In 2013, the Tarrant County Gay Pride Week Association (yep, that’s TCGPWA) celebrates its 32nd anniversary.
Full Story


CANADA, ONTARIO: Win a Trip to Toronto World Pride 2014
(Dec 31) Win a once-in-a-lifetime trip for two to Toronto for WorldPride in 2014. Join us in June 2014 for the world’s largest international celebration of LGBTQ culture and human rights.
Full Story

SWITZERLAND: Win a Gay Swiss Vacation
Passport magazine and SWISS are tickled to announce The Ultimate Swiss Gaycation giveaway, and your chance to hit the slopes in style at Arosa Gay Ski Week (January 12-19)–on us! The contest launches today (now!) online.
Full Story

USA, MARYLAND: Win Five Nights in Maryland at the Black Walnut Point Inn
(Oct 1) 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.
Full Story

Gay Travel Events – The List:

Check out our new events list, where we list gay events around the world – http://www.purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-events.html.

Sign Up for Our Gay Travel Sweepstakes

Maryland Sweepstakes: We’re teaming up with the beautiful Black Walnut Point Inn on Tilghman Island (http://www.blackwalnutpointinn.com/) to give away 5 nights in Maryland.

Check Out Our Special Offer Section

Our innkeepers and travel agents offer exclusive specials to travelers who find them on Purple Roofs. This month, we have 122 Accommodation/Tour offers listed in 16 countries and regions around the world! No membership required.

Visit Our Other Websites:

Gayapolis: Personals, daily news, and a great gay and lesbian directory.

Mi Casa Su Casa: Our home trade network – join for just $75 for 5 years.

Gay Realty Network: Real estate professionals around the world.

Purple Unions: Gay friendly wedding vendors around the world.

Find Us On Twitter:

We have a Twitter account – follow us at http://twitter.com/purpleroofs.

Find Us On Facebook:

We have a Facebook page too – like us at http://www.facebook.com/purpleroofs.

Find Us On Google+:

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Find Us On Pinterest:

And we have a Pinterest board as well – follow us at https://pinterest.com/gayapolis/purple-roofs/.

Marriage Equality News:

Also check out Gay Marriage Watch, our daily news blog about gay marriage: We bring you all the news on the fight for gay marriage daily. Join our blog email list by sending a subscription request to info@purpleunions.com. Find the full blog at http://www.purpleunions.com/blog/index.html. You can now also find us on Twitter with regular updates every day at http://www.twitter.com/gaymarriagewatc.

That’s it for this issue – enjoy the newsletter!

Mark & Scott

PurpleRoofs – http://www.purpleroofs.com

PO Box 4666, El Dorado Hills, CA 95762

PS: Wanna sponsor this newsletter and reach over 27,000 people? Email us at wheretostay@purpleroofs.com for details.

A New Gay Paradise – Venezuela’s Margarita Island

Author: , September 29th, 2013

The Island or Margarita, or better, Margarita Island, is the largest of the New Sparta State Islands, one of Venezuela’s 23 states, which also includes the islands of Coche and Cubagua. It’s a Caribbean island, just northwest of the Venezuelan coast.

Margarita Island, Venezuela - Google Maps

Porlamar is largest city on the island, and tourism is the main industry on Margarita, with a dry and mild year-round climate, and many enchanting beaches, some perfect for wind surfing and kite surfing.

Discover Margarita Island

Margarita Island BeachMargarita is about 48 miles long and 12 miles wide, with about 394 square miles of land. That’s just a little bigger than the city of Indianapolis. Temperatures on the island are almost perfect, ranging from 75 degrees up to about 99 in the summer.

Margarita is divided into two parts – to the west, the Macanao Peninsula, a dry and little-populated desert landscape. To the east, you’ll find a more tropical and luxuriant Margarita, full of life, where most of the population of 420K lives. Both parts of the island are mountainous, with some peaks over 3,000 feet tall, and are connected by a narrow, low isthmus called La Restinga, with a beautiful lagoon.

Macanao, the western portion of the island, has one taller central mountain, Macanao peak, at about 2,500 feet in altitude. A range of smaller peaks marches from north to south, with deep valleys in-between, reminiscent of the NaPali coast in Kauai. The biggest of these valleys is called “San Francisco”, on the northern side of the island. How perfect is that?

Paraguachoa, the eastern part of the island, is formed by a mountain range that stretches from Porlamar to Cabo Negro. Its highest peaks include Cerro Grande (at just over 3,000 feet and El Copey (2,919 feet). This part of Margarita is more developed, especially the city of Porlamar, and the second-largest city, Pampatar. Other smaller towns on the island include La Asunción, the regional capital, and Juan Griego.

Margarita IslandPorlamar is known for its commercial center. Here you will find many boutique ships and great restaurants. About 85,000 people live in the city during the off-season, and its population swells to about 125,000 during the tourist season.

The city has two beaches and a cruise ship port, as well as a number of shopping malls: Sambil Margarita, Rattan Depot, Centro Comercial AB (Avenida Bolivar), and La Redoma.

Pampatar has about 50,000 residents. and has a long, beautiful city beach and many restaurants. It is also the location of the San Carlos Borromeo castle, built between 1664 and 1684. While it was once a sleepy fishing village, Pampatar has grown into one of the main nightlife centers on the island.

At Margarita’s beaches, you can sample many local dishes, made with both fresh fish form the Caribbean and local meats. You can also enjoy a refreshing “coco frio” (fresh coconut), which the locals will open for you with a machete!

To reach Margarita, you can take a direct flight from Caracas or other cities on mainland Venezuela. There are also scheduled and charter flights available from many North American and European cities, as well as ferries from the coastal cities of Puerto La Cruz, Cumaná, and La Guaira.

The History of Margarita Island

Margarita IslandThe island has a rich history, including several Spanish Forts, part of the area’s heritage.

In 1498, Christopher Columbus first “discovered” Margarita. The locals, called the Guaiqueries, met their conquerers with open arms, not knowing they would later be converted into slaves by their own riches – pearls would come to represent at least a third of all the tributes sent to the Spanish Crown from the New World.

With pirate ships roaming the Caribbean, it was necessary to fortify the island against attack, and many of these Spanish forts still remain.

In 1561, the island was sacked by Lope de Aguirre, a ruthless conquistador who held the islanders in terror until returning to the mainland to try to steal Panama from the Spanish Crown.

Later, in 1814, the islanders won independence from Spain, and became a part of the free territory of Venezuela. It was here on Margarita that Simón Bolívar, later called Libertador, was confirmed as Commander in Chief of the new republic, La Grande Colombia. From here, he began to liberate Venezuela, Colombia, Perù, Ecuador and Bolivia from Spanish dominion.

The Gay Life on Margarita

There’s not a big gay scene yet on Margarita Island, but gay travelers are starting to take an interest in this undiscovered corner of the Caribbean – over the last two years, the number of LGBT tourists coming to the island has almost doubled.

There are now some gay friendly (and even primarily gay “straight friendly” inns on the island)

Carapacho's Paradise - Margarita IslandOne such place is Carapacho’s Paradise (http://www.facebook.com/posadacarapachosparadise). It’s a straight-friendly inn with a mostly gay clientele, in the heart of Margarita Island, just minutes from Porlamar – close to one of the most tranquil and beautiful beaches of the island. The Pousada is surrounded by green space, private and quiet.

Margarita even has a gay friendly dance bar where many of the shows are exclusively gay.

Carapacho's Paradise - Margarita IslandThere’s also a large and growing LGBT community on the island, though it’s still pretty low key. The island culture is fairly gay friendly.

There are many things for gay and lesbian tourists to do on the island, and there’s even talk of opening an LGBT cultural center here, to promote the local gay community and encourage more gay tourism.

There’s also a gay friendly travel agent on the island – ItalacaribeClub (http://www.italcaribeclub.com/), run by Guido Rabà, who came to Margarita from Tuscany, Italy after leaving his job there as a contractor.

The agency deals with both tourists to Margarita Island and with local real estate – if you’re moving to Margarita, they can help you find a place to buy on the Island, and the exchange rate is generally pretty favorable here. Although they specialize in packages for Italian visitors, they can work with folks from anywhere in the world – for vacation, transfer, or retirement. ItalacaribeClub is also very gay friendly, and is working to bring more gay tourism to Margarita, with special packages tailored to LGBT travelers.

You can contact them via their website, or at Facebook:


Margarita is a great, less-traveled alternative to the busier Caribbean Islands – you can find whatever kind of lodging you want here, from economy to luxury, in the middle of a beautiful tropical island destination.

TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Getting Ready for Going SOUTH For the Winter

Author: , September 29th, 2013
Email Donald & Ray | Visit the Gay Travel Guys Website

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Fort Lauderdale BeachIt is time to start thinking about winter traveling for those of us who are retired or have the time and money to go south for a few weeks this winter. In the United States unfortunately we have few options however there are always new and exciting places to go. Ft. Lauderdale is still the #1 favorite for gays in the United States as well as Canada. When we winter in Ft. Lauderdale we are always running into dozens of Canadians.

Monthly rentals are found everywhere down there and with all of the gay resorts you are sure to find whatever you are looking for. Our favorite is the Grand Resort and Spa, www.grandresort.net and we have been staying there for a dozen years. Greater Ft. Lauderdale really offers anything and everything that any gay person would want including fine dining, fabulous beaches, a huge variety of gay bars and wonderful shopping.

grand courtyardAlways check on www.purpleroofs.com to find dozens of listings for South Florida. Accommodations in South Florida do book up early, so it is time to begin your bookings now.

South Florida is much warmer than the middle or upper Florida and after all, we all go down there for the warmth don’t we? Two of our other favorite areas in Florida are St. Petersburg and Daytona. They both have a very heavy gay population. Both have great beaches. We always enjoy visiting both of these cities in the winter.

grand pool  twoWe enjoy the Gay St. Pete’s Guest House in St. Petersburg, http://www.gaystpetehouse.com/ and in Daytona we enjoy the VILLA INN, http://www.thevillabb.com/

You might want to venture on down to Key West which is always busy in the winter time. South Beach (Miami) is also a very hot spot for gays. Some gays go only as far down as the panhandle of Florida where they do have nice beaches however the weather is not as warm.

South Texas is another place where gays winter, down by South Padre Island as well as Houston and Galveston. There seems to be a lot of gays that travel down there in their RV’s. Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona has nice weather for those who are living on the west coast. There are a large variety of gay places to stay in either city and they both offer a lot of nightlife activities for gays.

resort photoSan Diego and Palm Springs are always great places to winter on the west coast. Palm Springs especially is full of gay accommodations and lots of nightlife. Las Vegas is yet another great place to winter. And yes, even though they have a lot of real ‘high end’ restaurants in the city, there are still dozens of very inexpensive places to dine off the strip.

Whether you are going south for just one week, or a couple of weeks or a month or two or three months, there are a lot of fun places. We were talking with some Canadian friends of ours and they spend one month in Palm Springs, California and then one month in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

On another subject, there seems to be a lot more scams and disgruntled travelers concerning accommodations. We still cannot imagine booking an accommodation online from a third party like Expedia or Hotwire. You never know what you are getting into and yet you pay upfront with no recourse if the property is not what you were expecting.

This really seems to happen to a lot of travelers when they want to rent an apartment or a condo for a month or two. If you stay in a regular Bed and Breakfast, resort, hotel or motel, you can always check out after the first night and find another place to stay. However if you pay the entire amount of your stay upfront then you are in for a very bad situation. On Christopher Elliott’s national blog, he is always getting dozens of people trying to get their money back to no avail.

Another thing one has to look out for when traveling by auto is at the gas pumps. They will have a huge sign up posting their price per gallon. Then when you get to the pumps and start putting in your gas, you will see in very small print (cash price). So if you are paying by a credit card, the price is much higher.

Another ploy that they are using now in some states that allow it, is that they charge you a small fee for using your credit card and that small fee can run from 35 cents up to a dollar! So one just has to be alert and be a very wise traveler.

We hope that all of you have a wonderful winter season and as we said you do need to plan ahead now.

Always remember to have fun when traveling, meet new people and talk to everyone!

Donald and RayTRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD is written by Donald Pile and Ray Williams, Award-winning, Celebrity travel columnists who write for gay publications from coast to coast (And now legally married). Proud members of the IGLTA. You can email them at gaytravelers@aol.com and visit their website at http://gaytravelersataol.blogspot.com/