Got a new batch of Pride updates for you today spanning the globe.
BOSTON READY TO CELEBRATE FOR GAY PRIDE
Boston is ready to put the marathon bombing behind and to move on to celebrate gay pride. Passport Magazine reports:
It’s time for Boston to come together and show what an amazingly diverse, strong, and welcoming city Boston truly is. So, grab your favorite rainbow piece, a pair of booty shorts, and bring along your pride because Boston Pride is back. From May 31-June 9, Bean Town hosts myriad events under the umbrella theme of “Moving forward… Proud, Strong, United.” Don’t miss the annual kickoff flag-raising ceremony, the Royal Pageant, the Boston Pride Festival, and the return of the Boston Pride Block Party June 9.
DC TO CELEBRATE BLACK PRIDE OVER THE MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND
A little to the south, the nation’s capital is ready to celebrate black pride this weekend. The Washington Blade has the schedule:
So much to do this weekend during D.C.’s annual Black Pride festival. There are several events occurring this Memorial Day. D.C. Black Pride is the official planning organizing agency but several other groups also have parties and activities planned for black LGBT people and allies.
SAN DIEGO PRIDE RETAINS GENERAL MANAGER
Across the country in San Diego, the Pride board of directors decided to keep its managing director. LGBT Weekly reports:
The board of directors of San Diego LGBT Pride announced today that Stephen Whitburn will continue to head the organization as its general manager. Whitburn had held the position in an interim capacity since January. San Diego Pride’s previous director, Dwayne Crenshaw, departed the organization amid his recent run for a seat on the San Diego City Council. The board moved quickly following the news that Labor coordinator and former police lieutenant Myrtle Cole had defeated Crenshaw in the race for the District 4 seat.
Over in Asia, Joe.My.God hilights a promo video for the Pink Dot festival, coming June 29th.
UKRAINE COURT BANS KIEV PRIDE MARCH
In a move that is not at all surprising, if disappointing, a court in Ukraine just blocked a gay pride march. Edge Boston reports:
Kiev’s district court on Thursday upheld a suit by city authorities, who argued that the rally would disturb annual Kiev Day celebrations and spark violence. Last year, organizers canceled the event at the last minute when skinheads gathered at its planned location, intent on beating up the participants. Members of radical groups attacked two leading gay activists in subsequent weeks.
MOSCOW GAY PRIDE TO GO ON DESPITE BAN
And over in nearby Russia, a Moscow Gay pride parade is set to go on tomorrow despite a ban there. Gay Star News reports:
A Moscow suburb court upheld the decision of the city authorities not to permit a gay pride parade this Saturday (25 May). Despite the ban, activists say Moscow Pride will go ahead as planned. Nikolai Alekseev, co-founder of Moscow Pride and GayRussia, stated: ‘Khimki City Court upheld the ban on the planned Gay Pride rally and march.’ He added he would appeal on Monday to the Moscow Regional Court.
This city – sculpted by Puget Sound and Lake Washington, and crowned with leafy hills – abounds with lively diversions, both indoor and outside. A sunny and mild climate from June through well into October makes it one of the country’s most enchanting summer destinations.
It’s actually a cool getaway with year-round popularity – yes, even during the grayer, wetter winter months – with superb restaurants, offbeat shops and a mix of accommodations for all budgets. Downtown, with its dashing, postmodern skyline, contains a mix of enticing museums, historic blocks and trendy retail-entertainment strips.
The city’s many visitors are often drawn to Seattle’s LGBT hub, Capitol Hill. Students, dot-comers, latter-day hippies and young families of all persuasions live in this lofty neighborhood, a 20-minute walk or short cab ride east of Downtown.
Spending a week or more at Elephanstay camp ensures that you will be making a real difference to the lives of these protected elephants. Why not stay, live and work at this one-of-a-kind sanctuary program?
You’ll get to know retired, wild and family-age elephants. Of the current herd – about 80 Thai elephants – 5 are youngsters, 5 are retirement age and the rest are starting or expanding their family.
On the day the Rainbow Tourism team visited, the LGBT staff let us follow guests on their ride to the river (pretending to be on a safari photo shoot whilst envying the paying guests doing the riding). After lunch we spent time with the newest member of the herd, just two-weeks-and-200 kg, and with one of the most playful and creative elephants, Peter the Painter.
Our dear friend, Bella (Dolly Goolsby) is on the go again, this time in Italy. She has graciously allowed us to republish her travel blogs. Enjoy!
We came up to Vernazza on the Cinque Terre yesterday. I love Vernazza, in spite of all the steps we have to climb to get anywhere. Our rooms are up a little stone street and stairs, but we have a roof top terrace that gives us a 360 degree view of Vernazza, and we can see all the way to Monterosso. As our landlord told us, being up here but near the sea, is very good for getting rid of allergies, increasing our lung power and keeping us slim by climbing all the stairs. I trust his judgment.
We were afraid we were going to get rain, but so far, we are fortunate. Kiri, Patrick and I stayed in town today, while the other 4 went for hikes. We will meet up again for Happy Hour at 5:00 on our roof top terrace. Our apartment is right on the trail from Vernazza to Corniglia.
This morning we walked along the road above town as far as we could go, and viewed some of the damage from the flood of October, 2011, but these resourceful people are still restoring and cleaning up, rebuilding streets, bridges and homes.
While it is still sad to see how much damage was done in that flood, it is encouraging to see the people still moving forward, and much like seeing the trees still producing lemons, the vineyards still producing grapes, the lilies and wildflowers blooming, to know that life goes on.
After we returned to town, we climbed up the hill to the tower that has a restaurant to check out whether we wanted to go there for dinner. While the view is wonderful, I knew that I really like to have wine with dinner, and no way was that going to be an easy trip down after having a couple glasses of wine. I told Patrick he would have to ask for Grandma’s wine to be put into a to-go cup, and she could drink it in the safety of her room, after dinner.
The people are very friendly. We see some stores open that are only half the size they were when we visited 2 years ago, but the people are resilient, and just keep moving forward.
Tomorrow I will send some pictures of our Happy Hour. I love being up on the terrace at 5:00 p.m., as the church bells ring, the the carillon play the Italian national anthem. I simply must stand at attention and salute the Italian flag. After all, Italy is my second home.
So, ciao for now, and we will talk again tomorrow.
Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.
Dutch Owned 8-room Inn – Former Canal Zone: Comfortable rooms with nice big windows and air conditioning, wireless Internet, a great covered terrace plus big garden, The Balboa Inn makes everybody feel at home. Located in Balboa 1 mile from the Panama Canal, all the attractions including Casco Viejo and Amador are only minutes away without traffic jams.
Planning a trip to Cincinnati for business or pleasure? Edge Boston has a great list of free things to do while you’re in town:
With dueling nicknames of The Queen City for its beauty and Porkopolis for its love of, well, pork, Cincinnati cannot be pigeonholed. After decades of declining growth, Ohio’s third-largest city is on a huge upswing, pumping billions of dollars into new development and revitalization. In less than 10 years, the city has transformed itself back into a growing, bustling destination as businesses and residents flock to downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods. Although visitors can drop plenty of cash on a Reds or Bengals game, gambling in a brand-new $400 million casino, or eating some of that much-loved pork, arguably the best things to do in Cincinnati are absolutely free.
The summer season is in full swing and as the sun shines brighter and the days last longer, it can be pretty tough to stay focused in the office. The best remedy for a wandering mind is planning a vacation. Taking time to adventure and seek out untraveled destinations is what makes life so exciting, and since the summer opens a variety of opportunities for travel, we are going to help pave a path throughout the Golden State to some of the most LGBT friendly destinations.
If you live in a colder climate, seeking out warm beaches and tropical weather is an absolute must, and there is no better place to let your mind wander than the beautiful cost of Southern California. Lined with beautiful beaches, wonderful sights and a plethora of activities, we are going to help you set sail on what hopes to be a memorable West Coast adventure.
Be Part of The Change – Pride Parade
Depending on what dates you plan on taking flight or hitting the road, the middle of July serves as one of the most exciting weekends in San Diego for the LGBT community. From July 12th-14th the streets of downtown San Diego will be home to one of the biggest and most sensational gay pride events in the world.
The Pride Parade is an event purposed around spreading awareness and fostering pride and respect for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, globally, nationally and locally. The weekend itself attracts over 200,000 cheering spectators as the city becomes alive with supporting visitors, non-profit programs and wonderful events at local night-clubs and restaurants. Proven to be one of the most inspiring and worthwhile weekends on the LGBT calendar, planning your vacation around this event is a definite must.
Unleash Your Inner Child – Disneyland & SeaWorld
We all know there is no age limit on fun, so when you find yourself ready to feel like a child again we have the perfect adventures for you. Disneyland, located just minutes outside Los Angeles is the perfect place to fill your day with laughter, smiles and your favorite Disney characters. Whether you’re into riding the rollercoasters or diving deep into the realm of imagination, the land of bliss and adventure has it all. If you think one day just isn’t enough, CityPASS is now offering a 3-day Disneyland Pass, so you can it all in, without missing any of the magic.
If you find yourself closer to San Diego’s southern side, SeaWorld offers the perfect setting for you to let loose. Hot weather calls for s refreshing change of page and an oceanic atmosphere, complete with exciting an animals and underwater creatures. Educational exhibits and the chance to swim with dolphins, play with penguins and observe some of the most diverse aquatic wildlife on the planet make for a thrilling, once-in-a-lifetime learning experience. When you feel the need to do something not-so-grown-up, purchase a SeaWorld San Diego ticket and hang out with Shamu.
After you have gotten in touch with your inner child experiencing the wonders of Disneyland and SeaWorld, squeeze in some time to give your superhero alter ego a chance to play at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con. There is no better place to mingle with fellow comic book lovers and sit on a number of panels for upcoming movies or creator chats devoted to a number of hot topics in the comic book industry.
During the week of July 21-24, the streets of downtown San Diego become something of a feature film with scattered superhero wannabe’s and comic legends; the city becomes alive with all things comics. The three day festival is full of special guest appearances, comic creators, films, and a weekend dedicated to the appreciation of comics and related popular art. You’ll be able to attend events and conventions that will further your knowledge of the comic world and all the producers, publishers and super-hero’s that make it so special.
There is no better place to expose your love for Batman, Spiderman, Marvel, and Wonder Woman than Comic-Con 2013 in San Diego. During the weekend of July 21-24 the streets of Downtown San Diego become something of a feature film with scattered superhero wannabe’s and Comic legends; the city becomes alive with all things comics.
The three day festival is full of special guest appearances, comic creators, films, and a weekend dedicated to creating appreciation for comics and related popular art. You will have the capacity to attend events and conventions that will further your knowledge of the comic world and all the producers, publishers and super-hero’s that make it so special.
Considering the current crop of prominent LGBT superheroes making waves within the ranks of Marvel and DC, you can make a splash by getting dressed up for Comic-Con to represent some of your favorites. Dust off that Bat-woman costume or put together an Alan Scott-inspires Green Lantern to revel among fellow comic geeks.
The city by the sea offers all types of fun, so be sure to couple your west coast adventure with some of the aforementioned events or attractions. Now all you need to do is free up your schedule, book your ticket, hop aboard the plan, kick the car into start and enjoy the beautiful sights and sounds that San Diego and Southern California has to offer.
Tenerife is the largest of the Canary Islands and as such is one of the most popular destinations for UK holiday makers to get away from it all. Situated off of the African coast, it’s far away enough to feel like an island escape, but the friendly Spanish locals will make you feel right at home.
With imported golden sandy beaches, and the imposing backdrop of Mount Teide, couples will find that Tenerife has the perfect landscape to simply sit back, relax and enjoy a cocktail or two.
Playa de Las Americas
Situated in the south of the island Playa de las Americas is a very lively tourist destination with plenty to do for families, groups and couples. Many of the hotels are family-focused so you’ll have to do some hunting around to find a more serene couples’ hideaway.
However, once you’re there it’s hard to get away from the party atmosphere so if you want a lively break with your other half you’ll be spoilt for choice from the sheer range of bars, restaurants and clubs, especially on the main street known as Veronica’s Strip. There are also a few gay bars to choose from including British-run The Cellar in the Centro Comercial Salytien area.
If you want something a little more laid back, you can also try your hand at golf on the Golf Las Americas course, or take a horse ride along the coast.
Puerto de la Cruz
The capital of Tenerife in the north of the island has a diverse mix of things to do and has a real city feel about it. Set in the midst of several parks, you can spend a day with your partner exploring Loro Parque, which has lots of animals and marine life to see plus daily animal shows. The Parque Taoro which is situated above the main town is a breath-taking mission to get to the top, but once there you will be greeted with wonderful views and plenty of waterfalls.
Puerto de la Cruz also has a fun mix of nightlife, plus saunas, sex shops and discos all catered to the gay market. Avenue Generalississimo is home to the main bars and discos including Vampi’s, which has a drag show, and O’Neills which is an early evening snack bar.
Situuated just north of Playa de las Americas is Costa Adeje. It is home to the typical black volcanic sandy beaches that Tenerife is well known for, and because of its location it’s great for windsurfing, diving and plenty of other water sports.
There are also lots of specialist adults-only hotels with spa treatments available and views over the beach, perfect if you want a slower-paced getaway. And just in case you do fancy a few thrills, Costa Adeje is home to Tenerife’s only water parks, Aqualand and Siam Park.
Some things never change, and occasionally that’s all right.
Consider New Orleans. Some of the names have changed — and then there was Katrina — but for the most part, the music and the people haven’t changed in 100 years. And then there’s the food. It has evolved, but it’s still distinctly New Orleans.
“You’ve got the younger kids at Sylvain and Boucherie playing with the strength of the flavor palette while applying it to dishes from all over the place,” said musician and actor Harry Shearer. “It’s that flavor palette, flavors which always declare, ‘you can close your eyes and you’ll still know exactly what you’re eating’ that sets New Orleans cooking apart.”
Combine that culinary mélange with a unique brand of jazz that can be heard spilling out onto almost every street corner, and a pace as slow as the muddy Mississippi, and the Crescent City is the perfect place for a lazy weekend getaway.
Friday: 7:00 p.m.
After landing at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, you’ll want to pick up a rental car, because this itinerary is all about the New Orleans beyond Bourbon Street.
The Roosevelt Hotel (a deluxe king room starts at $269, 123 Baronne Street) is a good place to stay. Gov. Huey P. Long was so enamored with the place that he built Airline Highway so that he’d have a direct route from the governor’s mansion some 80 miles away.
The hotel, which was also known as the Grunewald and the Fairmont over the past 100 years, re-opened as the Roosevelt in 2009 after a $145 million post-Katrina facelift that exposed beautiful mosaic tiling and coffered ceilings. (It’s also home to the legendary Sazerac Bar, one of the few places left on the planet to get a decent version of the iconic Sazerac cocktail. But you can stop in there later tonight.)
Attached to the hotel is Domenica (Italian for “Sunday”) where legendary chef John Besh takes his locavore approach and applies it to traditional Italian fare. Start with a charcuterie plate, featuring house-cured meats and imported cave-aged brunet. Main courses include whole grilled branzino with red onion, celery and saffron, and a porchetta from local supplier Chappapeela Farms in nearby Husser, La. Wash it all down with a bottle of vino from one of New Orleans’s best wine cellars.
While this tour is all about the “other” New Orleans, don’t feel bad if you feel like strolling over into the French Quarter after dinner. Pop into Frentzel’s European Jazz Club (733 Bourbon Street, www.fritzelsjazz.net). There’s a one-drink minimum, but you’ll easily meet that as you sit at the communal wooden tables and soak up the atmosphere in this emporium of “traditional jazz” (another term for Dixieland Jazz). The local quartets and quintets that rotate through here welcome stand-ins, so bring your horn.
Now you can stop in at the Sazerac Bar in the Roosevelt for a nightcap. Named after what’s purported to be the first cocktail created in America, the bar has been restored to its former glory, complete with an African walnut bar and plush banquettes.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.
New Orleans is remarkably easy to get around, and parking is relatively easy outside of the French Quarter. So after a quick cup of coffee at the hotel, drive across the French Quarter to Croissant D’Or (617 Ursulines St.), one of a handful of artisanal French bakeries in town. Sit in the front dining room, where you can still people-watch. While New Orleans can be humid, any hint of a breeze is given more oomph by traditional Casablanca ceiling fans that spin quietly overhead. Nosh on one of the café’s daily quiches or a panne chocolate while you sip your oversized mug of café au lait.
Before getting back in the car, just around the corner at 1100 Chartres Street is the Old Ursuline Convent (www.stlouiscathedral.org/convent.html). Founded in 1752, it is one of the oldest buildings in New Orleans and one of the best examples of the original French Colonial architecture. Tours start at 10 a.m. and highlight the original hand-carved cypress staircase as well as religiously themed sculptures and oil paintings.
Get on Interstate 10 West toward Baton Rouge, get off at Sorrento, and follow signs for the Houmas House Plantation and Gardens. Take the tour ($20 for mansion and gardens, or $10 for just the grounds) and then have lunch at Café Burnside. The brick walls are from a cotton warehouse built here in 1883 by the Princess of Monaco. If you’re not that hungry yet, you can enjoy the bayou scenery and a bottle of 1995 Dom Perignon Rose or an Austrian Riesling, just two of the more than 500 varietals stored in the plantation’s old water cisterns that have been converted into a 1,000-case wine cellar.
If you’d like to take the scenic route home, continue east on Highway 44, the old River Road that follows the Mississippi. Just passed Lutcher, you’ll take Route 18 South across the river and pick up LA 3127 East toward New Orleans. This’ll take you through the heart of the bayou, with swamp (and snakes and gators) just a few feet off the narrow two-lane road and the theme from “Deliverance” playing in your head.
Highway 3127 will eventually take you to Highway 90 and on into New Orleans. Make one last stop at the Shrimp Lot (100 West Bank Expressway), an open-air seafood market whose pastel-colored stalls look like they were plucked right off a Gulf beach. Get an order of fresh boiled shrimp or crawfish to snack on before you head back into the city.
Walk across the French Quarter or take a taxi to Marigny Brasserie (640 Frenchman St.). Start off with a pitcher of their white wine sangria, or one of the house specialty cocktails, like a Buffalo Trace Side Car. Hopefully you didn’t get too full at the Shrimp Lot, because the menu here features traditional New Orleans fare with a heavy accent on seafood. Start with Baked Oysters Marigny or BBQ shrimp and grits. For your main course, consider the fried soft-shell crab or slow-cooked pork grillades with creamy stone ground grits. If you walked here, share the chocolate fudge cake or the key lime pie.
The Frenchman Street jazz scene has been discovered by a few intrepid tourists, but you’ll find mostly locals here. One of the best spots is the Three Muses (536 Frenchman St.). The Shotgun Jazz Band, a revivalist group, often plays here and at the Spotted Cat (623 Frenchman St.), another great Frenchman Street venue. Another place you can’t go wrong is the Apple Barrel, a small dive that features both blues and jazz.
If you’re feeling adventurous, take a cab to the Treme neighborhood (immortalized by the HBO show of the same name) and have the driver drop you off at the Candlelight Lounge. Thanks to the show, there are a lot of tourists in the crowd early in the evening. But as the smoke gets thicker and the jazz funkier, the tourists go to bed and the place has more of a local feel.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.
After a quick cup of coffee at the hotel, pack your bags and drive over to The Columns (3811 Saint Charles Avenue,), one of the last of the Italianate mansions designed by Thomas Sully in the 1880s. Ask for Room 8, which features a queen bed and a large parlor that overlooks historic St. Charles Avenue.
Be sure you have on a good pair of walking shoes today, because after you leave your car and bags with the valet you’ll want to get on the St. Charles Avenue Streetcar ($1.50 exact change). You’ll ride under the moss-draped oaks and pass the white-washed mansions that have defined New Orleans’ Garden District for more than a century. Just past Loyola University, get off at Stop 297, Hillary St. and walk over to the Fat Hen Grocery (7457 St. Charles Ave.).
Opened in 2009 by Emeril protégé Shane Pritchett, the Fat Hen has quickly garnered a following that lines up out the door for breakfast. Signature dishes such as the Armstrong Womelet — three eggs over medium, a Belgian waffle, fried chicken breast and honey butter – and other unique takes on southern classics make it worth the wait.
If you want something more traditional, skip the streetcar and walk from The Columns to Commander’s Palace (1403 Washington Ave.). Like much of New Orleans, it has had a post-Katrina makeover, but much here is still familiar, including the eggs benedicts, Sunday jazz brunch, and strictly enforced dress code.
Walk off breakfast in Audubon Park. Designed by John Charles Olmstead, the nephew and adopted son of Charles Law Olmstead, it features 1.8 miles of walking paths beneath ancient live oaks. In the center of the lagoon is Bird Island, one of the premier urban birding parks in the country and home to egrets, herons and double-breasted cormorants.
Take the streetcar back to Louisiana Avenue and walk a few blocks south to Magazine Street, a vibrant commercial strip in the Garden District with vintage clothing stores, antique shops, and Uptown Costume and Dancewear (4326 Magazine St.), where many of the well-heeled buy their Mardi Gras outfits. If you’re thirsty, stop into The Bulldog (3236 Magazine St.), the neighborhood Irish pub with an outdoor beer garden and a rotating list of 50 top-of-the-line microbrews.
Head up to the Garden District Book Shop (2727 Prytania Street) for a walking tour of the neighborhood that examines the Classic Greek Revival and Italianate styles of the local architecture, including stops at author Anne Rice’s home and the tombs at Lafayette Cemetery No. 1. Tickets are $20 and reservations are recommended.
Head back to The Columns and retire immediately to the Victorian Lounge, consistently voted one of the swankiest Happy Hour locales in New Orleans. Sip a mint julep or some other bourbon concoction and soak up the atmosphere in what Zagat’s has called an “elegant, wood paneled, turn-of-the-century movie set.”
As Harry Shearer said, there are a lot of “younger kids” doing neat culinary things here, but the food still has that distinctive New Orleans taste. One of those chefs is John Harris and two of his places are within walking distance of The Columns.
Lilette (3637 Magazine Street) has been called “the sexiest dining room in New Orleans,” with its tin ceiling, cast iron columns, tile floors, and subtle lighting. The dinner menu of roasted Muscovy duck breast with cauliflower polonaise and braised veal cheeks with baby greens and horseradish vinaigrette also gets the heart pounding.
Next door to Lilette is Harris’s take on the French bistro, Bouligny Tavern (3641 Magazine Street). It has an excellent wine cellar and specialty cocktails, such as the Le Boulevardier, made with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Campari, and sweet Vermouth. The portions here are smaller, but just as flavorful. Signature dishes include spinach gnudi with San Marzano tomatoes and whole Australian langoustine with garlic butter and croutons.
If you’re looking for more traditional New Orleans fare, there’s always Emeril’s Delmonico (1300 St. Charles Avenue). The celebrated TV chef took over the 100-year-old joint in 1998 and brought it back to its former glory with his take on classic dishes such as Oysters Bienville Pan Roast and Louisiana Drum Meuniere.
Head into the Warehouse District to the Howlin’ Wolf (907 South Peters) to see the Hot 8 Brass Band. The music is always great, but so is the venue — a small room, no stage, no frills, just pure New Orleans Jazz.
Monday: 9:00 a.m.
The Columns offers a full breakfast, but get in the car and head over to Le Boulangerie (4600 Magazine Street), another of New Orleans’s signature French cafes. Situated on a quiet, residential corner, it’s the perfect place to start your morning with fresh almond croissants and a frothy cappuccino.
The National WW II Museum (945 Magazine St.). Opened on June 6, 2000, the museum is only partially completed and they’re adding new space every year. Of particular note is a new, expanded armor section, as well as a temporary exhibit, “Guests of the Third Reich,” (thru July 7, 2013) that details the daily life of some 90,000 American POWs held by the Germans.
If you have an afternoon flight home and want to check out one more locals-only joint, then swing by the Port of Call (838 Esplanade Avenue). It’s known for the narrow U-shaped bar where patrons line up to eat hal
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.