Featured Gay Friendly Accommodations: Casa Divina Lodge, Mindo, Ecuador

Author: , September 19th, 2015

Casa Divina Lodge

Periodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

At Casa Divina Lodge we offer elegant and comfortable lodging in the middle of the Ecuadorian cloud forest. We boast 4 private hand-built wooden cabins in a natural setting where our guests can enjoy the sounds of nature. Casa Divina Lodge is located 1 1/2 km from the town of Mindo, Ecuador. Mindo is in the western lowlands of Ecuador, about 2 hours from Quito, and known for its mega biodiversity.

See the Casa Divina Lodge Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

Featured Gay Tour Operator: Ishpingo Tours – Quito, Ecuador

Author: , February 2nd, 2015

IshpingoPeriodically we’ll feature one of our properties here to let our readers know about some great gay friendly places to stay.

We create a tailored adventure-holiday experience for fellow gay travelers: one where you can be free to be yourself in a safe, non-judgemental environment while you explore a new and fresh part of the world. Our hand picked city hotels, jungle lodges, country haciendas and Galapagos cruises ensure that your visit to Ecuador will be made in style.

See the Ishpingo Tours Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals

Cuenca, Ecuador – Full of Urban Charm

Author: , July 10th, 2013

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBB

Photo courtesy Ryan, BudaBB

Bigger, bustling Quito may get more of the glory, but after spending a week on the ground in both locales, it’s smaller-scale Cuenca – Ecuador’s third-largest metropolis – that wins hands-down for urban charm. It’s little wonder that this colonial city, with roots dating back to the indigenous Canari people, and later, the conquering Incas, has proven so attractive to legions of settlers.

It lies tucked away into a verdant Andean valley where four rivers meet. In fact, affordable Cuenca is now luring a new flock of settlers, with a recent wave of American retirees making it one of the most popular expat pensioner communities in the Americas. After a week of clobbering Cuenca’s cobblestones, here with a budget-friendly cheat sheet on what to do – and where to sleep – on the cheap.

What to Do: Uncover Cuenca’s charms simply by ambling. Its UNESCO-protected old town is filled with colonial-style balconied buildings with tucked-away courtyard oases, domed churches, and manicured plazas, all set alongside the stroll-worthy pathways of the Tomebamba River. On the main square, peek in at the New Cathedral (free), the city’s largest structure, showcasing a mix of Romanesque and Gothic styles, and, just across the way, visit its predecessor, the Old Cathedral, the oldest building in Cuenca, dating back to the mid-16th century; it now functions as a museum of religious art (admission $2).

Authored By Elissa Richard – See the Full Story at Sherman’s Travel Blog

Click here for gay travel resources in Ecuador.

Purple Roofs Gay Travel Newsletter: Win Trips to Sand Blast Weekend, Baltimore, $1,000; Articles on Italy, France, Ecuador, Much More

Author: , May 25th, 2013

Mark and ScottWelcome to the Purple Roofs Newsletter: 5/26/13!

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 (when available).

We’ve got lots of other great stuff for you this month, too – including a huge number of feature articles, includng Ecuador, France, Italy, Mexico, The Netherlands, Spain, UK, Alaska, California, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, New York, and the US Virgin Islands. We’re also 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.


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Our Featured Articles This Month:

Guayaquil, EcuadorECUADOR: A Legal High – Part Three
by Ryan, BudaBB
History and the government may highlight Quito, but Guayaquil is the largest city of the country, the most populated, and the central hub for getting to the Galapagos. Nicknamed Ruta del Sol or Route of the Sun, this is the gateway to beaches, surf spots and other coastal getaways. Since 2000, the city has had an urban renewal project that has transformed it into a fabulous place to visit. If you want an impeccably clean and hospitable place to stay, look no further than Hotel Jeshua (www.hoteljeshua.com) at Padre Solano 1501 y Jose Mascote. A simple breakfast is included; it is nothing spectacular, but the cozy comfortable appeal of the place makes up for it. A four block walk brings you to the main avenue of the city and from here you can explore until you drop.
Full Story

g2FRANCE: Languedoc – What NOT To Miss
by Mark Binmore
Pont du Gard (Roman Aqueduc): A masterpiece of Roman engineering, the Pont du Gard, classified, as a world Heritage site by the UNESCO, never fails to always amaze the visitors around the world over with a passion for history and historical monuments, not forgetting poets, budding painters, the occasional explorer or simply those keen to admire an impressive architectural structure. Canal Du Midi: It had already occurred to the Romans to link the Atlantic to the Mediterranean, an unfulfilled dream, of course! However, in 1662, Pierre-Paul Riquet, fascinated by the Montagne Noire that he used to pace up and down, managed to convince Louis XIV and Colbert. Then the Canal royal started the first hours of its history. It has been classified world heritage by the UNESCO on 1996. It is now a fabulous way to sail, spend few weeks of holidays along the river, stop to a heritage site and disgust local gastronomy.
Full Story

tou2FRANCE: A Quick Glance At Toulouse…
by Mark Binmore
TOULOUSE, with its beautiful historic centre, is one of the most vibrant and metropolitan provincial cities in France. This is a transformation that has come about since the war, under the guidance of the French state which has poured in money to make Toulouse the think-tank of high-tech industry and a sort of premier trans-national Euroville. Always an aviation centre – St-Exupery and Mermoz flew out from here on their pioneering airmail flights over Africa and the Atlantic in the 1920s – Toulouse is now home to Aerospatiale, the driving force behind Concorde, Airbus and the Ariane space rocket. The national Space Centre, the European shuttle programme, the leading aeronautical schools, the frontier-pushing electronics industry… it’s all happening in Toulouse, whose 110,000 students make it second only to Paris as a university centre. But it’s not to the burgeoning suburbs of factories, labs, shopping and housing complexes that all these people go for their entertainment, but to the old Ville Rose – pink not only in its brickwork, but also in its politics. This is not the first flush of pre-eminence for Toulouse.
Full Story

Lucca AmphitheaterITALY: Firenze and Lucca
by Dolly “Bella” Goolsby
As you know, we are now in Florence. We are going and going. Seems like we are moving all the time. Just trying to remember all the places we have been, and put them into some sort of order, is our biggest problem. Now, don’t you wish you had come along with us? What a fabulous adventure so far, and we are far from being finished. OMG. Where else in the world would you be discussing whether your building is 400 year old or 600 years old? Or whether Villa d’Este was in Rome, Tivoli or Sorrento? (The correct answer is Tivoli). Yes, Cindy, we are all together in Florence. I love these 2 persons as much as you do, so I will not lose them. What a wonderful item time we are having.
Full Story

Tuscany - DollyITALY: San Gimingnano and Siena
by Dolly “Bella” Goolsby
We are seeing so much, and traveling around the Tuscan countryside, visiting the hill towns, then cooking wonderful Italian meals nearly everyday. We did have a free Florence day on Friday. Everyone did their own thing, saw what they wanted to see, then shared our experiences with each other at dinner Friday night. I was going to write a blog post then, but we had to get up early again Saturday morning to go on another adventure, so I am falling behind in my posts. Now I want to tell you a bit about San Gimingnano and Siena then next post I will tell you about Pisa.
Full Story

Dolly "Bella" GoolsbyITALY: The Most Fun Yet
by Dolly “Bella” Goolsby
Wow! I wish all of you had been with us on Sunday. One afternoon, in the apartment, Jane was looking through the Rick Steves’ guidebook and found a tour for us to take. The 500Touring Club has vintage Fiat Cinquecentro cars, that one can drive, and the company takes you on a guided driving tour through Chianti country, between Florence and Siena. Now I have always loved seeing the little Fiat 500 cars, and have wanted one for a long time, so I was very excited about taking this tour. Jane called and got us reservations for Sunday morning. We took a taxi up to the starting point, where Andrea, the Australian wife of an Italian man, gave us instructions on how to drive these cute, but temperamental little cars, with double clutching, choke and starter levers, windshield wipers that go as fast as the car is going.
Full Story

PisaITALY: Pisa
by Dolly “Bella” Goolsby
Once again, we have been very busy. Saturday we took the train to Pisa. Massimo Carli, our Italian landlord, met us at the train station, and gave us a guided walking tour through the city of Pisa, to the Field of Miracles. Once we got to the Field of Miracles, Kiri and Patrick climbed to the top of the Leaning Tower. Massimo took the rest of us on a guided tour through the Duomo, the Baptistry and the Cemetery, which is in a huge marble building. All of these structures are amazingly beautiful. And the green lawns around the buildings are reported to be the finest lawns in all of Italy.
Full Story

Vernazza, Italy - Dolly GoolsbyITALY: Beautiful Vernazza
by Dolly “Bella” Goolsby
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.
Full Story

AkumalMEXICO: Akumal on the Riviera Maya
by David & Dan Zucker-Freedman, Casa Gatos, Akumal, Mexico
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.
Full Story

Puerto Vallarta - Carlos MeliaJALISCO, MEXICO: Carlos Melia Visits Puerto Vallarta
by Carlos Melia
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.
Full Story

Carlos Melia in the Marieta Islands

NAYARIT, MEXICO: Carlos Melia Visits the Marieta Islands
by Carlos Melia
Today I spent my full morning exploring the area of Bahia Banderas, and Marieta Islands National Park in the state of Riviera Nayarit, Mexico, waters of the Pacific Ocean. A group of small uninhabited islands a few miles off the coast with two main volcanic formations dating from 60K years ago, each called Redonda (Rounded) and Larga (Long). The photo above is an aereal photo (not taken by me) of the hidden beach located on the rounded main island. The access is only through a very narrow tunnel, since nobody is allow on the island anymore these days. Just SPECTACULAR. The beach was under a formation of volcanic rock which served as a sort of a roof, which collapsed long time ago, leaving this unusual beach out to be admired by all of us. Boats stop at the main entrance of the tunnel and you have to snorkel and swim your way into it.
Full Story

Hotel the Golden Bear - AmsterdamNETHERLANDS: Visiting Gay Amsterdam
by Theo, Hotel the Golden Bear, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
There are many reasons to visit Amsterdam this year. The Stedelijk, the city’s design and contemporary art museum finally reopened at the end of September with a new, sleek bathtub-like extension, and the Rijksmuseum reopened in April with much fanfare after a complete redo by the Spanish architects Antonio Cruz and Antonio Ortiz. The Van Gogh Museum reopened in April, after a much shorter renovation. The city will also be celebrating 400 years since the building of its iconic canal ring and the 125th birthday of the Concertgebouw, the city’s concert hall, which will feature performances by Eva-Maria Westbroek and Bernard Haitink among others.
Full Story

Tenerife

CANARY ISLANDS, SPAIN: A Couple’s Guide to Tenerife
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.
Full Story

Photo Credit Anna Chineando, used with permission

SPAIN: Get Your Claws into Malaga at the Mad Bear Beach Party
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.
Full Story

Carlos Melia in LondonUK: London Calling
by Carlos Melia
Being on the TOP 5 of my favorite cities in the world, I never say no to my beloved London, specially when being hosted at the Chambers Building of the recently restored iconic London’s landmark, the St Pancras Hotel by Renaissance. Marriott is bringing sexy back with style and sophistication. Our second stay was be at the Grosvenor House, in Mayfair. To be fully honest, ha ha ha I have never in my life been so happy and excited to stay at a Marriott property before. I assume that most of you, mortal tourists, have no idea were that all these premium signature brands, were under their umbrella, like Bulgari, EDITION, The Ritz-Carlton and of course JW Marriott.
Full Story

Sand Castle on the BeachUSVI: Find Your Passion on St. Croix
by Simone, Sand Castle in the Beach, US Virgin Islands
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.
Full Story

Alaska - Boy Butter BlogALASKA, USA: Chasing Alaska’s Northern Lights
by Eyal Feldman, Boy Butter Blog
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.
Full Story

Nevada City, CaliforniaCALIFORNIA, USA: Nevada City Getaways
by Erin Thiem, Outside Inn, Nevada City, California
Nevada City’s historic charm leads to a perfect romantic getaway, whether it’s an intimate evening for two or a party with your all of your friends and family. With so many choices, it’s hard to figure out how to fit it all in one date. So here are a few options, depending on what type of adventure you’re looking for. If you’re the type of couple who likes to celebrate a special occasion with a nice meal out, start your date with a reservation at New Moon Cafe. Treat yourself to a roasted beet salad, fresh fish and a decadent dessert. The seasonal menu is made of fresh ingredients, with a wine list to impress even the most educated wine drinker.
Full Story

DisneyCALIFORNIA, USA: Gay Travel Tips for Southern California This Summer
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.
Full Story

Iowa State CapitolIOWA, USA: TRAVELING IN OUR FABULOUS GAY WORLD: Iowa
by Donald & Ray, Gay Travelers
Same-sex marriage in the State of Iowa became legal following a decision of the Iowa Supreme Court in April of 2009. Iowa was the third State in the country to legalize same-sex marriage. On another significant and historical note, in 1847, the University of Iowa became the first public university in the U.S. to admit men and women on an equal basis. In 1869, Iowa became the first state in the union to admit women to the practice of law. The state did away with racial barriers to marriage in 1851, more than 100 years before the U.S. Supreme Court would do so. The Iowa Supreme Court decided Clark v. The Board of Directors[in 1868, ruling that racially segregated “separate but equal” schools had no place in Iowa, 85 years before Brown vs. the Board of Education.
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New Orleans - Bourbon StreetLOUISIANA, USA: New Orleans Minus Bourbon Street
by Mark Yost, Web2Carz
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.”
Full Story

Canteen-250x187MASSACHUSETTS, USA: New Provincetown Restaurants for 2013
by PTownDan
Provincetown has several new restaurants opening for the 2013 season, many of them focusing on the fresh fish and seafood so readily available here on Cape Cod. The largest restaurant with approximately 250 seats will be opened by MACs Seafood in the old Clem & Ursies spot on Shank Painter Road. A seafood and deli market will open in June with Mac’s P’town Fish & Oyster opening in the fall. The old Tips for Tops’n on Bradford Street has been purchased by Devon Ruesch, owner of Devon’s on Commercial Street. Tentatively called Devon’s Deep Sea Dive the new restaurant will focus on great versions of familiar classic seafood preparations including clam fritters, stuffed lobster, lobster bisque, etc.
Full Story

New York CityNEW YORK: NYC – It’s a Hell of a Town!
by Rob Saldarini
Many LGBT travel articles suggest that you plan a long weekend in New Your City (NYC) during the latter part of June. What could be better than being there for Pride – right? Well, a May visit to New York City can be a lot more fun! NYC’s Gay Pride is definitely a ‘bucket-list’ item and is best for those who love a party atmosphere filled with half-naked men. Not to rain on anyone’s parade, but Pride comes with large crowds, heat, and high cover-charges. May offers beautiful weather, great adventures, and an overall rich New York City experience as most locals are still in town. Finding things to do in New York City is never difficult; however, finding a hotel bargain can be a challenge. The City is use to everyone and everything; so, staying at any best-value hotel should promote no issues. Gay owned or friendly locations are scattered throughout Manhattan. The GEM Hotel (West 22nd and 8th) in Chelsea offers nice accommodations. The Jade Hotel in Greenwich Village (West 13th and 6th) is a small 113-room neighborhood hotel.
Full Story


More Gay Travel News

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:

BELIZE: Gay Belize (Passport)
The sun is hot, in that Central America kind of way, but it’s the soft drizzle that’s pestering, like the ubiquitous mosquitos.
Full Story

BRAZIL: Insider’s Guide to Gay Rio (Passport)
“When gay guys come to Rio de Janeiro for the first time, a lot of them are all about Ipanema Beach, but there’s much more to Rio than bronzing and cruising,” says David Laster.
Full Story

ONTARIO, CANADA: A Girlfriend Getaway in Niagara Falls (Go Girlfriend)
Kids, jobs, commitments…trying to coordinate a girls getaway that meets the schedules and budgets of five busy moms from five different cities is tough.
Full Story

COLOMBIA: Beautiful Santa Rosa de Cabal (Sherman’s Travel)
Sherman’s Travel is reporting on a lovely, lesser-known travel destination in Colombia.
Full Story

FRANCE: Paris in the Summertime – On a Budget (Sherman’s Travel)
Paris may conjure images of haute cuisine (a galaxy of Michelin stars) and couture-clad models rocking the runways during Fashion Week, but take it from a local – it’s possible to experience the city’s thrills without breaking the bank.
Full Story

SPAIN: A Day in Gay Valencia (Gay Web Source)
The sun poured down upon me as I stepped off the jet for my 36 hours non-stop whirlwind tour of Valencia. Now this is the kind of article I like to write.
Full Story

THAILAND: Want a Unique Vacation? How About an Elephant Stay in Thailand? (Rainbow Tourism)
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?
Full Story

THAILAND: Gay Thailand (Gay Web Source)
There are few things as exciting as getting to take a top of the line, world-class international trip to one of the most incredible tourist destinations in the world.
Full Story

UK: Gay Girl’s Guide to London (Autostraddle)
I’ve lived in London on and off for about a year total, once at 21 and then again at 26. Now I’m pottering around in Brighton, but still go up to London every week. I do love London for many reasons and I think it’s a fantastically queer place, but I am slightly bitter about the price you have to pay for being a Londoner.
Full Story

UK: London’s Best Places for a Gay Date (Gay Web Source)
Visiting or living in London, and looking for a place to take the boyfriend?
Full Story

ARIZONA, USA: Scottsdale for Gay Business Travelers (Passport Magazine)
When most people visit Scottsdale, they’re ex-posed to stars in one-way or another. In a literal sense, the stars in our heavens are vivid and surreal here.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: Gay Girl Guide to San Francisco (Autostraddle)
Here is the guide of guides for the city of cities. San Francisco is held on such a pedestal for us gays and while it’s true that the numbers of gays here are vast (something like 1 in 3 people are homos!) it’s easy to forget that it’s also just a big city with all kinds of people living in it.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: Travel+Leisure Names San Francisco the Best City for Gay Travel (GoPride)
San Francisco takes home another gay travel award.
Full Story

DELAWARE, USA: Summer in Rehoboth Beach (Washington Blade)
Summer is coming quickly, and many gay travelers will pass a part of it in Rehoboth Beach.
Full Story

FLORIDA, USA: Ft. Lauderdale – Florida’s Gay Travel Mecca (GayCities)
With seductive sandy beaches, sultry swimming pools, an abundance of gay-owned businesses and resorts, plus a vibrant cultural scene, it’s no wonder queer travelers are flocking to Ft. Lauderdale for some R&R.
Full Story

FLORIDA, USA: Gay Girl’s Guide to Pensacola (Autostraddle)
I’ve lived in Pensacola for seventeen years, although there was a big gap between the first 10 and the latest 7.
Full Story

INDIANA, USA: Quick Escapes for Business Travelers in Indianapolis (Sherman’s Travel)
Each year, the sporting world turns its eyes to the Indianapolis 500 – widely seen as the world’s most popular race in terms of absolute global interest.
Full Story

MARYLAND, USA: Get Married in Baltimore (Passport Magazine)
Now that Maryland recognizes full marriage equality, why not get married in Baltimore?
Full Story

NEW YORK, USA: Rebuilding the Pavilion in Fire Island Pines (Queerty)
After burning down a couple years ago, the Pavilion at Fire Island Pines is literally rising from the ashes.
Full Story

OHIO, USA: Quick Escapes for Business Travelers in Columbus (Sherman’s Travel)
Despite a lengthy winter, Ohio is finally diving headfirst into spring. And with that begins conference season in Columbus.
Full Story

OHIO: Five Free Things to Do in Cincinnati (Edge Boston)
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.
Full Story

WASHINGTON, USA: Visiting Seattle in the Summertime (Gay San Diego)
This city – sculpted by Puget Sound and Lake Washington, and crowned with leafy hills – abounds with lively diversions, both indoor and outside.
Full Story


General Interest Articles:

Best Places to Eat Outdoors Around the World (New Gay Travel Guide)
We’ll start with the New Gay Travel Guide, which has the story on some of the best places to eat out, and I mean really out, around the world.
Full Story

Avoid Common Airport Mistakes (Sherman’s Travel)
Paul Eisenberg at Sherman’s Travel has some tips for avoiding common airport mistakes.
Full Story

The World’s Best Gay Urban Beaches (Gay Cities)
Over at Gay Cities, they have a list of great gay beaches, with photos.
Full Story

Olivia Travel Turns 40, Plans 2014 Excursions (10 Thousand Couples)
Originally founded in 1973, the world’s biggest lesbian tour operator is turning forty this year, and planning some great trips for next year.
Full Story

Virgin Atlantic’s Richard Branson Pays Off Bet – In Drag (Toweroad)
As we mentioned here before,Virgin Atlantic head Richard Branson lost a bet with AirAsia head Tony Fernandes. Here’s the delightfully funny result.
Full Story

Five Countries Off the Beaten Track (GayTravel.com)
Want to go somewhere away from all the tourists? GayTravel/com has a list of five fascinating countries far from the normal tourism routes.
Full Story

Pride Flags to Fly Over UK Cabinet Office, Seattle Capitol for Gay Pride (Pink News / Joe.My.God)
Pink News reports that the pride flag will be flown over the Cabinet office during gay pride.
Full Story

Eight Money-Saving Cruise Tips (Edge Boston)
Edge Boston checks in with some tips for saving money on that gay cruise you’ve had your eye on.
Full Story

The Best Travel Apps for Android (Sherman’s Travel)
Have an Android phone? Sherman’s Travel runs down some of the best travel apps for you.
Full Story

New Gayosphere App Will Help You Find Gay Bars (PRWeb)
Gayosphere and Fun Maps are releasing a new App next month to help you find gay bars.
Full Story


Gay Event Reviews:

GEORGIA: Gay Pride Rally Overrun By Protesters (Towleroad)
Next door to russia, thousands of anti-gay protesters shut down a gay pride rally In Georgia.
Full Story

MOLDOVA: Country Holds Its First Gay Pride March (O-blog-de-o-blog-da)
Moldova held its first gay pride march yesterday in Chisinau.
Full Story

RUSSIA: Moscow Gay Pride to Go On Despite Ban (Gay Star News)
And over in nearby Russia, a Moscow Gay pride parade is set to go on tomorrow despite a ban there.
Full Story

UKRAINE: Court Bans Kiev Pride March (Edge Boston)
In a move that is not at all surprising, if disappointing, a court in Ukraine just blocked a gay pride march.
Full Story

UKRAINE: Kiev Holds Pride Parade In Spite of Court Ban (O-blog-dee-o-blog-da)
In Ukraine, gay activists decided to go ahead with a pride march, despite a court order banning it.
Full Story

WASHINGTON, DC, USA: DC Celebrates Capital Trans Pride (The Washington Blade)
This last weekend, DC celebrated Trans Pride – The Washington Blade has lots of photos.
Full Story


Upcoming Event News:

GayTravel.com’s Official Pride Guide for 2013 (GayTravel.com)
GayTravel.com has released their official Pride Guide for the year.
Full Story

AUSTRALIA: Sydney Mardi Gras Re-named for 2013 (Gay Star News)
(2014) The board who runs Sydney’s Mardi Gras decided to put the gay back into the event’s name yesterday.
Full Story

CHINA: Shanghai Celebrates Five Years of Pride in June (LGBT Weekly)
(Jun 14th) In Shanghai, China, the city will celebrate its fifth Gay Pride on June 14th.
Full Story

CZECH REPUBLIC: Mr. Gay Europe Starts July 26th in Prague (Rainbow Tourism)
(Jul 26th-31st) First off, the Mr. Gay Europe contest runs fron 7/26-7/31 in the Czech Republic.
Full Story

CAPRI, ITALY: Capri Rainbow – A Gay Party in the Mediterranean (PR)
(Sept 6th-9th) Aura Capri brings us word of a new gay party in the Mediterranean – running from September 6th-9th on the Italian isle of Capri: Capri Rainbow 2013, an event dedicated to gay tourism for a period of three days that will involve the whole island: tour operators, businesses, services.
Full Story

GERMANY: Berlin to Host Christopher Street Day June 22nd-23rd (Gay Web Source)
(Jun 22nd-23rd) Gay Web Source reports on how politics is impacting gay pride in Germany this year.
Full Story

GERMANY: Stadtfest Berlin – Gay Street Fair – Kicks Off on June 15th (Seasons of Pride)
(Jun 15th) Another gay event in Berlin next month, as Seasons of Pride reports.
Full Story

ITALY: Palermo Celebrates Gay Pride on June 22nd (Gay Web Source)
(Jun 22nd) Down in Sicily, Palermo will also celebrate Pride next month.
Full Story

NORWAY: Skeive Dager 2013 – Gay Pride in Oslo, Norway June 21st-30th (Seasons of Pride)
(Jun 21st-30th) Also in Europe, gay pride comes to Norway at the end of June.
Full Story

SARDINIA, ITALY: Second Annual Gay Pride Parade in June (Gay Star News)
(Jun 29th) The island of Sardinia in Italy will celebrate its second annual Pride Parade on June 29th, with a series of events leading up to it.
Full Story

RUSSIA: Moscow Pride Organizers Appeal Denied Application (Pink News)
In Russia, gay activists are appealing a decision to deny their application to hold a gay pride parade.
Full Story

RUSSIA: Moscow Pride Once Again Banned (Towleroad)
Not surprisingly, Moscow is once again blocking gay activists from holding a pride parade in the city.
Full Story

SOUTH AFRICA: New Plan for Johannesburg Pride (O-blog-dee-o-blog-da)
(Oct 5th) Melanie Nathan at O-blog-dee-o-blog-da looks at the plan for the new Johannesburg Pride.
Full Story

SWEDEN: Stockholm Pride Invites Russians (Joe.my.God)
(Jul 30-Aug 3) On a related note, in the wake of a ban on gay pride celebrations in Moscow, Stockton Pride invites LGBT russians to come join the celebrations in Sweden.
Full Story

UK: London Pride Gets the Go-Ahead, Announces Activities (Gay Star News)
(Jun 23rd-Jul 1st) This last weekend, DC celebrated Trans Pride – The Washington Blade has lots of photos.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: LA Pride Announces Honorees and Community Grand Marshall (Echelon Magazine)
(Jun 7th-9th) Finally, down in Los Angeles, they’re announcing the community grand marshall and community honorees.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: LA Pride Coming June 7th (Passport Magazine)
Los Angeles’s Pride celebration is coming up fast.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: San Diego Pride Launches 2013 Pride Guide (SDGLN)
(Jul 12th-14th) Down in San Diego, they’ve launched a new online guide to San Diego Pride 2013.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: San Francisco Pride Turns 42 on June 30th (Gay Web Source)
(Jun 30th) And finally, it’s the grad-daddy of them all. San Francisco Pride returns at the end of June.
Full Story

CALIFORNIA, USA: San Diego Pride Retains General Manager (LGBT Weekly)
(Jul 12th-14th) Across the country in San Diego, the Pride board of directors decided to keep its managing director.
Full Story

MAINE, USA: Southern Maine Pride June 15th (Hay Web Source)
(Jun 15th) GoPride reports on the upcoming Southern Maine Pride in Portland.
Full Story

MASSACHUSETTS, USA: Boston Ready to Celebrate for Gay Pride (Passport Magazine)
(May 31st -Jun 9th) Boston is ready to put the marathon bombing behind and to move on to celebrate gay pride.
Full Story

NEW JERSEY, USA: North Jersey Pride Launches June 3rd (O-blog-dee-o-blog-da)
(Jun 9th) North Jersey pride announced its plans for Pride next month.
Full Story

UK: LGBT Mud Run Coming to NYC in June (Source)
(Jun 29th) We have an incredible sporting event coming up here in NYC on June 29th. Out-Fit Challenge is a state to state National Mud Run and is bringing a 5K Mud Run to NYC on June 29th to benefit LGBT Family Equality. The event is open to anyone and everyone!
Full Story

NEW YORK, USA: See Gay Plays in New York City (Passport Magazine)
(Jun 15th) Also in the US. Gayfest NYC presents three gay-themed plays, now through June 15th.
Full Story

WASHINGTON DC, USA: DC to Celebrate Black Pride Over the Memorial Day Weekend (The Washington Blade)
(May 25th-27th) A little to the south, the nation’s capital is ready to celebrate black pride this weekend.
Full Story


Sweepstakes:

Win $1,000 from TownePlace Suites (PR)
(Sept 1) TownePlace Suites by Marriott launches today its “Travel Turning Point” photo contest. From now until September 1, 2013, travelers from across the United States and Canada* are asked to submit a photo and a caption that describes how a travel experience has been a positive turning point in their lives.
http://purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/2013/05/win-1000-from-town-place-suites.html

MARYLAND, USA: Win a Five Night Gay Travel Getaway on Tilghman Island
(Oct 1st) We’re running a great sweepstakes this month at Purple Roofs – win five nights from Purple Roofs and Black Walnut Point Inn at this great Maryland B&B.
http://purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/2012/12/win-a-five-night-gay-travel-getaway-in-maui.html

MARYLAND, USA: Win a Gay Trip to Baltimore From Visit Baltimore (Passport)
Visit Baltimore is courting the gay tourism market, traversing the east coast to invite the LGBT community to come for a visit. They’re also giving away a great prize package to the 2014 Film Festival.
http://purpleroofs.com/gay-travel-blog/2013/05/win-a-gay-trip-to-baltimore-from-visit-baltimore.html

NEW JERSEY, USA: TLAGAY Giving Away Two Nights at Sand Blast Weekend (TLA Gay)
(Jun 30th) 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.
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

Maui Sweepstakes: We’re teaming up with the beautiful Cliff’s Edge in Maui (http://www.cliffsedge.com/) to give away 5 nights in Hawaii.
http://www.purpleroofs.com/contest.html


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 105 Accommodation/Tour offers listed in 14 countries and regions around the world! No membership required.
http://www.purpleroofs.com/lateavailability.html


Visit Our Other Websites:

Gayapolis: Personals, daily news, and a great gay and lesbian directory.
http://www.gayapolis.com

Mi Casa Su Casa: Our home trade network – join for just $75 for 5 years.
http://www.gayhometrade.com

Gay Realty Network: Real estate professionals around the world.
http://www.gayrealtynetwork.com

Purple Unions: Gay friendly wedding vendors around the world.
http://www.purpleunions.com


Find Us On Twitter:

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

Find Us On Facebook:

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

Find Us On Google+:

We now have a Google+ page as well – follow us at https://plus.google.com/105511413517642023561/posts.

Find Us On Pinterest:

We now 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.

 

Ecuador, A Legal High – Part Three

Author: , May 18th, 2013
by Ryan, BudaBB, Budapest, Hungary
Email Ryan | Visit BudaBB Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Ecuador page

Guayaquil, Ecuador

Guayaquil, EcuadorHistory and the government may highlight Quito, but Guayaquil is the largest city of the country, the most populated, and the central hub for getting to the Galapagos. Nicknamed Ruta del Sol or Route of the Sun, this is the gateway to beaches, surf spots and other coastal getaways.

Since 2000, the city has had an urban renewal project that has transformed it into a fabulous place to visit. If you want an impeccably clean and hospitable place to stay, look no further than Hotel Jeshua (www.hoteljeshua.com) at Padre Solano 1501 y Jose Mascote. A simple breakfast is included; it is nothing spectacular, but the cozy comfortable appeal of the place makes up for it. A four block walk brings you to the main avenue of the city and from here you can explore until you drop.

Guayaquil, EcuadorStart your tour by walking to Parque Seminario also known as Iguana Park where you will find hundreds of the prehistoric, but beautiful creatures wandering around the pedestrians, in the grassy areas and most often in the trees. As tempting as it is to want to touch them, it is illegal, so hands off.

Another spectacular park is the grand Parque Centenario, located in the city center. Lush greenery, shady trees, statues and fountains make this a popular place for locals to take their lunch breaks. Others come here to relax or read.

The Malecon Simon Bolivar is a riverside promenade with a tiled boardwalk that extends for over a mile. Once a crime filled city, it is now safe and tourist friendly. After having been destroyed by fire in 1896, losing all of its colonial charms, it was rebuilt with modern, contemporary architecture.

GuayaquilA stroll along this boardwalk will expose you to statues with fountains, lush parks where thousands of birds flock, amusements for children as well as free playground. However, if you enter at Av. 9 de Octubre you will be welcomed by independence heroes Simon Bolivar and San Martin. On either side are lookout towers that can be climbed for views of the city and river.

Walking south there you will find the Moorish Clock Tower and the Glorious Aurora’s Obelisk. Beyond that is a small mall if you need to escape from the heat and humidity. Cheap little food stalls line the boardwalk at this end for a quick and hearty snack.

At the far end of Malecon Simon Bolivar at Calle Loja is the Museo Antropologico y de Arte Contemporaneo. If the modern style of the building does not entice you, the free admission should draw you in for a look. There is a spectacular display of Pre-Columbian art pieces in addition to archeological discoveries from around Ecuador. In other rooms, there are displays of contemporary art by Ecuadorian and sometimes international artists.

From the museum, if you look up the hillside you will notice brightly painted houses and buildings of the refurbished historic neighborhoods of Las Penas and Cerro Santa Ana. Given the chance to peek inside, you will be disappointed to find that the interior is not nearly as charming.

GuayaquilYou will start on the historic street named for Guayaquil native Numa Pompillo Llona who composed the Ecuadorian national anthem. There you will find the stairs that head up the hill to the area named Cerro Santa Ana. A few artists make this area their home as well as having a few art galleries. Like most things in Ecuador, Sunday or holidays is not a good time to visit this area for full exploration.

For those filled with energy head up the 465 foot stairway with 444 steps of Cerro Santa Ana. Each step is numbered which should either encourage or discourage you from going further up.

Don’t give up hope, the stairs will lead you to spots of bright colored homes, cafes, bars and souvenir shops giving you a chance to catch your breath before moving onward. At the top of the hill, is fort Fortin del Cerro (‘Fort of the Hill’). This was the point where they protected the city from pirates. The cannon is still fired today for celebrations.

This is just a taste of Ecuador; there are still many other regions that have not been touched upon. Speaking of taste, the national dish is guinea pig. If you are not an adventurous eater, then avoid cay on menus.

Ecuador, A Legal High – Part Two

Author: , April 28th, 2013
by Ryan, BudaBB, Budapest, Hungary
Email Ryan | Visit BudaBB Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Ecuador page

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBB

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBBeyond Quito one suggested place to plan a few days is Otavalo, a charming town with a 70% indigenous population just 59 miles north. Located in the northern Sierra region, a bus from Quito will cost you $7.00 for the 3 hour ride, but most hotels run a shuttle day tour for $35-45.00 per person.

Unlike Quito, Otavalo gets hot and generally stays hot until the sun goes down. Located at 8,856 feet above sea level, the sun beats down. Light pants and short sleeved shirts are best. Have your sunscreen handy.

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBAn excellent choice for a stay is Hostal Dona Esther (www.otavalohotel.com) just off of the main square at Juan Montalvo 4-44 y Bolivar. Be aware that breakfast here is not included in the rates; pay attention to the menu prices, so there are no surprises at check-out time. There are few alternatives for breakfast in the city, so if you are a morning feeder, partake here.

In Otavalo you can walk just about anywhere you want to go; the city is very compact. Otavalo gained fame for its extensive handicraft market held on Saturdays, but due to its popularity, a smaller version is held daily. It is recommended that you do plan a Saturday visit as the city explodes with street vendors that bar almost all traffic in town.

Otalvo, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOn the main square of the daily market, you will find the upstairs restaurant Buena Vista (Salinas 5-11). Plan ahead and reserve the single table on the balcony to view the market transactions below. If you are in need of a caffeine fix, The Daily Grind on the central square can fix you right up with their excellent espresso drinks or hot chocolate. There are only four bar stools for seating, so get the java to go and sit in the park to people watch. It is a worthy time investment to spend a couple of days in Otavalo making sure you are there on a Saturday.

From Otavalo, you can arrange a day tour to visit Cuicocha (Guinea Pig) Lake, a lake formed in a 3,000 year old crater. For outdoorsy types, there is a 5 mile hike around the rim of the crater which takes 4 hours minimum to complete. It is not for the faint of heart or those who have avoided the gym for the last 5 years.

Venture to Cotopaxi National Park where you will discover the world’s highest continuously active volcano. Once in the park, you can hike, horseback ride, mountain bike or camp. What is not recommended is the tour to Parque Condor, where the emphasis is on the raptors; your chances of seeing one are slim. For the side trips, bring a sweatshirt or jacket. It can get cold up on the volcanoes.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBFor anyone interested in becoming an ex-pat, a trip to the southern Sierra city of Cuenca is a must. As the third largest city in Ecuador, it is a haven for US, Canadian as well as European ex-pats. The cobblestone streets and colonial buildings are what make it feel more like a town than a city, but like Quito, it has been named a UNESCO World Heritage site. Prior to the Spanish, Cuenca was the second largest city in the Inca Empire after Cusco in Peru.

The original inhabitants were the Canari who lived in the area for centuries starting at about 500 AD, before being conquered by the Incas in the late 1400s. The Museo del Banco Central has been built on the Pumapungo archeological site, which once held an Inca palace. Admission is $3 and well worth the nominal cost. Besides the colonial and religious artwork, there is a magnificently large display of life sized dwellings from various regions of Ecuador.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOutside of the museum, as you tour the ruins for free, you can look over the cliff to see the outstanding botanical garden below. For the hale and hearty, climb the steps down to see the garden up close and possibly run into a llama or two on the way. There are about six llamas tethered in the area, but the babies run freely. When you walk beyond the gardens, there is an aviary with a variety of birds. Now it is time to hike up the stairs again as the only exit is back through the same way you entered.

The center of the city is graced with Parque Calderon, marking this as the historical center of the city. Aside from lush trees, statues and fountains, you are likely to be bewildered by the sight of stuffed toy horses of various sizes, along with an elephant and generally a living St. Bernard dog. These are all props for the photographers that eke out a living getting children or adults to pose while getting a photo snapped and printed on the spot.

On this square sits two cathedrals, Catedral Vieja aka Iglesia del Sagrario built in 1557, it is the oldest structure in the city. Stones from the Inca ruins were used in its construction. Catedral Nueva replaced it in 1967, after 82 years of construction. It was started in 1885. Since no city can have two cathedrals, the elder one closed as a house of worship. The architecture for the Catedral Nueva aka Catedral de la Inmaculada Concepcion was based on the Battistero in Florence.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBIt is in this city where you will have one myth dispelled. Panama hats are not from Panama, but are from Ecuador. After their creating a sensation at the Paris World’s Fair of 1855, they had to be shipped from Ecuador to Panama and from Panama directly to Europe. Hence, Panama received the credit for their origin. Made from the fibers, paja toquilla, from the leaves of the Carludovica palmate palm, a craftsman may take 3-6 months to create one superfine hat.

In Cuenca, now the central hub for Panama hat making, there are numerous places to buy your Panama. First stop in at Casa Paredes Roldan-Sombreros Barrance at Calle Larga 1-41 set between General Torres and Padre Aguirre. There you are able to see some displays of the hat making process and if lucky, one of the apathetic, dour salespeople will give you a demonstration. Best bet is not to buy a hat here as they are very high priced. You will find many other options around the city.

Cuenca, Ecuador - Ryan, BudaBBOne of the joys of Cuenca is the small street malls that are down an alley or the abundant street vendors selling everything from batteries to avocados. When the hunger pangs set in, one good choice is Raymipampa right next to Catedral Nueva. If you can get a table near the window, you will have a view of Parque Calderon. Prices are moderate and the menu includes meat, poultry, and seafood.

What is a delight about this restaurant decor are the light fixtures using various kitchen elements. One light may be a teapot, cup and saucer, while another may be forks, spoons and knives, but all are done in an antiqued blue to cut an chance of glare. Note that many restaurants are only open Wednesday through Saturday. Sunday through Tuesday are dead zone times in this city.

If you want to find the ex-pats for a chat or just jealously gawk at them, you will find many hang out at the Coffee Tree restaurant located at Calle Larga and Borrero. One would think that with the immense ex-pat commerce, the menus would be translated into English, but guess again.

Bone up on your Spanish for most things in Ecuador, but don’t let a language barrier put you off. Another new, but very charming eatery is La Vina at Juan Jarmillo y Luis Cordero. There is also a La Vina, so look for the n to find the right place. La Vina has beautiful murals on the outside walls as well as the interior. It can be quite romantic for dinner.

Ecuador, A Legal High – Part One

Author: , April 6th, 2013
by Ryan, BudaBB, Budapest, Hungary
Email Ryan | Visit BudaBB Website

Visit the Purple Roofs Ecuador page

Quito, Ecuador

Quito, EcuadorEcuador has four main regions: Coast, Sierra (the Andes), Orient (Amazon Region) and The Galapagos Islands. However, if you want to get a legal high just visit the capital city Quito.

Sitting at an elevation of 9,350 feet above sea level, it is the world’s highest capital city. Its other special feature is that it is also the simultaneous first World Heritage site named by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) along with Krakow, Poland in 1975.

Due to the elevation of Quito, most people need time to adjust to the altitude. Prepare ahead of time to take the first day or two easy. It is quite common to feel weak or tire with less exertion than one is generally accustomed to, which is a normal response and nothing to worry about.

If you have problems breathing, you should seek out medical assistance. Street vendors sell cocoa tea for altitude illness, but the ingredients are never certain, so best to avoid it.

Drink plenty of water, bottled only as the water in most of Ecuador is not safe for travelers; Cuenca and Otavalo are the exceptions. Avoid fruits or vegetables that do not need to be peeled, like lettuce which would be washed in water from the tap.

Quito, Ecuador

If you are traveling from the US you will be pleased to know that the official currency in Ecuador is the US dollar. Be warned not to bring any $100 bills. Due to counterfeiting, no business including most banks will accept them or make change for them.

The smallest denominations will be best. Every business and even taxi drivers never seem to have any change at all. Breaking a $10 bill can be time consuming and a hassle when the shopkeeper has to run to neighbors to make change. The $1.00 Sacagawea gold coin that never caught on in the US is used extensively in Ecuador. Don’t be confused if your change comes in coins, but still count it carefully.

A common expression in Quito, which is also applicable to other cities in Ecuador as well, is that you can experience all four seasons in one day. Dress in layers, preparing to shed or add clothes as the day goes on. The temperatures in Quito range from 49*F to 68*F year round and all day long too.

Quito, Ecuador

It is not uncommon to have an afternoon shower lasting for an hour and then have clear skies the rest of the day. This is not to say that once temperatures rise into the 60s that they will stay that way for hours. It can be warm a 1 pm, cool off by 2 pm and then warm yet again at 3:30 pm. It is weather with a mood disorder.

To acquaint you with Quito’s charms, its delightful old town, where the original colonial buildings still remain and getting introduced to sections of the new town, the Quito tourist bus is strongly recommended. Like many cities’ hop-on hop-off buses, you pay one fee for unlimited touring during the day. The cost is $12.00 per person allowing you to get off and on again as many times as you like. One entire circuit is about 2 hours; it would be shorter, but the traffic in Quito can be horrendous. After the full tour, venture on to decide where you want to get off, but keep the schedule in mind, so you know you can return to your original point. Have a plan B so if the bus tour ends for the day at a spot you are not familiar with, you will know how to return to your hotel. Having small bills for a taxi will be beneficial. There are many buses in Quito, but figuring out the routes is analogous to unbinding a strand of DNA.

Quito, Ecuador

If you enjoy your cocktail with dinner or at other times, bear in mind that the sale of liquor on Sundays is banned in restaurants and stores. Some restaurants that cater to the tourist trade may look the other way, but if caught both the seller and purchaser are subject to fines. Another party disaster is the Quito law that forces all bars to close by 10 pm during the week and 11 pm on Fridays and Saturdays. With the liquor law, you will not find one open on Sunday. Maybe due to this or for other reasons, restaurants close early also. If you have not found a dining spot by 8 pm, you may have difficulty finding one willing to seat you after that time outside of the more expensive venues.

For a new town area stay, Sierra Madre Hotel at Veintimilla 464 y Luis Tamayo (www.hotelsierramadre.com) located in the Mariscal District it is close to gourmet restaurants, craft stores, museums and parks. Unless you are really into exercise, try to get a room on the first floor. There are a lot of stairs and oxygen is at a premium at these altitudes. A favorite restaurant with excellent drinks is The Magic Bean about a 15 minute walk to Juan Leon Mera Street. Check out their menu ahead of time here www.magicbeanquito.com. If old town is where you want to rest your head, then Hotel Catedral Internacional at Jose Mejia 638 y Cuenca | Cuenca and Benalcazar (http://hotelcatedral.ec). The location is perfect for exploring old town within minutes from their front door. Although a bit run down, it is spotlessly clean. Both hotels include breakfast. For the best hotel rates, use a service such as www.hostelbookers.com. Both accommodations include a substantial breakfast in the room rates. Quick lunches can be had by buying a bag of 5 avocados from street vendors for $1.00 within one block from the hotel. The local cherries, also $1.00 will give your mouth an orgasm while redefining what a cherry should taste like.

Quito, Ecuador

The variety of museums will satisfy all cultural interests, but one that should not be missed is situated in the new town area, Museo Nacional del Banco Central del Ecuador located at Av. Patria between 6 de Diciembre and 12 de Octobre. Plan on spending hours in this massive museum with its rich collection of Pre-Columbian art from a wide variety of indigenous tribes situated on the mail floor. On the second floor, there is a culture shift to the Colonial Art Gallery where you will be infused with works from 1534 to 1820. Many pieces include pagan symbols in Christian art as a method to convert the natives to Christianity. Shifting gears once again, the third floor exhibits a collection of contemporary art or at different times, special and limited time collections.

If glitter and gold turn you on, you will not find any shortage of it in any of the churches in the city with the exception of the basilica, which is strangely plain in comparison. La Compania de Jesus (Garcia Moreno near Sucre) is acclaimed as one of the greatest baroque masterpieces in South America, taking 160 years to complete. One does not have to have any interest in religion to be impressed with the art and architecture of the building.

Quito, EcuadorShould you decide to take a bus in Quito, you may very well be overwhelmed by the crowds that pack into them. For trolley buses, you will find an elevated building in the center of a main street. When you walk into the building, you will buy your bus ticket for 25 cents and then wait for the bus by the sliding glass doors. When the bus arrives, the doors will open and a platform will lower from the bus.

Rush hour seems to occur all day with the trolley buses, being the most popular. They are also most popular for pickpockets who are so proficient at their work, Houdini would be impressed. They can empty your pocket while you are watching and still you will never suspect a thing.

The other common trick it to quietly and stealthily slice through your bag with a sharp knife from the bottom, extracting the contents while you are oblivious to its happening. Keep your bag or backpack in front of you with one hand across the bottom. Do not wear a fanny or belly pack; these are easy prey. Taxis are the best choice with a ride generally never costing more than $2.00 around the city.

A famous section of the city has La Ronda at the heart of it. La Ronda is a narrow, winding street where you can see old houses, many with balconies. The story goes that the street can be traced to Incan times back to 1480 when they first arrived in Quito. La Ronda is derivative of the nightly rounds that the police did through the city from 1580.

Quito, EcuadorIt is considered one of the most beautiful traditional streets of Quito, in addition to being one of the oldest. It is touted as being the avant-garde historic center for painters, writers and poets of the 30s. There are oversized posters attached to the walls along the street showing the names of famous Ecuadorian artists of various media along with their pictures.

It was in these homes on this street that many of the traditional folk songs were written. The street was the frequented path for politicians, dreamers, and other nonconformists of the era. Today, the street is lined with galleries, cafes, bars and shops that now occupy the historical houses. On Sundays, there are giant ‘games’ spaced over the length of the street for children’s amusement.

One popular day trip from Quito that is often touted is a visit the equator “Ciudad Mitad Del Mundo” or The Middle of the World. It is located 15 kilometers north of Quito. There you will find a park that features a painted line and monument, which claims to be at the center of the world, latitude of 0 degrees. However, the monument should say “Tourist Trap” as the equator is not located here, but is actually hundreds of feet from this spot. The area has the nickname the ‘house of lies’. Most tourists pose for picture by the sign with large smiles.

New Gay Marketing Survey Planned in 14 Countries in Europe & Latin America

Author: , February 24th, 2010

Stretching through 14 countries right across Latin America and Europe, the world’s largest gay market research study ever to be undertaken is about to launch. Developed by Out Now – a leading specialist global marketing agency – the new study will survey lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people living in fourteen countries. From Mexico’s border with Texas right across the world to Israel and to the top of Sweden – this will be the most comprehensive study of its kind ever to be undertaken.

With an overall population of three quarters of a billion, these regions are home to more than 35 million lesbian and gay people living diverse lives. It is the first time a gay community targeted market study has been conducted across so many countries at one time.

The countries being surveyed in the “2010 Out Now Global LGBT Market Study” are: in Latin America – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay; and, in Europe — France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK. The study will cover many areas including consumer habits, incomes, education levels, media usage, parenting, relationships, travel, employment, discrimination, equality concerns, aspirations and more.

Full Story from PR Newswire
Click here for gay marriage resources.
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