Panama: Ideal Destination for Discerning Travelers – EcoCircuitos

Panama

Located at the heart of the Americas, Panama City is the most cosmopolitan of the Central American capitals; overflowing with trendy new clubs, cool boutique hotels and gay friendly neighborhoods and attractions. As a long established hub for international business, trade and transportation the City has developed into a modern, busy metropolis attracting visitors from around the world.

LGBT travelers may find Panama City more gay friendly than other Central American countries; many of the main destinations throughout the country are friendly to all visitors and will make LGBT families and travelers feel at home.

PanamaPanama is a safe, stable and friendly country of almost four million inhabitants and 75.517 square kilometers. It is among the most biologically diverse countries on the planet and features a variety of unique ecosystems. With a total of over 2,500 km of coastline on two oceans, 15 national Parks and seven distinct indigenous cultures there is much to explore. Five UNESCO World Heritage sites wait to be discovered.

This short guide will direct you to the best spots in town but keep in mind that nightlife in Panama does not really start after midnight. Have Fun!!

WHAT TO DO IN PANAMA CITY

PanamaPanama City is a cosmopolitan city, a delightful combination of the historic and modern. It is also one of the safest cities in Latin America. There are three Cities: the historical ruins of the 16th Century city named Panama Viejo, the 17th Century Spanish Colonial Casco Antiguo area of the city and the modern skyscraper city with the business district.

Day tour of Panama City – Visit the three cities in one day: the ruins of the 16th century original city, walk the Casco Antiguo colonial city and admire the modern city. Walk the Casco Viejo – Old Quarters at night for bar hoping and amazing gastronomy. There are several roof top bars that will offer an amazing view of the City. Our suggestion: Tantalo, Barlovento, Casa Casco and Casa Jaguar.

The Panama Canal – City tour includes a trip to the Panama Canal. A must-do is a visit to the Visitors Center at Miraflores Locks. And if you want an unforgetable experience, go dining to Atlantic and Pacific Co. Overlooking the Miraflores locks.

The Panama Canal Transits – Only on special schedule, this is a great option for those that interested in the complete history of the Panama Canal and experience crossing the locks in a mini cruise. This is a great adventure with friends.

PanamaAmador Causeway and Biodiversity Museum – A visit to the Amador Causeway is also a good option to admire the spectacular views of the Panama City’s skyline and the Panama Canal. You can bike or walk the area or just enjoy a Panama bear at the restaurants in the Marina. A must to see is the Biodiversity Museum, an architectonic jewel design by Frank Gerhy.

Panama Canal Railway trans-isthmus – Ride the historic Panama Canal Railway, the original transcontinental railway inaugurated in 1855. In special observation cars, the trip takes you across the scenic Isthmus from Panama City on the Pacific, to Colon on the Atlantic Side.

PanamaThe Rainforst Discovery Center in Soberania National Park – The Discovery Center in the Panama Canal Rainforest is open every day from 6.00AM to 4.00PM Climb this 100-foot Observation Tower for a breathtaking view above the forest canopy and hike the trails around the center. You will learn about sustainable practices in this fantastic place. Ideal for couples and families. Our guides are naturalist that will amaze you with great interpretation of the neotropical forest.

Portobello: A picturesque bayside town of with the ruins of Spanish forts and a restored Spanish Colonial treasure house. In Spanish colonial times the Portobello Treasure House was the center for trans-shipment of all the Peruvian gold and treasure taken from Latin America to Spain. Spanish galleons came and went constantly and many fairs were held. That easy heyday ended with the arrival of English pirates like Sir Francis Drake who repeatedly looted Portobellos treasures and brought about its eventual demise. The Portobelo Ruins are a pillar of Spanish colonial times, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

PanamaFort San Lorenzo: A well preserved fort ruin perched high on a stunning promontory above the Chagres River as it meets the sea. Sir Henry Morgan attacked the fort and made away with booty in 1666. It is essential to go with a tour operator since to date this unusual site has no signs or tourist info of any kind.

Embera Cultural Encounters, Chagres National Park – An unforgettable encounter with a living Indian culture in Panama’s rain forest. Panama is the only place in the world where you can have this experience in a day trip from a major metropolitan city.

PanamaThe tour begins less than 2 hours from Panama City, where you’ll take a motorized canoe up a scenic rainforest river, the only means of transport in the jungle, to an authentic Embera Indian village on river bank deep inside the rainforest. The village consists mostly of the rough wood and palm homes on stilts typical of the jungle Indians. Embera indians will perform a tribal dance offer authentic body paintings, exquisite handicrafts, share a typical meal and explain their way of life, traditions and beliefs.

Handicrafts and shopping – Beautiful boutiques and amazing brands in Casco Antiguo. Try el Valle Sunday Market, the Artisan’s Market and don´t miss the city’s shopping malls, ideals for those looking for brands. Check Multiplaza a high end shopping mall.

Optional day tours from Panama City: kayaking, biking tours, arts tours, sailing tours in San Blas, Beach Escapes to Bocas del Toro and the Gulf of Chiriqui, Azuero and the highlands. For more information click on our website: www.ecocircuitos.com

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Casa Del Maya B&B – Merida Gay Bed & Breakfast

Casa del Maya B&B - Merida Gay Bed & Breakfast

Come explore the Yucatan from Casa Del Maya, an historic bed and breakfast in the heart of Merida that has been carefully restored to meet the needs of modern travelers, while maintaining its historic charm.

Although English is our native language, we also speak Spanish, and always love to speak with people from other cultures.

At Casa Del Maya, we respect and celebrate diversity – everyone is welcome here!

Casa Del Maya is a lovingly restored colonial-style Merida bed and breakfast, filled with Mexican charm and celebrating the rich culture and craft of the Mayans. An artful blend of hacienda and Mayan-inspired rustic elegance makes Casa Del Maya a unique and romantic Merida destination.

Come stay with us to explore Merida and everything it has to offer – we’ll make you feel at home.

Our Mexican bed and breakfast is in the heart of the Merida Centro, away from the bustling hotels. Casa Del Maya is located in the historic Santa Ana close to the parks of Santa Ana, Santiago and Santa Lucia, the Grand Plaza, and Paseo de Montejo. Our location is perfect for strolling, shopping, and sightseeing in Merida.

Our six spacious guest rooms include:

  • air conditioning
  • ceiling fans
  • light-filled windows
  • large modern bathroom with rain shower
  • WiFi internet access in rooms
  • television
  • decoratively patterned “pasta” tile floors
  • handcrafted furniture
  • hand-sewn Mayan textiles
  • hand-painted Talavera tiles and sinks
  • Come stay with us at Casa Del Maya!

See the PROPERTY Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

 

Santorini in Two Parts – Go Girlfriend

Santorini

Santorini’s reputation began 36 centuries ago with the eruption and implosion of an ancient volcano, creating a mega-tsunami massive enough to end the Minoan empire 120 km (75 miles) away. The Caldera (remember the myth of Atlantis?), ringed with smaller remnant islands boasts 1,000 ft. cliffs upon which perch the whitewashed main capital of Thira.

Santorini cliffsideTowering seaside cliffs and charming whitewashed villages along the caldera coast make Santorini a favorite of cruise ships and tourists with unique cliffside restaurants, shops, hotels and churches. But arriving by cruise ship presents the problem of getting up the 1,000 ft. vertical cliff face. Your choices are to walk the almost 600 steps along the meandering pathway, ride a donkey up this same path or board a cable car for the quickest, most direct route to the top. How energetic do you feel?

How to choose what to see and do in Santorini if your time is limited

Depending on your stay in Santorini, you’ll need to prioritize what you want to see.

sunsets in Santorini1 day or part day (Cruise ship tour) – Set your sites on Santorini’s main city, Thira (sometimes referred to as Fira). The cruise ships dock here so it’s an easy choice. This is the island’s gem with the main shops, restaurants and caldera views all walkable from your ship – you must have lunch on the cliffs. Also consider booking a tour with Viator or Expedia to see some other locations close by like Nea Kameni’s volcanic crater and sulphur hot springs [our GG Recommendation], or a catamaran sailing cruise sightseeing the caldera.

By Stacy Rosien – Full Story at Go Girlfriend

Greece Gay Travel Resources

Gay NYC – City Guide NY

Stonewall - flickr
Image: NCPA Photos/Flickr

New York City has long been a supporter of the LGBT community, and if you’re gay and planning a visit to the city, then you’re in for a treat. Rounded up below are six “must-dos” if you’re in Manhattan/gay NYC and looking for a memorable time. From visiting the famed Stonewall Inn to catching a local drag show, check out our top six picks for gay travelers coming to New York.

Best of NYC Gay Visits: The Stonewall Inn (West Village)

Make a visit to the place “where pride began.” The Stonewall Inn is an important part of gay pride history, and it’s still a popular destination for modern New Yorkers today. Get your photo in front of the famed brick exterior before heading in to grab a drink and take in the game-changing establishment that surrounds you. 53 Christopher St., 212-488-2705, thestonewallinnnyc.com

By Chelsey Grasso – Full Story at City Guide NY

Gay NYC Travel Resources

Great Cirque du Soleil Sale in Vegas

Cirque du Soliel summer sale

Purple Roofs is partnering with Cirque du Soleil for a great sale on their shows in Vegas. We’ve seen most of these, and loved Zumanity, Mystere, and Ka in particular.

Right now, tickets are starting at $49. The deets:

Experience Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas this fall with unbeatable deals starting at just $49! Purchase in advance and save. See Zumanity, The Beatles LOVE, Mystere, “O”, Michael Jackson ONE, KA and Criss Angel Mindfreak LIVE!… all at prices you have to see to believe. Visit cirquedusoleil.com/lasvegas to purchase tickets now.

Cirque du Soleil Giveaway

We also have five Cirque du Soleil prize packs, each including the following limited edition Cirque du Soleil prizes:

USB Fans, Bags, Sunglasses, Fidget Spinners, Juggling Balls, Water Bottles, and Magnets

Comment on the post for a chance to win. If you win, we will contact you for your address.

Las Vegas Gay Travel Resources

Holland House B&B – Worcester Gay Bed & Breakfast

Holland House B&B - Worcester Gay Bed & Breakfast

A warm welcome awaits you at Holland House Bed & Breakfast, a Victorian mid-terrace home in Worcester, within easy walking distance of the Cathedral and great local shopping.

Holland House has kept many of the building’s original Victorian features, and offers ensuite guest rooms throughout with:

  • central heat
  • heated towel rails
  • 19″” flat-screen televisions
  • DVD players
  • Freeview
  • tea and coffee making facilities
  • clock-radio
  • hairdryer
  • Secure wifi internet access – each room has its own dedicated service
  • Holland House is an accredited 3 star property with Visit Britain, and a member of the Worcester Tourism Association.

The Hereford Room: Hereford is a double room, with a double-width shower cubicle. This quiet, cosy room faces the back, warmed by the afternoon sun.

The Gloucester Room: Gloucester is a large twin room with two single beds, and a double-width shower. The room is at the front of the property, overlooking the road.

The Worcester Room: Worcester offers a king size double bed, a bath with shower/mixer tap and an electric shower. This quiet room is at the rear of the house.

The Breakfast Room: Our breakfast room is located at the front of the Holland House, including a bay window that looks out on a stand of trees, giving our terrace its name: “”Woodland View””. Our “”enjoyEngland”” award winning breakfasts range from Continental style to Full English; if you have any special dietary needs, please let us know in advance. We bake our own bread and buy our meat and eggs from local suppliers whenever we can.

Reservations: You can reserve a room on the phone or online using our secure online booking system – see our website link at left. If you want to stay for a longer period, we offer a sliding scale of discounts and single occupancy rates. Check our website for our current rates.

Worcester City and surrounding area: Worcester is an ancient city that dates back to Roman times – there’s lots to see in the city and surrounding areas. The Cathedral houses King John’s tomb, and the Cathedral Library has one of the largest collections of early chant music in the country.

The Worcester Porcelain Museum is by the Cathedral and the new Hive (the first combined public and university library and archive facility) is in the city centre.

Worcester is also a great place for shopping and eating where you can find most cuisines in Friar Street and the surrounding area.

There are also two preserved steam railways within thirty minutes’ drive. The Severn Valley Railway follows the River Severn from Kidderminster to Bridgnorth, and the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway runs between Cheltenham Racecourse and Toddington.

The Malvern Hills are also on our doorstep, with lots of walking and hiking opportunities.

A little further away, you’ll find Birmingham, the Black Country Living Museum, and Cadbury World for those with a sweet tooth.

If your travels bring you to central England, come stay with us at the friendly Holland House.

See the PROPERTY Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

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

Some Carriers Not Fully Welcoming of LGBTIQA Travelers

Emirates - Pixabay

For the LGBT community, the path to full equality has always been filled with roadblocks and barriers. For every step we take forward — the right to marry the person we love, for example – it seems we take a few steps back.

Make no mistake: progress has been made, especially among American businesses. From enthusiastically supporting marriage equality to standing against so-called religious liberty bills that discriminate against the LGBT community, American companies are on the front lines of our fight.

We shouldn’t just celebrate their progress — we should reward it. For example, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines have been vocal advocates for progress on equal rights — at home and abroad.

The same cannot be said for their foreign competitors.

Gulf carriers like Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways are consistently hostile towards the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The LGBT community is barred from employment of any kind at these three companies. They are state-owned airlines headquartered in Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, countries that lack any protection for the LGBT community, where intimate relationships are criminalized, and where abuses against the community are well documented.

The U.S. State Department reports that in the United Arab Emirates “both civil law and sharia criminalize consensual same-sex sexual activity. Under sharia, individuals who engage in consensual same-sex sexual conduct could be subject to the death penalty.” Equally alarming, the U.S. State Department’s most recent human rights report cautions that: “There were reports of LGBT persons being questioned in Dubai airport.”

By Joe Solomnese – Full Story at The Hill

Cancun Day Trips – Keep Calm and Wander

Cancun Day Trips - Keep Calm and Wander

A friend and I went on a one-week, all-inclusive vacation in Cancun last week. It was a “spur of the moment” decision and we didn’t really plan at all. Having been twice on the eastern part of Mexico, I thought, I’d just show him the must-see cultural attractions and Cancun day trips in the area. And the rest of the week would be just chillin’ on the beach, including boy watching.

However, instead of joining a bus tour every single day for the next 3 or 4 days, we decided to see them all in one day. You know how it goes with tour buses, no matter how small the group is. And guess what? Joining a tour group is supposed to be cheaper, right? But not in Cancun! Since the city is infested with tourists who are willing to shell out their dollars, tour prices are unbelievably expensive!

So, what did we do? We hired a car. We talked to our first Uber driver in Cancun. With our survival Spanish vocabulary and his limited English, we came to an agreement. We told him all the places we wanted to visit and we received no protest from him.

Cost / Fee. The driver asked us for $230, including toll fees and gas. For some people, this is a bit much but we wanted him to be happy so he’d treat us well. We never haggled the price. There are two of us, anyway, so it’s cheaper than going on tour buses, right? He was a nice guy. And a good driver, too!

By Alain – Full Story at Keep Calm and Wander

Quintana Roo Gay Travel Resources

Greens Treat Suites – Northampton Gay Bed & Breakfast

Northampton Gay Bed & Breakfast

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

Welcome to Greens Treat Suites, a rural eastern Massachusetts retreat just minutes from the heart of “Paradise City” – Northampton Massachusetts. We’re close to everything that Northampton, Amherst and the Pioneer Valley has to offer, but away from the traffic, noise and congestion of daily life.

Greens Treat Suites is a Northampton gay bed & breakfast set in the beautiful country that inspired Thomas Cole’s painting, “The Oxbow,” and our hill-top setting provides its own spectacular views.

Our Northampton B&B offers:

  • Private entrances and gardens
  • Romantic fireplaces
  • Local art, literature and crafts
  • WiFi internet access
  • Sonos sound system featuring “Rhapsody”
  • Welcoming dinner en-suite
  • Breakfast basket each morning
  • Fresh flowers
  • Organic robes, bed & bath linens, natural body & hair products
  • Large gardens – organic fruits & vegetables, flowers
  • Two really friendly dogs

If you’re looking for a great, friendly, quiet place to get away from it all, come stay with us in Northampton at Greens Treat Suites!

See the Greens Treat Suites Expanded Listing on Purple Roofs Here

Gay Friendly Bed and Breakfasts, Hotels, and Vacation Rentals in the Connecticut River Valley

 

Experiencing Peruvian Culture – The Nomadic Boys

Peruvian Culture - Nomadic Boys

Peru continues to grow as one of the most sought after destinations in South America, largely due to the famous Inca World Wonder, Machu Picchu. But there’s so much more to discover and explore. Its rich history introduces us to its diversity of people, languages and foods, making it one of the most unique and exotic destinations. Don’t miss these 7 cultural experiences you should include during your trip to Peru:

Spend time in the capital city – Lima

There’s really no better way to immerse yourself in culture than by spending time in the capital city. Lima is the most populated city in the entire country, making it the perfect location to meet and interact with locals, experience the traditional Peruvian customs, and learn how its history plays a part in the diversity of its people and architecture.

Once considered a dirty and dangerous city, Lima is rising along with the Peruvian economy. Ceviche is now a globally famous dish, putting the city on the map for it’s unique gastronomy.

In addition to the delightful dishes, Lima is known for its museums and collection of fine arts, the beautiful, upscale neighbourhood of Miraflores which also boasts “Huaca Pucllana” – a pre-Inca pyramid belonging to the Huari culture. Other top not-to-miss sites include the rock formations of Marcahuasi, sand boarding at Huacachina and taking a boat trip to see penguins at Paracas. Beach lovers and surfers will want to check out Lima’s incredible beaches towards the south of the city. To find out more, check our gay guide to Lima.

By Stefan Arestis – Full Story at the Nomadic Boys

Peru Gay Travel Resources