Gay Travel 2014
Ready for your Summer Escape
By George Zander
For decades, it has been known that gay and lesbian folks are in every country continent in the world. All of us in our Desert have favorite destinations; some are made from dreams and some from reality. Therefore, in a sense all destinations are LGBT fun places. Just as in America, all nations have areas and cities that are better known as “gay hot spots”.
It is clear that our community picks travel destinations based on many criteria- culture, history, partying, shopping, accommodations and recreation are all part of that decision. The following list of places starting with our Top 10 in the world LGBT travel destinations are classic and you will all be very comfortable and happy picking these spots. There also is a longer list of various other sites by region. We of course, live in Palm Springs, which is on every one’s list of destinations. We enjoy Palm Springs so much as residents and tourists in our own town, that it stands unique in your own mind.
10. Buenos Aires
The vitality of the emerging gay and Lesbian scene in Argentina’s capital makes this an ideal destination. Travelers will enjoy the city’s progressive laws- such as Marriage Equality, vibrant nightlife, and the flair of a colorful and exciting LGBTQ movement.
Buenos Aires is unique, spicy and sexy. It has risen to one of the world’s great destinations. Because of its sophistication, it is mostly compared to London, Paris Barcelona or New York City. It is more comparable to Europe than Latin America because of the cuisine, fashion, and arts and tango music all blend together to delight the senses.
9. Costa Rica
From cloud forests, rainforests, and rushing rivers to active volcanoes and tropical beaches, Costa Rica boasts innumerable natural wonders that will arouse your senses. With its protective laws protecting gay rights, the country is a friendly place to visit without any hassles. San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital boasts a hopping bar scene with hot salsa dancing on the menu. Manuel Antonio and other beach towns have LGBT owned resorts.
8. Rehoboth Beach
Starting out as Washington DC’s Provincetown, Rehoboth Beach has become a huge destination for folks from around the nation. Both the North Shores Beach and Poodle Beach make for a fantastic time in this busting beach town. The beach and the bars are where the action is, but there are top galleries, theater, and restaurants as well. The town itself has many large summer circuit parties. Summer reservations are essential.
7. Barcelona and Sitges
Barcelona, Catalan in spirit and European in appearance is a city rich with history that dates back to the Romans. It became the country’s art and music center in the early 20th century and poof! The LGBT neighborhoods began to grow. The largest gay village in Gran Via and the Ramblas. Clubs all open at midnight where you will dance until dawn.
Though Barcelona has beaches, the best gay beaches are in a small town south of the city-Sitges. It is a short train ride away and there are many LGBT accommodations here. People adore the great beaches and this colorful town. The main gay beach is across from the Calipolis Hotel. Two small nude beaches- Playa de Muerto are both a mile south of town. In July and August, book ahead… salud!
6. Bangkok and Phuket
Patong Beach at Phuket has become a gay hotspot because of its unbelievably inexpensive nightlife, water sports and friendly atmosphere. The lovely beach hosts pride festivals and remains the place to meet in Southeast Asia.
Coupled with a few days in super vibrant Bangkok, the two cities make fir a perfect contrast for lively urban center and quiet peaceful beach. The city is huge with typical Asian street noise and traffic chaos. Fabulous food is available everywhere from street cafes to five diamond restaurants. Serene temples contrast with the street scene. Doing both is perfection!
This city sits on Lake Ontario and is the largest and most diverse city in Canada. The LGBTQ is large and out! Summer is the best time unless you a fan of cold weather. Toronto was originally populated but folks from the UK, but now it is a kaleidoscope of hundreds of nationalities from around the globe. Like everywhere else in Canada, the safe is very safe and clean. This is the second best theater scene in North America after New York City. The Gay scene is centered on church street and is very busy and fun year around.
4. New York City
This has to be on everyone’s list for a great gay time. You will be a like a kid in a candy store…so much to see and do and experience, and all great and fabulous. You will be able to sample bars, restaurants, museums, shops, parks, historic sites that match any in the world.
Our community has been an historic sub-culture of the city since 1880s and moves continually through the decades of our politics! The Stonewall Riots of 1969, the HIV/AIDS crisis, and we are today a huge part of the fabric of the city.
Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen, and the Upper West Side and the Villages are huge viable gayborhoods. Book early to score a good price on flights and accommodations.
Berlin is the capital of Germany and leads its nation and much of Europe in the hip factor. This vibrant city has countless bars and restaurants. It is a city where convention and the extraordinary sit side by side. It is a metropolis where historic and modern blend side by side. We are everywhere in the city, but Schoneburg is LGBT central. The city’s gay mayor is quoted as saying,”
Yes I am gay and that is OK!”
2. San Francisco
Clearly one of America’s favorite cities it appears on these lists every time. It is clearly one of the most picturesque cities on the planet. LGBT folks are part of the political and financial part of the city. Rainbow flags flutter everywhere and our people are in every neighborhood.
Some neighborhoods are gayer than others are, of course with historic Castro with its rich story from the early days of the 1950s leading the way. Castro has not changed much since the 70s. The vibe and sense of history follow you everywhere. The Mission has many LGBT folks, as does Noe Valley, Bernal Heights, Polk Gulch, SoMa, the Marina and many spots west of Van Ness. The city is great all year so reservations are always recommended.
1. Puerto Vallarta
Located in Jalisco, Vallarta as it’s known locally was the uber famous filming site for the film, Night of the Iguana staring Elizabeth Taylor. That was no doubt the springboard of this sleepy town to become the darling of the international gay travel set. Toda’s PV offers visitors everything from great hotels and restaurants to offshore cruises on private islands to water sports to hot, loud and sexy bars and discos.
The high season is October through May. Hotels and condos are often booked well in advance for that period. Vacation rental homes and condos are everywhere and very popular. The official gay beach is Playa de los Muertos and sits in front of the world famous Blue Chairs Resort. There are dozens of inns and hotels and vacation rentals that cater to our community.
OK, OK all of you will have your own specials places… for North America, Key West, Fort Lauderdale, Savannah, Provincetown, Guadalajara, Puerto Rico, Saba, St Martins, and St Barts. Canada in addition to Toronto lists Vancouver and Montreal as favorites.
In South America, Rio and Santiago in Brazil, Lima and Santiago have huge LGBT communities.
In Asia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Phnom Penh , Kuala Lumpur, Edo in Japan, Shanghai, New Delhi, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
In most of Europe LGBT folks are part of the tapestry of life. Paris, London, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Prague. Budapest, the Canary Islands, Rome, Milan, Venice, Madrid, Athens, Ibiza, Mykonos, and so many more.
In Africa, Casablanca, Tunis, and Cape Town lead the list. In addition, Australia has Cairns and Sydney not to mention fabulous Melbourne!
With the wind at our back there are growing LGBT destinations that are safe, hassle free and fun worldwide. Be safe as you travel always but as our destinations grow and new names to follow just get out there and travel!