Mexico Tourism Launches New Gay App

gay mexico app gayde

MEXICO’S Federal Secretary of Tourism is promoting new gay travel app MéxicoGayde (@MexicoGayde), reports SDPnoticias.com.

The app promises to list all gay-friendly destinations in Mexico including bars, restaurants, theaters, spas, exhibitions and NGOs. MéxicoGayde will also allow you to review and rate venues.

Download MéxicoGayde here.

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Green Flash at Sunset

green flash sunset

Have you ever seen a GREEN FLASH  at Sunset? 

I heard about this for the first time last year in a movie that mentioned it.

Green flashes and green rays are optical phenomena that sometimes occur right after sunset or right before sunrise. When the conditions are right, a green spot is visible above the upper rim of the disk of the sun. The green appearance usually lasts for no more than a second or two. Rarely, the green flash can resemble a green ray shooting up from the sunset (or sunrise) point. Green flashes occur because the atmosphere can cause the light from the sun to separate out into different colors. Green flashes are a group of phenomena which stem from slightly different causes, and therefore some types of green flashes are more common than others.

Green flashes are enhanced by mirage, which increase refraction. A green flash is more likely to be seen in stable, clear air, when more of the light from the setting sun reaches the observer without being scattered. One might expect to see a blue flash, since blue light is refracted most of all, and the blue component of the sun’s light is therefore the very last to disappear below the horizon, but the blue is preferentially scattered out of the line of sight, and the remaining light ends up appearing green.

Meal Sharing – Bringing People Together

gay meal sharing travel

Meal sharing sites are bringing people together, over food.

MealSharing.com - Find a home cooked meal in over 450 cities worldwide!

Meal Sharing brings people together over home cooked meals. Our mission is to build communities through shared resources, facilitate deeper cultural exchange, and encourage people to cook at home to enable a healthier lifestyle.

“We want to make it possible for people, who otherwise would probably never meet, to get together and have a good time over food. We want to make that experience safe and enriching for everyone involved.”

EatWith.com – Eat With is  a passionate community of food lovers and world travelers.

EatWith hosts share a talent for making amazing meals and a love for welcoming people into their homes to share them. Join us around the table to experience the most creative, gourmet and handmade meals your city has to offer.

EatFeastly.com - Inspired by his travels and unique food experiences abroad, the exceptionally bearded Noah Karesh wanted to unlock the diverse food and cultural potential of Washington, D.C. Flooded with too many impersonal and sterile restaurants, he sought to reintroduce the original social dining option: the home cooked meal.

His vision: to create a marketplace where passionate cooks could connect with adventurous eaters seeking more authentic and social dining options by offering home cooked meals in a cook’s home. In lowering the barriers to entry for cooks to share their skills and stories with the world, he wanted to let cooks monetize their passions and provide exciting new food opportunities for eaters.

Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride Travel Deals

Puerto Vallarta Gay Pride

• Hotels, condos, tour operators and airlines have joined forces to be part of the largest LGBT event in the region.

• Vallarta Pride is proud to have the unconditional support of local, national and international businesses to carry out a world class event.

The third gay pride festival “Vallarta Pride” will take place from May 17 to 25, 2015. This festival in honor of the LGBT community living and visiting our vibrant tourist destinationis being supported by several local, national and international businesses under the theme of “Unity”.

It is now easier than ever to come enjoy and live the Vallarta Pride experience with the special promotions and travel packages that hotels, condos, tour operators and airlines are offering this year.

The Blue Chairs Hotel, Hotel Emperador, Hotel Catedral, Hotel Mercurio, Puerto de Luna, Rivera del Río and Villa Mercedes are all offering the 4th night free by booking 3. This promotion will run throughout Vallarta Pride. The condos Andales on the Bay, Condo Carmen Alicia and Piñata Gay Guest House will also join this initiative offering the same deal.

 

gay-pride-mexico-parade-DianaBlueChairs

Other accommodation deals include Casa Cupula and OlasAltas Suites (book 4 nights and get the 5th night free), Puerto Vallarta Beach Club (4th night free by booking 3 via http://www.equalitydestinations.com/ using the code EQDPV) and Puerto Vallarta Timeshare Rentals (Get 70% off resort prices when you book a week through http://www.sellmytimesharenow.com/).

The Airlines that have joined the Vallarta Pride travel deals and will offer a discount of up to 10% are Aeroméxico (code B542D12A, valid only in national flights and form May 20 to 25, 2015), Alaska Airlines (code EC8368 and valid till May 29, 2015) and Delta Airlines (code NMKSE and valid form May 9to June 2, 2015).

As nightlife entertainment cannot be missed during your Puerto Vallarta visit, Gay Vallarta Bar Hopping is offering 10% discount when booking using the code Vallarta Pride. GayPV is also offering two complete travel packages:

• Exclusive Travel Package for Pride*
Airfares, Hotels, Events and Excursions (Including Andrew Christian Events)

• VIP Travel Package*
Andrew Christian event tickets, “Wet & Wild” Gay Cruise, fashion show and 5-night hotel accommodation.
*Exclusive deals only available on: http://gaypv.mx/deals/pride2015/.

For more information on these deals and promotions, visit here

and the official Facebook Page

Winter Party MIAMI 2015

winter party 2015

 

winter-party-gay-miami-2015

Greece Moves Towards Marriage Equality

Greece-Athens-Academy-gay-marriage

ABC News / AP  reports

Greece’s new left-wing government has promised to grant same-sex couples legal status, in response to a 2013 international court decision condemning the country for discrimination.

Justice Minister Nikolaos Paraskevopoulos told parliament Monday that civil partnerships, first legislated in 2008, would be extended to gay couples but did not say when the changes were planned.

The pledge was made two weeks after the left-wing Syriza party ousted conservatives in a general election and formed a coalition government with a right-wing, anti-bailout party, one which in the past has opposed awarding gay partners legal status.

 

In other  news…ITALY   says  NO   to Gay  Marriage!

Gay Travel to Miami for Winter Party

gay miami winter party

IT’S ALMOST HERE!  Winter  Party  2015!

 

With over 10,000 guests from around the world attending six days of events, the scale of Winter Party Festival is inspiring. But the sense of welcome is warmly personal and sincere. Regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, age, race, ethnicity or belief, anyone and everyone is made to feel comfortable and at home.  Winter Party Festival is that place where for one week, the world is full of acceptance and love.  And we can take a deep breath of the ocean air and clear our heads.  Fill our hearts. Engage our minds.  Kick up our heels.  And return to everyday life happier, stronger, wiser, and ready to ignite the world.

gay travel miami winter party

Singapore’s Changi International Airport RAIN Art

Kinetic Rain Singapore's Changi International Airport

WOW!

I have never been to this airport  – yet – a friend of mine just saw this!

 

World’s largest kinetic art sculpture unveiled at Changi Airport
SINGAPORE,  2012 — Passengers and airport visitors entering the Departure Check-in Hall at Singapore Changi Airport’s Terminal 1 (T1) can expect to stop in their tracks and be captivated by a new art installation. Kinetic Rain, as it is titled, takes pride of place at the terminal, enthralling visitors with its fluidity, distinctive shapes, elegant and refined movements and precision-perfect technology.

Kinetic Rain, installed as part of T1’s recent refurbishment, is the icon of the revamped Departure Check-in Hall. This specially commissioned sculpture, a first in an airport globally, comes as a pair, each installed several metres apart from each other and visible from many areas of the Departure Check-in Hall.

Kinetic Rain is made up of 1,216 bronze droplets that transform elegantly into multiple shapes, akin to poetry in motion. Carrying an aviation theme, the key element in every shape shows the movement of flight through slow, fluid movements. Some of the more recognisable shapes include an aeroplane, hot air balloon and a kite. One can also make out a dragon and a flock of birds amongst the 16 different programmed segments.

Each droplet is connected to motors installed in the ceiling of the Departure Check-in Hall. The motors contain a high precision rotary encoder which keeps track of the exact position of each droplet. A computer programme is used to control the movement of the droplets to form Kinetic Rain’s unique shapes and patterns. A video on the making-of Kinetic Rain can be viewed here.

Kinetic Rain was created over a span of 20 months. Artists, programmers and technologists were engaged to analyse the space available at T1 and conceptualise a masterpiece that would be representative of the new terminal. The refurbished T1 is aptly themed ‘Tropical City’ in keeping with Singapore’s garden city status and where rain, is very much a part of the tropical climate.

Mr Yeo Kia Thye, Senior Vice President for Airport Operations, Changi Airport Group, said, “When we decided to upgrade Terminal 1 in 2008, we were mindful that people have fond memories of the terminal including the old Mylar Cords, the circular curtain of water that straddled three stories of the building. We wanted an art sculpture, which we found in Kinetic Rain, that was able to add the signature touch linking back to T1’s illustrious past in a new and exciting way.

“With more than a thousand raindrops working together in harmony, Kinetic Rain also symbolises the thousands in the airport community who work together every day to provide our passengers and visitors with a positively surprising and memorable Changi Experience.”

An audio commentary and official video are also available for visitors who wish to know more about Kinetic Rain. All they have to do is scan the QR code present at the display boards at the T1 Departure Check-in Hall with their smartphones. For more information about the refurbished T1, please visit: www.changiairport.com/terminal1

About Changi Airport Group

Changi Airport Group (Singapore) Pte Ltd (CAG) (www.changiairportgroup.com) was formed on 16 June 2009 and the corporatisation of Singapore Changi Airport followed on 1 July 2009. As the company managing Changi Airport, CAG undertakes key functions focusing on airport operations and management, air hub development, commercial activities and airport emergency services. Through its subsidiary Changi Airports International, the Group invests in and manages foreign airports to spread the success of Changi Airport internationally.

Changi Airport (www.changiairport.com) is the world’s most awarded airport having garnered more than 400 accolades since it opened in 1981. To serve passengers and visitors from the world over, there are 360 retail stores and 130 F&B outlets across the airport’s four terminals. Changi handled more than 46 million passenger movements in 2011, an annual record. Today, it serves some 100 airlines flying to over 220 cities in about 60 countries and territories worldwide. A flight takes off or lands at Changi roughly once every 100 seconds.

WATCH

Incredible Travel Experiences

sistine chapel gay travel

According to my Trip Advisor  account,  I have been to 51 cities in 9 countries. I was feeling kind of proud – until I read this article on LIFE HACK, 50 Incredible Travel Experiences to Have in Your Lifetime!

Seems  I have done  NONE OF THEM!

tigers nest gay travel

Most are in countries I have not seen yet – and some countries I really don’t care to visit.  Just because any of our travel experiences are not on this list – does not lessen  their  value.  So what I have not been to India. or Peru.

gay travel paris france

I HAVE been to Paris and sat at a sidewalk cafe and people watched;

I HAVE been to Budapest and seen the ornate bath houses;

I HAVE been to Prague and looked over the city of spires from the TV Tower;

I HAVE been to New York City and admired the Twin Towers before they fell;

I HAVE been to Hocking Hills  Ohio and walked inside the majestic caves and forest;

I HAVE been to the Grand Canyon….

An incredible travel experience can be anywhere – and different  for everyone…

What have been YOUR BEST travel experiences?

 

Queer Carnavale in Nice France

Carnaval2015_LouQueernaval_GB

“Lou Queernaval” is registered in the official program of the Nice Carnival, that attracts every year more than one million visitors on the French Riviera.The parade will start on Friday, February 27, 2015, from 09.00 pm, on the Place Massena, in the heart of the city.

The King and Queen, symbols of the Carnival will lead dancers, floats, queer creatures and artists, in a friendly and frenzy atmosphere, made of music and surprises!

Between feathers, sequins and extravagant make-up, a fantastic entertainment program is in preparation … Around Carnival and flower parades, emblems of the event, many other events throughout the city and LGBTI’s institutions will extend the magic of Nice Carnival throughout the weekend.Nice is waiting for you! Come and forget the harsh winter with the French Riviera’s sunny atmosphere. The whole city will liveas one and beat time to the rhythm of the boisterous music. Everyone can participate, one condition: be disguised!
www.lou-queernaval.com
www.nicecarnaval.com
en.nicetourisme.com
Se désabonner

Chicago hotel deals

chicago-hotel-deals

There are LOTS AND LOTS of March events in Chicago!  And until  February 15th, you can grab a sweet  hotel  deal, 50%  off  your March stay!!

 

Polar Plunge March 1st.  St Patricks Events March 7th. More St Patricks March 15th., Local Food Expo March 19 , Pet Expo  March 20th, Tattoo Convention March 20th, Beer festival, Flower Show and on and on!   Check out the calendar HERE.

 

best hotels boystown lakeview chicago

 City Suites    Willows    Majestic                        
USE  CODE   BGC  WHEN  BOOKING!!    
Chicago is an amazing city year round! And during the week, many of the clubs and bars run specials, so it’s  a great time to save money, and make new friends!
 
Visit  Best Gay Chicago for the latest information!

 

Mens Hair Loss Solutions Specialist

best-hair-less-techniquesMinimally Invasive Hair Restoration
With (FUE) Follicular Unit Extraction And Surgical Robotic Technology

 

International lecturer and teacher, Dr. William Yates, M.D., Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon, breaks through the old stereotypes of hair loss and hair transplant and brings Chicago’s North Shore the very latest cutting edge technological advancements in the field, offering patients an array of state-of-the-art facial and hair restoration services. He is a world-renowned expert in Follicular Unit Extraction.

(* Dr Yates is in Chicago but see’s patients from all over the US. You may even qualify for special discounted  travel arrangements.)

He is so passionate and confident the Follicular Unit Extraction technique is superior to traditional methods; he only performs this highly skilled technique for hair transplantation.

Dr. Yates specialized skills make him one of the elite surgeons to educate and train other physicians to perform this specialized technique both locally and internationally.

ARTAS-hair replacement machine

What is FUE?

While performed under local anesthesia, the hair or follicular units are individually harvested or punched from the back of the scalp or donor area in the hands of Dr. Yates using whatever instrument is best for his patient to obtain optimal results. He utilizes the most advanced ARTAS Robotic Hair Transplant System or various manual, hand-held instruments to delicately punch out each individual hair follicle.

The camera system and algorithms in place with the robot or Dr. Yates skilled eyes and hands, choose the most robust hairs to remove for transplantation. With the traditional strip method for hair transplantation, not only do you have to take all hairs (even weak hair), the patient also incurs a painful cut, stitches and scar that they have to live with and conceal the rest of their lives.

hair-regrowth-restoration-chicago-best

Dr. Yates utilizes state of the art biological solutions such as Hypothermosol and ATPv (adenosine triphosphate) to store, protect and ensure optimal survival of these valuable grafts while awaiting transplant into the balding areas of the scalp for both men and women.

The finishing touch is completed by Dr. Yates artistic ability to create a natural hairline and hair density in his patient’s areas of thinning throughout the scalp. He uses micro-incisions to create sites to place each individual follicular unit, which will grow into a natural, undetectable pattern over the next year.

The results - – Phenomenal, Natural, Permanent Hair that patients can style anyway they desire without a scar in the back of the scalp. It’s cutting edge methodology like this that separates Dr. Yates’ concierge practice from the cookie cutter competition, who still rely on the antiquated guesswork with a scalpel from when they started 30 years ago.

 

“It’s permanent and not many people can do it right,” says Dr. Yates. “This is the investment that lasts.”
WITH FUE THERE ARE NO TRANVERSE VISIBLE SCARS ACROSS THE BACK OF THE HEAD

If someone is unable to shave the back of his or her scalp for FUE, he also has an answer for this. Dr. Yates is able to creatively trim the hair so that the donor area is completely concealed and you can return to work immediately without any visible signs of a procedure.
Dr. Yates is also very skilled at restoring facial hair such as beards, mustaches, goatees and eyebrows.

He also performs recovery and repair work on patients who have had multiple, visible scars; old-fashioned and undesirable plug procedures; and creative body hair (beard, chest, back hair) harvesting for transplantation for individuals who are “tapped out” of donor hair in the back of their scalp.

 

dr yates illinois hair doctor

State of the Art

Non-Surgical Options…

 

PRP (Platelet Rich Plasma)
This therapy has been FDA approved and utilized for over 30 years for advanced wound healing. Now, we are seeing exciting results with PRP for hair growth. A patient’s blood is drawn and spun in a centrifuge to concentrate the platelets to a specific concentration effective for hair growth. The platelets are then activated and injected back into the scalp at the level of the hair follicles. This process stimulates the body’s own growth factors and stem cells to slow hair loss, reverse miniaturized hair to produce a strong, visible hair again, and if used at the time of a hair transplant, it encourages faster graft growth. This has been very effective for both men and women.

Stromal Vascular Fraction or Stem Cell Therapy with Fat Transfer
Adult stem cells are most concentrated in our bodies in bone marrow and even more so in fat tissue or adipose. Dr. Yates is able to harvest these fat cells and concentrate and purify them in a centrifuge system. He then combines the fat cells with PRP to inject into the scalp to stimulate hair growth and stabilize further hair loss. This process offers even more benefits than just PRP alone by replacing the lost layer of subcutaneous fat in the scalp where the hair follicle thrives.

Scalp Micro-Pigmentation (SMP)
With SMP, pigment is used on the scalp to create the appearance of real hair follicles recreating hairlines, adding the appearance of density to thinning areas and covering unsightly scars. This advanced solution for hair loss replicates real shaven hair follicles on the scalp. The appearance is so realistic that it actually looks like you have hair. We know how the hair should look when pigmented, because that’s all we do everyday – HAIR! If someone has limited donor hair and has been told they were not a good candidate for a hair transplant procedure, they now have a great option! This is perfect for those who wear a very closely cropped hairstyle!

Hair Styling for Thinning Hair

Since hair loss affects so many people and everyone’s self-esteem, Dr. Yates even offers an onsite Licensed Cosmetologist with over 17 years of experience. She studied in Italy, Spain, Greece, Germany, New York, Miami and Chicago. She specializes in styling and educating patients to look their best if they suffer with hair loss.

 

Someone doesn’t have to be bald to feel the confidence shaking reality of hair loss. For many, it can appear as a lack of volume and expanding thinness. Slowly, their scalp becomes more apparent through the diminishing volume of their hair. Dr. Yates can stop that hair loss in its tracks and reduce the appearance of thinning hair for men and women using the most advanced treatments available in the industry.

chicago-board-certified-hair-doctor

 

When hair transplantation is done correctly by a proficient surgeon, the results look so natural that nobody would know you had a procedure. To achieve the best, natural, and attractive results, you need a meticulous surgeon with proven results.

The team at Yates Hair Science Group delivers the best care and quality everyday and are recognized leaders in the field.

565 Lakeview Parkway Suite 108
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
AND

50 E Washington, Suite 200,Chicago, IL 60602
PHONE: 312-261-0872 or visit them online at dryateshairscience.com

Gay Travel Kyrgyzstan…NOT

anti lgbt map Kyrgyzstan

Last  October, the Kyrgyz version of the notorious Russian law against “gay propaganda” passed its first reading by a vote of 79 to 7. Following one more reading, the bill will reach President Almazbek Atambayev’s desk, where it is almost certain to pass into law. Legislators even proposed that the minimum sentence for making reference to homosexuality be increased from one year to three.
Kyrgyzstan’s close affiliation with Russia inspired the law, and the Kyrgyz version is even tougher. To protect “traditional Kyrgyz values and families,” the law states, any “positive image of nontraditional sexual relations” will be prohibited. Anyone caught distributing a photo, writing an article, or posting on Facebook about homosexuality will face up to a year imprisonment.

Palm Springs HOT Winter Deals!

gay-travel-palm-springs-deals

gay-travel-palm-springs

Gay Travel to Montreal and Amsterdam

montreal-jazz-festival

Two of my Favorite cities!

SPRING AND SUMMER TRAVEL SEASON AHEAD

Days are getting longer already!

59 days until SPRING!

START PLANNING NOW!

Here are 2 GREAT GETAWAYS to add  to your spring/summer calendar

 

MONTREAL JAZZ FESTIVAL – JULY 3-6  (2015)

More than 500 concerts – most FREE

World’s Best Artists and Genres of Music
Gay-Pride-Amsterdam-travel

AND …..

AMSTERDAM PRIDE – JUL 28- AUG 3  (2015)

World Famous Canal Parade

Circuit Parties & Street Parties

Amsterdam’s most popular festival

 

JOIN ME!  LET’S PARTY!  I can arrange great pricing for you and provide helpful tour information in both cities!    Dave @ Donovan Travel

401-942-7700       dave@donovantravel.com

What European Countries DO BEST

gay-travel-europe

One of my favorite general interest sites I follow, THRILLIST, did a cute round up of European Countries, that I wanted to share.

The European Union has 28 member countries, and much like snowflakes, they’re all special in their own way. Every country excels at something — and to that end, we found one thing every EU nation is the best at… even if it’s having the most experience working with robots.

Click here to see the full map, or on the stats to see the methodology.

Gay Marriage Vietnam

gay-homosexual-vietnam-hanoi-

Last week, Vietnam became the first country in Southeast Asia to support same-sex marriage when the communist country’s National Assembly struck down the ban.

According to LifeSiteNews, the country’s motivation to strike down the ban came from pressure to attract homosexual tourism and the influence of U.S. foreign policy, which features Ted Osius, an active homosexual, as the new US ambassador to Vietnam.

“We could get more support from civil society in Vietnam because the American ambassador is gay,” said Luong The Huy, a lawyer with the homosexuality-advocating Institute for Studies of Society. “He promotes a very good image of a very successful person who is gay,” he said.

Though the government does not ban the union, it still does not formally recognize it or provide any legal support system.  Read more at THE REVOLT

BEST European Countries for Food and Drink

best food drink world italy

While Italy is NOT the gayest European city, it did rank as the best food and drink in Europe – not surprisingly.

THRILLIST  recently ranked all 48 European countries  by food and drink. Italy, France and Spain  were on top. Followed next  by  Germany, Belgium and Croatia.  – At the bottom of the list were countries like Andorra, Monaco and  Montenegro. Check it out HERE.

 

Flying Coach Economy gets WORSE in 2015

economy flying small seats travel

IF you think  coach / economy flights are bad now….just wait…it’s getting worse in 2015!

If you think flying coach  is a cramped and claustrophobic experience, then you’re going to hate what’s coming in the months ahead.

An increasing number of airlines are starting to install more paid-legroom seats on their planes (because people buy them), eating into the legroom of the standard coach seat – which we all know is already limited.

Airlines such as JetBlue, American, United, Frontier, and Spirit are introducing a new class of roomier seats with names such as Economy Plus (United) and Classic Plus (Frontier) that offer passengers more space to spread out but at a higher price tag.  To make room on the plane for these pricier seats, the standard coach experience gets a little more cramped.

 

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SIT ON A BICYCLE SEAT?

Airbus-patent small airline seats

While luxury airlines unveil multi-room apartments in the sky, the future of economy seating for the rest of us is looking smaller and even less comfortable.

In a recent patent filing, plane manufacturer Airbus included diagrams for new standing seats. (ABOVE).

The design is meant to fit even more passengers on flights, specifically on short-haul trips where the added discomfort could be more tolerable, at least in Airbus’ estimation.

 

Flying.Coach tight small seats

Even though the Airbus plan is still just a concept, there is no question air carriers want to fit more economy passengers on each plane.

Boeing is working on adding capacity to its 737 narrow-body airplane model, which is used for short-haul flights. The manufacturer plans to squeeze in more passengers by reducing the space between seats by two inches.  Read more at MASHABLE.

“I don’t want to be tortured,” says Judy Greene, a musician who lives in New York.

Durnford King, a TV writer based in Santa Monica, Calif., wonders, “What’s next, rolling passengers up in bubble wrap and packing them in like sausages?”

 

How to avoid economy “minus” in 2015

Find airlines with more legroom, for now. Some airlines still offer a civil amount of space, even in economy class. One of your best bets is to find planes configured for international travel flying domestic flights. Depending on the aircraft type, your seat may have as much as 33 inches of pitch.

Book for comfort. Expedia.com just added a service called RouteHappy, which displays flights based on comfort. Hipmunk.com also lets you sort fares by “agony.”

Lobby for legroom. Tell your elected representative it’s time to draw the line and to set minimum seat standards on planes. Getting rid of what passes for economy class today would be a good start.  Read more on this  at USA  TODAY.

Playa Del Carmen and Xcaret Mexico

gay mexico cancun xcaret

I have spent plenty of time in Puerto Vallarta, and this year decided to explore the Caribbean side of Mexico and the Riviera Maya.

We have all been to or read about Cancun. It’s been growing in popularity every year it seems.  And with that seems to come more and more “bad tourists“.  But as you go down the coast, more and more travelers are discovering the beauty of Riviera Maya, attracting  many  LGBT travelers  as well as  Europeans and Canadians.

South of Riviera Cancun, Riviera Maya is home to many of Mexico’s best hotels and all-inclusive resorts. Stretching 70-80 miles, from just south of Puerto Morelos to the ancient Mayan ruins of Tulum, the area offers endless white sand beaches, lush jungles and ancient Mayan cities including Chichen Itza, Tulum and Coba. Enjoy trendy shopping, wining and dining on Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, and amazing watersports in the quaint towns of Puerto Aventuras and Akumal. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is just offshore. Be sure to visit Xel-Há, the world’s largest natural aquarium, and Xcaret, where you’ll see fascinating indigenous wildlife and can snorkel in underground rivers.

xcaret park hotel mexicogay mexico xcaret park

Our travel agent ( Dave @ 1-800-942-1280 – he is the BEST! ) suggested we stay  at  Occidental Grand Xcaret and right next door is  Xcaret Park.  GREAT SUGGESTION!  We flew in the first week of December, just  before rates started climbing for high season. The cost was about $1200  each. That included airfare from Chicago to Cancun, transfers to and from the hotel, 7 nights accommodations, all meals  and  ALL DRINKS including all  alcohol.  That came out to about $115 pp  per day for room, food and drinks. Pretty amazing deal! Of course, January and February those rates go up to  $140-$170  per day, so watch when you go to get the best deal, and Dave will be happy to advise you and help you plan your trip.

I could write pages about Riviera Maya and the resort and all it had to offer – but the focus of this article is  XCARET PARK.

Xcaret (pronounced ESH-cah-ret)  is a Maya civilization archaeological site located on the Caribbean coastline of the Yucatán Peninsula, in the modern-day state of Quintana Roo in Mexico. It is south of Cancun about 40 minutes. And just South of Playa Del Carmen by a few minutes. The site was occupied by the pre-Columbian Maya and functioned as a port for navigation and an important Maya trading center. Some of the site’s original structures are contained within a modern-day tourism development, the privately owned Xcaret Eco Park.

xcaret_park mexico

Xcaret Park is a  “theme park“, resort and ecotourism development. It is named after the nearby archaeological site Xcaret, a settlement constructed by the pre-Columbian Maya some of whose structures lie within the boundaries of the park’s 81 hectares (200 acres) of land holdings.
The land was originally purchased by a group of Mexican entrepreneurs, led by architect Miguel Quintana Pali. 5 hectares of the land was purchased in 1984.

rio-subterraneo-xcaret

When he began to clear the land, he started uncovering cenotes, sinkholes formed by collapsed cave ceilings weakened by 3 million years of erosion from underground rivers running through them and flowing into the sea. He saw the potential for tourism and formulated the idea of an Ecological Park open to the public, and soon joined forces with Oscar, Marcos and Carlos Constandse, achieving this goal in December 1990.

At the same time, contact was established with the National Institute of Anthropology and History (Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia) with the objective of rebuilding the remnants of the Mayan pyramids and buildings that were found in the area. The park’s administration subsidized all the operation and the INAH put in charge a team of specialists.

The nature-based attractions of the park include a river that goes through the Mayan village, a subterranean concrete sluice in which people can swim and snorkel with a life vest. Near the inlet there are recreational activities at the beach, snorkeling, Sea Trek and Snuba in the nearby reefs, or swimming with dolphins.

macaw-conservation-mexico

(There are about 400  Macaws  in the wild, in the world. Xcaret has nearly 1000  on their property. Couples live together in lush surroundings  and  frequently mate and on average the park is able to successfully  raise  100-150  babies every year, to be released back into the wild. )

The park also has a coral reef aquarium turtle nesting site. Next to the inlet there’s an area for manatees. The park also has a bird pavilion, butterfly pavilion, bat cave, orchids and bromeliad greenhouse, an island of jaguars, and a deer shelter, among others. The park is focused  on conservation. From allowing Macaws to couple off and breed, butterflies to flourish, and constantly growing new greens to be planted and make their forests more lush.

The cultural attractions include an open church, replica of a Mayan village with real artisans at work, a Mexican cemetery, a museum, an equestrian show, Mesoamerican ball game, an open theater with performances of pre-Hispanic dances, Papantla flying men and the Gran Tlachco (theater with a six thousand people capacity) where the Mesoamerican ball game is represented, as well as the meeting of two worlds, the Mayan and the Spanish, and the presentation of several Mexican folklore dances. Other demonstrations of Mexican traditions include Day of the Dead celebration and the “Travesía Sagrada Maya” (Mayan Sacred Crossing), an annual rite when Mayans would cross the sea from Xcaret and Playa del Carmen to Cozumel to pay homage to the lunar goddess Ix Chel. The park truly offers an amazing way to enjoy its natural beauty and cultural richness.

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I especially loved the Mexican cemetery.  So much work and detail went into creating this gem!  Discover the trails of the Mexican Cemetery in Xcaret where ancestors are remembered with respect, but also with hints of humor and the typical Mexican mischief step into the Bridge to Paradise!

Explore a spiral architecture that reveals a large number of tombs and expressive personalities. There are multiple passages and entrances to the cemetery, but we assure you that there will always be something that will surprise you … do not be afraid! This is a place of great value to the Mexican culture and its relationship with the traditional Day of the Dead.

This unique architectural work has a special significance that simulates a hill with seven levels, referring to the days of the week. On the outside you can find 365 graves that symbolize each day of the year, and finally at the main entrance is a staircase with 52 steps representing the weeks. Additionally, its spiral shape refers to a conch shell, as used in ancient times to communicate with the gods through their breath, the wind.

The park also has a Temascal (house of heat) and Spa, numerous restaurants, dressing rooms, souvenirs and handicrafts stores with items from all over Mexico.

1 day admission  is  $89-$99.  (Purchase 21 days in advance online for the best savings). There are over 40 attractions here – if you really want to see everything and explore the entire property without being rushed, I would add on a second day, which is half price.  At first glance, this might seem a little expensive; but think of Walt Disney and Disney World and EPCOT…Xcaret is lush and gorgeous and educational and full of Mexican history.

 

There is not a lot of  gay nightlife in Riviera Maya but there are a couple clubs here and there – but we found almost every where accepting and gay friendly.  Gay marriage is legal  in Mexico City and Quintanaroo! Visit the Portal Gay Quintanaroo   and Facebook for updates on the LGBT community in Quintana Roo (Cancun, playa del Carmen, Tulum, Chetumal).  There is great info for locals and visitors from all over the world!

 

 Experiencias Xcaret operates several great attractions in the area!  Experiencias Xcaret has the best Parks and Tours in Cancun and Riviera Maya. Endless adventure and fun for all our guests like swimming with dolphins and diving into underground rivers at Xcaret and Xel-Há; challenge your senses at the zip lines of Xplor and admire great treasures of nature with Xenotes tour; live an authentic Mexican fiesta on board colorful trajineras at Xoximilco and visit amazing archaeological sites with Chichén Itzá, Tulum and Cobá tours.

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