Sunday, April 25, 2010

Mendoza, Argentina is Full of Surprises!

Plaza Espanol, Mendoza

By Roy Heale
Recently I made my second trip to Mendoza and once again I discovered this beautiful city is more than just the capital of Argentina's wine industry. Amidst the beautiful parks and historic Spanish architecture there are some unusual ways for visitors to spend their leisure time.

Dining out is a major part of Mendoza's nightlife but dinner at Los Chocos proved to be a most unique experience. It's a gay-owned and operated restaurant serving a gourmet eight course dinner in a private home similar to the Paladares in Havana, Cuba. Special local Mendoza cuisine was complemented with perfect Malbec wines, wonderful company, and amazingly creative food with mouthwatering flavors, and all for only $50 US dollars. Incredible!

This gourmet restaurant is located in the home of Martin the Chef and his partner Martin who assists with the entire dinner. It's located in the middle of downtown, on the 5th floor of a classic old residential apartment building. You have the whole place to yourself, giving it a familiar and comfortable feel. Reservations are essential as each dinner can only accommodate a total of eight guests.

Martin and his Partner Chef Martin

Chef Martin personally delivers each of the dishes, which are all made with local flavors and ingredients. They feature truly regional ingredients and dishes, unlike anything you'll find in bigger Argentine cities like Buenos Aires. Chef Martin was also kind enough to explain each course, how his creations were conceived, and how long this process takes. The menu only changes with the seasons four times per year but even repeat visits are enjoyable.

Here are just a few of the taste-tempting courses I enjoyed:

Tapa from Cuyo a braised butternut squash in “jarilla” butter, fresh goat cheese with citric notes and onion marmalade in Malbec served over a crunchy “ sopaipilla”.
Toasted tomatoes, leek confit, and black sausage pudding, garnished with grated cheese and poached egg yolk.
An eight hour slow roasted goat meat, served with a sweet potato mash and garnish.

Every dish was accompanied by amazing home made bread and paired with great wines from a local vineyard.

The rest is up to your own imagination, but this is a singular Mendoza experience not to be missed when you visit the city.

After all those calories late at night some exercise might be in order. Just next door to the restaurant building are two more little-known and unusual Mendoza attractions. Dating back to the 1950s is an old-world Pool Hall with a domed ceiling and wood paneling which is truly like stepping back in time. Then downstairs in the next door building is an even more surprising Bowling Alley where the balls and pins are wooden and there is no mechanical equipment as the pins are reset and the balls returned by a human being! Even if you don't feel like a game of pool or bowling, a visit to each of these venues is a must.

Luckily after this late-night feast and entertainment I only had to walk two blocks to where I was staying at the Modigliani Art and Design Suites. This is Mendoza's only gay-owned and operated accommodations which are conveniently located in the heart of the downtown core. Incidentally the staff are very familiar with Los Chocos and can easily help with your reservations and plans for the whole evening.
Modigliani Art and Design Suites
Mendoza truly is a picturesque Andean city full of surprises and, of course, always great Malbec wines to enjoy!
For Reservations at Los Chocos: (54 2611) 5454 5320 or
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Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bariloche Gay Travel Outdoor Adventures With Nature

By Roy Heale

Already a very popular destination with European and South American LGBT tourists, with each new season San Carlos De Bariloche is gaining in global popularity and recognition for being gay-friendly. Almost 3000 feet above sea level in Argentina's snow-capped Andes Mountains with pristine blue-water lakes this region is remarkably eco-friendly and unscathed by man's obsessive interference with the environment. Known as the Argentine Lake District and the Gateway to Patagonia this year-round outdoor adventure haven is the latest addition to the list of new, favorite gay travel destinations in South America. One visit to this spectacular region and the reasons for this acclamation are easily understandable.

Bearing in mind the southern hemisphere's reversal of seasons, skiing and winter sports are available in July, August, and September. Some would say that this is the busiest tourist season in Bariloche. But the region's year-round mild climate offers on-going activities including, hiking mountain trails, sailing, boat tours, kayaking, bird-watching, canopy tours, fly-fishing, river rafting, horseback rides, star-gazing, camping, and much more. Its nightlife includes renowned discos and raucous pubs which have led many visitors to wake up on a lakeside beach observing the sun as it ascends the mountain peaks casting its rays upon this quaint Andean city. Bariloche's alluring mystique has resulted in many repeat visits.

Perhaps the hidden treasure of this region is its affordable pricing during the travel budget constraints of recent times. Many smart gay travelers have already discovered the great South American holiday bargains currently available and Argentina is top of the list for lower-cost vacations. Bariloche offers a skiing experience equal to North America's Rocky Mountain slopes and the Austrian or Swiss Alps for scenery and downhill challenges, but at a considerably more reasonable price. The journey may be slightly longer but the ultimate rewards are immeasurable whether in costs or memories.

When it comes to LGBT travel to this region Bariloche Gay Travel is the first and only gay-owned and operated travel company located in the region. Specializing in working with gay visitors they ensure a positive, gay-friendly experience during any stay in this mountain paradise. Owner Cristian Signorelli has lived most of his life in Bariloche and is dedicated to welcoming LGBT tourists to the region and ensuring that their visit is memorable and hassle-free. He has developed a list of gay-friendly accommodations---from hostels to luxury boutique hotels--- restaurants, bars, and attractions to ensure that all gay travelers can enjoy a wide range of year-round choices during their visit.

The town site of Bariloche is situated on the banks of the expansive Lake Nahuel Huapi with beautiful clear, blue water and numerous beaches. Unique to Argentina the local architecture of half-rounded logs and field-stone is reminiscent of European Alpine villages and has earned the town the nickname of “Little Switzerland”. The entire region is nestled in majestic mountains with large and small lakes of pristine waters ranging from royal blue to emerald green and every shade of color in between. Climbing any mountain or riding one of the several chair lifts is rewarded with spectacular vistas and around every turn in the road is a new, breathtaking view.

Just a short 18 kilometer drive from the heart of Bariloche is Cathedral Mountain ski resort and apres-ski village. It is the largest of its kind in the Southern hemisphere offering a wide variety of slopes for winter downhill skiing and hiking trails for the warmer months. The restaurants, hotels, and boutiques create the perfect village for those who prefer to stay at the base of the mountain. This is also the location of the Bariloche Gay Ski week held each year in September.

Numerous scenic tours are available and Bariloche Gay Travel can help organize any itinerary or plan customized personal tours. The Cau Cau Catamaran tour with Espacio S.A. to Victoria Island and the Arrayanes Woods is a must and can be either a half or full day adventure into nature. In the heart of the Arrayanes trees is the Walt Disney Cabin where rumor has it Disney was inspired to create the setting and scenery for his Bambi screen classic. The Seven Lakes tour is a day trip through magnificent forests, large valleys, and includes waterfront vistas of the Nahuel Huapi, Correntoso, Espejo, Escondido, Villarino, Falkner, and Machonico Lakes, plus stops in the quaint towns of Villa La Angostura and San Martin De Los Andes. A short two-hour journey heading south to El Bolson is rewarded with the small historic town markets and boutiques plus more unforgettable lakes and views along the route. Tours range from just a few hours to full day events ensuring that every day in the Lake District can offer new adventures with nature. The local experts at Bariloche Gay Travel are extremely knowledgeable of this entire region and will ensure that a gay-friendly welcome awaits every LGBT tourist.

Almost every new day is greeted with a dynamic sunrise over the mountain peaks and most evenings begin with a perfectly romantic sunset. Both are quite often reflected upon the mirror-like waters of the numerous lakes for double the magic.

So whatever the season in your hometown, pack your outdoor adventure gear and head to this pristine Argentine Lake District for a gay-friendly escape back to nature at an affordable price for any vacation budget.


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Tuesday, April 13, 2010


By Roy Heale

Following the enormous success of the first two conferences, the planning is well under way for the GNETWORK360 2010 International Forum of Businesspeople and Entrepreneurs. With only three months to go, the excitement is building towards the third annual Forum. Businesspeople and entrepreneurs focused on the LGBT market will be gathering in Buenos Aires from July 21 to 23, 2010 at the Axel Hotel, Venezuela 649, San Telmo. Based on last year's attendance of more than 700 delegates it is anticipated that more than eight hundred attendees will join together to share information and learn about business opportunities within the LGBT travel niche market.

The forum producers---GMAPS360---is proud to organize “GNETWORK360” the third of these annual Forums. The event is designed to provide information and networking opportunities for companies and organizations which are currently dedicating part of their communications strategy to the LGBT community. By joining together once again, these businesses will work towards the common goal of promoting Argentina and Buenos Aires as gay-friendly destinations. It is also a unique opportunity for fellow IGLTA members to meet and share information or opportunities throughout South America and around the globe. Conference attendees will also learn about the unique LGBT niche market from distinguished guest speakers, workshops, presentations, and panel discussions.

Photos from 2009 Forum

This year's speakers and presenters will include the following:

Juan Julia, Axel Corp John Tanzella, IGLTA Tom Roth, Community Marketing Bob Witeck, Witeck & Combs Tanya Churchmuch, Tourisme Montreal and Ed Salvato, Gay Travel Expert Jeff Guaracino, LGBT Travel Consultant Ian Johnson, Out Now Global Matt Skallerud, Pink Banana Media Justin Nelson, NGLCC Chance Mitchell, NGLCC Irwin Drucker, IBM

Other speakers and presenters are expected to confirm their attendance before the conference begins.

Attendance at the Forum is FREE and delegates must be registered in advance to attend the events and activities. This is perhaps the best and most inexpensive way to meet numerous other industry professionals and to learn important information or business techniques from the distinguished guest speakers.

In South America this conference affords an unprecedented opportunity to learn about one of the most lucrative and loyal global travel market segments. It will also provide an excellent opportunity for networking and connecting with other travel professionals and businesspeople from different travel-related genres.

So mark your calendar with these important dates and plan to be in Buenos Aires for the 2010 GNETWORK360 International Forum of Businesspeople and Entrepreneurs.

Above: Gustavo Noguera (left) and Pablo De Luca, Event Producers

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