Friday, October 29, 2010

Where Nature Is Close At Hand---Puerto Madryn, Argentina

Puerto Madryn's Expansive White Sandy Beach

By Roy Heale

Named in 1865 by the original settlers in honor of a Welsh Baron, the Atlantic coastal town and seaside resort of Puerto Madryn is renowned as the whale watching capital of Argentina. It is also the gateway to the Peninsula Valdes World Natural Heritage sanctuary since 1999 and a major wildlife conservation area. The region encompasses approximately 50 kilometers of beaches and most ocean bays are overlooked by dramatic white limestone cliffs which accentuate the blue Atlantic waters. Every kind of outdoor activity imaginable is available including scuba diving, windsurfing, sport fishing, mountain biking, hiking, rafting, sea kayaking, white water rafting, and of course wildlife excursions. The beaches themselves are a major attraction during the hot summer months for relaxing days on the shores and cooling swims in the Atlantic Ocean. No wonder that LGBT travelers have discovered this eco-friendly outdoor playground. Flamenco Tour agency of Puerto Madryn has specialized in discovering gay or gay-friendly accommodations and activities in this area.


Penguin Colony

Located about 1400 kilometers from Buenos Aires in the Patagonian Province of Chubut, Puerto Madryn is currently the fastest growing city in Argentina. Although tourism plays a major role in the local economy the aluminum and fishing industries are the major economic engines. The deep sea port is one of Argentina's primary merchant vessel destinations along with cruise ship stopovers during the warmer months. The thriving community is bustling with activities during the months of October to May when tourists can enjoy an outdoor vacation full of wildlife and natural adventures for unforgettable sights and unique photographic safaris for documenting their travels.

The townsite is also the major hub for daily tours into the wildlife sanctuaries for whale watching, sea lion observations, visits to the penguin colony, Welsh Tea in the Rio Chubut valley, dolphin watching, and all the extreme sports activities. The large Gulf Nuevo is skirted by a sandy beach approximately five kilometers long creating the main attraction in Puerto Madryn and a beautiful promenade extends from one end to the other. Along this ocean boardwalk there are many statues, sculptures, the town's main pier, sand dunes, and of course restaurants on the beach with spectacular views. Across the street with uninterrupted ocean views are shops, hotels, apartments, tourist services, restaurants, and more. But the natural coastline has not been spoiled with a constant string of high-rise buildings as is the case in so many other resort towns with large beaches and ocean views. Everything about this community seems to have been designed with nature in mind and the industrial areas are located far from the natural landscape. Rainfalls are scarce in the almost desert-like environment so a hot, dry holiday in the sun is almost guaranteed!

Sea Lion Colony

A wide variety of hotel accommodations or apartment rentals are available in Puerto Madryn and some of the surrounding towns have smaller, limited capacity, hotels. The gay and gay-friendly, English speaking staff at Flamenco Tour agency can assist you on where to stay, which tours to enjoy, bookings for any sports activity, and general local advice such as where to dine. With over three decades of experience Flamenco Tour is the only travel operator in town specializing in LGBT travel. They have pre-selected gay friendly hotels, tour guides, and local vendors in order to ensure a positive gay experience when visiting this outdoor adult resort area.

Ocean View Dining

So if you are looking for where to go and experience nature close at hand then Puerto Madryn is your gateway to eco-tourism and a very unique outdoor gay vacation by the ocean. This is nature's own seaworld without the carnival side-shows offered at most wildlife parks. Experience mother nature's wonders in their inherent environment, but where you can almost reach out and touch the whales and dolphins.

For More Information Visit:

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

A Buenos Aires Lovers Locale

Torcuato & Regina, Bar-Bistro

By Roy Heale

Latin lovers are world renowned for their passion and intimate love affairs. Perhaps the most famous of these romantic couples was Juan Domingo Peron and Maria Eva Duarte de Peron---more commonly known as Evita. But prior to this historic coupling the 20th President of Argentina, Maximo Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear, met with a stellar Portuguese opera singer, Regina Pacini, whereupon another great love affair began. The latter couple is less renowned globally but equally immortalized in Argentina's political history. Now Buenos Aires is home to a meeting place named in their honor Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro where lovers come together---including same-sex partners---for great dining and casual encounters over cocktails.

Located on the edge of the Plaza San Martin with its magnificent, mature Ombú trees and adjacent to the historic facade of the Circulo Militar building, the Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro is conveniently located at the Plaza San Martin, Linea C, Subway station. The sidewalk cafe tables plus the huge windows provide a perfect view for relaxing and dining, or simply meeting for drinks. Close to the downtown business district, many historic sights, and the bustle of the Florida Street pedestrian mall, it is also the perfect respite for a break from strenuous activities affording time to stop and smell the roses in an otherwise frenetic day.

In keeping with the tradition whereby Torcuato showered Regina with bouquets of red and white roses during their courtship and throughout their marriage, a red rose is a predominant theme at this Bistro.

The décor throughout Torcuato & Regina offers a bright and airy, yet cozy atmosphere. A classic French chateau effect is created by the use of rich-colored polished wood, red and white accents of floral patterned wall coverings, a decorative high ceiling, chandeliers, and light tomato-red veiled drapes. The grand curved oak, paneled bar with a white marbled counter-top is the perfect place to relax and sample the extensive wine selection, enjoy a coffee break, or be refreshed by one of the nine different brands of bottled water. All of this is served by handsome bartenders and waiters eager to make your experience an enjoyable one. The bistro side of the complex offers casual and intimate dining with a diverse international menu also offering traditional Argentine cuisine with a modern flair. From hot and cold appetizers, plus light salads to pasta and pizzas plus assado meats or grilled fish, the extensive menu offers a gourmet selection for any dining occasion. Then there's also the desserts with perfect taste sensations to satisfy any sweet tooth craving. But perhaps the specialty of the maison is the extensive wine list prepared by the sommelier and General Manager, Alejandro Pagani, who will be pleased to guide you through your wine selections.

So now the LGBT community of Buenos Aires and visitors to the city have a gay-friendly place to meet and enjoy conversations in a tranquil atmosphere with the light strains of Latin jazz music in the background. It is also becoming a gathering place where---in keeping with the traditions of Latin romances--singles might begin their own love affair after that perfect same-sex encounter. Whatever your reason for a visit to Torcuato & Regina Bar-Bistro it is guaranteed to be a perfectly memorable experience and you will probably fall in love with the place.

Location: Avenida Santa Fe 772, Buenos Aires, Argentina, C1059ABO
Phone: +54.11.4312-9410/3349
Hours of Operation: Mon – Fri 8:00 am - 1:00 am
                               Sat: 9:00 am - 1:30 am
Visa, Amex, Mastercard Accepted
For More Information Visit:

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Latin American Spanish Classes and More in Buenos Aires

Historic Buenos Aires Architecture

By Roy Heale

There are many reasons why LGBT tourists are flocking to the new Latin American gay mecca of Buenos Aires, Argentina for vacations and the recent numbers from the Argentine Ministry of Tourism indicate a 30% increase of international travelers since this time last year. During today's global economic restraints one of the most important reasons for this increase is the lower costs for most vacations in Argentina. But many other factors have also contributed to the higher volume of travelers and they include niche market holidays for cosmetic surgery, dental enhancements, Botox treatments, tango dance lessons, and Spanish lessons. The latter of these is becoming a new growth tourism industry as the Spanish language is becoming more important globally and the Latin American dialect versus European Spanish is more desirable for practical purposes back home.

Although many companies offer a variety of travel services in Argentina, there is one very gay-freindly company---myArgentinahome---which specializes in custom designed holidays which include the accommodations, tours, transfers, Spanish lessons, and more. Owner Max Gotz speaks English fluently---in fact you would think it was his mother language---plus French. Gotz operates his company with a high standard of efficiency not always common in Latin America's laid back lifestyle. He and his staff will plan a vacation from start to finish with all the personal touches for individual needs.

Morning Coffee in La Boca Cafe

The accommodations offered by myArgentinahome are vacation apartment rentals in the most popular Recoleta and Palermo gay-friendly communities of Buenos Aires and other Argentine cities. Most of these apartments are real homes for Argentine residents which they rent to visitors. This is unlike other vacation apartment rentals which are more like hotel rooms with kitchens. Each apartment home comes complete with all luxuries including cable TV, WiFi, full kitchens, and more for a perfect home-away-from-home experience. If you are also studying Spanish this makes for the perfect quiet, peaceful environment for your class assignments and extra studies. This also ensures a genuine Argentine experience while visiting this Latin American mecca.

For the past seven years myArgentinahome has been working with LGBT foreigners to create the perfect visit to Argentina and also to assist those who have decided to purchase real estate in Argentina or relocate to this South American country. Property management, legal, and tax accounting services are a cornerstone of the business and allows Gotz to provide a complete turnkey package for any requests made by visitors or investors.

With the increase in demand for Spanish lessons Gotz has developed relationships with the best schools for beginners, intermediate, advanced, and conversational Spanish classes at reasonable prices offering a variety of course durations to fit almost any individual requests.

Interior of Historic Cafe Tortoni

The website offers a comprehensive listing and photos of the apartment rentals, tours, cities, and other details of the services which they can provide. Whether it be a tour of a local estancia, the Iguazu Falls, the Tigre Delta Islands, or a visit to the wine country in Mendoza, the expert staff at myArgentinahome are ready to assist with any plans and ensure a hassle- free visit to this spectacular and vast country.

So for those who have already heard about the Paris of South America and are ready for dazzling gay nightlife, Spanish Classes, a Nip 'n Tuck, or just a relaxing holiday in gay-friendly Buenos Aires then myArgentinahome is the answer to all the travel needs for a flawless visit.

For More Information Visit:

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Buenos Aires Gay Pub Crawl

Out & About Staff at Amerika
By Roy Heale

When you are visiting a city which is the size of Buenos Aires with a population of over 13 million then the nightlife is bound to be overwhelming and full of choices. With so many bars, clubs, cafes, and restaurants in several different neighborhoods it's a veritable smorgasbord and for the newcomer this can be a real challenge. For this reason the expert and friendly staff at Out & About have created the Thursday night Buenos Aires Gay Pub Crawl. If you join this group you will meet other tourists from all over the world and be guided safely through the nightlife maze by local experts. It's a great introduction to what this gay mecca has to offer at night for LGBT visitors.

Every Thursday the group meets for registration at the initial location---which may vary from week to week---for the first hour of mingling, getting to know each other, complimentary wine or beer, and tapas. At this gathering you will learn the itinerary for the night's adventure ahead and what to expect on the guided walking tour.

Usually the evening will include three pub or bar venues and then one major night club for the final stop. On my particular Pub Crawl we began at 10 Mil y Pico Bar in Palermo. Here in a cozy atmosphere the tapas were great, the drinks flowed, and everybody got to know each other very quickly. The Out & About staff are amazingly welcoming and they make it their business to see that everyone is enjoying themselves. This sets the tone for the perfect evening which lies ahead.

Kyle, Danny, & Jared (from Left)

Kyle, Danny, and Jared from Out & About are great hosts and obviously love there job introducing visitors and locals to the vibrant Buenos Aires club scene. Even though it was Kyle's last Pub Crawl before he headed back to his home town for a while, his enthusiasm was infectious. We moved on to Quiroz, Koh Lanta, and Sitges before our final stop at Amerika. Each with its own unique style and atmosphere including the entertaining drag show at Sitges.

Sitges Drag Show

Each venue had prepared a special complimentary welcome shooter for the group and offered special drink prices to each tour member. Also, the group is treated as V.I.P.s and there are no long line-ups for nightclub admission. This is not a tour where you want to have any plans for the next morning! Especially as Amerika allows you to dance and party until dawn!

If you happen to be in town on your birthday then this tour is FREE! Just bring a copy of some ID to the registration venue and you will have the best birthday party you can---or cannot---remember. With a price tag of approximately $35US this is remarkably good value for an escorted night on the town and a non-stop party.

Relaxing at Quiroz

Tickets are available form Out & About (0054 911-3036 1361) or they are on sale at Pink Point Buenos Aires.

Let the local experts at Out & About get you started on the right path with a sampling of the dazzling nightlife available in this renowned gay mecca of South America---Buenos Aires.

For More Information Visit: or

Friday, October 1, 2010

Santiago, Chile---A Metropolis Nestled in the Andes Mountains

                                                   Cerro Santa Lucia Park Entrance

By Roy Heale

Like a Wild West wagon train forming a circle at night time, the snow-capped Andes Mountains form a natural circle around the city of Santiago, Chile. Nestled in these peaks the city has a metro population of just over 7 million people and is situated just a short one hour drive to the Pacific Ocean coastal towns of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar. The Republic of Chile is a long, narrow strip of coastal land wedged between the Andes Mountains and the Pacific Ocean---rather like a large snake--- which has some of the most beautiful beaches in South America and the capital city of Santiago is very gay-friendly.

During the past decade homophobia has all but vanished in Chile and same-sex relations have been legal since 1998. Currently the Congress of Chile is considering a law allowing civil unions between same-sex couples and several notable media celebrities have come out and declared their support for gay rights. This has led to an increase in the number of gay businesses especially in Santiago.

The urban renewal of Santiago is obvious as magnificent new office towers rise above beautiful centuries old estates and Spanish colonial architecture. The CTC Telecommunications Tower is literally the world's largest cell phone and dominates the Santiago skyline contrasting the nearby Bellavista neighbourhood with narrow streets and artsy boutiques of the city's bohemian quarter. This is a very clean, safe city and affords many enjoyable walks in the different tourist and residential neighborhoods or expansive public parks.

CTC Telecommunications Tower

Any visit to Santiago should commence by riding the funicular to see the Statue of the Virgin atop the hill of Cerro San Cristobal and observe the city below. Many of the gay discos and bars are located in the Barrio Bellavista at the foot of Cerro San Cristobal. The nearest Metro station is Baquedano in Plaza Italia from where you cross Avenue Providencia and then over the Rio Mapocho bridge placing you in the Barrio. Local restaurants, colorful cafes, bars and night clubs can all be found here and it is one of the most fun communities in Santiago for both straight and gay visitors alike---it's no gay ghetto, but rather a truly integrated district. The other concentration of gay bars can be found in the downtown area a short walk from the beautiful park Cerro Santa Lucia and close to the pedestrian shopping streets. Recommended by some local residents for late night clubbing the Bokhara, Bunker, and Fausto are worthy of visits. The clubs don't usually get going until about 1:30AM and then the party can last until dawn.

Whether you start your day early for exploring or sleep until noon, the city of Santiago has much to offer for sightseeing and entertainment. The Museo Chileno de Arte Precolombino is Santiago's finest museum, with a beautifully presented collection of pre-Hispanic art assembled from the whole South American continent. Highlights include elaborate Meso-American incense burners, Andean textiles dating back as far as 3,000 years, and Maya carvings---not to be missed for any reason. Or you can try a fresh-as-it-comes seafood lunch at the stately Mercado Central, surrounded by market stalls packed with glistening sea bass and salmon, buckets of salt-crusted oysters, mussels or clams. La Chascona is the former house of Pablo Neruda---Chile 's Nobel Prize-winning poet---which is packed to the rafters with bizarre and beautiful objects, from Victorian dolls and African carvings to music boxes and paperweights. Preserved as a museum, it makes for a fascinating visit. Without a doubt the best place to hunt for souvenirs is the lively Los Dominicos market, where you'll find a huge range of beautiful handicrafts as well as antiques, books, fossils, a restaurant, and live music with dancing on weekends. Plus the many Spanish palaces, castles and historic buildings are a photographer's dream come true.

Two historic barrios are worthy of a visit to enjoy a journey back in time and experience part of Santiago's history. The Barrio Londres and Paris is a little bit of Europe in the heart of South America with narrow, cobblestone streets and 1920s commercial architecture. Whereas the Barrio Concha and Toro is of the same era but with mansions and large residences from the early 20th Century centered around the main Brazil Plaza and fountain. Both barrios offer several cafes and restaurants plus resting places for a leisurely visit.

Barrio Concha & Toro
Barrio Londres & Paris

Throughout the city a variety of restaurants and bars will serve authentic local dishes to delight any discerning palate. The papa fritas---fried potatoes--- are a Chilean specialty, particularly in a dish called Chorillana where the potatoes are combined with eggs, onions, beef and sausage. Just remember that the ketchup comes in a green container and the chili sauce in a red container!

Accommodations throughout Chile range from back-packer's retreats to modern luxury hotels and everything in between---all at very reasonable prices. However, exclusively gay accommodations are hard to find. In Santiago the gay-owned and very gay-friendly Boutique Apartments Belles Artes offer a wide range of apartment rentals in the heart of the Belles Artes district. For very reasonable rates these apartments are luxurious with all modern conveniences and make the perfect home during your visit to the city. They are ideally situated in the heart of the city close to the GLBT nightlife, the subway, and the beautiful Cerro Santa Lucia park. The very gay cafe Tomodachi is also just around the corner from these apartments for an enjoyable time with fascinating people watching on their street side patio.

It is important to note that many visitors to Chile are required to purchase an entry visa for a cost of approximately US$120.00 (credit cards accepted) which is valid for the life of your passport. However, this entry fee is more than offset by the very low cost of living and extremely inexpensive dining and entertainment throughout Chile.

So in the longest and narrowest country in the world renowned for copper, salmon, and excellent wines, be prepared for a uniquely gay South American experience and a vacation full of hot Latin memories.

For More Information Visit: