Hot Destinations for Hot guys in the Cold Philly Months

Executive Director of PhillyGayCalendar

Yo Gentlemen: My name is Brian, and I have been designing “Once in a Lifetime” travel experiences for some extremely discerning people for over … Uh, well, let’s just say more than several years. In those years, I have learned many things and one is that in order to have the best possible time when traveling and vacationing, one must feel welcome and to stay within one’s budget. I have certainly experienced both, being at the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people and it is a scary thing to be on a return flight from Europe with a maxed out credit card and one Euro in your pocket. For you, my friends, the good news is twofold. First, there are plenty of travel bargains out there because of everyone’s sluggish economy (it is NOT just the US suffering) and the current popularity of the GAY TRAVEL MARKET! “Gay travel” is doing GREAT and really opening up! Many destinations that really never thought about it are very eager to be labeled “Gay Friendly”! True, it’s a matter of simple economics, but so what? Maybe the universe is on our side! It’s really a great time to be gay and to enjoy our new opportunities and freedoms as never before. While it is not yet perfect (nothing is) just give it time as even an article like this would not have been possible not that long ago. Certainly not in a public forum.

A tropical winter vacation and a suntan in February used to be the ultimate in luxe and prestige. This is no longer the case, but we guys do like to get as hot and near naked as possible whenever possible and winter in Philly provides little outdoor opportunity. Unfortunately, streaking had a very short lifespan back in the 70s. I guess we will have to find some islands suitable for high-quality gentlemen from Philly like ourselves. The good news is there are many direct flights and good connections into the Caribbean out of PHL. How lucky are we for that?

Having very limited space, I listed my top five “Gay Friendly” Caribbean Islands for your review. To be quite honest, a couple of my personal favorite islands for culture, food, people and beauty are also quite “homophobic”. I will not list them, as I don’t deal with negatives, but I will tell you about the ones that will welcome you as a gay man and caress you with their warm and sultry breezes (wink)

  1. ST. BARTHS– (NOT St. Barts) actually it’s St. Barthelemy and just a 45 minute hydrofoil from the French St. Martin. Late in the last century, I held the largest Jeep Rally ever on the island. 40 Jeeps! Had they all lined up I don’t think they would have fit! (kidding) St. Barth’s is just as glamorous as you might think, but does not have to be out of your price range. The huge celebrities usually stay in private villas but beaches are all public and some of the small hotels are very reasonable. It’s an island you really need to see at least once. As with most exclusive and special places, it is a gay magnet. Mountainous and just gorgeous!
  2. ST. MARTIN– Very “Gay Friendly” and the French side (nude beach’s … Yeah!) of an island ruled by two countries. The Dutch St. Maarten (with better shopping and gambling!) Two for the price of one, but I prefer the French side. Two hotels are exquisite and very super-star-studded while others quite affordable and the beaches are superb. They rate the restaurants of Grand Case among the best in the world and there is something for everyone, day or night. Any guests I have ever taken to either side of the island have loved the feeling of being in a tropical European atmosphere.
  3. PUERTO RICO– (a personal favorite) is about a 3 hour straight flight from PHL. I once ran down for a day to attend a party taking the first flight out in the morning and the last one home, hit the beach, went to the party and none the worse for wear Sunday morning. Though there are “Gay Friendly” and just gorgeous hotels just up the road from the capital San Juan on Isla Verde, the Condado area is where you want to be. A great variety of hotels, beaches, bars, clubs and restaurants. It’s like a little gay paradise. If you are into Latin men… BONUS!!!
  4. ARUBA – Further south than the rest but as a result, out of the hurricane belt. With an arid, desert like climate, very little rain. I have had many guests to Aruba and what they enjoy as much as the magnificent beaches is the extremely friendly people, relative safety, is the fact that the luxurious hotels on “Palm Beach” are lined up in such a way that one can walk from one to the other to enjoy a variety of casinos, restaurants and clubs. A “boardwalk”! Sort of like Atlantic City in its best possible incarnation. An island for lively night life and day sleeping on the beach.
  5. CURACAO– Aruba, Bonaire and CURACAO are all Dutch and make up the “ABC Islands” similar to the other two but larger, more beautiful and with more Casinos, restaurants, golf courses and something the others lack, history. Curacao has its own special culture whereas Aruba and Bonaire exist purely for tourism, Curacao was settled and thriving much longer than when the first guests arrived and the other two islands were deserted. I once flew down with Gladys Knight (après Pips) She slept the whole way, but when she arrived, she ROCKED THE HOUSE! There’s a lot going on in Curacao and some very private coves to explore. (And I mean private!) As they love to say… “Beba I laga Biba”! Or “Live and let Live”!

THE BOTTOM LINE: There are many more “Gay Friendly” Islands and by this I mean Islands that go out or their way to be welcoming, accepting and eager for you to visit, but that do not mean that other islands will shun you or be deliberately negative. It certainly is something to consider this February when you tire of the spray tan routine. Sometimes you just have to have the real thing! Besides, tan lines are AWESOME!

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