Travel to the island of Puerto Rico, the hidden gem of the Caribbean. Grab your must-have guide that offers a complete cost breakdown, itinerary and resources to plan your getaway. We share our experience and give you tips on where to go and what to do, along with tips to travel like a local! Whether it's the rainforest or the beach, ziplining or sun gazing - Puerto Rico is sure to please!
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Manchebo Beach, Aruba
There is no substitute!
Pristine is the first word that comes to mind when I think of my visit to this beach. A second choice might be "postcard perfect."
As noted in the video above, all is true. The warm Caribbean breeze is deceiving and without sunscreen, you will most certainly be crispy by days end.
Famous Aruba beaches include Eagle Beach which has been singled out as the number one Caribbean beach in a USA Today survey; and Palm Beach, which was voted best family-friendly beach in the world by The Travel Channel.
So why did we visit Manchebo Beach you ask? Simple - Manchebo Beach Resort & Spa offers couples massages on the beach. My partner and I enjoyed a full hour of serious massage technique, while enjoying the sounds of the ocean and that amazing Caribbean breeze that I keep raving about.
TIP: We booked our appointment first thing in the morning in order to avoid any potential unwanted beach 'noise'. Since this was our first visit to Manchebo Beach, we were unsure if by mid-day, the beach would be packed with intoxicated 20-something year olds. For future reference - the beach remained in a quiet 'zen-like' state for the many hours that we spent there.
Photo: Islands in the Sun Boutique, located in the center of town in Charlotte Amalie.
Thank you - from Connextions Magazine and all other LGBT individuals who appreciate seeing our 'welcome symbol' on the door! Yes, I think we will shop here.
The whole island of St. Thomas is only 32 square miles. Charlotte Amalie is the capital. It is also the dump-spot for those arriving by boat, which is great since this is the shopping and tours district.
Recommended activities in St. Thomas: Shopping. Beach lounging. Banana daquiri or BBC drinking (the island is known for these specific drinks). Photographing from the top of either Beacon Point or Paradise Point.
Known as the birthplace of the pina colada, Barrachina is a quaint restaurant in Old San Juan that boasts open ceilings, an abundance of atmospheric foliage, and the most refreshing pina colada in the land.
Being the Pina Colada connoisseur that I am, having tried them in every state and country visited, there was no way to pass up the chance to try the 'so-called' original. Without hesitation, I can give an honest review that this drink tops every Pina Colada previously tried. Kudos! So far, this is number 1 on my list! My group and I had no time to stay for a meal, but I did take a second Pina Colada to go! Yes, I double-fisted it, with no regrets!
TIP: Not hungry? Not a problem, head to the bar and kindly ask the adorable bartenders for a pina colada in a to go cup!
Click photos below for a slideshow view.
Margaritaville in Grand Turk, B.W.I. - Is it worth the price?
We visited Grand Turk in January 2014. It was one of the 4 ports of call during our 7-night Carnival cruise. The island of Grand Turk itself is a stunning vision of the Caribbean, with its turquoise waters, white sandy beaches, exquisite palm trees and perfect year-round temperatures.
Typical with any cruise port stop, there are retail shops, a beach area (which was extremely crowded), outdoor entertainment, and several pools, including a wave pool.
Margaritaville encompasses a large part of this outdoor entertainment/pool/lounge area, so we stopped in to get out of the sun - and have lunch. Knowing what to expect, since we have visited other Margaritaville restaurants, such as the one in Grand Cayman, we knew the food would be good and the service would be pleasant. The only shock came, when we received the bill. I could be wrong, but honestly do not remember our previous bills in the other locations to be this steep of a price. $14.95 for an appetizer of nachos...? Really? At a chain restaurant no less. (See the entire bill, below).
Yes, we are in a tourist trap location - and on a Caribbean island... therefore, no complaining about the bill is necessary, as it is expected. So, we paid the bill and left our 20% tip as usual, and continued our journey of Grand Turk exploration.
Click any photo for a larger slideshow view.
Jarl, Jose, Shelly, Angel, Michael
While on a press trip with the Mr. Gay Puerto Rico team (Jarl Haugedal & Michael Billy), I had the pleasure of meeting Jose and Angel -- the gay party event promoters of San Juan.
Seriously, if it's gay and it's happening in San Juan -- Jose and Angel either know about it or are promoting it.
Find out all the gay happenings by becoming a friend of their Joy Events facebook page.
Click here or click the logo below.
The Condado Area in San Juan – Still a Gay Mecca?
Although I never experienced it for myself, I understand that in the 80’s and 90’s, the Condado area was known as Puerto Rico’s gay mecca. Today, there is certainly no shortage of gays wandering the downtown area, but the shoreline has become a family-friendly tourist hotspot. The beach does include a small section in front of the Oceano Restaurant, which is known as the ‘gay beach.’ (Just look for the rainbow umbrellas.)
Looking for a venue for the Mr Gay World Puerto Rico event, co-owners of the competition, Jarl Haugedal and Michael Billy stopped into The Atlantic Beach Hotel -- a previously well-known gay hangout -- to discuss the possibility of hosting an event. With flaunting gays overcrowding the lobby, the manager insisted that this is NOT a gay-friendly hotel. Sadly, after being turned down by Oceano and other local establishments, and talking with several locals regarding the issue of finding a venue location, it was determined that although the LGBT community is not turned down nor treated any different than straight paying guests, most businesses refuse to be deemed by the media as gay friendly for fear of losing business to the straight local community.
Gay mecca? You decide.
Click the photos below for a clear view of the 'gay beach.'
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a 5 night stay at La Concha, A Renaissance Resort in the Condado area of Puerto Rico.
The modern architecture of the resort features open lobbies and seamless transitions between inside and outside spaces, an interior patio, bright colors with modern art throughout, as well as flowing streams in the common areas that create a brilliantly relaxing feel. The resort also boasts their signature seashell-shaped floating restaurant, ‘Perla’, which has been termed “a marvel of engineering and architecture.”
We stayed in cabana guest rooms that were directly in the center of all the action. King beds and balconies in each room, give you the hot-seat to any common area action, day or night. For a quieter setting, the suite tower guest rooms offer European-style kitchens, expansive bathrooms, and panoramic beachfront views from the balcony.
Both the indoor and outdoor Lobby Lounges offer casual, relaxing daytime seating and not-to-be-missed, chic parties after sunset.
Favorite drink: Solera Flip – the La Concha spin on a traditional pina colada. (not on the drink menu, ask for it by name!)
Favorite food: An absolute must try are the Latin Sliders- three grilled angus beef-longaniza burgers served with caramelized onions, pepper jack cheese and roasted garlic aioli.
Other resort ammenities include: An on-site casino, meeting facilities, a ballroom, indoor and outdoor pools, jacuzzi, private beach with chair and towel service, a spa, and plenty of dining choices.
The staff and service at La Concha Resort was outstanding. Everyone from the front desk to the bartenders & wait staff, along
with our housekeeper was friendly, knowledgeable, and offered first-class service.
Thinking of a destination wedding? Seriously, check out some of the photos on the La Concha Resort's website. I had the pleasure of briefly viewing a wedding that took place during my stay. Two words: Picture Perfect!
A special thank you to the Mr Gay World Puerto Rico team for the opportunity to explore San Juan, enjoy the La Concha Resort, and document the experience of finding a candidate to represent the beautiful island of Puerto Rico.
Quaint and intimate, this small gallery cafe is cozy, warm and welcoming with delicious food!
Our party of four enjoyed a delectable spinach salad covered with strawberries, cranberries and walnuts; and for dinner we enjoyed --cooked to order -- empanadas and lasagna.
The atmosphere is intimate, with only a handful of available tables for seating, so you know you will be treated with first-class service.
While enjoying your company and sipping on a glass of wine, you are surrounded by art of all kinds, available for your viewing pleasure and/or for purchase.
Located directly across from the La Concha Resort, on Ashford Street in the heart of the Condado area of San Juan, this little cafe is a TOP recommendation!
Find them on facebook HERE.
Beacon Point in St. Thomas is a must-stop!
Not only does the point offer breathtaking, mountain top views that are sure to please any tourist with a camera, but this is the place to try the island famous banana daiquiri!
Your fresh frozen concoction, along with a bottle of 151 rum is handed to you. Guests are given the freedom to add as much rum as preferred!
Connextions Magazine, the Travel & Lifestyle Magazine for the LGBTQ Traveler, is your trusted resource for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel destinations, vacation ideas, fun travel videos, LGBTQ travel guides and the latest news relevant to our entire rainbow community. Connextions Magazine focuses on celebrating the LGBTQ Traveler providing information on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer travel, our LGBTQ culture, the diverse style of our rainbow community, adventures, gay romance, tips for Lesbian Moms, Gay Dads, Bisexual, Transgender Parents and families.
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