Could the world end when the Mayan calendar ends this year? (Better cash in your miles now!) In reality, Dec. 21, 2012, is a mysterious date that concludes a significant cycle within the Mayan calendar — the ending of the 13th b’ak’tun, a measurement of time in the Mayan calendar comprised of a period of 400 years. Mexican tourism officials and historians claim that it is not the end of the world. Instead, for this highly advanced and enlightened ancient civilization, the end of this Mayan calendar would be a cause for a celebration. I can’t think of a better party destination in Mexico than Cancun.
Cancun draws an international crowd. Fabulous hotels, including the luxurious Westin Resort and Spa Cancun (www.starwoodhotels.com), are lined with gorgeous white-sand beaches. LGBT sunbathers can be found most afternoons at the public beach, Playa Delfines, located at the southern end of the hotel zone not far from the Westin. There is an amazing and growing gay and lesbian nightlife. When it comes to nightlife, the gay scene is concentrated around Avenida Tulum in downtown, which is about 15 minutes from the hotel zone. Check out clubs 11:11 and Karamba.
It’s easy to visit Mexico. Multiple airlines offer nonstop service. You just need a valid U.S. passport. English is widely spoken. To customize your own tour, check out Gay Tours Mexico (www.gaytoursmexico.com). For general visitor information, go to www.visitmexico.com.
Looking for travel that’s both elegant and modern? Why not travel between two continents on one fabulous ship? Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is the world’s last cruise ship to make a regularly scheduled transatlantic crossing between New York City and Southhampton, England. Voyages, as they are called, promise ultimate luxury. The QM2 claims to have both the largest orchestra and the only planetarium at sea. It takes seven nights to make the journey between the continents. This being a British ship, there are traditional afternoon teas and the spa is by Canyon Ranch. You will need your tuxedo and finest cocktail attire for the evening royal balls. There are seven cruises that feature artists from New York’s famed Julliard School. Cost depends on your stateroom accommodations, ranging from Britannia to Princess Grill staterooms and Queen’s Grill apartments. For more information and to watch a series of fabulous videos that will indulge your inner princess, visit www.cunard.com.
This April marks an official coming-out for the oceanic island Florianopolis as one of the best gay and lesbian destinations in South America. Florianopolis will host the 2012 IGLTA Global Annual Convention to send out a welcome message to LGBT travelers worldwide. Floripa, as the locals call it, has a history that resembles San Francisco, even having its own “golden gate.” This resort destination is known for gorgeous beaches, quaint fishing villages, excellent surfing and locally made crafts.
Now with nonstop airline service on TAM Airlines from New York City, it is easier than ever to make a visit to any city or beach destination in Brazil. You must plan your visit well in advance. You will need a U.S. passport and a visa to enter the country. Visas & Passports 2 Go (www.vp2go.com), based in Washington, D.C., can expedite your application. A 10-year Brazilian visa costs $160. Additional fees apply. Visit www.Braziltour.com for tourism information about Brazil. For visitor information about Florianopolis, visit www.SantaCatarina.travel.
Jeff Guaracino is a vice president for Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing” and vice chair for the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association. He has learned how to find the best deals and travel resources for the LGBT community. When traveling locally, check out www.visitphilly.com/gay
and friend www.visitgayphilly.com/facebook.