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VOLUME TWO ISSUE THREE MARCH 2010

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Dear Reader Classic Margarita Hotel, Motel, Holiday Inn: Travel Workout Zona Romantica Puerto Vallarta: Arts + Culture U.S. Virgin Islands Mint Male Model Search: Hombres de Vallarta Homoscopes Cancun: SAFE, Sexy, Sporty and so Gay Friendly! GayTravel.com

CONTRIBUTORS + CREDITS Joey Grant/ Publisher Josh Shores/ Stylist Lisa Kimmey/ Director of Operations Christina Burton/ Creative Director + In-House Photographer + Designer Jennifer Schnoes/ Editor Jake Giles/ Editor + Intern Neil Bagadiong/ Editor Kevin Purvis/ Personal Trainer, BS, CSCS + Writer Coleman Vander Meer Balogh/ Writer Charlie Reeves [GayTravel.com]/ Writer Cover Photo/ Paul Van Vleck/ paulvanvleckphotography.com Model Search Location/ http://manana.mx/ Fitness Location/ The Gershman Residence Angel Garcia Carrillo/ Model Ronald Ramirez/ Model Daniel von Borstel/ Model

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MOVING FORWARD fashion meets fusion featured next month: MINT MALE | April 2010


photographed by Paul Van Vleck


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. 1.5 oz tequila 1 oz orange juice 1.5 oz sweet + sour syrup 0.5 oz grand marneir Fresh juice from half of a lime. Shake and serve over ice

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drink of the month The Classic Margarita photographed by Christina Burton

MINTMALE MARCH 2010/

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travel workout written by Kevin Purvis BS, CSCS photographed by Christina Burton model: Jeff Green


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Whether it’s for business or pleasure, my clients (like most of us) are constantly on the go. Keeping up with the gains that they’ve made in their training programs through flying, driving, hotel stays, meetings and late-night parties is a major challenge. Time and efficiency is the key to training while out of town. While it seems there are a million suggestions for workouts to do while traveling, how realistic is it if it takes an hour and requires a hotel gym? What I give my clients as their travel workout takes minutes, kicks their butts and best of all, needs no equipment. Put your workout times on your calendar so you know exactly when you’ll get it done. If you wait until you’re at the hotel, you may be distracted by work or tempted by the fun the city has to offer. Open your hotel drapes, take in the view, and then get your workout clothes on and get busy. This workout consists of 10 exercises. I’m only offering small tips on each exercise since those included in the workout are fairly universal and chances are if you haven’t performed them before, you’ve at least seen them done by others. The pictures of this month’s fitness model should help, as well. Each exercise is performed for 10 repetitions. I suggest you do all 10 exercises then take a break and perform 3 sets of this. Keep the pace fast, but the form correct. If you’re up for the big challenge, you can try what I do: 5 sets of all 10 exercises straight through with no rest performed in under 10 minutes, but take care in not overexerting yourself.

A special thank you to the Gershman Family + Four Seasons hotel for allowing us to photograph in their gorgeous space.

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Squats Keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your chest lifted while your thighs are parallel to the floor.

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Burpees This is where the circuit gets serious. A burpee is a combination of a push-up and a squat. Bend over, put your hands on the floor and jump into plank position. Perform a push-up then jump your feet back to your hands, stand and jump up high with your hands above your head.

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............ High-Knees Hold your hands in front of your hips and alternate jumping your knees up to your hands. Each left and right knee strike counts as one repetition.

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............ Jump Squats Swing your arms back as you squat then reach high as you jump.

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Mountain Climbers You’ll be in plank (push up) position during this move. Alternate bringing one knee to your chest at a time then jump and switch knees. Each left and right knee jump counts as one repetition.

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Dive Bombers In yoga terms, a dive bomber is a ‘downward-facing dog’ to an ‘upward-facing dog’. If you haven’t done yoga, it goes like this: put your hands on the floor with your backside high in the air. Bend your elbows as you scoop your chest down to the the floor. Drop your hips until they are just above the floor and then bring your head up to look at the ceiling. Then pop your backside back up into the air and repeat.

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Russian Twists Pick your feet up off of the floor, lean back and grasp your hands together. Rotate your torso from side-to-side. Every left-to-right rotation counts as one repetition.

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Push-ups Pay attention to your posture on this one. Keep your spine long as you lower your chest to the floor. Keep your hips parallel to the floor and don’t drop your head!

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Sit-ups Keep your fingertips on the sides of your head and your elbows out of site as you bring your chest all the way up to your thighs.

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Knee-to-Chest Lean back with your hands on the floor and (as the name says) bring your knees to your chest.

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zona romantica written by Joey Grant + Josh Shores photographed by Joey Grant location: Puerto Vallarta


Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta is genuinely welcoming of the GLBTQ community. While vacationing in this tropical paradise, your worries and anxieties melt away. The city is filled with locals, transplants and jet setters all looking for a retreat. Technology, while available and popular, does not bring out the addictive consumption you feel living in the States. As a traveler, the lack of cell phones, laptops, Twitter, Facebook and such networking devices gives you the chance to enjoy your life with your eyes open and your mind free of distractions. You find yourself smiling (and on occasion winking) at everyone you see. There is something magical about the energy around you that makes you want to talk to everyone you meet and make as many new friends as time allows. Between the heat and the warm colors surrounding you, everyones sexuality is brimming, and the scantily clad men do not hinder that in the least. Its like when you exhale deeply and your body feels relaxed and calm, except that this feeling lasts for the entirety of your stay. When the night falls, the extravagant parties come alive with music and tequila filling the air. The town is planted on and among hills, complete with cobble stone streets and tropical landscapes. No matter what your personality type, you won’t be able to help falling in love with Old Town.


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Lodging When traveling to Puerto Vallarta, there are seemingly endless lodging options. To filter your search, you must first decide on which feature area of Vallarta you want to experience. You can be across from the ocean, in the heart of the night life scene, or tucked away from the bustling activities, surrounded by the strikingly beautiful scenery. If you’re looking for more of a condo-quality stay, you’ll want to look through PVRPV (http://www.pvrpv.com). They have every type of accommodation for those on a low-budget stay and those seeking the most exclusive luxurious villa in the city. We stayed at one of their locations throughout our stay, Selva Romantica, which is located up the hill in Francisca Rodriguez. This winding complex included beautiful gardens, an infinity pool, and just about every amenity you could hope for to ensure a comfortable stay. The company is now offering tours that take you sailing, snorkeling, and to a secluded beach with a fresh water stream. Tim Longpre, the owner of PVRPV, is a genuine man who goes out of his way to make sure your stay in Puerto Vallarta is 100% satisfactory, relaxing and enchanting. To find other lodging ideas go to gayguidevallarta.com.

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Entertainment + Activities Puerto Vallarta has a multitude of things for you to do from the moment you wake up until the following sunrise. During the day you can enjoy day cruises, canopy tours and also para-sailing. This, of course, is all at your own risk and therefore imperative that you consider precaution and examine the quality of the experience before deciding to take part in it. Diana’s Cruises (celebrating their ten year anniversary) is a must. She takes you out into the Pacific Ocean to snorkel, to secluded beaches, and also a little beach with vendors and lunch. It’s one big party from 10am to 4pm and the drinks never stop flowing. The nightlife in Vallarta is non-stop. There are so many different bars and night clubs to choose from that it will make your head spin. You can guarantee that you’ll end up at Manana (which doesn’t close until 6am). Some great bars to start at are La Noche, Stereo, and Los Amigos to name a few. You can expect weekly drag shows like the (Real) Dirty Bitches, Joanna and even Lea Delaria at Manana. Mint Male hosted a model search at Manana, which received a huge turn out (not to mention a dozen sexy local men). To get a good grasp of the nightlife and daily events, check out gayguidevallarta.com. Featured Bar Bar Frida Corner of Insurgentes and Venustiano http://www.barfrida.com/ Bar Frida has the world’s best tequila shots. The owner, Tom, is an incredibly warm man that every visitor should know. We were lucky to spend a few nights chatting at his table with him, his partner and friends. The conversations were delightful, funny and always interesting. Frida is an absolute gem in Puerto Vallarta, and I would recommend not missing this marvelous bar. It’s not the club scene, but the music is great, the crowd is eclectic, and the bartenders are fantastic. Frida also has a terrace that you can view all the gay boys walking all over town from above.


Restaurants Restaurants are in abundance in the Romantica Zone. As should be expected, there are a wide variety of Mexican style menus, but also you’ll find savory varieties from all over the world. We found our favorite tortilla soup at a place called Ernesto’s, located just off the beaten path. On top of their delicious soup, they have some tasty American options, like ribs and an absolutely amazing BLT. You can find a delightful little place at R. Osuna #157 of F. Villa. If you’re seeking seafood, try the special platter at Cafe de Olla. The platter is filled with mouth-watering lobster, shrimp and your choice of steak or Mahi-Mahi. For $50, it’s well worth the dinner for two. There are endless dinner venues to check out from Italian to Thai to every style of Mexican food you can imagine. One of our last nights there, we found a new little restaurant called El Mole De Jovita. The margaritas are served with premium tequila, and the prices are extremely reasonable. Their mole sauce is out of this world and is homemade by the owner’s mother who ships it to him twice a month. Featured Restaurant: Banana Cantina Banana Catina and its downstairs cafe, Choco Banana have become a staple in Old Town. Upon your first visit, your initial impression as to why that is might be the modern twist they spin on tradition dishes, like their delicious Margaritas (always 2 for 1, by the way), or perhaps their delectable chocolate covered bananas. The real reason, however, is a woman named Debbi. Debbi Egan is a Chicago native whose energy is enamoring and beautiful. You can usually find Debbi at the bar on street level hugging, kissing and waving to every passerby. It seems as if everyone knows Debbi, and it’s her magnetic personality that draws them in. She’s a gay man’s dream best friend, with her sun bleached hair, tons of jewelry and bangles, and the love of a good drink. Banana Cantina serves breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday (except for Monday). The restaurant upstairs is in a beautiful, open space, and has a distinctive menu. For all of these reasons and more, Banana Cantina is our favorite restaurant and hang out in Puerto Vallarta.

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art + culture written by Josh Shores photographed by Joey Grant location: Puerto Vallarta


When it comes to shopping, there are endless options in Puerto Vallarta. My personal favorite are the beach vendors. To some, they are an annoyance. To others, like myself, they provide the opportunity to shop while lying on the beach drinking my margarita. Also, it’s nice to keep in mind that the majority of these people ride the bus for an hour and a half just to sell their items to you. If you like shiny things, they have great silver. Just check your product to see the 925 stamp. It’s the real stuff. They have all types of jewelry (besides sliver), including endless stones such as turquoise, coral, onyx, and pretty much any other stone you can think of. What’s more is that they’ll alter or re-bead the necklaces if asked. On top of jewelry, you can buy rugs, boleros, chimes, pottery, pipes, temporary tattoos and even tickets for many of the tours and activities. A hot tip: these vendors work on the barter system. There are bargains to be had! Try to hone your skills; be brave and don’t back down. I usually start at about half of what they ask then go back and forth. I set a price in my head that’s reasonable and I stand my ground. If they don’t get down to the price in my head, I tell them “no thanks,” and normally they will leave, only to then come back and accept my price or present me with another offer. If they don’t have what you want but you like the vendor tell them and they will usually find it and return with it in hand. In addition to the beach vendors, there are stands that sell all of same things the beach vendors provide. The bartering system still applies. If you’re in the mood to get some new ink while you are visiting, I would highly recommend Pepe at Black Line Tattoo. Joey and I both received beautiful Mexican tattoos from him. He did a phenomenal job at an unbeatable price. We are very picky about our body art and were a bit nervous, but he was suggested to us by our friend Debbi at Banana Cantina, and we will definitely be returning for more.

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Black Line Tattoo Independencia #231 loc-6 Centro Puerto Vallarta Tel. (322)222-8066 In the shopping center where Black Line is located, there is an awesome jewelry store and several other small shops. Adjacent is the famous La Parroquia de Nuestra Senora Guadalupe (“Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe”), a beautiful historic cathedral that is open to the public. There are several high-end jewelry stores on Olas Altas and beyond in old town which may have more variety and higher quality. However, the prices will be higher and the bartering power is not as strong. Two good options for something of more value are Cassandra Shaw Jewelry and Collection Gallery which has more contemporary pieces similar to teno at half the price. They have really cool rings that are great for a commitment or wedding ceremony. The sells people are nice and will usually give you at least ten percent off the marked price. For more options on Authentic Talavera Pottery and beautiful blown glass and crystal options. Check out Mundo de Cristal at www.mundodecristal.com There are great leather goods stores all over Old Town. One in particular that has a large and impressive inventory is The Leather Store, just steps from the beach at 359-A Carranza. For a custom bathing suit made to fit just for you, check out Alphonse swimwear at Pino Suarez (373 C-17 Loma del Mar, (322)222-7053). He works by appointment only and can usually have your suit ready within a day, so just be sure to call ahead. For ready to wear swimwear and other clothing you can head over to Papito,Menagge and Colors, all located just off the gay beach between Blue Chairs and Blue Seas resorts. For other great clothing, accessories and jewelry check out Angel’s Store, Liquid Men and Best, all of which are within walking distance of most of the hotels and bars in Old Town. When it comes to art Old Town, Puerto Vallarta is full of it. There is a gallery district most of which is in El Centro. Sol y Luna Fine Contemporary Art and Art for the Uninhibited, both owned by the same owner, are gay owned and operated. They feature local Mexican and International artists. For fun Mexican folk art, take a look at Puerco Azul (www.leechapmangallery.com). For really interesting, vintage Mexican art, silver, ceramics and textiles, head over to Mexican Vintage at 169 Corona st. There are too many galleries to list, so just walk around and take it all in.

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One I would highly suggest that was very unique to me is a little further of a walk from the gallery area, yet very close to Pepe at Black Line tattoo. Still within El Centro is Peyote People Native Art With Soul (Juarez 222 (322)-222-2302, www.peyotepeople.com). I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to meet and speak with Kevin, who started this free trade cooperative based in Puerto Vallarta. Since 1997, has been traveling to the Sierra Madre Mountains of Western Mexico and has become close with many of the Huichol Indian artist and their ceremonies which inspire most of the wood carvings, ceramics and bead art that Peyote People carries. Kevin is very passionate about these people, as well as their art. I had the honor of seeing his private collection upstairs, and also to take photographs (which is is normally prohibited within the gallery). I’d like to focus on two of the artists he carries (which were my favorite in the gallery, although just about everything he has is beautiful). If you are into Day of the Dead art, like La Catrina, and would love to have one in your home, Peyote People features the artist Sabino Arroyo. Sabino is from Capula, Michoacan and was trained by Juan Torres, the founding father of the ceramic Catrina. I fell in love with his work and as you can see from the pictures, he possesses an overwhelming amount of talent. There are Catrinas for sale all over Old Town, but none have the quality of Sabino’s. A Sabino Torres Catrina is also less expensive then a Juan Torres, but certainly just as beautiful. Another artist at Peyote People who does the amazing wood carvings in the pictures, such as the breathtaking peacock and giant dragon, is Neftali Villanueva. He is the creative force behind a co-op in the city of Oaxaca, Tribus Mixes, who create these beautiful Oaxacan wood carvings. The wood is collected in the Sierra, close to the border of Puebla, then cured, cut and painted to create these beautiful master pieces. Peyote People is beautiful and meaningful, and the people behind it are very compassionate. I would highly suggest a visit. Where else will you find hand made carvings of naked nuns?

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There is so much to do in Puerto Vallarta with all the activities; the beach, the bars, restaurants and shopping. If you find yourself in need of some downtime and a relaxing massage, head over to Body Time across from Vallarta Cora gay hotel (which is another interesting place to visit, but I’ll leave that to your own investigating). Back to Body Time is clean, quiet and professional. Ask for Angel, as he is one of the best (not to mention very sweet). Another option for you is The Blue Massage Spa on Olas Altas, #411. If you need a referral Osby is a good choice. The average one hour massage in Old Town will run you about forty five US dollars. Two more fun and relaxing things to do are visit the fish and butcher market called The Mercado on San Salvador at the corner of Brasilia street. It’s really intriguing. There are all types of fresh seafood, meat, fruit and flowers. You don’t even have to purchase anything. Just walking around taking photos and talking to the extremely friendly people is a pleasure, and not something you will find in the gay guide or tourist info. Directly across the street from the Mercado is the cemetery Panteon. I previously had never visited a cemetery in Mexico and discovered that they are absolutely breathtaking. The Mexican people choose to put their loved ones to rest above ground, similar to the New Orleans style cemeteries. The difference is that Mexican gravestones are so much more colorful in how they are painted decorated and placed. The family members are able to visit (somewhat similar to visiting someones home to decorate and celebrate their loved ones lives rather than their deaths). I took some beautiful photos there and you could definitely, between the Mercado and Panteon, spend a relaxing and culturally interesting afternoon there.

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u.s. virgin islands

written by Coleman Vander Meer Balogh photographed by Coleman Vander Meer Balogh


The Caribbean The Caribbean is an obvious choice for the budget-minded traveler, and with good reason. It’s close, it’s generally cheaper than Tahiti (which I’ll get to someday), and most importantly it’s spectacular. The Caribbean is a beautiful region, a sheltered gem on the planet, and Americans are lucky to have such easy access to it, and even luckier to lay claim to some of its most beautiful islands such as the U.S. Virgin Islands. My recommendation for first time gay travelers, especially those couples looking for an exotic getaway, is to take advantage of the affordability and proximity that the U.S. Virgin Islands has to the average American, considering that the Caribbean is one of the world’s most breathtaking regions. When it comes to the Caribbean, and especially the Virgin Islands which includes St. Thomas (the most popular), St. John (the most laid back), and St. Croix (the most cultured), there’s a remarkably large number of possibilities for a diversity of interests. Each island boasts gorgeous white-sand beaches, gourmet restaurants, world class resorts, and a variety of outdoor activities including water sports and tropical forest explorations. Yet each of these adventures has its own distinct personality or “flavor”. Although my own Caribbean trip did not have a specific gay agenda, there are plenty of sites to keep your interest peaked. There are no real gay designated areas or clubs on the islands, despite a recent growing demand that has been palpable in American culture in general, yet there is a very laid back and free

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attitude towards gay travelers. I recommend going with a group of friends, or just one special someone, to make a memorable tropical experience all within the good ol’ U. S. of A. You might not find any totally gay venues, but you will find a refreshing acceptance on the islands, and you will feel free to enjoy the nightlife in any of the local clubs. Travel between islands is easy as bi-planes have many flights scheduled daily, and there is a beautiful ferry ride between St. Thomas and St. John. Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas is most likely going to be your first stop and is the most accessible. This town boasts some fantastic shopping from upscale jewelry to designer boutiques with premium labels. There are amazing restaurants strewn about the downtown area and a variety of local tour stations which can take you sailing, hiking, or simply show you the best beaches around the island including the most popular Magens Bay. Looking for a day getaway? Then try nearby Water Island located in St. Thomas’s main harbor. For a more refined experience hit up French town where some of the best food in the Caribbean (and the priciest) is served. And do not miss one of the most spectacular views in the world atop the St. Thomas Skyride overlooking the harbor. There are many lodgings in Charlotte Amalie with a variety of price tags. I recommend staying within in your budget of course, but do not be afraid to splurge a bit to book a room with a view on the beach (if you’re a romantic at heart). Now St. John definitely has less “stuff” to do in terms of tourist attractions, but it definitely has more of that laid back, islandy, tropical feel, which is what some people might be looking for. St. John is renowned for its hiking, as most of the island is National Park. If you’re not sure you want to spend too much time on this island, don’t worry as there is a ferry from St. Thomas in only a couple of hours, making it an excellent option as a day trip for your Virgin Islands experience. Go hiking in the National Park right off the harbor in Cruz Bay, boasting excellent bio diversity, spectacular views, and a plethora of secluded beaches. The most popular beach is Trunk Bay, and for good reason, but I recommend Cinnamon Beach for a more intimate experience and excellent snorkeling. St. John is a smaller island so you might consider joining a day tour that will take you around the island (by land or sea) to all the secluded and most pristine beaches. There are several catamaran tours that will take you right from the harbor in Cruz Bay where you get off the ferry. There are several places to eat and stay scattered around the island, but there is a very distinct lacking of night life. I definitely recommend St. John to those travelers looking to escape their world, not looking for a party. And last but not least is my personal favorite of the U.S. Virgin islands, St. Croix. It is the largest of the islands, but far less resorty than St. Thomas, yet more cultured than St. John, offering a wonderful alternative for the gay traveler. Rich in culture and history, there is a distinctive European feel to the two main towns, Christiansted and Frederiksted. You will find charming cafes and galleries in both towns with much less bustle than Charlotte Amalie, and a selection of beautiful resorts, including the Buccaneer Hotel and Hotel on the Cayright located in the middle of the harbor. For a more historical experience, I recommend visiting the old forts which protected both Christiansted and Frederiksted. Along the beach of the historic Salt River National Park you can stop and see where Columbus once landed during his famous travels, and there are several abandoned sugar mills which dot the country hillsides to explore as well. Your more adventurous traveler might want to consider hiring a local guide to show you some of the best hiking spots on the island, including a trip to the rain forest or one of the many remote beaches along the west coast. Be sure to ask about the beer eating pigs to experience some distinct local culture. For accommodations, again take your pick as many proclaim their acceptance of diversity.

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Most people will want to fly to the islands, booking hotels on each before they arrive. I recommend and prefer this method as it will allow you to properly experience each island, and their distinct “flavors.” Another option is to cruise to the islands. Although this is more affordable and convenient, it does not properly allow you to immerse yourself in the full Virgin Islands experience. Although any taste is better than none when it comes to these spectacular islands. The Atlantis cruise is a good option for the gay traveler, especially if you go with friends, and they often cruise this region of the Eastern Caribbean. This definitely works better for the “partier” type as well, because nightlife on the islands is generally more relaxed. There are a couple of bars where you’re bound to have some fun mingling with the locals and fellow travelers, but most people go to the Virgin Islands for some peace of mind, at night basking in the moonlight along the beaches, and then retreating for a special evening with that certain someone. Either way you will definitely be looking forward to your next trip. I’ve even encountered couples who swear by “their island” and make regular annual trips to the Virgin Islands. But for those of you who get your fill and are still looking for more, the Caribbean has many other islands to offer, all collectively realized as one of the most beautiful and pristine destinations on the planet right in our back yard.

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Daniel Van Borstel (left) Angel Garcia Carrillo (center) Ronald Ramirez (right)


hombres de vallarta

photographed by Paul Van Vleck http://paulvanvleckphotography.com winner | Ronald Ramirez runners-up | Daniel Von Borstel + Angel Garcia Carrillo


Hurry up Aries! Your big birthday approaches, leaving you with a long to do list of “coulda, woulda, shoulda’s.” Luckily, energy is high this month, giving you the extra boost you need to succeed. Check your moods. Just because it’s your party doesn’t mean you can be snippy without consequences.

Attack Taurus! You’ve been battling your goals for a long time. Now is the time to bring it on. Quit making excuses, and charge ahead. You’ll pull others along for the ride if you commit, leaving you all in a better spot than before.

Amuse yourself Gemini! Feeling stuck in a creative slump? Go out and explore. The stars are pulling you in artistic directions this month. Follow where they lead and you’ll find unexpected joys. Careful though! Keep things quiet until the time is right.

Get moving Cancer! You’ve spent enough important thinking time in Lalaland. Spring is the time to ‘spring’ into action. That supercrush isn’t going to seduce himself. Show the world what you’ve got. You’re ready.

Look at you Leo! You are on the prowl this month and turning heads all over town. If you’re going to walk, you may as well strut this month. Boosts of mid-month confidence leave you feeling large, in charge and downright sassy.

Use your head Virgo! Call upon your signature practicality. You’ll need it this month. Drowning in a sea of ridiculousness? Only you will have the answers. State them calmly and loudly and people will follow you out of any mess.

Get over it Capricorn!

Break free Libra!

Let it go. You’ve been fighting a losing battle for a while now. Wave your flag of defeat and move on. A midmonth boost of energy helps you find a much happier and healthier path, and possibly a new romance or two. Keep your eyes open and focus on the future.

Tired of being a two-some? Is the love of your life taking over your life. Don’t rush into anything crazy, but find new ways to increase your independence this month. You’ll get much more accomplished flying solo. An end of the month burst of sexual energy rewards your partner for being patient this month.

Simmer down Aquarius! For a water sign, you certainly are fiery this month. Watch out for your own temper or it will burn you (and those you love.) Channel all that extra sass into something more constructive, such as writing. Spending more time with a calm loved one will cool your mood and warm your heart.

Say please, Pisces! This is a month full of opportunity, but you will need others’ help to get it. Be sure to show off your most gracious self this month. A little manners go a long way toward getting what you want. Kill them with kindness and they will reward you in more ways than one.

Try it Scorpio! The planets encourage you to experiment this month as your curiosity is at its peak. Now is the perfect time to try that crazy thing you never dared before. Be bold, stop over-thinking and you’ll learn a valuable lesson or two and

Rewind Sagittarius! So that big idea blew up in your face? Mr. Right turned out to be Mr. Wrong? You’re due for a new beginning. Start with a clean slate and move ahead. Look for the silver lining and you may discover something, or someone, you had forgotten about. Pleasant surprises abound this month if you know where to look.


homoscopes

march 2010 astrological sign | aries photographed by Coleman Vander Meer Balogh


cancun: SAFE, sexy, sporty and so gay-friendly! by Charlie Reeves | Gaytravel.com images provided by Gaytravel.com


There are many concerns about safety and Swine Flu throughout Mexico. I just returned from a week in Cancun and can tell you from first-hand experience if those worries are holding you back from visiting this amazing destination – you are missing out! I met up with Ron Kuijpers for a quick interview, owner of GayToursMexico, a division of Maya Moon Tours SA de CV, who answered many of my questions and cleared up a great deal of misconceptions.

little over an hour and a half to drive there from the Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera), but it is way worth the trip. Xel-Ha is a natural aquarium with out of this world snorkeling. You can see hundreds of different shapes, sizes and colors of fish and other aquatic wildlife. One flat fee gets you into the park and includes your food and drinks at their tasty buffet stations. And yes, it includes booze – beer and margaritas! An all-day adventure with so much to see – not to be missed.

Charlie: How long have you lived here and what can you tell me about serious violence in Cancun? Ron: I have lived here for 18 years and I can tell you the drug cartel related violence is much further north of Cancun near the borders. There are no major ports in Cancun so you will not find that kind of activity here. Cancun government and locals are dedicated to tourism and safety.

Charlie and Crew at Xcaret. Our picture was taken at Xcaret where you may need more than one day to get through this home to around 4,000 species of wild and marine flora and fauna. Again we were clearly two gay couples vesting Xcaret, and we felt very welcome and safe. Xcaret carries out protection, reproduction and conservation of many threatened and endangered species including sea turtles, butterflies, flamingos and manatees with whom you may get up close and personal. Xcaret offers a great deal of entertainment as well and my favorite part is swimming through the underground caves – it can get a little scary and is always a thrill! Both parks are socially responsible and eco friendly.

Charlie: From what I have seen so far I have to concur. I was walking on the beach late at night and felt very safe. Ron: Like any destination, visitors always need to use caution to prevent minor theft and such but as far as kidnappings and even worse crimes, like I said: Cancun isn’t the place for that. Drug cartels wouldn’t waste their time fighting their battles here. Charlie: How is overall tourism? Ron: It is very sad – The exaggerated press reports over the swine flu and the cancelations that followed upon the reports. Normally Cancun is at 85 – 90% occupancy and right now we are at about 40% occupancy in the city. Nineteen hotels temporarily closed in May due to so many cancellations. Charlie: The media can really spread unnecessary fear and do a lot of harm. Are you aware of any cases of Swine Flu in Cancun? Ron: I definitely agree with you about the media, Charlie. Cancun has had no problems with the swine flu. I don´t know anybody in Cancun, or even somebody who knows someone, who got sick with the swine flu. Charlie: Tell me about what you do. Ron: I represent IGLTA Mexico (the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association) and I provide private tours to the area’s must-see destinations – Xel-Ha, Xcaret, Chichen Itza and more. Charlie: Thanks for the information Ron. I wish you the best in seeing an upturn in the local economy! I spent my week in Cancun with my partner and his two aunts, who are happily married to each other. We aren’t the straightest looking bunch and let me tell you, we were welcomed and treated with respect everywhere we ventured. While I did hear same-sex couples can get a citation for kissing in public, I know we were guilty a couple times and held hands on more than a few occasions and felt very at ease. Here are some of my top picks: BEST EXCURSIONS Xel-Ha Xel- Ha is one of my favorite stops when visiting Cancun. It takes a

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BEST HOTELS AND BEACHES There are a wide variety of timeshares, grand hotels, all-inclusive and budget accommodations available throughout Cancun’s Zona Hotelera. We stayed at the Royal Islander which is a timeshare and had a fantastic time! As with most properties in this area, the accommodations were on the beach. The property featured multiple dining options, free wireless internet in the lobby, a market on site and more. Due to the hurricane in 2005, the sand portion of the beach at this location is limited. The water, however, is turquoise and gorgeous in any location in Cancun. I found the best beach of Cancun to be where the Caribbean Sea meets the Gulf of Mexico. At this curve in the island you will find the calmest waters where you can walk out several hundred feet and still be only up to your chest. One of the hotels located at this section is Dreams Cancun Resort & Spa. This hotel is all-inclusive with 360 rooms, a VIP Club Tower, interactive Dolphins and like I mentioned a breath-taking beach with a peaceful, beautiful ocean. All-inclusive prices start at around $275 USD per night. At Dreams you will see many children and lots of partiers due to the all-inclusive bars. If you are a beach person, this spot and the neighboring Fiesta American Grand Coral Beach are great places to swim. Cancun is definitely gay-friendly but you won’t find gaggles of gays throughout. Where you will likely see plenty of gay and lesbian travelers is at the ultra deluxe ME By Melia. It boasts an MTV-style décor which looks muy expensive yet remains classy and minimalistic. ME’s motto is “everyone is a VIP” and the staff definitely lives up to that. From the front desk to the pool staff to the restaurant staff, everyone is friendly, professional and attends to your personal needs. The infinity pools and cabanas just off the ocean will leave you feeling like royalty. And the food and beverages… Their cool bars are run by Randy Gerber (Cindy Crawford’s hubby) and his Gerber Group – uber cool and waaay yummy! If you’re like me, food can be a scary thing when traveling but not at ME By Melia. Their sumptuous and extensive


breakfast buffet was full of familiar delights and was visited by yours truly twice that week – and I wasn’t even a guest there. Even though I didn’t stay overnight, I did manage to see their bathroom amenities and for you product connoisseurs (and you know who you are), you will be happy to know this hotel carries AVEDA in every one of their 419 rooms and Passion Suites! Their standard rooms feature amazing rates now starting at around $120 USD per night. This is the gayest and sexiest hotel I have seen in Zona Hotelera! GAY NIGHT LIFE All the gay night life in Cancun is located in the downtown area (near the Super Walmart which is a must for great grocery prices!). The surrounding area is not the cutest and most charming I must say, but it is very safe, mixed in with liquor stores and other small businesses. It is not a “gay area” at all but the area does have four gay bars within walking distance of each other. Karamba Bar My favorites were Karamba Bar and 11:11. One thing you need to know about gay night life in Cancun is you don’t want to show up anywhere before midnight. They actually have shows that start at two in the morning. Karamba Bar is the biggest of the night clubs with a wide variety of theatrical shows, sweaty dance nights and go-go boys. It is big, dark and ready to rumba. 11:11 is sleek and chic with lots of white coloring and many soft places to lounge. It is similar to bars I have seen in Miami and West Hollywood. 11:11 can be both laid back and filled with sexy entertainment.

DINING Dinner at Captain’s Cove Zona Hotelera is filled with great restaurants – lots of fresh seafood, chicken, native dishes, filet mignon, prime rib, pastas and more. My partner and his Aunt love to gamble and found Play City a total joy. They are like two old ladies at the cheap slot machines in Vegas. Gotta love it. Play City, small and simple, is contained in Plaza Kukulcan. This mall features some upscale dining as well as a food court. Perhaps one of the best places to dine is at Captain’s Cove. Sitting outdoors on the lagoon at sunset couldn’t be more romantic and lovely. (The lagoon is great –we rented wave runners there earlier in the day and had a rip-roaring time). Enjoy their mojitos, Angus steaks, Ahi Tuna, Rib Eye, barbecue pork ribs and, if you crave large portions of lobster – dig in! Speaking of booze, have you ever heard of creamy tequila? It is kind of like Bailey’s or Kahlua but has more of a kick. I have only seen this – where else? – In fabulous, gay friendly, cosmopolitan and SAFE Cancun. So pack your bags and support this wonderful Mexican city! Bienvenidos… For more information on gay friendly destinations throughout the world, please visit www.gaytravel.com.

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Mint Male Travel Issue 2010