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Exclusives | Ask the Travel Expert, January 2008

Exclusives | Ask the Travel Expert, January 2008

Diving trips; lesbian Florida; Key West; HIV travel

Ed Salvato is Corporate Director of Travel Media at PlanetOut Inc.--responsible for,, and the editor-in-chief of the award-winning Out Traveler magazine.

Ed speaks often as a gay-travel expert and is frequently quoted in the press. He writes a monthly syndicated travel column and appears regularly on radio and TV.

Ed knows gay travel, and he proves it by answering your questions.

Looking for the perfect romantic gay honeymoon? How about budget recommendations, gay-friendly guesthouses or the best gay nude beaches on earth? Worried about an unfriendly reception in an anti-American country, or wondering about incidents of gay-bashing or the gay- or lesbian-friendliness of a Caribbean island? Ask Ed! (Note: Depending on the volume, he may not be able to respond to every question.)

Looking for a dive
We would like to take a five-night trip to the Caribbean for a dive trip and would like a place with good diving, gay friendly and a little something to do at night. What are your recommendations?

Thanks for your mail. Curaçao would be my top recommendation for you. It's got GREAT diving, with really varied sites, many of which are so close to shore you can just go in from the beach. Lots of healthy coral, some wrecks. There's also a full day trip to Klein Curaçao (a little island offshore) that's supposed to be great diving. The Mushroom Forest and Alice in Wonderland, which is right offshore at Westpunt, are also famous dives there.

Willemstad has one gay bar in town, Lyrics. Mambo Beach at Seaquarium Beach is gay-friendly and busy on weekends. Curaçao is definitely a great gay-friendly option. Only Puerto Rico has more of a gay scene in the Caribbean, but Curaçao's diving FAR overshadows Puerto Rico's diving. Contact Ocean Encounters at Lions Dive & Beach Resort and also at Westpunt. They are a great operation and are IGLTA members.

For more on the island, check out

The only other Caribbean spot that I've heard has great diving and is gay-friendly is Saba, but it has nothing really in the way of nightlife. There are also some gay-owned businesses on Bonaire and the diving is considered the best of the three Netherlands Antilles islands.

Have a great trip!

Woman on the beach
My girlfriend and I are traveling to Miami, Florida next March and need to book a place to stay. We are looking for somewhere on the beachfront that is walking distance to nightlife, and we enjoy fine dining. Any suggestions?

If you want to go to the big women's night (Saturday night at Score on Lincoln Road), you should go for a beachfront place right around 17th Street/Lincoln. The National and The Raleigh are both excellent choices. The Raleigh has a good onsite restaurant. There are lots of great dining options nearby, such as David Bouley's Evolution at the Ritz-Carlton, or Talula, plus plenty of other tempting dining options to choose from on Lincoln.

For more accommodation suggestions, including details of the National and the Raleigh, click here.

Have a great trip!

Winter heat
My boyfriend and I want to go to a warm destination this winter to party it up. Where do you recommend that we go? We are both in our mid 20's.

For an upbeat, warm winter destination, Key West really is the end of the rainbow. It's quaint, quirky, very laid-back and a lot of fun! It's worth noting though that Key West budget accommodations are hard to come by and the average age of the crowd does vary wildly from weekend to weekend, so you could find yourselves at the young end of the spectrum. Another good Florida option is Ft. Lauderdale, which has a broader range of hotel choices to suit all budgets and extensive gay nightlife options to ensure that you can party it up! Hit Sebastian Street beach for daytime gay eye candy.

Have a great trip!

Easy access
Are HIV positive tourists planning a short stay subject to denial of entry when visiting Singapore? Indonesia? Cambodia? Philippines? Thailand? Would possessing prescription meds (clearly identified) trigger denial of entry?

Thanks for getting in touch.

There should be no problem with you visiting those countries. The AIDS map is a really useful resource for travelers concerned about HIV-related travel regulations. It informs travelers that for Indonesia "there are no specific entry or residence regulations for people with HIV/AIDS. Neither a medical certificate nor an HIV test result is required when entering the country. Foreigners with a known HIV infection are not subject to specific residence regulations. There are no regulations regarding the control, deportation or expulsion of those concerned."

It lists HIV-related entry regulations for countries from Albania to Zimbabwe, and has a section on traveling with medication.

For more information, click here.

Hope that helps!

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