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November 13, 2016 / By Andrew Joseph
It is the 21st Century and humanity is heading into a free-spirited, open-minded consciousness (well for the western world at least. However, the east are making some baby steps though). The Caribbean is known as one of the premiere destinations for fun and relaxation, and for the LBGTQ community, there are some especially fantastic places to visit. So here are the Best Places for LBGTQ in the Caribbean.
Both French St. Martin and the Dutch side of St. Maarten have been known to welcome the gay and lesbian communities for many years. There are many gay-friendly hotspots for fun which is composed of bars, clubs, beaches, and hotels. Some bars include Eros Club, Tree Lounge at Loterie Farm, and Bliss. There are a number of secluded beaches and private villas where straight and gay couples blend together. Maho Beach has to be mentioned as it is literally at the foot of Princess Juliana Airport’s runway. As planes begin to land you can feel their turbines roar. Also, another popular spot is Saba, the sister island of St. Maarten. Just a 45-minute ferry ride or 10-minute puddle jumper away, it is known to be the gayest island in all of Caribbean.
KLM landing at SXM, Maho Beach, St Maarten, Oct 2014 ©alljengi/Flickr
They are known to be publicly open about welcoming gay and lesbian travelers. The island offers a whole host of resorts such as Hotel Kura Hulanda Spa & Casino, Lodge Kura Hulanda and Beach Club, Avila Hotel, Hilton Curaçao, Floris Suite Hotel, Sunset Waters Beach Resort, Lions Dive & Beach Resort, Papagayo Beach Resort, Habitat Dive Resort / Easy Divers, Waterside Apartments, Caribbean Sea Sports, Flamingo Villa and Coral Estate Villa’s, along with Yellow Tour Info Center. This is a demonstration of their commitment to the LBGTQ community as Explore Curaçao and International Accommodations & Concierge Services became proud members of the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association).
Curacao ©Nelo Hotsuma/Flickr
The beautiful island of Saint Barthelemy also known as St. Barts has to be mentioned in our list as a vacation escape for the gay community. Referred to as “the most gay and lesbian-friendly destination in the Caribbean” by some, the isle has a variety of colourful private villas, glorious beaches, glazed with turquoise-blue waters. St. Barts offers patrons all-nude sunbathing, freedom to hold your partner’s hand without ridicule and if the idea is in the pipeline, you can even get married as a same-sex couple. St Barths is so gay-friendly that it does not have to have a gay scene. (Just think about that for a moment).
IMG_4059 © John M /Flickr
Celebrated as “the Caribbean’s only real gay nightlife scene”, Puerto Rico, mainly in San Juan, gives visitors the opportunity to have the time of their lives. Highlights include the Atlantic Beach Hotel and Bar , which is set on a gay beach and with a weekly drag show. Clubs like Eros The Club adds to the nightlife adventure. You can even venture out to the island of Vieques where you can find gay-friendly resorts. Gay travelers to Puerto Rico have the benefit of protection by U.S. anti-discrimination laws, including the U.S. Supreme Court ruling for legalizing same-sex marriage.
Puerto Rico © Lee Cannon/Flickr
U.S. Virgin Islands — St. Croix,
Next, we move to the U.S. Virgin Islands. These islands have a friendly and tolerant attitude throughout, and if persons are uncomfortable with public displays of affection, the reaction is not likely to be more than a second glance. In the Virgin Islands, U.S. Laws protect persons from discrimination and also make same-sex marriages legal.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands© Jenn Kahalau Photography/Flickr
This gay-friendly island is known to have a great LBGTQ community. The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts are among several hotels and resorts that welcome tourists with open arms as well as the gay-owned Little David Guesthouse just to name two. You must check out Jimmy’s Placein Oranjestad, which is the island’s premier gay bar (never a dull moment). The island celebrates its diversity openly and fully. Just the way it should be.
Aruba Flamingos © David Stanley/Flickr
And if you wish to explore other destinations in the Caribbean, please be aware that countries such as Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago have laws where being gay is a crime.
Blue Bay – Curacao © Frank Jania/Flickr