This incredible Caribbean destination off of the coast of Venezuela is a beautiful and serene island with plenty of natural features for locals and visitors alike. There is no better place to indulge in some snorkeling, beach going, and scuba diving than gorgeous Curacao!
Top 11 Gay Friendly Hotels In Curacao
The tiny, breathtaking tropical island of Curaçao off the coast of Venezuela is like a slice of Europe in the heart of the Caribbean. Amazing history museums, lip-smacking cuisine, glorious hidden beaches, and delightful Dutch-colonial architecture make it a magical old-world island. Curaçao also happens to be extremely gay-friendly. In fact, it is a place so inclusive that while there are no exclusively gay hotels in Curaçao, most of the hotels are gay-friendly. What’s more, the island doesn’t have a gayborhood either. With an official motto that translates to ‘Live and Let Live,’ there was never a need for one either.
Curaçao also happens to be the most LGBTQ-friendly islands in the Caribbean. It has the honor of having the largest IGLTA membership in all of the Caribbean with 17 members. Its Pride Carnival is one of the longest and the largest spectacles in the Caribbean. What’s even better is that it is one of the prettiest spots in the Caribbean, making it a great romantic getaway as well. Its capital and historic port city Willemstad is a UNESCO World Heritage site. In fact, the city’s vibrant, brightly-painted architecture is one of the most recognized spots in the Caribbean. A bunch of heavenly and secluded beaches, some of the world’s best dive sites, and a fauna sanctuary all make Curaçao a great LGBTQ+ destination.
Curaçao and its real island life are best experienced while traveling around in the cutesy and colorful tuk-tuks. Keep your first day aside for this fabulous 2-hour tuk-tuk tour of Curaçao. It allows you to see not only the important sites but also the beaches and lesser-explored gems.
GAY AND LESBIAN HOTELS IN Curaçao
The tiny tropical island of Curacao will take your breath away! The Dutch Caribbean island found a new life as one of the Caribbean’s most gay-friendly vacation places. Stretching some 40 miles (64km) with Aruba to the west and Bonaire to the east. The entire historic port city of Willemstad centre is a UNESCO World Heritage site, its the oldest and most famous architectural strip with brightly painted coloured row of buildings along Handelskade Street, in the Punda neighbourhood. It’s a magical old world European city constructed by the Dutch.
The Queen Emma Bridge, built in 1888 is a marvel in engineering. It’s supported by 16 pontoon boats that allow the bridge to swing open and give ships access to the city’s port. Locals affectionately call It the “Swinging Old Lady” – try your hardest not to tag a few friends on facebook to this picture!
This tropical island boasts an eclectic mix of history and culture, which has served to create a Caribbean experience unlike any other. Also known for its eco-tourism and pristine diving conditions, Curaçao attracts the adventure traveler as well as those looking to unwind and enjoy its perfect climate. Visitors to Curaçao will enjoy the more than 30 white sand beaches, 18-hole championship golf course, amazing dolphin interaction program, casinos and much more.
The annual Gay Pride weekend takes place over 5 days in late September – something that’s missing in many Caribbean islands, so people come from all around. There is no huge gay scene here, but easy-going, gay-welcoming smiles are found everywhere.
During the 5 days that the Pride lasts there are plenty of parties and activities you can enjoy.
Tucked between gray cliffs near the north western town of Lagun sits the small but peaceful Playa Lagun, this beach is known for its crystal clear waters and beautiful coral reef. The calm, shallow waters at Playa Lagun are perfect for snorkelers of any skill level, and there are facilities to rent snorkel and scuba gear.
Gay Life in Netherlands Antilles (Curacao)
Curacao is a small Caribbean island that is an independent country. It is not hard to quickly discern the attitude here toward LGBT people–at least to tourists to whom the welcome sign reads: „Welcome. „Live and Let Live“ or „Biba i laga Biba“. But homophobia is an undercurrent here as well and natives do not come flying out of the closet.
Which Caribbean islands are safe for gay travelers?
The Caribbean is a region of the Americas located southeast of the Gulf of Mexico. It’s famous for its tropical weather, beautiful blue skies and crystal-clear waters.
However, certain areas of the Caribbean are also infamous for their conservative politics and anti-gay laws. Spending a couple of weeks surrounded by palm trees and pina coladas might sound cute on paper, but just how safe is the Caribbean for the LGBTQ community?
To say these islands are something of a mixed bag when it comes to Caribbean gay travel would be the understatement of the century, in so much as they range from homo heaven in places like Puerto Rico and Curaçao, to islands where LGBTQ rights are still evolving…!
In this article, we explore the gay friendly Caribbean islands we rate as the safest and most alluring for LGBTQ travellers. Keep reading to the end for a list of dishonourable mentions; in other words, the gay no-fly zones that should be avoided like the plague. No, crocs – and I don’t mean the semiaquatic, reptilian kind! For more gaycation inspiration, be sure to read our detailed guide to the top gay travel holiday destinations in the world.
LGBT-freundliche Hotels in Curaçao suchen
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Curaçao: A Gay-Friendly Vacation Where LGBT Fantasy Meets Luxe Reality
Curaçao, an island nation north of Venezuela, is known for its blazing azure waters, pristine beaches and stunning resorts. Its capital Willemstad is bustling, and be sure to take pictures on its Queen Emma Pontoon Bridge (pictured); it’s a site to see and vibrantly lit at night.
Eric’s ATV Adventures is a fun way to explore the island. The company offers an ATV and Snorkeling Tour where they take you to explore a sunken tugboat. Hato Caves are a great place to explore beautiful limestone formations or go on an Indian Trail Walk to spot ancient Caiquetio carvings. The Curaçao Ostrich Farm is one of the largest ostrich farms outside Africa with more than 600 birds. Nearby Curaloe Plantation is a perfect spot to pick up some lotions and gels to protect you from the sun.
Where to stay? The Kura Hulanda Village & Spa features 82 rooms gathered from a collection of unique meticulously restored 18th-and-19th century Dutch Colonial Caribbean buildings. Explore the cobblestone pathways of the eight block village (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club, GHL Hotel Curaçao, located just off an enormous natural reef, offers an impressive white coral beach, an on-site dive shop and daily trips to Curaçao’s famous dive sites. Or simply book a poolside massage in the Spa Pavilion to enjoy the breeze. Feeling adventurous? Go on a hunt for “Indian Cave,” a hidden cavern offering a unique look that traces the Arawak-Taino left behind.
Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort Curaçao has created a Royal Retreat package in the suite where the Dutch royal family has vacationed. The 1,400 square-foot accommodations include a two-story great room, living room and multiple balconies. The package includes airport transfers, butler service, a couples massage with bubbly and snacks, welcome champagne, a six course, in-suite dinner and full-day private boat charter to nearby Klein Curaça, including cocktail service and a picnic lunch. The resort is in a 2,000-acre gated plantation with a beach, three pools, a golf course, bike trails, two marinas, a spa, a dive and water sports center, tennis center, iguana feeding, yoga, pilates and a botanical walk.
The Floris Suite Hotel is a gay-friendly 72-suite property offering an adults-only experience. Book the Ocean Front Premium Suite with high-end Italian furniture, sweeping views of the Caribbean sea and a private beach. Make friends at Moomba Beach Club on the most gay-friendly beach on the island or relax quietly at the Water Club Spa, which is free for hotel guests (other visitors can purchase a day pass). After 6pm the spa is open to men only.
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Gay and Lesbian Friendly Destinations in the Caribbean
With its fun-in-the-sun destinations, carefree attitude, and myriad couples-oriented resorts, the Caribbean seems an ideal vacation spot for gay and lesbian couples. But not all Caribbean islands are created equal: some (notably the French, Dutch, and U.S. islands) roll out the welcome mat for same-sex couples, while others, like JamaicaBarbadosCayman Islands, have a reputation for homophobia. With the help of the travel experts at LGBT News, here are our picks for the top Caribbean destinations for gay travelers:
Gay friendly Hotels in Curacao
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ABC Islands Gay Friendly
Is it true that ArubaBonaire and Curacao are considered more gay friendly then most of the Caribbean? My partner and I are looking for gay friendly beaches on those islands. Any advice?
I cannot speak for ArubaBonaire, but as for Curacao; the Curacao Tourist Board promotes gay tourism, they launched a website in 2005; Through the site they promote gay friendly hotels and gay nightlife.
By the way, I read somewhere that the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association will hold a symposium in Curaçao on September 27-30,2007, coinciding with a ‚Get Wet in September‘ weekend.
A wealthy openly gay entrepreneur is the owner of the Kura Hulanda hotel and lodge.
Having been married to a homophobic West Indian and living on an island where gays are called „antiman“. (notice he is my ex..).. I can say Bonaire is welcoming to diversity. My friend used to run a small inn and I have some gay clients who come every year ….
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This tiny island off the Venezuelan coast could be a gay traveler’s definition of paradise: welcoming community, crystal-clear ocean water, pristine sandy beaches. Curacao’s weather is consistently blissful. The coldest month is January at a freezing 79 degrees Fahrenheit and the hottest month is September at a blistering 84 degrees Fahrenheit. Gay Curacao is technically part of the Netherlands – it is the largest Dutch island in the Lesser Antilles—but, culturally, it is a melting pot, with Dutch, Papiamento, English and Spanish all recognized as influential languages. The island’s original settlers were the Arawak and, though most islanders today are of Afro-Caribbean or European descent, there are traces of Dutch, Latin American, French, South Asian, East Asian, Portuguese and Middle Eastern. The island doesn’t have a large gay and lesbian population, but it is still very accepting. Our gay and lesbian travel guide will help you plan out a full vacation no matter what you are dreaming of.
Lodge Kura Hulanda Beach Club
With the beach right outside your room, it’s hard not to fall in love with the Kura Hulanda Lodge and Beach Club. Perched on low, rugged cliffs and overlooking a stunning white beach, the gay-friendly accommodation on the remote western tip of Curaçao is a pristine haven. Even though Willemstad is an hour-long drive away, Kula Hulanda is for those who wish to get away from the bustle. In fact, it is perfect for gay couples looking for a romantic getaway.
Nature reigns supreme at Kula Hulanda Lodge, where it is common to spot fauna while simply walking around. The Kalki beach right outside might be a little rocky but is one of the best dive sites on the island. The digs are luxurious given the remoteness of the hotel. Rooms in two-story villas feature a bevy of plush comforts, including ensuite bathrooms, large TVs, fridges, and fabulous patios and porches with ocean views.
While there might be bugs here and there, the staff is more than helpful to assist guests with any issues. What’s more, there are tons of activities to do in the hotel itself, along with lush verdant gardens. A fitness center and an outdoor tennis court are great for those who don’t like to laze around. Two pools are perfect for swimming before heading to the three restaurants to dog into delish Caribbean food.
Floris Suite Hotel – Spa & Beach club
The urge to splurge in Curaçao will lead you straight to the adults-only Floris Suite Hotel in Willemstad. A proud member of IGLTA, Floris is easily one of the friendliest gay hotels in Curaçao and is the very embodiment of the first-class luxury. Caribbean spirit complements the Dutch colonial style of decor beautifully here, translating to contemporary comfort.
LGBT travelers staying at Floris particularly praise the hotel’s inviting atmosphere, the fantastic service, and the gorgeous pool area. What’s more, the hotel is also home to the gay-friendly Rainbow Lounge, which is extremely popular with gay locals.
Suites at Floris are outfitted with all mod-cons, plus blackout blinds for sleeping in late after a night of partying. Private balconies make for the perfect alcove to enjoy a glass of wine with fabulously sweeping views of the ocean. Workout worshippers have access to a fitness center, while the spa makes for the perfect relaxation space after hectic days of exploring Curaçao. Finally, make your way out to the private beach and sink your toes into the white sand while staring at a gorgeous Caribbean sunset.
Papagayo Beach Resort
A hop, skip, and a jump away from the picturesque Jan Thiel beach lies one of the most luxurious gay-friendly hotels in Curacao, Papagayo Beach Resort. It is just about a 10-minute ride south of Willemstad. Papagayo boasts of a playful, funky decor with kitschy details like palm-leaf textured wall decals and gilded eagle statues. The white-on-white ambiance lends a distinct Caribbean feel.
Perched on a lush hill overlooking the Caribbean are the resort’s standalone villas. Some even have private pools and wraparound patios with views of the ocean. The villas are a mix of 60 mod-infused ones and bright, shabby-chic accommodations. Guests particularly love the spacious accommodations, complete with full kitchens and open-air living rooms.
Papagayo is a world within a world, complete with a casino, a supermarket, bars and restaurants, and even a shopping plaza. A spa and a fitness center on-site cater to all kinds of travelers, right from the gym rats to leisure lovers. The landscaped grounds with palm trees and bougainvillea flowers are perfect for lounging around and relaxing. With most travelers requiring a car to explore the wonderful island, Papagayo even provides car rentals on-site. However, the best part about the resort is undoubtedly the infinity-edge pool at its beach club, from where one can star out into the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
Papagayo Resort’s location in Jan Thiel is also great for joining this fun-filled 4-hour speedboat and snorkeling adventure out on the azure waters of the Caribbean.
Acoya hotel suites & villas
If you want to stay at a tropical Shangri-La, then the gay-friendly Acoya Hotel Suites & Villas is perfect. This tranquil oasis is located in the heart of Willemstad and a mere four-minute ride to the beach. With a name that is a clever play on the Japanese word ‘Akoya’ which means pearl, Acoya tastefully blends zen and Caribbean styles. Beautifully manicured grounds, blossoming flowers, and a small lake abuzz with a variety of fauna make this hotel a true tropical paradise.
The hotel boasts of a naturally-lit, open-air setup with chic and polished interiors, art-deco furniture, and a wood-lined pool deck. In fact, most of Acoya’s amenities, including the fitness center, outdoor bar, and restaurant, overlook the infinity pool deck. What’s more, the hotel offers free passes and a shuttle to Mambo Beach, which is where the hottest Saturday party takes place. It’s also where the unique Curaçao Sea Aquarium is located, which is one of Curaçao’s must-see attractions.
Suites and villas with full kitchens at Acoya boast of a modern-minimalist look. The main building suites feature outdoor balconies overlooking the lake and pools while Villas boast of garden views. The exception is the three-bedroom villa which even has ist own garden-fringed private pool. Apart from standard mod-cons, the suites and villas also feature Asian-themed photographs or those of Curaçao’s azure waters, adding to the zen vibe.
Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino
If you’re looking to soak up the gay vibe of Curaçao, then stay at the Sunscape Curaçao Resort Spa & Casino. While Sunscape itself has a wholesome all-inclusive vibe, it is located right on Cabana and Seaquarium beaches. The hotel’s a stone’s throw from Cabana Beach where Friday and Wednesday night see the hottest gay parties happen in Curaçao.
Guests at Sunscape really needn’t step out for anything, if they don’t want to. The resort boasts of an array of beach activities, rock climbing wall, a dive essentials shop, five restaurants, three bars, and even a small cafe. A well-equipped fitness center for fitness freaks and a lovely spa to wash off all tiredness and relax are also present. Heck, there’s even a large casino and a few gift shops on the property.
Rooms and suites at Acoya are done up in a vibrant, Caribbean-inspired style with bright pops of colors in every room – think turquoise blue and bright lime green. All rooms come with mini-fridges, coffeemakers, iPod docks, flat-screen TVs, and a lovely patio, some of which boast of sweeping ocean views. Guests also have the choice of larger suites with kitchenettes and living areas.
Avila Beach Hotel
Gay travelers who like their hotels to have a bit of history to them will love the gay-friendly and upscale Avila Beach Hotel. Housed in an 18th-century refurbished Dutch-colonial mansion, it happens to Curaçao’s longest continuously open hotel. The hotel beautifully blends colonial and contemporary styles to create a unique staying experience. It should come as no surprise that it’s also one of the best hotels in Curacao.
A modern, sleek lobby featuring wall-sized historic photos of Willemstad and Curaçao greet guests on arrival. The hotel consists of a cluster of buildings, all painted bright yellow in typical Dutch colonial style. Three distinct wings, Octagon, Belle Alliance, and Blues, make up the entire property. The Octagon is a former residence of an exiled 19th-century Venezuelan leader. Apart from housing the most modern and sleek rooms in the hotel, it is very popular for events and weddings. The Belle Alliance sees suites arranged around a lush-green colonial-style courtyard, while the Blues has lovely wooden architecture and rooms with the best ocean views.
Overall, rooms at Avila are spacious and airy with lots of natural light. Modern, European-style decor in blue accents dot the rooms, which have all mod-cons necessary for a comfortable stay. Many rooms in the Blues Wing have small decks looking out to the ocean.
Baoase Luxury Resort
There’s more than one reason the intimate, gay-friendly Baoase Luxury Resort has consistently been Curaçao’s top resort. An atmosphere akin to a Balinese retreat greets you at the entrance of this 23-room property. Secondly, one of Curaçao’s hottest beaches, Marie Pampoen beach, is a five-minute stroll. And last but not the least, the romantic vibes that the resort radiates is out of the world.
Gay couples looking to indulge in a Curaçao romance will love Baoase, whose Culinary Beach Restaurant is considered the island’s best. What’s more, the restaurant even features an array of romantic meal experiences, like picnicking on a pier, under a gazebo, or even on the beach. What’s more, the resort lights candles all around in the evening and even leaves gift bags on the beds for guests. The Indonesian theme is ubiquitous in the resort, whether its the hand-carved, rustic Asian pieces, small footbath with bamboo ladles outside every door, and antique wood doors all over.
Villas and suites blend the best of indoor and outdoor living with open-air rooms and outdoor showers and baths. In fact, 50 percent of Baoase’s rooms even have their own private plunge pools. All rooms are flush with the latest mod-cons, while those with private courtyards even have soaking tubs, comfy seating, and rainfall showerheads, making it the ultimate in luxury.
If you are looking to get out of this beachside decadence, Willemstad is a 15-minute drive. However, the posse of fabulous gay clubs and parties at Mambo/Cabana Beaches is a mere 20-minute walk.
An open-air lobby beyond which lies two beautiful pillow-white beaches make the gay-friendly Hilton a true mid-range Curaçao jewel. The stylish beachfront getaway lies right on Piscadera Bay and is a 20-minute drive from Willemstad.
Nestled amidst sprawling, lush-green landscaped gardens, the Hilton is a bleach-white structure blending traditional Dutch styling with Brutalist architecture. Interiors are innately Caribbean-contemporary, complete with plush wicker chairs, azure geometric shapes, and an open-air lobby. The hotel even offers stunning views of the restored 18th-century Dutch Piscadera Bay Fortress, along with the ocean.
Rooms at the Hilton boast of island/ocean views out of their balconies and are spacious to boot. Contemporary prints, streaked sea-green carpets, carved wooden furniture, bamboo loveseats lend the rooms charm. However, it’s the outdoors that the Hilton is most known for. The tiny private beach boasts of a long wooden pier, an infinity pool overlooking the ocean, and lots of lounge chairs. The ambiance is truly a water lover’s dream and there’s even a dive shop. Amenities at the Hilton are top-notch as well. Gym rats will appreciate the 24-hour fitness and wellness center, complete with steam rooms and a sauna. There are even tennis and basketball courts on-site, as well as a mini-golf course. Moreover, the hotel even offers a free shuttle to downtown Willemstad.
If you’re on a budget and wish to explore the gay scene of Curaçao, then the fabulous, gay-friendly Hotel Dolphin Suites is the answer. One of the best budget gay hotels in Curacao, it lies within a stone’s throw of the Cabana and Seaquarium Beaches right on Mambo Beach boulevard. Here is an array of popular gay bars and beach clubs that host fantastic gay-friendly parties throughout the week.
Dolphin Suites doesn’t scrimp on comfort, despite being a budget accommodation. Guests have the options of suites, studios, and guest rooms, each of which features full kitchens. They’re great for whipping up quick and cheap meals, especially if you’re the shop-and-cook kind. Apart from a comfy stay, the hotel also offers a slew of amenities. The quaint garden terrace is great for lounging around and meeting interesting fellow guests. The outdoor swimming pool is heavenly for a swim and maybe even meet-cutes. What’s more, Dolphin suites even offer the choicest of scuba diving expeditions at as many as 65 of Curaçao’s best nearby sites.
Quint’s Travelers Inn
Gay travelers looking to explore the history of Curaçao will find staying at the lush-green gay-friendly Quint’s Travelers Inn in the heart of town convenient. To them, we’d recommend this insightful 2.5-hour historical walking tour of the lovely Willemstad. It takes you exploring the best parts of the city key to its history, including the oldest active synagogue in the Western hemisphere.
Modern studios and guestrooms dot this lovely, homely property, which also boasts of verdant, landscaped gardens as well as an outdoor swimming pool. Rooms are spacious and contemporary to the hilt, furnished with the hotel’s signature blue accents. They have all mod-cons, plus coffee/tea makers and fridges. Guests will find the lovely gardens and the sun-kissed terrace perfect for lazy lounge-about days. A heavenly swim in the outdoor pool is a great way to begin the day before heading out to explore Willemstad. Moreover, the property even arranges for car rental services. This is helpful especially if you want to head down to the fun parties at Cabana Beach, which is just a 15-minute drive away.
LionsDive Beach resort
If you want to stay big in Curaçao, look no further than gay-friendly LionsDive Beach Resort. For those of the LGBTQ set who love anything and everything water, the LionsDive resort is closest to utopia. The resort lies on Mambo beach, but guests also have access to a second beach which is one of Curaçao’s best dive sites.
LionsDive has a range of accommodations that surround the resort’s Olympic-size pool. They’re done up in lovely neutral hues, mostly white and beiges, with bright-green highlights mirroring the resort’s lively vibe. For those looking to splurge, there’s a penthouse suite with a wraparound patio with jaw-dropping, unobstructed 180-degree views of the ocean. There are a host of amenities at LionsDive, including four restaurants. LionsDive calls itself ‘Curaçao’s sportiest hotel,’ and rightfully so. It boasts of a fitness center offering yoga and spinning classes, as well as a 50-meter lap pool. Leisure lovers will love the smaller pool which lies on a patio overlooking the sea.
If you’re in the mood to party in the evening, there’s a posse of fabulous beach clubs right outside the hotel. They are known to host some of the wettest and wildest parties in Curaçao.
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The Island Country of Curacao
Curacao is a small Caribbean island that became an independent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 2010. See this brief overview of Curacao. Here it’s not hard to quickly discern the attitude here toward LGBT people. Click on (launched 2005) and read:“Welcome. ‘Live and Let Live’ or ‘Biba i laga Biba’. That’s the public and touristic philosophy on Curaçao.
This in-depth website serves as a resource for LGBT travelers looking for help in navigating the land and life of the island and finding where to stay and what to do and see. “We are committed to welcoming all visitors to the island and hope that this new site will help spread the word to the gay and lesbian community worldwide.
highlights the many tourism partners on island that are members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and provides a listing of places to gather and meet other gay travelers, as well as locals.” With 17 proud members, Curaçao is proud to have the largest IGLTA membership in all of the Caribbean.
“It is important to us that it’s known to the gay & lesbian community that everyone is welcome in Curaçao. Our island offers diverse culture, art galleries, beaches, museums, fine accommodations and exquisite cuisine that are enjoyed by all visitors to the island,” commented André Rojer of CHATA (Curaçao Hospitality and Tourism Association), who has labored tirelessly to coordinate the gay-friendly efforts of the tourist industry in Curacao.
First Gay Center in Curacao
In a unusual Caribbean first, Curaçao opened a gay centre in 2010.. With its activities Casa Rosada (pink house), located in the neighborhood of Otrabanda, hopes to break the taboo on homosexuality.
Education and information are badly needed, says FOKO (Fundashon Orugyo Korsou) the Caribbean island’s gay group. Founder Thirza Stewart stresses how important that is: “The silence that falls when you tell your mother you are gay is very hard.”
The guests attending the opening received a glass of pink champagne. Said one happy but realistic lesbian guest, “why should I apologize if I like women? It’s hard to be open about my sexual preference. The consequences here in Curcao can be quite painful–unlike what the tourist office says. Certain people are no longer welcome at home.”
According to FOKO neither Curacao Society in general, nor its politicians in particular “are sufficiently conscious of the fact that gay rights in the Dutch Kingdom in Europe are based on equality and anti-discrimination principles that are enshrined in the constitution of Curacao… recently derogatory remarks have been made about homosexuality and same-sex relationships…” See this report from Suzanne Gomez, Chair and Dudley Ferdinandus, Coordinator of FOKO.
Being Family and Being Gay
Gay and lesbian people, Thirza Stewart says, not only face prejudice at home but also on the work floor. She knows several people who were refused a job for being gay. Foko head Mario Kleinmoedig confirms gay people on Curaçao face an uphill battle, though things are not as bad as in Jamaica, where they fear for their lives.
Kleinmoedig stresses how difficult it is to have open gay relationships given all the social pressure. He says it is important to lower that pressure but also to teach gay people how to cope with it. “We want to raise the self-esteem of gay people. Homosexuality simply exists—that is a discussion we are no longer interested in. That’s history.”
Someone who lives close to Casa Rosada said he is worried by the opening of the gay centre. “Further down is a brothel, and over there is a hotel where people rent rooms for a few hours. There are many taboos here. At the same time, a lot of down-low activity happens, especially at night. I hope this gay center does not add to that.”
Same-sex marriages are not performed in Aruba, Curaçao or Sint Maarten, the major islands of the Netherlands Caribbean commonwealth. Many of the residents of the islands are Roman Catholic and Christian Protestant so the issue of same-sex marriage is highly opposed. However after several court rulings in Holland and locally, the islands were forced to recognize any marriage (including same-sex marriages) registered anywhere in the Netherlands Kingdom. Since marriage in Holland is open to people of any gender, marriages registered there have to be accepted in the islands.
However, non-equal treatment of married couples is allowed in the Antilles. In 2009, the Common Court of Justice of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba ruled in an appeal case that a the partner in a same-sex marriage does not have to be offered health care benefits in a government employees health care scheme. The court ruled that regulations can exist which are based on the opposite-sex marriage definition existing in the Netherlands Antilles.
Another court ruled in a case of enrollment of a homosexual partner in a collective health insurance scheme, stating explicitly that if enrollment was only possible for male-female married or unmarried straight couples, thus excluding same-sex couples, this would constitute discrimination. But if non-married couples had been excluded, there would be no obligation for enrollment of same-sex marriage. So the rulings are not settled yet.
Meeting Gays in Curacao
Once commentator wrote that he could find more ‘dates’ from homophobic Jamaica than he could from Curacao. He attributed this to an ironic situation. Although begin gay in Curacao is safer than Jamaica, in general, many closeted and married men can easily check out Adam4Adam, a hook-up site popular in the Caribbean. However, in doing so they might recognize the faces of other profilers and fear being outed if they responded. “But in Jamaica, the homophobic Rastafarians and the equally homophobic God-fearing Evangelicals would not even know what Adam4Adam was. The gay profilers in Jamaica probably feel safer to give their stats and show their face pics than those in Curacao.”
Unlike so many other islands in the Caribbean, Curacao is rather safe all over. The natives are friendly for the most part–too friendly for those on the down-low. The same commentator also felt that Curacao gay life was too age-oriented with the few bars there catering to specific ages. “Mixing was all but impossible,” he wrote.
Another blogger posted his opinion: “The Caribbean can be chilly when it comes to welcoming gays, wrote one Canadian. On the three Antilles I visited, local activists tried to convey the importance of discretion, a sort of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that was hard for me, as a Canadian, to understand.
The highlight of the year is the Curaçao Pride(Curaçao Carnival). This event takes place every year around the end of September and beginning of October. During the 5 days that the Pride lasts there are plenty of parties and activities you can enjoy.
It includes ‘Get Wet Weekend’ with movies, pool parties and boat trips and much cruising and revelry. The weekend is considered Curacao’s major Gay Pride event. (photo right)
Christmas time is yet another period where there is almost always lots of parties and activities. Said one local, “Scream when you see carnival group T’aki Tin in the parades, which has the highest concentration of LGBT participants. More ‘Get Wet’ information can be found at
The Social Scene
“The gay and lesbian community is quite large,” explains Madame Jeanette Pepper, of Curacao GayPlasa Foundation, organizers of Curacao’s annual Gay Pride event. “They are not all out, but they occupy positions throughout all layers of the community,” says Pepper,.
As for venues, these constantly changes, so a visitor will need to check local listings upon arrival. Here are some from the Internet but there is no assurance they are still open. “The G-Lounge, Williwood, Wet & Wild and Tutu Tango, where every second Saturday of the month is a party by Curaçao GayPlasa. Gay couples also frequent the so-called straight clubs, as all of the beach bars and nightclubs on the island have such a relaxed and gay friendly attitude. So, places like Papagayo, , Mambo, Bermuda, Pampus, Mundo Bizarro, Omundo and De Heeren are all very gay friendly as well,” says Pepper, from GayPlasa, who also organize routine gay events throughout the year.
There is also a Mr Gay Curacao contest each year to select a candidate for the Mr Gay World Contest held at different places around the globe.
Claude Douglas’ book ‘Homosexuality in the Caribbean—Crawling Out of the Closet‘ ( March 24, 2008; 60 pages) examines organized efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in the Caribbean. Cuba, the Cayman Islands, Turks and Caicos, Montserrat and Barbados are destinations Douglas cites as having shown great progress in the struggle.
“It is a sociological analysis and an erudite commentary on sexuality as a critical function of human identity. In the book Professor Douglas discusses a taboo issue: the maneuvers of homosexuality within the English speaking Caribbean. The Grenadian professor writes against the prevailing idea of a specific brand of Judeo-Christian theology, which affirms heterosexual norm — a religious orientation that pervades the Caribbean mind. While the book speaks directly to the homophobic particulars of the Caribbean experience, it fails to explore fully, how relationships of justice are exercised within the milieu of the Caribbean’s sexual ethics…” (From )
Another reviewer wrote: “Professor Douglas has created a buzz in the region by his most recent publication. The book, entitled ” Homosexuality in the Caribbean, Crawling out of the closet” is a study of attitudes towards Homosexuality throughout the English Speaking Caribbean, spanning the homophobic reality of Jamaica, the ambivalence of the majority of Eastern Caribbean isles, to the open affirmation of alternative lifestyles in Barbados. The books author Professor Claude Douglas said he intended that the project provide a sociological analysis of Caribbean sexual identity as well as to provide critical insight on sexuality as a critical function of human identity.”
The author also argues that the Caribbean’s attitude to homosexuality is changing. Tolerance has increased significantly in recent years and partly blames the United States’ cultural invasion of the Caribbean. “Yesterday’s deviants will become today and tomorrow’s norms. Let us take, for example, the wearing of earrings by men. This was actually taboo in Grenada many years ago. Today, there are men who appear almost feminine,” Douglas said in an interview with the Caribbean Media Corporation. “As the society evolves, people become more accepting of certain behaviour, and we see the trend developing right now in Grenada.”
Among those who agree that a change in attitude is needed at the highest levels of society is former Barbados attorney general and present opposition Leader Mia Mottley who said “A government in a pluralistic society must accommodate and respect the human rights and dignity of each individual. To that extent, a law, which seeks to discriminate in a society whose history has been scarred with the cancer of discrimination, has in fact, to be reformed.”
How safe is the Caribbean for gay travelers?
Overall, it’s very safe for LGBTQ travellers across most parts of the Caribbean. So much so that gay cruises in the Caribbean is super popular. There are sadly a few places in the Caribbean which criminalise homosexuality, which we recommend exercising a lot of caution if you do choose to go there (scroll down to the final part of this article for more about this).
When assessing how gay friendly and welcoming the Caribbean is for LGBTQ travellers, we looked at the following 4 factors:
1. Puerto Rico
The gayest Caribbean island is one of the largest too, with a population of around 3 million. Often referred to as “The Island of Enchantment”, Puerto Rico is also the highest-ranking Caribbean island on the Spartacus Gay Travel Index, at #23. We agree and also rank Puerto Rico as the gayest place in the Caribbean.
Remember – this is the home of Ricky Martin as well as some of the best Ru Paul Drag Race girls – Alexis Matteo, Nina Flowers, Cynthia Lee Fontaine to name a few…
Curacao is one of the Caribbean’s smaller islands, with a population of 160,000. It’s located in the south of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela, and is a constituent of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Whilst the Netherlands is one of the absolute best countries to live and travel for LGBTQ folks, Curacao still has an extremely long way to go in terms of its politics and legal system. However, we are starting to see some of that Dutch progressiveness rub off on this magnificent island.
Martinique is part of the overseas territorial collectivity of France, and as such, it is far more progressive in its equality for the LGBTQ community than some of its counterparts. Almost all its 375,000 inhabitants speak French, so those without at least a rudimentary understanding of the native tongue will do well to brush up on their parlez-vous-francais and their oui-oui-bien…
5. Saint Croix
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, which is the gayest Virgin Island of them all? Saint Croix, sweety! Best of all, neighbouring Saint Thomas Island is equally gay-friendly and only 25 minutes away in a seaplane. If you don’t like flying, you can also take a ferry over to Saint Thomas, which takes a couple of hours but is well worth the trip. Saint Croix is part of the U.S. Virgin Islands (not to be confused with the more conservative British Virgin Islands).
Guadeloupe is a collection of six small islands, located south of Antigua and Barbuda. Interestingly, Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy were once considered part of Guadeloupe until a 2003 referendum saw the two islands split off and become their own territory. As part of the French West Indies, Guadeloupe follows many of its parent country’s laws and, as such, is one of the more LGBTQ-friendly islands in the Caribbean.
Located north of the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda is actually a cluster of over a hundred islands, the largest of which is known as Main Island. It’s small but very densely populated. What used to be a Caribbean island notorious for homophobic crime has evolved into a Pink haven, even legalising gay marriage in 2018.
Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean Sea, south of Florida and the Bahamas. It’s the second-most populated island on our rundown with over 11 million residents. Despite having quite an authoritarian government, it is constantly evolving in relation to LGBTQ laws, largely thanks to the efforts of Raul Castro’s daughter, Mariela Castro, who is one of the leading LGBTQ activists in Cuba.
9. Saint Barthelemy
The trés chic Saint Barthelemy (or Saint Barts, as it’s more commonly known) is like Christmas in Disneyland for the LGBTQ community. This teeny-tiny island is another overseas collectivity of France, super-popular with celebs and very welcoming to gay tourists. What teeny-tiny St Barts lacks in terms of a gay parties, it sure makes up for in terms of gay beaches and hotels.
We’re heading back to the Dutch Caribbean for this final main entry on our list of the Caribbean islands safe for gay travellers. Aruba is a constituent country of the Netherlands, an incredibly progressive nation. However, unlike some of the other Dutch islands on this list, Aruba’s LGBTQ equality legislation still needs a lot of work. It’s one of the lowest-ranking gay-friendly Caribbean islands on the Spartacus Gay Travel Index for 2020 at number 78, with a score of minus four.
Caribbean islands to avoid for LGBTQ travellers
There are 8 Caribbean islands where homosexuality is still illegal. Whether these laws are enforced or not is neither here nor there – ultimately, they send a terrible message to LGBTQ locals and travellers alike, and they paint a hideous picture of intolerance towards our community that has no place in the 21st century!
Barbados is by far the worst offender, where LGBTQ folks can wind up with a life sentence just for living their lives, although note that things are quickly . In Antigua and Barbuda, you can be jailed for up to 15 years, while 10 years in the hole is a very real possibility for queer people in Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Nevis, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
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The tiny island of Saba is known mostly for its diving, hiking, and other outdoor activities, but is quickly gaining a reputation as a bastion of tolerance in the Caribbean, too. Saba was the first place in the Caribbean where same-sex couples could legally wed, has a significant gay and lesbian population of its own, and several dive operators on the island run special outings for gay and lesbian travelers.
With its laissez-faire French culture and a myriad of private villas to choose from, St. Barts is has been called the most gay-friendly island in the Caribbean. This is the place to get lost in the Caribbean for a few days, far from the cruise-ship crowds. By any measure, with its mix of celebrities, yachties, high-end shopping, and vibrant nightlife, St. Barts is fabulous.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
Both Dutch St. Maarten and French St. Martin have long had a gay-friendly reputation, with many private villas for rent and beaches and bars where gay and straight couples peacefully coexist. St. Maarten’s reputation was sullied somewhat by a 2004 incident where a gay couple was assaulted near a popular beach bar, but island tourism officials were quick to apologize, and the island remains near the top of the list for many gay Caribbean travelers. Clothing-optional beaches and resorts on the French side of the island earn bonus points. Same-sex marriage is legal here.
Gay travelers in Puerto Rico will find the Caribbean’s only real gay nightlife scene: San Juan highlights include the Atlantic Beach Hotel and Bar (set on a gay beach and with a weekly drag show) and clubs like Eros. On both the mainland and the island of Viequesgay travelers in Puerto Rico have the benefit of protection by U.S. antidiscrimination laws, including the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.
U.S. Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands, St. Croix, in particular, has become a mecca for gay travelers, many of whom wind up at the welcoming Sand Castle on the Beach Resort in Frederiksted. Gay travelers can expect a friendly and tolerant attitude throughout the U.S.V.I., and if public displays of affection are not exactly embraced, the reaction is not likely to be more than a second glance. As with Puerto Rico, U.S. law makes same-sex marriages legal here.
While some Caribbean island privately welcome gay travelers, Curacao has been the most public in its embrace: „With exceptional gay friendly hotels and attractions, [Curacao] encourages gay and lesbian travelers to visit the island and experience its ‚live and let live‘ atmosphere for themselves,“ says the Curacao Tourist Board, which has a marketing campaign aimed at gays and lesbians and includes information on gay-friendly hotels and clubs on its website. Same-sex couples can get married here, too!
Like its Dutch Caribbean neighbors, Curacao and Saba, the oh-so-popular tourist destination of Aruba is one of the gay-friendliest places to travel in the islands. The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts are among several hotels and resorts that bill themselves as welcoming to LGBT visitors; the gay-ownedLittle David Guesthouse is another option. District 7 in Oranjestad is the island’s premier gay bar. All in all, this is a destination that celebrates its diversity openly and fully.
The Mexican Caribbean
The Mexican state of Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, and the Mexican Caribbean coastline (a.k.a. the Riviera Maya) recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Mexico City, and Cancun has been building a reputation as a gay-friendly destination. The city has gay nightclubs downtown and an unofficial gay beach in the Hotel Zone (Playa Delfines), and hosts the annual Cancún International Gay Festival in May and the Cancún Riviera Maya Gay Fall Festival.
Cuba’s gay community has increasingly stepped out of the closet and into the limelight as the island nation has increased its interaction with the world, Fidel Castro’s daughter, Mariela, heads the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and has advocated for LGBT rights. Vedado is Havana’s de facto gay neighborhood, Mi Cayito the unofficial gay beach, and many of the island’s casas particulares (B&Bs) are gay-friendly. Discrimination still lingers, but Cuba has come a long way since the days where gays were imprisoned and officially persecuted.
Ten formerly British West Indies nations still have „buggery“ laws on the books and have displayed various levels of intolerance (ranging from mild disdain to outright hostility and criminal prosecution) toward gay and lesbian residents and travelers.
These include Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Lucia, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.
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Gay-Friendly Hotels in Curacao
You’ve done it—you’ve finally set aside some time for a vacation! You’ve been waiting for a long time to embark on this adventure, and we’re here to make sure it’s as exciting, memorable, and comfortable as it should be. All of the best gay hotels in Curacao are ready to welcome you.
Whether you’re here to dance in the Pride Parade or just want to check out a limited-time art exhibition, your accommodation will ensure you have a warm, welcoming place to rest your head. Do you live to sample the menus at on-site restaurants? We’ve got a hotel for you. Aching to take a dip in the pool after a long day of hiking? Yes, we’ve got that covered as well. From Curacao gay-friendly hotels in the heart of the city to quiet lodgings further out in the suburbs, you’re bound to find something that appeals to you.
Ready to take that next step toward making your dream vacation a reality? Travelocity has got your back—and outstanding deals at the best LGBT-friendly hotels in Curacao. Book with us today and put the dollars you save back into your budget. You’ll soon be packing for you next getaway—it’s time to go and smell the roses.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
The fourth-largest Caribbean island is a gay-friendly U.S. territory that’s home to 3.1 million residents, with at least as many visitors every year. In the capital city of San Juan, LGBT visitors can enjoy Puerto Rican hospitality in its historic downtown, where the culinary and nightlife scenes are booming. In the beachfront neighborhood of Condado, the Atlantic Beach Hotel and Oasis Lounge are regular gay hotspots, both just steps away from the low-key gay-beach area. For a resort that’s lesbian-friendly too, the recently renovated San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino is a favorite for its central location on the beach, spacious balcony rooms, plus live salsa music on weekends.
True to its Dutch heritage, the Lesser Antilles’s island of Aruba is a proud Caribbean paradise ever eager to welcome LGBT travelers. The month of June is the island’s official Pride month, launching a series of events to celebrate diversity in and around the capital city Oranjestad. Resorts and hotels all over Aruba are welcoming but count on the Aruba Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino for Pride season packages, plus adults-only pool and beach areas. Oranjestad also is home to District 7, an LGBT-centric nightclub, lounge, restaurant, and inn (which was once a simpler gay bar called Jimmy’s Place).
Like Aruba, Curacao is a Dutch territory that’s progressive and inclusive, a trademark of the Netherlands. But to welcome gay and lesbian Caribbean visitors, this small island goes the extra mile by being an active member of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA). Plus, the island offers queer travelers guidance with handy PinkCuracaoFloris Suite Hotel Spa and Beach Club Curaçao is the go-to gay hotel in Willemstad, where adult guests can enjoy luxury, privacy, and views of the island’s famously-blue waters. Among Curacao’s flirtier spots is MooMba Beach Club, perched on the island’s most gay-friendly beach and serving up cocktails, live music, fresh seafood, and weekend barbeques.
St. Martin/St. Maarten
St. Martin/St. Maarten is one Caribbean island that’s doubly gay-friendly. As the world’s smallest territory shared by two nations, St. Martin enjoys all the liberties of the French Republic on its northern half, while the southerly St. Maarten is a member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. No matter which side you visit, you can enjoy the island’s easygoing atmosphere.
The French island territory Saint-Barthélemy, nicknamed St. Bart’s, enjoys the same marriage equality as France, as do its sister islands of Martinique, St. Martin, and Guadeloupe. But more than the others, St. Bart’s is among the most gay-friendly Caribbean destinations overall—thanks in part to its ritzy reputation as a celebrity vacation hideaway. The wee island measures just 10 square miles, and LGBT travelers can enjoy relaxed attitudes, even without any official gay bars or Pride events. But at all-welcoming/gay-leaning Saline Beach, travelers relax with or without clothes. And you can patronize gay-owned businesses like colorful Le PashaLa CantinaLe Ti cabaret and tavern in Pointe Milou.
U.S. Virgin Islands
To the east and south of Puerto Rico are the U.S. Virgin Islands, comprised of St. John, St. Thomas, St. Croix, and several minor islands. Their cluster anchors the northern Lesser Antilles, and together they’re among the most gay-friendly Caribbean destinations. Each of the three main islands is blissfully welcoming to all travelers (some of whom take day trips from the neighboring British Virgin Islands), and rainbow stickers adorn many a local business.
St. Thomas has its share of both upscale and casual hotels, restaurants, and attractions, concentrated mainly in Frenchtown (near the cruise ship port). But St. Croix is more populous and has a fun, active LGBT community. Among a handful of gay guesthouses on St. Croix is Frederiksted’s Sand Castle on the Beach, a hit for same-sex weddings and honeymoon packages. Plus, each June St. Croix ushers in STX Pride, with a month full of LGBT events that continue year-round. The organization’s motto is “the most gay friendly island in the Caribbean,” and based on its long roster of local hosts and sponsors, it’s clear how inclusive the destination really is.
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How safe is Puerto Rico for gay travellers?
The #1 pink haven in the Caribbean – that’s the level of safety we’re talking about here! A part of the United States Commonwealth, LGBTQ rights in Puerto Rico are, more or less, in line with those in the US, which makes Puerto Rico a safe haven for the LGBTQ community in the Caribbean. For example, Federal US hate crime laws protecting the LGBTQ community also apply in Puerto Rico. In addition, gay marriage was legalized on the island in 2015 following the momentous Obergefell v Hodges Supreme Court decision. In relation to transgender rights, trans people have been allowed to change their legal gender since 2018.
The gay scene of Puerto Rico
Santurce is where it’s at for queer peeps. Situated in Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan, this area is home to over a dozen LGBTQ establishments, including Oceano, a super-trendy bar and restaurant that serves the best mojitos this side of Cuba. The Bear Tavern, meanwhile, offers delicious tapas with a side helping of Puerto Rican prime beef – by which, I mean, its clientele…!
As fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race will know, Puerto Rico has turned out some of the finest drag artistes on the international stage, including Alexis Mateo and Vanessa Vanjie. Head over to Circo if you fancy a taste of the incredible local drag scene or you just want to shake what the Good Gay God gave you on one of the club’s multiple dance floors. Other highlights include the SX Club, which is packed to the rafters with exotic dancers(!) and Xteamworks, Puerto Rico’s first (and so far, only) gay sauna. There’s also the gay beach of Condado located in front of the Atlantic Beach Hotel.
Gay events in Puerto Rico
There are several fabulous LGBTQ events to be enjoyed at various times of the year in Puerto Rico. The Winter Pride Fest takes place in December – although “winter” is a bit of a reach, considering you can still expect plenty of sun and temperatures in the 80s °F (around 25-30°C).
The biggest and most popular LGBTQ event on the island is Pride Puerto Rico, which is usually held around May-June time in San Juan. What began as a small protest in 1990 has now grown into one of the largest and best Pride events in the Caribbean.
Of course, there are plenty of other things to do in Puerto Rico for those days when your gay energy needs a little time away from the scene to recharge. Old San Juan is equal parts quaint and colourful – a cute combo of local culture and Puerto Rican history, with plenty of places to grab a drink or a bite to eat. It can get busy during peak season, but it’s worth a look for anyone visiting the island.
Beach-lovers can’t go wrong with a visit to Playa Flamenco, one of the most popular non-gay beaches in Puerto Rico. Playa Flamenco looks like a living postcard, with gorgeous white sands stretching out as far as the eye can see – to call it paradise is no exaggeration!
Best gay hotel on the island
Check out the adults-only Coqui del Mar San Juan Guesthouse – “the gayest guesthouse in San Juan” by its own admission! You can book a villa, cabana, poolside room or studio, each self-contained for maximum privacy. It also has a very handsome communal pool in the annex – clothing optional of course!
How safe is Curaçao for gay travellers?
Curacao has long been welcoming gay travellers for years. As Dutch-influenced territory, you can be sure things are relaxed and super safe here! There are plenty of safe spaces and LGBTQ-friendly places to stay in. Most of the islanders adopt a live-and-let-live ideology, which suits us just fine! Being gay has never been a criminal offence on the island, and discrimination based on your orientation was outlawed in 2011. However, whilst gay marriages are not yet legal in Curaçao, a bill to legalise gay marriage is currently going through the courts. There are also no provisions for trans people to change their legal gender.
The gay scene of Curaçao
The first thing that struck us about Curacao is its bright, colourful architecture. If you look at the island from above at a certain angle, I’m almost certain you can make out the Pride flag – if that isn’t a big gay welcome, I don’t know what is! Our favourite place in Curacao is Lyric’s Café, the island’s only regular gay venue. It’s small, but it has tons of personality and charm, with a comfortable lounge area and a dancing pole for when you’re really feeling your oats!
Many Curacao gays gravitate towards the Wet and Wild Beach Club, which is always a good time. The best night is Sunday when the Happy Hour Beach Party takes place from 5pm until 7pm and features the club’s resident DJ, with drinking and dancing going on into the early hours. In terms of gay beaches, the island doesn’t have an official one, but Moomba Beach by the Floris Suite Hotel is an adults-only gay friendly beach where the boys hang out.
Gay events in Curaçao
For such a small island, Curaçao sure knows how to do Pride right! The annual, six-day-long festival takes place in late September. It hosts a battalion of local and international performing artists to thrill and delight the island’s LGBTQ locals and visitors. The festival includes several Pride parties like the Boat Party and the White Party, which are well worth attending. Also, be sure to check out the weekly LGBT happy hour at the Floris Suite Hotel.
Curaçao has plenty of other non-gay sights to see too. The Christoffel National Park in the West End is packed full of local horticulture and features two driving routes and eight hiking trails. These include a two-to-three-hour hike up to the summit of Christoffel Mountain, the highest point on the entire island. It is a sight to behold, but not for the faint of heart!
If history and the arts are your cup of tea, there’s plenty to drink in during your time on the island. Willemstad is the cultural heart of Curacao, home to the Landhuis Bloemhof arts centre and the Gallery Alma Blou, as well as the Museum Kura Hulanda and the Queen Emma Bridge.
Best gay hotel in Curaçao
The two main ones are the and the Avila Beach Hotel. The Avila has a unique and super picturesque location right on the beach, with an all inclusive resort option making it a popular venue for destination weddings and gay commitment ceremonies. The Floris Suite is an adults-only hotel that frequently sponsors gay events like Curaçao Pride and even has a gay Happy Hour in its Rainbow Lounge.
How safe is Martinique for gay travellers?
In terms of its politics and laws, Martinique is one of the more LGBTQ-friendly Caribbean islands. Being a French territory, it decriminalised homosexuality at the same time as its parent country back in 1791 and legalised gay marriage in 2013. Discrimination on the basis of orientation is illegal, gays can adopt and give blood, and trans people can change their legal gender. While gay conversion therapy is still legal, the courts are currently working to outlaw it. Sadly, the island’s legal system doesn’t formally recognise non-binary gender identities yet but, fingers crossed, it’s only a matter of time.
The gay scene of Martinique
Whilst Martinique doesn’t have a gay scene, there are some gay-friendly and gay-owned establishments that are safe and welcoming for LGBTQ travellers. Our advice would be to stay at one of the island’s gay guesthouses like La Kalenda Gay or Le Carbet Gay and ask them if there are any gay parties happening.
What Martinique does have is a gay-friendly beach area. At the far end of the stunningly gorgeous Les Salines beach is an area known as Plage de la Petite Anse des Salines. While it’s not exactly outwardly gay like some of the beaches you might have sauntered onto in the past, there is an unspoken consensus that this a safe place for LGBTQ travellers to congregate and meet other gay travellers and locals. There’s also a gay-friendly nude beach close by called Little Anse des Salines.
Gay events in Martinique
Not having much of a gay scene, you might assume that there aren’t any gay events going on in Martinique either, but there are a couple worth checking out. The Martinique Carnival takes place in late February and is extremely popular with the local LGBTQ community. The carnival is a very Mardi Gras-ish celebration of local culture on the island, which includes male and female performers gender-swapping for a burlesque-themed mock wedding.
Martinique also has a low-key Pride day that takes place every June on the Coin au Carbet beach. Sometimes called the , this spectacular event involves a colorful parade as well as a rainbow crossing painted in the streets of Carbet.
Best gay hotel in Martinique
There may not be any proper gay venues on Martinique, but one place is super-gay, for sure, and that’s the Le Carbet Gay B&B. Le Carbet is ideally situated in the bustling Pointe du Bout beach town. The standout highlight is the stunning roof terrace which features a clothing-optional solarium area.
How safe is Saint Martin/Sint Maarten for gay travellers?
Very safe! This unique Caribbean island is split between two very gay friendly European nations: France and the Netherlands. The Northern part is French domain and referred to as “Saint Martin”. The South is part of the Dutch Caribbean and is called “Sint Maarten”. Because of its unusual territorial situation, LGBTQ equality standards differ between the north and south sections. The north legalised homosexuality in 1791 and gay marriage in 2013, in line with French law. In the south, homosexuality was never considered a crime in the first place, but unlike its parent country, the Netherlands, Sint Maarten is yet to legalise gay marriage.
The gay scene of Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
Our favourite venue in the French part is Eros Club in Marigot, the capital of Saint Martin. It’s only open on Saturday nights from 11pm, but it is the place to be if you love a good party. There’s a battalion of beautiful male dancers, and the local drag queens are an absolute scream. Down south in Sint Maarten, check out L’Escargot, a restaurant with one of the gayest decors we’ve ever clapped eyes on. On Friday nights, the island’s best and brightest cabaret stars put on a fabulous show for diners. Once you’re suitably fed, watered and entertained, head over to Bliss, a gay-friendly restaurant and nightclub, to dance the night away under the stars.
There are also a few gay clothing-optional beach areas packed with hotties: Orient Bay Beach and Happy Bay Beach in the north and Cupecoy Beach in the south. You can thank me later!
Gay events in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
Neither side of the island currently has an official Pride festival, but there are two carnivals during the springtime. The French side of the island has its carnival in late February, while the Dutch side’s carnival is later in the year, around April. Both events are pretty gay – I mean, they’re carnivals! – but the French one is certainly gayer. The Mardi Gras Parade takes place towards the end and sees performers swarm the streets dressed up to the nines. Meanwhile, the Dutch carnival takes place over the course of a month, so if you’re visiting the island around that time, you can’t miss it!
Best gay hotel in Saint Martin/Sint Maarten
If you’re looking for the gayest place to stay on the island, we recommend the Paradise Peak (formerly ‘Villa Rainbow‘). It’s a small, quiet, adult-only guesthouse with a clothing-optional pool. It is tucked away up in Marigot’s Pic Paradis hills where you have THE best views of the island.
How safe is Saint Croix for gay travellers?
No problems with safety here! The Virgin Islands are governed by the United States and, as such, are similar in terms of LGBTQ rights, which includes full marriage equality in line with US law. Saint Croix also passed its hate crime law in 2014, which includes provisions for crimes committed against LGBTQ people, of which there have been some reported cases. LGBTQ couples can adopt, and lesbian couples can access fertility treatment. While there is no legal ban against trans people changing their legal gender, the Superior Court of USVI has said they aren’t aware that such a petition has ever been lodged, so there isn’t yet a legal framework in place.
The gay scene of Saint Croix
Head to Frederiksted where most restaurants, bars and clubs proudly fly the rainbow flag! Specific places to check out include The Palms at Pelican Cove on Friday and Saturday nights. It can get busy, so we’d recommend making a reservation. The Palms also opens onto a gay-friendly beach area with lots of sights to see – and I’m not just talking about the sun, sea and sand! Our other top gay beach is in front of the Sand Castle on the Beach, which also happens to be our favourite place to stay on the island; more on that later.
Gay events in Saint Croix
When it comes to celebrating Gay Pride, Saint Croix is all for it. The Saint Croix Pride includes a launch party at Point Udall, a Pride art exhibition at the Caribbean Museum Centre for the Arts, and a glorious Pride Parade. The highlight is the popular after-party following the parade which kicks off at Sand Castle on the Beach.
If you’ve had your fill of gay fun and frolics for a while, check out what else Saint Croix has to offer. There’s a fabulous boat tour of the Virgin Islands that is an incredible way to spend a day. The high price may be a bit of a barrier for couples, but if you’re travelling with a group, the boat seats up to nine guests, which makes it a much more affordable prospect.
For those who would prefer to keep their feet on the ground, groups of up to six people can go on a private day tour of the island that includes stops at Mount Pellier Domino Club, the Salt River Bay National Historical Park and Ecological Preserve, the Cruzan Rum Distillery and more!
Best gay hotel in Saint Croix
Situated in Frederiksted, Sand Castle on the Beach is at the epicentre of all things gay in Saint Croix. By far the most popular resort for gay travellers, the Sand Castle also happens to open out onto the most popular gay beach on the island – score!
How safe is Guadeloupefor gay travellers?
So safe that the island doesn’t have any documented history of any homophobic or transphobic hate crime! The legal framework of Guadaloupe is shaped by France, which includes full marriage equality (since 2013) and a full set of anti-discrimination laws. LGBTQ couples can also adopt and trans people can change their legal gender. Where Guadeloupe falls down is that it doesn’t yet recognise those who identify as non-binary, and like many other Caribbean islands, it hasn’t banned conversion therapy.
The gay scene of Guadeloupe
Guadeloupe doesn’t have any gay bars or clubs. Whilst there are many gay-friendly bars on the island, if you’re hoping to paint the town all the colours of the rainbow and party till the early hours, then you’re better off heading to Curaçao. Guadaloupe is geared towards LGBTQ travellers who want to chill. If this is your gig, then you’ll love the island’s gay friendly nude beaches – Anse Tarare in Saint Francois and Plage Gay Naturiste de Sainte Rose.
Gay events in Guadeloupe
It’s very unusual for a city or country without a gay scene to have a Pride festival, and Guadeloupe, unfortunately, doesn’t buck that particular trend. However, like many of our other favourite gay-friendly Caribbean islands, Guadeloupe doesn’t disappoint when it comes to its annual carnival. Taking place over two whole months between January and March, the Guadeloupe Carnival promises “colour, music, happiness and laughter” – all sounds pretty gay to me!
Guadeloupe may not have much in the way of gay nightlife, but it’s the perfect travel destination for LGBTQ travellers who prefer their adventures away from the nightlife scene. Guadeloupe National Park is a sprawling nature reserve packed with local flora and fauna, several native bird species and fabulous hiking trails, including a two-hour climb up the La Soufriere volcano that promises some spectacular views once you reach the top.
There’s also the Blue Lagoon Tour, a guided boat tour that includes visits to the teeny-tiny but gorgeous island of Ilet Caret, the Grand Cul-de-Sac Marin Natural Reserve and the Moustique River, with opportunities to go snorkelling and check out the mesmerizingly beautiful coral reef.
Best gay hotel in Guadeloupe
Of all the options available to LGBTQ travellers, our favourite is the male-only guesthouse, Les Jardins de Zephyr in Basse-Terre. You’re welcomed at the Zephyr with a fabulous evening buffet on the night of your arrival, where the adorable owners, Sylvain and Christophe, will fill you in on all the best places to visit on your trip.
How safe is Bermuda for gay travellers?
Despite Bermuda’s history of intolerance towards the LGBTQ community, the island nation has evolved massively in recent years to position itself as one of the top destinations for gay travellers in the Caribbean. In 2018, Bermuda legalised gay marriage and also allowed LGBTQ couples to adopt. It also has a generous set of anti-discrimination laws in place to protect the LGBTQ community which includes hate speech.
The gay scene of Bermuda
There are a handful of queer places in Bermuda to check out in the capital city of Hamilton. The main one is Café Cairo where you can grab a fabulous dinner followed by drinks and dancing until 3am courtesy of the resident DJ. There’s even a hookah bar if that’s your thing. The is a gorgeous Italian restaurant with some of the best food we’ve ever tasted and a positive reputation with the LGBTQ community.
There is a gay beach area situated between Chaplin Bay and Horseshoe Beach, near the parishes of Southampton and Warwick. While it’s a great place to meet other gay travellers and locals, cruising is a big no-no as police regularly patrol the area, particularly in the summer months.
Gay events in Bermuda
In August 2019, Bermuda had its very first Pride festival (the 2020 Pride was cancelled due to the global pandemic), attracting around 6,000 people – that’s almost 10% of the island’s entire population! Bermuda Pride is a 3-day festival, which includes a parade and plenty of parties largely based around Victoria Park. It is supported by the Rainbow Alliance of Bermuda, which does fantastic things for the LGBTQ community of the island.
Best gay hotel in Bermuda
Our top pick is Aunt Nea’s Inn in St George. This super quaint homely inn is lesbian-owned and comes highly recommended by customers on TripAdvisor. It is located in a quiet part of town, away from the large crowds, everything here geared towards harmony and pure relaxation.