Beach, Please! Top Seven LGBT-Friendly Caribbean Destinations

Author & Curator: 
Mark's List
Life’s a beach, so let’s play in the sand! As the holiday season approaches and 2017 looms the horizon, an island getaway is the perfect way to celebrate another successful (or stressful) year and enjoy some much needed R&R. If you’re yearning to bask in the sun on a pristine beach but not travel too far from South Florida, the Caribbean offers a variety of LGBT friendly destinations to choose from. From luxurious retreats to off the beaten path enclaves, we’ve picked seven distinct destinations to tempt every one of your traveling desires. Grab the tanning oil and your speedos! You want to look your best in case you meet a sexy native.

Aruba
Aruba is one of the gay-friendliest places to travel in the islands and is known for celebrating diversity.  LGBT-friendly accommodations include The Bucuti and Tara Beach Resorts and the gay-owned Little David’s Guesthouse. For nightlife, check out Jimmy’s Place, the islands premiere gay bar.

The Bahamas
Unlike Barbados and Jamaica, The Bahamas have slowly but surely warmed up the LGBT community over the last decade. In addition to various gay and gay-friendly cruises to The Bahamas, the Tiamo Resort in South Andros has gained popularity becoming an International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) member. Described as “a luxury Robinson Crusoe boutique hotel,” the Tiamo Resort consists of ten exclusives villas built in the traditional Bahamian style.

Cuba
Now that the ban on traveling to Cuba has been lifted, the island has become increasingly popular among travelers. Fidel Castro's daughter, Mariela, heads the Cuban National Center for Sex Education and has advocated for LGBT rights. Many of the island's B&Bs (casas particulares) are gay-friendly. But the hottest spots on the island are Vedado, Havana's de facto gay neighborhood, and Mi Cayito the unofficial gay beach.

Curacao
Hosting the week-long South Caribbean Pride Festival in May, Curacao is one of the most gay-friendly islands in the Caribbean. A whopping 17 hotels and attractions holding membership in the IGLTA. Check out Café de Heeren, Bermuda Caribbean Discotheque and Mambo beach club for an evening of dinner, drinks, music and dancing.

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Puerto Rico
Trendy neighborhoods like Condada and Sancture make San Juan one of the most gay-friendly destinations in the Caribbean. The Calle Vendig area features a popular gay beach, weekly drag shows and plenty of cafes and restaurants. Check out the Atlantic Beach Hotel and the gay-owned Oceano. Another popular LGBT destination in Puerto Rico is Vieques Island, which features a variety of LGBT-friendly guesthouses.

St. Martin/St. Maarten
If you’re looking for a more lavish retreat, St. Martin/St. Maarten is the place to be. Featuring touches of European culture, this two-culture island is known for its French (St. Martin) and Dutch (St. Maarten) influences. Located near Cupecoy Beach, one of St. Maarten’s clothing optional gay beaches, is the Rainbow Beach Club, which is the only gay guesthouse on the island.  Additionally, Belmond La Samanna and Sonesta Ocean Point (adults only) are both IGLTA members and are very welcoming the LGBT community.  For drag entertainment, head to L’Escargot for French cuisine and a fabulous show.

US Virgin Islands
The U.S. Virgin Islands consist of St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. John, which are all accessible to one another by ferry if you’re into island hopping. While St. Thomas has a nightlife that caters to the LGBT community, St. Croix is largely considered the “gay mecca” of the U.S. Virgin Islands. In St. Croix travelers can check into the gay guesthouse Sand Castle on the Beach or The Palms at Pelican Cove.

What are some of your favorite Caribbean destinations?  Let us know on Facebook.

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