BEACH PLEASE THE MOST LGBTQ-FRIENDLY ISLANDS BY MALCOLM TROYER
Looking for sun, sand and diversity? Then you should give any these gay-friendly islands a try. These island destinations promise relaxed attitudes and buzzy bars, beaches and nightclubs. So pack your sunscreen and sunglasses and head to any one of these islands and have great time. ARUBA Like its Dutch neighbors, Saba and Curaçao, the popular island of Aruba embraces diversity. Dance the night away at Oranjestad newcomer @7, a vibrant nightclub with five different party areas. LGBTQ-friendly hotel options include Bucuti & Tara Beach Resort or gay-owned Little David Guesthouse.
CUBA Cuba’s gay community has come a long way in recent years. With Raúl Castro’s daughter, Mariela, leading the Cuban National Center for Sex, the country is becoming increasingly more LGBTQ-friendly. Most of Cuba’s gay social scene takes place on the streets. Check out Vedado, Havana’s once mafia-run gay district or Mi Cayito, the unofficial gay beach. CURACAO This teeny island just off the coast of Venezuela doesn’t hold back with its hospitality for gay travelers. “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. Most of the hotels on the island are gay-friendly; Baoase Luxury Resort is a favorite stay for lux-seeking couples. Same-sex marriage is also legal.
GRAND CANARIA, CANARY ISLANDS Carnival is a big draw for LGBTQ travelers, with an incredible Drag Queen festival and a major contest that attracts the hottest gay talent from all over Europe. The gay social scene descends upon Yumbo Centre, a four-story mega shopping and leisure center packed with bars, cafes, restaurants and a large outdoor area for events. Stay nearby at Gay Paso Chico in Playa del Ingles, which is within walking distance of Grand Canaria’s most famous gay beach, Maspalomas, located at Kiosk #7 (aka, The No. 7). IBIZA, SPAIN Ibiza is by far the most popular of Spain’s four Balearic Islands. The small Mediterranean island is infamous for its vibrant nightlife scene. Most of the island’s gay culture assembles on the south end of the island, where clubbing reigns supreme. Head to the terrace at Bar Mona Lisa for cocktails and the occasional celebrity sighting. Then nurse your hangover the next day at Es Cavellet, the gay nudist beach at the southern end of the island.
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