Many LGBT travelers assume (incorrectly) that the Caribbean is pretty much off-limits to them. But that's not at all the case. While some destinations like Jamaica, for example, are widely-regarded as unwelcoming to gay travelers, no two islands are the same, and there are plenty of fantastic places that welcome LGBT travelers with that warm Caribbean hospitality.
Haven't heard of Saba? Maybe you should go now, while it's still a secret! Among the many small islands in the Dutch Caribbean, Saba stands out for being especially welcoming to the LGBT Community. And, since the damage from Hurricane Irma was minimal, they're open for business! Saba was the first in the Caribbean to legalize same-sex marriage and the tiny island has long been a destination for gay and lesbian travelers who prefer the quiet, secluded vacation as opposed to a big gay party.
If you're looking for a gay-friendly resort in Saba, we'd recommend the Queens Garden Resort and Spa. With 12 spacious, private one- and two-bedroom suites, this is Saba's premier luxury resort, with each room featuring an open air Jacuzzi, with views to the sea and mountains below. You'll enjoy constant cool breezes, no mosquitoes, the largest swimming pool on the island, easy access to hiking trails, and top-notch personalized service from the resort's international staff. The other draw for this resort is The Queen's Gardens Restaurant, which offers fine dining for three meals, per day, with renowned features international cuisine, including Caribbean cuisine, which can be enjoyed in the dining room or under the radiant stars and moon on one of the resort's outdoor terraces.
Curaçao, also a Dutch Caribbean island, is known for its sugary-soft beaches tucked into coves, as well as the abundant marine life surrounding its coral reefs. The Dutch colonial architecture makes the bustling capital a fun, authentic place to visit. It isn't overrun with tourist traps. The island is perhaps the most welcoming of all to gay tourists, with an annual Gay Pride Week, and South Caribbean Pride Week.
Probably the most welcoming hotel in the entire Caribbean for LGBT travelers, the Floris Suite Hotel - Spa and Beach Club boasts that probably half of the hotels identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. This is an "adults only" resort, which actually serves as the site of some of the island's pride festivals, and the Rainbow Lounge, specifically caters to LGBT travelers (and their friends).
It's easy to forget that Cancun's gorgeous beaches actually front the Caribbean Sea, since so many folks think of it primarily as a Mexico destination. Well, it's that too! Cancun has lots of great resort options for LGBT travelers, but chief among them is the Sandos Cancun Resort.
Sandos has other hotel properties on the Mayan Riviera, and all of them are members of IGLTA. The International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association is the world's leading global travel network dedicated to connecting and educating LGBT travelers with the businesses that welcome and support them. Huckleberry Travel is a proud IGLTA member, as well.
We've started to think of cruise ships as floating all-inclusive resorts at sea, and the great news is that nearly all of the major cruise lines are LGBT-friendly. Larger cruise lines like Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are large enough to have lots of options for every kind of traveler, but even on a smaller ship premium cruise line like Celebrity or Princess, you'll find that there are nightly LGBT meet-ups scheduled on the daily agenda.
A cruise can be a great way to see some of the islands in the Caribbean that are less friendly to LGBT travelers. If you want to see Jamaica or Grand Cayman, but you don't want to risk an uncomfortable interaction with hotel staff at a resort on the island, taking a cruise can be a great way to experience some of the things that those destinations have to offer.
St. Maarten, St. Barts, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands also have great options for LGBT travelers, and are among the most gay-friendly destinations in the Caribbean. And, as they recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria, they'll be looking for your tourism dollars to help them rebuild. We're monitoring the recovery efforts there, so if you're thinking of traveling to any of those places, let us know, and we'll fill you in on the latest!