Lady loving just got hotter with LGBTQ+ friendly travel destination Curaçao. With the lure of a picture perfect postcard aesthetic — without the homophobia sometimes associated with cultural traditions in the Caribbean — this small island has offerings that will satisfy the queer traveller’s heart.
The ABC island in the Southern Dutch Caribbean with the ‘live and let live’ philosophy is a hidden travel gem located just outside of the Hurricane Belt. With 35 stunning beaches, 55 cultures and a lengthy list of travel activities from snorkeling and pristine diving to exploring and shopping and more — this inclusive island should be on your vacation radar.
Unlike other islands that are less accepting of LGBTQ+ folks, Curaçao has the highest membership rate of business with the IGLTA (International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association) and encourages visits from queers of all walks of life. Let’s talk about why Curaçao should top your gay travel list!
They do destination weddings for queer couples
Same-sex wedding ceremonies are a go on this beautiful island — making it an excellent pick as a wedding destination for queer couples sniffing out a place to tie the knot. Gays too can exchange vows on a beach as a sun sets behind them — with the option to follow the occasion with a reception in a nearby venue that will make it a trip to remember.
Though same-sex marriage is still on its way to being recognized under the law in Curaçao, the tight-knit, welcoming community of the island still encourages couples to exchange their promises on their land. With a couple LGBTQ+ weddings happening each month, event planners like Matsy Cijntje, founder of Eventi Diverso, are kept busy preparing for commitment and symbolic ceremonies, vow renewals and more.
It’s definitely a potential same-sex wedding destination that the LGBTQ+ community should know about.
The picturesque island promises perfect date nights
Whether you’re taking a walk through Willemstad to enjoy the shops and charming European colonial architecture, learning new things at the museums or dining at a local restaurant, Curaçao offers a variety of things to do for a sweet date night.
Relish in the idyllic weather during the day by a cove in Playa Abou or Playa Kenepa and then check out local listings in the K-Pasa guide to see what’s happening in the evening. Both the backdrop of the adorable metropolitan area and scenic coasts make for cute vacation photos #love.
Long walks on the beach can be a real thing
Just off the coast of Venezuela, Curaçao has a tropical climate that offers a perfect temperature to the people on the island year round. An ideal destination for both adventurers and beach bums, the classic Caribbean blue waters surrounding the land offer fascinating reefs and pretty salt-water fish as well as powder-soft sand your toes can curl into with delight. Despite some rocky shores and sharp drops leading to the ocean, there’s still much beach to be enjoyed along the coastline.
Pro tip: Klein Curaçao (Little Curaçao) is a bity island eight miles off the south coast and can be reached by boat — it offers a neat old lighthouse and shipwrecks to check out.
Quirks about the island will generate fantastic memories
It’s impossible to forget sharing a moment on a bridge that moves! While most pontoon bridges are usually temporarily placed, Curaçao’s Queen Emma Bridge has been around since it was built in 1888. Known as ‘Our Swinging Old Lady’, it connects Punda and Otrobanda districts and crosses St. Anna Bay. The floating bridge swings to make way for boats to pass and though it’s simple, tourists find it amazing.
If you venture away from the more urban spots, Shete Boka or Christoffel National Parks wait to be explored, romantic Hato Caves exist and never forget that the Blue Curaçao distillery is on the island.
Curaçao has a pride that every gay would be happy to experience
In addition to the ‘live and let’ attitude of the small island, a group of folks in Curaçao have dedicated themselves to normalizing the gay.
According to Karen Felida of Renaissance Curaçao Resort & Casino, Pride is something to get excited about on the island (but let’s be honest, it’s something to get excited about everywhere). In recent years, the ‘Pride Walk’ starts and ends right by the Renaissance.
Side note: never forget that Curaçao is where one of the largest and longest Carnival spectacles happen in the Caribbean.
Head down to Curacao for their sixth Pride — the four day long event happens next Sept. 27-30 2018.
Image credit: Eventi Diverso, Curacao Tourism and Curacao Pride