Curaçao---Gay Friendly Caribbean Island
Publication: Outlooks Magazine (Read)
Date Published: 12/7/2008
As winter approaches gay snowbirds often begin their planning for that much needed winter-break somewhere sunny, warm and by the ocean. The Caribbean Islands have long been a favorite winter get-away destination for Canadians but they are not traditionally renowned for their gay friendliness. Just ask Rosie O’Donnell about the welcome she received in Nassau, Bahamas when her inaugural Family Cruise docked there in 2004 amidst a flurry of local anti-gay religious demonstrations. Or perhaps you’ve heard some of the stories about Jamaica and their homophobic behavior amongst some local residents. Well now there’s some good news as Curaçao proudly demonstrates their gay-friendly reception for GLBT tourists and welcomes you to their tropical island with some of the most beautiful white sandy beaches and luxury resorts in the Caribbean.
Located just a two and a half hour flight from Miami, Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is perfectly situated just outside of the hurricane belt. This Dutch influence may be partially responsible for the gay-friendly attitude of the local residents. On this tropical island you will find 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 the island will enjoy the thirty plus white sandy beaches, 18-hole championship golf course, amazing dolphin interaction program, casinos, gourmet restaurants, European shops and much more.
Curaçao’s rich history comes alive in the stunning architecture to be seen all across the island—especially in its capital city, Willemstad. Established in the mid-1600s, Willemstad’s diverse buildings recall the quaint designs of Amsterdam, with exquisite 17th and 18th century Dutch colonial buildings not to be found anywhere else outside of the Netherlands. Willemstad’s traditional Dutch styles were modified to accommodate the island’s dry and breezy climate, Caribbean accents such as verandas, porches, fretwork, and shutters were added. The pastel colour scheme introduced a bright, bold palette which distinguishes this island from many others. In 1997, the UNESCO World Heritage Site committee selected the historic city center of Willemstad—one of just six Caribbean sites chosen—because of its “outstanding value and integrity, which illustrates the organic growth of a multicultural community over three centuries, and preserves to a high degree significant elements.” Strolling around the town you can enjoy these sights along with many relaxing cafes, bars and restaurants.
Although there are no exclusively gay accommodations on the island there are many resorts who welcome the GLBT community with open arms. As a demonstration of their commitment to embracing gay travelers Hotel Kura Hulanda, Lodge Kura Hulanda, Avila Hotel, Hilton Curaçao, Floris Suite Hotel, Sunset Waters Beach Resort, Lions Dive Hotel, Papagayo Beach Resort, Habitat Dive Resort , Waterside Apartments along with Yellow Tour Info Center, Explore Curaçao and International Accommodations & Concierge Services all joined the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association (IGLTA) to further their gay friendly statements with real support for the community.
The dedicated GLBT website gaycuracao.com lists the gay-friendly weekend hot spots, citing the gay gars being Limbo Bar (located at Keizershof in Otrobanda), Lyric's Café frequented by locals (located at the Waterfort Arches in Punda) and It's my Life (located near Yolanda snack at Groot Kwartier). Additional gay-friendly places are Mambo Beach which is the place to be every Saturday night while Tu Tu Tango is a Friday night hot-spot. Wet & Wild is the Sunday night destination, Ay Caramba on Tuesday<