Gay Vacations in Puerto Rico

Sunbathers on Flamenco Beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico
Flamenco Beach, Puerto Rico (courtesy, Puerto Rico Tourism)

Puerto Rico Highlights

  • Winter and spring are expensive seasons. From mid-December to mid-April, snowbird tourists fleeing from cold northern climates flock to Puerto Rico. Winter is the driest season along the coasts but can be wet in mountain areas. Temperatures year-round have a relatively small range from 75°F to 85°F, but August can be the hottest and wettest month.
  • Driving and parking is a pain in Old San Juan. The narrow cobblestone streets were made for horse carriages. Opt instead for taxis or tourist shuttles.
  • Head to the Old San Juan for creative dining. Although Puerto Rico does not have a signature cuisine, the section of the Old City called SoFo (South of Fortaleza) is brimming with cool restaurants serving creative fusion cuisine.

Looking more like a lush province of Spain versus an American territory, Puerto Rico is one of the most foreign experiences you can have in the U.S. Plus, it's one of the gayest vacation experiences in all the (often excruciatingly hetero) Caribbean.

Most of Puerto Rico’s surprisingly out gay and lesbian infrastructure is found in the chic up-and-coming area of Condado, where Gucci and Prada stores are elbowing their way in, and the nightlife scene is migrating to the grittier Santurce area. There are a smattering of guesthouses and hotels specifically catering to gay travelers in the Condado and Ocean Park areas. Both districts have somewhat cruisy beaches, but the beach in front of the gay-marketed Atlantic Beach Hotel, called Condado Beach, can be jam-packed with gays and lesbians especially during the winter. The Atlantic Beach Hotel has a great outdoor patio bar overlooking the sunbathing area, and the Ocean Park residential 'hood has a gay-popular beach as well. San Juan even has bear groups, queer sports groups, and lesbian groups.

Puerto Rico has a lot going for it beyond the gay and lesbian scene, of course. You can explore the verdant central mountains with their pretty villages and coffee plantations, where English is barely spoken. Puerto Rico has 19 forest preserves, where visitors can hike or picnic. In the Karst Country on the north coast, caves hold huge underground water systems. And then there's the neighboring isle of Vieques just off the northeast coast, once used by the U.S. for bombing practice, but now used by queer tourists as a mellow getaway to rent villas and hang out in gay-popular inns.

Published: 17 Jul 2008 | Last Updated: 6 Aug 2012
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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