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My bf and I are planning a week in the Caribbean this fall, and he loves all-inclusives (I don't!!). Any leads on gay-friendly all inclusive resorts? And gay-friendly islands, for that matter? Any islands to stay away from besides the obvious, like Jamaica? 

And best of all, can anybody really give me a foolproof argument to convince him that all-inclusives are just not for a gay couple? (You get 10 points if you do!!)

Thanks!

Dave

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Hi Dave,
I recently returned from a trip to Curacao, which is a little of the beaten path and more "authentic" than say Aruba. It is also very gay friendly.I actually have a story coming out on Curacao, a tiny Dutch island, in the Summer "Adventure and Eco Travel issue" of EXHALE, the international gay and lesbian travel magazine, free and online at www.exploretheunexpected.com, starting tomorrow (6/16). We also have a story on neighboring Aruba, much better known to Americans.

I stayed at a wonderful gay-owned resort in Curacao, Kura Hulanda (www.kurahulanda.com), which I write about in the story. They have a resort in Willemstad (the capital city) and a Beach Club/resort on the beautiful western coastline. It is not generally all-inclusive, although they may have some packages that would be considered such. You can do a "best of both worlds" package, where you stay in the city for a couple nights and then switch to the beach resort. Curacao is also away from the hurricane track, so that's a definite plus for travel in the Fall. US dollars are accepted everywhere and English is spoken everywhere.

I don't know about all-inclusive resorts there, although IGLTA may be a good resource to find them. I would say that all-inclusives generally attract a demographic that you might think of as "Midwesterners with three kids that bring the kids there to do their own thing while mommy and daddy get drunk." So you have to deal with both screaming kids and rowdy adults. You rarely leave the resort in all-inclusive places, so you will not likely see the beautiful landscape or interesting cultures in a new destination. You don't get to mingle with locals to get a true feel for the place.

I have heard from many travelers who feel "trapped" in all-inclusive resorts. I also know of a great, small LGBT resort in St. Croix, USVI, called Sandcastle on the Beach. The nice thing about St. Croix is that you don't have to worry about Customs and Passports. You might want to check it out at www.sandcastleonthebeach.com.

If you contact either of the resorts I mentioned, please let them know that you were referred by EXHALE and they might offer you a special discount. We currently have several other Caribbean destinations that you might want to peruse in EXHALE's Beaches and Cruises issue, which is the "current issue" on www.exploretheunexpected.com until Adventure and Eco Travel goes live. After that, it will be archived. Please consider a free 2010 digital subscription to EXHALE and help spread the word about this great new travel resource for our community. Good luck planning your trip!

-- Aaron
Believe it or not, Club Med is extremely gay friendly. They were the original host of Atlantis and often have weeks for Olivia members.
I'd have to agree with Aaron. Curacao even has an "alternative" website, www.gaycuracao.com. It's a longer trip, but depending on when you leave, it's below the hurricane belt, something to consider prior to mid-November. The island itself is spectacular, with arguably the Caribbean's prettiest capital in Willemstad, delightful small coves, terrrific scuba, surprisingly cosmopolitan restaurants, fascinating 19th-century landhuizen...

All-inclusives get a bad rap and rep, especially for LGBT travelers (Sandals forbade same-sex couples for years, and still might, haven't checked... but you'd feel uncomfortable nonetheless). I'm hardly a fan of all-inclusives, most of which lack local flavor and flair. But I do understand those who seek hassle-free one-stop shopping. And there ARE smaller, more intimate and/or luxurious all-inclusives. Just not particularly gay-friendly options.

St. Croix for years was the LGBT Mecca. There's a nice little resort Sand Castle on the Beach at its western end by the relatively unspoiled colonial town of Frederiksted.

In general, the French islands have always been quite "tolerant." Depending on your budget, I love the islands OFF Guadeloupe, which are affordable but less accessible. Les Saintes are like St. Barts without the prices and attitude (and I love St. Barts!). In fact, Auberge les Petits Saints aux Anacardies used to be run by a very out couple; again, may still be, just haven't checked lately (drawback is that it isn't on a beach)...

St. Martin/Maarten has fab restaurants, not much in way of nightlife, but Cupecoy Beach has a gay section.

And for nightlife, of course, San Juan, Puerto Rico has a thriving LGBT scene.
Look into the new W resort on Viegues Island in Puerto Rico

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