This sexy island in paradise is an unexpected gay haven

Photo by Ivan Quintanilla

Need a gay getaway? Puerto Rico is serving hot tropical vibes, all year long.  

This Caribbean US territory is the perfect weekend getaway, with direct flights from many major cities, a culture that feels familiar and foreign all at the same time, and warm weather 365 days a year—all without even needing a passport.  

For a short visit, focus on San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital and home to the largest queer community on the island. It is also the LGBTQ nightlife center for, arguably, all of the Caribbean. 


Photo courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

With almost 300 miles of coastline, you’ll never be far from the sea in Puerto Rico. For the “gay beach” in San Juan, head to the Condado neighborhood, roughly between Calle Vendig and Condado Avenue. When you’re ready for a casual lunch, the outdoor terrace of Wicked Lily overlooks this stretch of sand and is a great spot to inspect the crowd from above. Feeling fruity? The piña colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico and Piñaloka has an outpost near the beach in Condado that serves fresh cocktails inside a pineapple–refreshing for both the body and Instagram feed. To keep the cocktails flowing after your beach day, walk over to Oasis, Condado’s favorite LGBTQ bar.

If you’re searching for a more zen experience, Paddle Yoga Puerto Rico blends stand-up paddle boarding and yoga, while floating on the calm waters of the Laguna del Condado. 

Photo courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

The Puerto Rican art scene has also been heating up in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood. The (usually) yearly festival, Santurce Es Ley, invites internationally recognized artists to create vibrant murals with Puerto Rico’s finest, up and down La Calle Cerra. The result has turned the area’s buildings into colorful canvases celebrated worldwide. For a guided art walk through Santurce’s El Gandul community join The Art Walk PR. You’ll learn about the neighborhood’s history, its artists, and the push to keep the local flavor front and center. Should you want to leave your artistic mark on the island, The Art Walk PR can also arrange immersive experiences with local artists, where you can assist in painting a neighborhood mural. 

Santurce Murals. Photo courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

After your creative day, reward your artistic endeavors with cheap drinks and sidewalk dancing at the lively El Watusi, one of Santurce’s most popular chinchorros (neighborhood dive bar).

NEXT PAGE – Sultry nights and steamy stays in San Juan