Gay Puerto Rico Travel Guide
Holidays and Travel 25th Feb, 2022
Table of Contents
Gay Puerto Rico – a Caribbean island and an unincorporated territory of the United States.
It’s about 1,000 miles southeast of Miami, Florida, on the northeastern shore of the Caribbean Sea. Gay Puerto Rico is a place where the old world collides with the new on a small island that offers a vast array of one-of-a-kind experiences.
It is also considered the world’s oldest colony. History, culture, delectable cuisine, magnificent beaches, majestic mountains, relaxation, and adventure – it’s all here in this sun-drenched Caribbean haven.
The island, also known as “La Isla del Encanto,” is full of welcoming, kind, and friendly people. Instead of feeling like a guest, you’ll feel like a member of the family.
There’s a celebration of happiness and life, a vivid cultural experience, soul food, and a fascinating rhythm around every corner.
This place is a popular LGBTQ+ travel destination year-round thanks to a welcoming local community.
It’s a lovely place where gay visitors may enjoy a quiet vacation soaking up the sun, a hot city evening club-hopping, or an exciting day visiting all the magnificent sights!
Gay Puerto Rico has long been regarded as one of the Caribbean’s most gay-friendly islands. This is an open, welcoming, and friendly island, with countless nightclubs, pubs, hotels, and other venues embracing gay and lesbian guests.
If you’re looking for somewhere to go out at night, San Juan has plenty of options, particularly in Condado, a popular gay beach neighbourhood. These hotspots are among the best nightlife destinations in the city for open-minded tourists and locals.
These popular gay and lesbian vacation spots are sure to make you feel welcome, whether you’re going alone for a private escape or traveling with your partner.
If you are thinking about going somewhere else you can try other Gay Travel Guides.
Remember to always check out the latest rules and restrictions before you leave.
Gay Scene in Gay Puerto Rico
Gay travellers to Gay Puerto Rico will find a plethora of gay and lesbian events, bars, and attractions. Every year, the island hosts two massive pride parades.
San Juan, Gay Puerto Rico’s capital, is home to the majority of gay clubs and LGBTQ+ activities. It’s one of the ideal destinations to visit for LGBTQ+ travellers because of its huge metropolitan population and many gay-friendly areas.
There’s enough to do and see in San Juan, and it’s worth spending at least a few days there before exploring the rest of the island. Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Condado, and Ocean Park are also popular neighbourhoods.
In San Juan, there is no specific gay neighbourhood; the city’s LGBTQ+ bars and clubs are scattered across the city, but most places in San Juan are gay-friendly.
You may spend a half-day wandering Old San Juan, which features blue cobblestone streets, open plazas, and a variety of fantastic boutique shops, all of which are designed in the style of Spanish architecture.
Since Gay Puerto Rico has a tropical environment, you’ll be able to enjoy beach weather all year round.
You can check out San Juan’s most popular gay bar, Circo Bar – it is a popular hangout for both tourists and locals because holds RuPaul’s Drag Race viewing parties and is known for late-night dancing with some of the city’s best DJs on weekends.
You might also find yourself wandering around the Eleanor Roosevelt district, it is a little further south than the other gay neighbourhoods of Condado, Santurce, and Ocean Park in San Juan, but it comes alive with the city’s LGBTQ+ population every Thursday night.
Wherever you go, Gay Puerto Rico has a lot to offer as the place itself has openly embraced the LGBTQ+ community. Since 2003, same-sex relationships have been legalised in Gay Puerto Rico, while same-sex marriage and adoptions have been permitted and legalised since 2015.
Gay Puerto Rico Safety
With a few exceptions, Gay Puerto Rico is generally considered to be safe.
Though certain areas are more dangerous than others, the most serious threat is theft, such as pickpocketing or carjacking. Pickpockets are more prevalent in tourist locations and on public transportation.
Travellers and people walking alone are common targets for muggings and fraud in urban areas. Taxi drivers, like those in major cities around the United States, have a reputation for overcharging customers.
When visiting Gay Puerto Rico, keep in mind which parts of the island are safe to visit and which should be avoided.
Exercise common sense and be cautious enough to avoid such an unpleasant situation, just as you would in any other part of the world.
Best Time to Visit Gay Puerto Rico
You must be wondering when is the best time to visit Gay Puerto Rico? The best time to visit Gay Puerto Rico is between mid-April and mid-June, just after the bustling winter season and before the rainy summer season.
The Spring season is also very pleasant and you can enjoy most of the days throughout your stay on the island.
If you want to interact with a lot of gay travellers and travellers in general, you might want to consider visiting during the winter season, winter on the island has the ideal weather, which is partially why it is the most crowded and expensive time to come but if you’d like to keep lower travel costs, you can also plan a fun and inexpensive trip during the fall season, there you can find hotel accommodations for as low as $80/night.
Keep in mind that visiting in the fall exposes you to the dangers of Atlantic hurricane season.
Gay-Friendly Activities & Attractions in Gay Puerto Rico
Gay Puerto Rico enjoys the same LGBTQ+ rights and protections as the rest of the United States, making it one of the Caribbean’s most welcoming and LGBTQ+ friendly islands.
Gay Puerto Rico is known as the “Island of Enchantment” for a reason.
It’s easy to fall in love with this island, where you can do everything from laying on the beach to zip-lining through the mountains; from enjoying your coffee to exploring museums and galleries.
There’s no shortage of activities that you can enjoy throughout your stay. Here are some of the lists of gay-friendly activities and attractions that you might want to check out during your stay on this island:
1. Puerto Rico’s Pride Parades
San Juan Pride, an annual Pride festival held the first weekend of June, is a weekend of parties, special events, and shows.
The gay bars along Calle Condado throw their parties and events, and the beach clubs around Condado Beach also throw afterparties after the parade.
The second Pride parade takes place on the second weekend of June, it rolls through the town of Boquerón in Cabo Rojo.
You can enjoy socialising with gay travellers and locals and have fun throughout the parade.
2. Old San Juan
Wander through Old San Juan’s blue cobblestone streets, where the elegance of the Old World meets the conveniences of modern living.
The magnificent fortresses, hued houses, stunning museums and galleries, and wonderful restaurants and bars will all leave you speechless.
Almost every weekend, the “Walled City” comes alive with festivities and cultural events, as well as concerts by local bands and traditional dance and music in the squares.
Everyone can have a good time in Old San Juan, whether they want to go sightseeing, dancing, dining, drinking, or even shopping.
3. El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslide, Beach Dine, and Shop
You might want to explore El Yunque and Luquillo like a local. Discover what makes Puerto Rico an enchanted island.
Upon entering El Yunque, you can have a moderate walk through the lush canopy and natural landscape, making your way to the calm waters of La Barrigona.
You will be able to swim, relax, or enjoy the breathtaking view of El Yunque. You can also enjoy a magnificent waterfall and a natural waterslide hidden on this island.
You can experience all this for a price that starts at $74.97 per person.
4. Bio Bay Kayak Tour
If you want to have a sparkling and unforgettable night, you might want to check out and try this Bio Bay Kayak Tour.
This tour takes you along a canal that runs through the nature reserve and is flanked by several types of mangroves. This shields you from high gusts and allows you to paddle freely in calm waters.
The coolest part of this excursion is seeing the ‘Big Lagoon’s’ amazing shimmering water! This natural wonder is the result of tiny bioluminescent organisms known as ‘pyrodiniums bahamenses’.
When you contact or move the water with your kayak, it emits blue-green light from the top to the bottom of the bay!
Price starts at $50.18 per person.
5. Bacardi Distillery Trip
A visit to the Bacardi Distillery for a tour of the famous rum-making facility is a must.
A classic rum tasting tour or a mixology-style event where you learn to prepare mojitos and piña coladas costs $75.
Gay-Friendly Dining in Gay Puerto Rico
After enjoying the day and night scene with countless activities, you must also try the various foods offered in Gay Puerto Rico.
In the island’s culinary revolution, traditional cuisine and local ingredients are combined with international techniques and flavours. Chefs all around the island are constantly reinventing and elevating locally-made dishes while staying true to the spirit of the island’s cuisine.
While there is a wide range of food provided around the Island, several local restaurants are noted for serving local specialties.
There’s no specific gay restaurant but since that Gay Puerto Rico’s gay-friendly island, here are some of the lists of gay-friendly restaurants where you can dine in and experience the island’s food:
1. Musa Puerto Rico
This is the place to go if you like food, art, or music.
Musa Puerto Rico is directly located in the heart of San Juan’s Art District, on Cerra Street, and will definitely provide a perfect ambiance – a right fit for your taste.
A superb selection of wines is offered, and their very own mixologist will be on hand to provide you with deliciously refreshing cocktails.
Their menu is inspired by the chef’s life experiences with Italian, French, and Asian techniques that capture local food with a twist.
2. Casa Vieja
The small and picturesque family-owned and operated restaurant specialises in traditional Puerto Rican food and is located in the Central Mountain Range of Ciales, northwest of Orocovis and south of Manat.
Casa Vieja is a roadside restaurant that serves traditional dishes like longaniza (a chorizo-like local sausage), Carne guisada al Caldero (beef stew), pasteles, and more.
Aside from the excellent food, the location is distinctive, a tranquil, open-air terrace designed in the style of an old-fashioned Puerto Rican jíbaro house.
3. Serafina San Juan
Serafina Restaurant is located in the La Concha Resort & Hotel in San Juan’s Condado area.
They serve traditional Italian dishes with a twist. You can enjoy their delectable cuisine while indulging in the breathtaking sights and inhaling the fresh sea breeze.
4. La Casita Blanca
It is one of the most classic fine dining experiences in the metropolitan area of San Juan.
This restaurant in Santurce has a lovely old-school setting that will not only gratify your taste senses but also warm your heart.
They offer delicacies like stewed beef with rice and beans, codfish and mashed root vegetables, and crabmeat gazpacho, ready to satisfy your appetite.
5. Marmalade Restaurant and Wine Bar
This restaurant serves a fusion of modern French, Caribbean, and Spanish cuisine.
With a tasting selection, you can create your feast from the a la carte menu, with wine pairings from Marmalade’s well-stocked cellar.
Gay-Friendly Bars & Clubs in Gay Puerto Rico
There’s always a place to go dancing, enjoy a drink, and experience Gay Puerto Rico’s famed nightlife, no matter which part of the island you’re on.
Gay Puerto Rican nightlife is so vibrant, from bustling hotel nightclubs and rooftop hangouts to low-key beachside pubs, that you might be shocked to learn it’s already morning.
Here are some of the lists of gay-friendly bars and clubs that you might want to check out during your stay on the island:
1. Tia Maria Jose de Diego
This well-known local gay club is located in Santurce, San Juan’s popular gay district.
This bar, once known as Tia Maria’s Liquor Store, is a great place to meet locals and get a true taste of Puerto Rico.
This bar is recognised for serving the strongest drinks on the island, and it attracts large crowds of locals regularly.
2. Oasis Tapas & Lounge
Oasis Tapas & Lounge is a popular gay bar in Puerto Rico’s unofficial gay hub, Condado & Santurce.
This bar, originally known as Splash Lounge, is the ideal place to start your night out before moving on to the next. It’s open all day till late at night, with happy hour and go-go dancers hitting up Monday nights.
Top 10 Things To do in Gay Puerto Rico
- Old San Juan -The cobblestone alleyways of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, adorned with vividly coloured Spanish colonial residences, invite aimless but inspiring wandering – but don’t miss the neighbourhood’s highlights. Old San Juan fascinates visitors at every turn, from the UNESCO World Heritage listed forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal to restaurants serving aromatic rice and fried plantains.
- El Yunque National Park Tours – El Yunque National Park is the only tropical rainforest protected by the US Forest Service, as well as the island’s largest environmental reserve.
The uncommon Puerto Rican parrot and the Coqui frog, whose characteristic croak provides El Yunque’s soundtrack, live in the mist-wreathed Luquillo Mountains, where year-round precipitation supports lush, green landscapes and rich diversity of animal life.
- Bioluminescent Bay Tour – On the island of Vieques, Bioluminescent Bay (also known as Mosquito Bay or Puerto Mosquito) is one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays. This bay is by far the brightest, making it a popular destination for nocturnal boat trips.
Pyrodinium bahamense dinoflagellates, small microorganisms that glow when touched, brighten the water.
- Luquillo Beach – Luquillo Beach (Playa Luquillo), also known as Balneario Monserrate in Puerto Rico, is a serene crescent with coconut palm trees and a long expanse of powdery white sand.
The tranquil waters here are ideal for swimming, wading, kayaking, and other water sports, making it one of the island’s best public beaches.
- Icacos Island – Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos) is a small, deserted island in the Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve, about a 15-minute boat journey from the Puerto Rican municipality of Fajardo (Reserva Natural los Cayos de la Cordillera).
It is a popular day-trip destination for snorkeling and diving due to its white-sand beaches, pure waters, and colourful reefs.
- Laguna Grande – Laguna Grande in Fajardo appears like any other bay along the tropical Puerto Rican coast during the day. The bioluminescent lagoon, however, lights fluorescently at night, courtesy of pyridinium bahamense, a minute plankton that thrives in the shallow Caribbean waters and glows when disturbed.
- San Juan Gate Tour – San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) was originally one of five city gates used to secure the city’s streets from invaders, and each gate serves a different purpose.
Today, a very stunning way to enter and explore Puerto Rico’s capital city is through this towering red and white doorway set into the city’s encircling stonewall. Along the walkways leading to the historic old town, travellers passing through this historic gate will discover enthusiastic merchants selling traditional delicacies and ice-cold piragua.
On romantic strolls, ancient trees extend high into the sky, providing soothing shade. The attractiveness of this town is enhanced by narrow cobblestone lanes lined with restored Spanish colonial buildings and elegant balconies.
- San Juan Cathedral – San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista) is one of the centrepieces of Old San Juan, having been built in 1521. This landmark in the heart of Old San Juan houses the second-oldest cathedral in the Americas, as well as an outstanding collection of religious and historical relics.
The church is still open for business, with services held every week.
- Cueva Del Indio – To get to some of the most stunning views in the region, visitors must struggle over steep ledges, hazardous cliffs, and ancient wooden staircases.
These stunning caves, located 700 feet above the Puerto Rican landscape, are one of Arecibo’s most famous attractions and provide a unique flavour of the Taino cultural past.
While the climb to the top is strenuous, the breathtaking views and ancient rock art is known as petroglyphs make the effort worthwhile. Relaxing beaches, gentler treks, and off-shore fishing are all feasible ways to spend an afternoon here for less-skilled visitors.
- Pinones – A lovely boardwalk, stunning beaches, and an amazing local culinary scene are just a few of the reasons why a visit to Pinones is ideal for gringos looking for a true Puerto Rican experience. Rent bikes and cruise along the gorgeous coast, or venture off the beaten path to see the various ecosystems that line pathways down to shallow coasts.
The variety of plant life available is remarkable, whether it’s sky-high palm trees or low-lying sea brush. Traditional island fare such as alcapuria, papa rellenas, and pinchos, as well as strong, cold cocktails, are popular with visitors.
Pinones is one of the top cuisine destinations in the world, with a variety of beachside kiosks serving unique regional specialties produced fresh to request.
How to get to Puerto Rico?
There are few direct flights from Canada, with Air Canada providing the only nonstop service, which takes 4 hours and 35 minutes from Toronto. Flying through the United States broadens your options and significantly reduces your costs.
From the United Kingdom and Ireland:
One of the main reasons for the island receiving only one to two percent of European tourists to the Caribbean is the lack of charter and direct flights between Europe and Puerto Rico.
With British Airways and Virgin Atlantic now offering seasonal direct flights to San Juan through Antigua, things are looking up.
Otherwise, you’ll have to change planes at least once, usually in the United States, if you’re flying from the United Kingdom or Ireland.
The cheapest flight from London to New York is normally with American Airlines, although travel websites will also show other combinations of British Airways and American carriers through Miami and Washington DC.
From the United States:
There are numerous daily nonstop flights connecting Puerto Rico to locations around the United States, although the cheapest and most frequent departures are from “gateway” cities in the south and east, most notably Miami and New York (JFK and Newark).
Since San Juan is American Airlines’ Caribbean hub, it’s no surprise that the airline operates the most flights and has the cheapest pricing, however, all of the major US carriers, including Continental and Spirit Airlines, as well as US Airways, offer services.
Flying time is about 3 hours 45 minutes from New York, 2 hours 30 minutes from Miami, 4 hours 30 minutes from Chicago, and slightly over 4 hours from Dallas and Houston.