Travel: Pride in the Caribbean

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Curaçao is fast becoming the gay friendliest island

Most of the Caribbean is known for it’s hostile climate toward the LGBT community, but there is one rare gem of gay friendliness — Curaçao.

The country boasts 17 members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, more than any other island in the sea, has hosted a handful of LGBT themed events and has had its own gay themed website, GayCuracao.com, since 2004.

And now the island is gearing up for its third annual Pride Week taking place Sept. 29 to Oct. 4. Events include a dinner and cabaret show, a white party and a sea parade. Floris Suite Hotel will again be the host hotel for the event.

“The Curaçao Tourist Board has made continual strides to put this small, yet bustling island in the Dutch Caribbean on the map to be all-welcoming to travelers with its ‘Live and Let Live’ philosophy, the 2004 launch of GayCuracao.com and a variety of pride events throughout the year,” said Aime O'keefe, account coordinator for Diamond Public Relations.

Curaçao is located just two-and-a-half hours from South Florida by plane. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao are a part of what is known as the Lesser Antilles. Collectively those three are known as the ABC islands, which are all located off of the coast of Venezuela.

The island is also one of three countries in the Caribbean that are a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other two include Aruba and Sint Maarten.

Aruba has long been a popular Southern Caribbean tourist destination. But its sister island, Curaça, has long gone unnoticed to the masses.

“We're very proud of how Curaçao has flourished over the past few years as a hub for LGBT travelers. We have long embraced the island's 'Live and Let Live' philosophy to accept travelers of all races, orientations, and religions, and the LGBT community is extremely active with organizing a consistent variety of exciting events throughout the year,” said Alyson Marks, senior account executive for Diamond Public Relations. “Since the first Pride in 2013, the festival has grown from just a local party to one of the most anticipated parties on the island, attracting international visitors from across the world, who not only have the opportunity to celebrate Pride but can enjoy our diverse culture, beaches, cuisine, and more while on island."  

This will be the island’s third Pride festival, but they’ve also hosted other LGBT themed events such as last year’s Exotica Festival and the first ever Southern Caribbean Pride Festival.

Just this year the country won the International Gay and Lesbian Tourism Board’s “Destination Pioneer” award.

“Curaçao has created several LGBT marketing campaigns and continues to make strides in equality for the gay community in an effort to become one of the most welcoming destinations for LGBT travelers in the Caribbean – a region that often makes headlines for homophobia.”

Miami’s Tiffany Fantasia hosted last year’s drag shows during Pride week.

“I had an amazing time hosting the drag shows at Curaçao pride! It's so amazing to see an already diverse country celebrate their LGBT community,” Fantasia said. “The LGBT community [on the island] is more than a community, they're a family! They truly look out for one another and if you come to the island, they treat you like family too.”

Visit GayCuracao.com, CuracaoPride.com, and FlorisSuiteHotel.com for more information on the island and its upcoming events.


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