Puerto Rico Feature
Gay Puerto Rico
In sophisticated San Juan, gays and lesbians will find it easy to mingle. Many gay-friendly hotels, restaurants, and clubs are scattered throughout the city, and the beaches at Condado and Ocean Park tend to attract a gay crowd. Many guesthouses here are gay-owned and oriented. The bohemian Old San Juan crowd is particularly friendly and—just as in Ocean Park and Condado—many businesses there are owned by gays or lesbians. However, in recent years the gay energy has moved south to relatively nontouristy but artsy and increasingly lively Santurce district; take a taxi to get there.
San Juan's gay hotspots include Angelu's, the Male Depot, and the erotically themed Krash Klub, which has cutting-edge music and occasional live music and even drag shows; go on Wednesday for Krash's happening Latin night. Lesbians should head to Cups, a tropical bar for women; it has live music. Both Cups and Krash are in Santurce. The Café Bohemia, in the gay-friendly Hotel El Convento, is another gathering spot, handily situated for enjoying the night scene along calles San Sebastián and Fortaleza.
Some clubs and bars also host a weekly "gay night." On the first Sunday in June a gay pride parade takes place in Condado and is preceded by a week of events, and the annual SanJuanBrothas gay parade, held each Memorial Day, is an annual highlight.
Other welcoming areas include Ponce in the south, Rincón in the west; and the island of Vieques in the east, although the local population here is more conservative and it's the large and bohemian expat crowd that is tolerant. Remember that Puerto Rico is a strongly Catholic nation, and state laws are not as tolerant of homosexuality as in the mainland USA. In rural areas and small towns, overt displays of affection between same-sex couples can cause problems.
The local newspapers Connexion G serves the gay and lesbian community.
Connections Travel. Frank Fournier of Connections Travel, a member of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association, is a reliable local travel agent for the gay and lesbian community. P.O. Box 9023877, San Juan, 00902. 800/973-5550. www.iglta.org.
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