While it struggles with its own LGBT-equality issues, the southern Caribbean island of Curaçao is hoping U.S. gay travelers, especially honeymooners, will take advantage of the island's historically welcoming nature.
“‘Live and Let Live’ perfectly describes Curaçao’s relaxed style. We welcome everyone to explore and enjoy our rich, colorful history and culture, our numerous uncrowded beaches and world class dive locations,” says André Rojer, Curaçao Tourist Board marketing manager North America. “We have long embraced the LGBT community, and we are eager to welcome newly married couples celebrating their love and the repeal of the DOMA.”
Formerly part of the Netherlands Antilles and now an independent member country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao has been promoting LGBT tourism since 2004.
According to the Curaçao Tourism Bureau, Curaçao has more members of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association than any other Caribbean destination.
Stay for Free
The island’s current tourism promotion – Every 4th Night Free – includes many LGBT-welcoming properties, ideal for honeymooning couples celebrating in Curaçao. The offer allows guests to stay every fourth night of their visit for free. So, if a reservation is for four days, guests only pay for three; if it is for eight days, guests only pay for six. The offer is valid for bookings made by Sept. 15, for visits between Aug. 15 and Dec. 15.
LGBT-welcoming participating hotels include: Avila Hotel, Amalia Vacation Apartments, Blue Bay Curaçao, Curaçao Marriott Beach Resort, Floris Suite Hotel, Hilton Curaçao, Lions Dive & Beach Resort, Livingstone Jan Thiel Resort, Nos Krusero Apartments, Papagayo Beach & Lounge Resort, Renaissance Curaçao, Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa, Sandton Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club, Santa Barbara Beach and Golf Resort, Sunscape Beach Resort & Casino and Waterside Apartments.
Many properties are offering special upgrades for newlyweds including in-room mimosas at the Santa Barbara Beach & Golf Resort; sparkling wine and chocolates upon arrival at the Hilton Curaçao; a 15 percent spa-treatment discount, along with complimentary champagne at JanThiel Villas; daily complimentary breakfast buffet, plus a $75 food and beverage credit at the Sandton Kura Hulanda Hotel & Spa and sister property Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club; a complimentary upgrade (subject to availability) and a bottle of sparkling wine at the Renaissance Curaçao Resort; a VIP picnic basket with snacks, compliments of the Floris Suite Hotel; a 20 percent discount on spa treatments at the Papagayo Beach & Lounge Resort on-property spa, as well as a $50 food and beverage credit; and complimentary Champagne at both the Sunscape Beach Resort & Casino and the Lions Dive & Beach Resort.
Celebrate Gay Pride
This fall, Curaçao will celebrate its first LGBT Pride, Sept. 25 to 29. Curaçao Pride is being organized by Curaçao Gay Pro, an association of local professional organizations and individuals.
CGPro takes over the reins of the Curaçao Gay Plasa Organization, which since 2005 has been organizing a precursor event, Get Wet Weekend. The inaugural Curaçao Pride will host multiple parties, a film festival and spiritual celebrations, as well as the first Caribbean Conference on Women and Sexual Diversity. Some activities will require paid registration, while others will be free. Additional details will be made available at gaycuracao.com.