Long before Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico, native Taíno men used to beseech the moon to send them wives with a ceremonial dance in which they wore female garb. Legend has it that when the colonists witnessed the ritual, they assumed the men were homosexuals and sicced their dogs on them.
Boy, would the colonists be shocked today. Today Puerto Rico has an active, out, and proud gay community, and it is a popular destination for gay travelers. Although homosexual acts are illegal in Puerto Rico, the law is rarely if ever enforced, and there are plenty of accommodations, nightclubs, and beaches that cater to the LGBT traveler.
The island’s largest gay community is in San Juan, and that’s where you’ll find the biggest concentration of businesses that specialize in serving gay clientele.
Accommodations on the Beach
Accommodations popular with gay and lesbian travelers include the laid-back Ocean Park properties and Numero Uno Guest House, as well as the more party-central Atlantic Beach Hotel in Condado. The beaches in front of these properties are the most popular gay beaches, although everyone is welcome.
There’s no shortage of gay and lesbian nightclubs in San Juan. Most of the gay bars can be found in Santurce. Atlantic Beach Bar is a casual bar at the Atlantic Beach House hotel right on the ocean, offering happy hour 5–7 p.m.
Krash (1257 Ave. Ponce de León, 787/722-1131), formerly Eros, is a major two-level party scene. Wednesday is urban pop night with three DJs spinning R&B, hip-hop, and reggaetón. Thursday and Friday nights feature DJs spinning house, tribal, and retro.
For a casual low-key gay bar, check out Junior’s Bar (613 Calle Condado, 787/723-9477). This is the place to have a beer, play some tunes on the jukebox, and check out the occasional drag queen or male stripper show.
Yet another popular gay bar and lounge in Santurce is Starz (365 Ave. de Diego, 787/721-8645).
The local lesbian crowd gathers in the laid-back ambiance of Cups (1708 Calle San Mateo, 787/268-3570). DJs spin dance music on Wednesday night, karaoke is Thursday night, and live music is Friday night. There are pool tables, too.
Excerpted from the Second and Third Edition of Moon Puerto Rico.