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The Dominican Republic May Be More Gay-Friendly Than You Think!

The Dominican Republic May Be More Gay-Friendly Than You Think!

The Dominican Republic is known as an affordable place to travel and enjoy the sun, sand and nightlife. What many travelers don’t realize, however, is that the country may be one of the gay-friendliest in the Western Hemisphere – and definitely one of the most gay-friendly in the Caribbean!

While homosexuality may not be accepted by everyone in the DR, it’s far more accepted than in some other countries in Latin America, Europe or Asia. But, like with most things in life, there is some fine print – and before you book flights or sort out how to apply for DR e-ticket – there are some more things you’ll need to know.

So here they are, along with some reasons why you should consider adding the Dominican Republic to your next gay travel itinerary!

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Recent Legal Changes

In a surprising and positive change, the Dominican Republic has recently decriminalized homosexuality.

Prior to this change, any sexual act between two people of the same sex was punishable with up to three years imprisonment. Now there are no provisions in the law that prohibit consensual sex between adults of the same sex. The law took effect on July 2nd and was implemented by January 2nd, 2019. This means that if you’re planning a trip to the Caribbean, this is great news for you as it makes it one of the most gay-friendly countries in all of Latin America.

With no criminal penalties for being homosexual or engaging in homosexual activity, the country is currently more accepting than many other regions of the world where homosexuality is still illegal or heavily stigmatized. For instance, 11 Caribbean states maintain laws that criminalize consensual sexual relations between adults of the same sex in private including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. While many of the laws originate from the colonial era, they have yet to be repealed.

What does this mean? If you’re an LGBTQ+ traveler who’s looking to visit these regions of the world but not sure about safety concerns when traveling around the Caribbean, consider heading toward the Dominican Republic instead!

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The Santo Domingo Scene

In recent years, Santo Domingo has become an oasis for gay and lesbian travelers who are looking to explore the Caribbean with a partner of the same sex. With its vibrant nightlife, beautiful beaches, and friendly locals, it’s easy to see why this has quickly become one of the most popular LGBT-friendly destinations in the region.

With its vibrant nighttime scene and no shortage of gorgeous beaches to choose from, it’s safe to say that you won’t go home disappointed after your visit to Santo Domingo. But it’s not just about having fun on vacation–the city is also filled with gay-friendly establishments and landmarks that make it easy for visitors like us to enjoy our stay without worrying about discrimination or harassment. As soon as we arrived at the airport, we were greeted by a representative from Hostal Colonial Inn (a hotel that caters specifically to the LGBT community) and whisked away in their tour bus (complete with rainbow flags waving proudly out front!) so that we could be shown all of Santo Domingo’s best spots before being dropped off at our destination.

We were treated so well there was almost nothing else we needed to do besides relaxing by the pool all day while sipping refreshing cocktails. Plus, they have staff members around 24/7 who cater exclusively to guests of all sexual orientations; even if something goes wrong during your stay (which I can’t imagine happening!), you’ll never be left feeling discriminated against or unwelcome.

One of the largest gay pride events in the Caribbean called Santo Domingo Pride Parade takes place here where drag queens, gays, lesbians and all members of the rainbow take over the streets of the capital in a once-in-a-lifetime experience filled with music, dance, laughter, and wonderful vibes.

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Punta Cana and Puerto Plata

Gay-friendly Punta Cana and Puerto Plata are two of the most popular destinations for LGBT travelers. This country has a thriving gay nightlife scene, with many bars and clubs in both cities.

Punta Cana has developed a reputation as the Caribbean’s most gay-friendly destination, thanks to its friendly and open-minded locals and the Caribbean Pride held here each year! Gay travel to Punta Cana still, however, is all relaxation and recreation, so don’t expect gay nightlife to match Puerto VallartaMykonosPhuket, or – hell, even the nearby capital Santo Domingo.

Visitors will find a number of gay-owned businesses and hotels as well. With so much going on and such an open atmosphere, it’s no wonder that this Caribbean destination is quickly becoming more and more popular among LGBT tourists.

No, a trip to this vibrant Caribbean jewel is all about escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life in swim-up bars, plush spas, decadent suits, or on sun-lounger with the sounds of waves crashing nearby.

In fact, with the close of Mares Lounge, there are now no gay bars in Punta Cana – although there are a few nightlife spots popular with the LGBT crowd looking to escape their resorts for the night. For a romantic getaway with drinks, gorgeous bodies, sun, affordable luxury – and gay-friendly vibes – Gay Punta Cana could be just the answer!

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How To Connect With The Local LGBTQ Community

If you are considering visiting the Dominican Republic, it’s worth looking into the country’s LGBTQ-friendly reputation before you go. Whether you’re a gay man or woman, there are plenty of places to visit where you’ll feel right at home and see plenty of other LGBTQ people.

LGBTQ-friendly destinations include the colonial city of Santo Domingo, where cruise ships dock and Pride celebrations take place on the third Saturday in June; Punta Cana, a resort town where gay men have been known to congregate at bars called Circuitos; and Jarabacoa, an outdoorsy mountain town popular with gays and lesbians as well as honeymooners. Here, you can find accommodations that welcome same-sex couples, like Casa de Mariquita B&B.

And if you want to meet locals who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender? Just head over to one of two districts located in Santo Domingo: Loco Coco or Puerta del Conde. Locals say they’re safe spaces for LGBT members but are aware that visitors should exercise caution when traveling through these areas.

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