Puerto Rico Travel Guide for LGBTQ+ Travelers

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Photo by Wei Zeng on Unsplash

San Juan Puerto Rico

It's difficult to encapsulate the feel of Puerto Rico with just one image (or a paragraph for that matter). This is why our Puerto Rico travel guide is extensive – there is so much to express. Once you land on the island you are swept up in the magic of the Caribbean.

Puerto Rico and its people are more than rum, the tropics, and food. They are a group of happy energetic people that are proud of their heritage and culture and for good reason. They love to share everything whether it's hand-crafted cocktails or a meal. They are all to eager to share the history of their island and show you all the things that they love in the hopes that you too will fall in love with it. We know we did when we visited.

When you discover Puerto Rico on your own, you will never stop thinking about it and you will always find a way to return to it. You will need to take a bus or rent a car to visit outside of Old San Juan but it is well worth the effort to get away from the tourist traps and catch a glimpse of the real Puerto Rico.

Where is Puerto Rico Located?

Puerto Rico is located Southeast of Miami between the Caribbean sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is east of Cuba and the Dominican Republic but west of the Virgin Islands and is in the Atlantic Zone (GMT-4).

When Is the Best Time To Go to Puerto Rico?

You can visit Puerto Rico year round and the best time of year to visit is a personal preference. Puerto Rico is a warm tropical location so be aware it will be the hottest during the summer months. If you are looking for great travel deals, then look for travel from June through August.

If you would like to visit during the colder months of the year, expect to pay a little more for travel and accommodations since this is their peak tourist season.

Things to Know When Visiting Puerto Rico

  • U.S. citizens don't need a passport to visit
  • U.S. citizens can use their regular cell service without roaming fees
  • Puerto Rico just celebrated their 500 year anniversary
  • You can visit by air or cruise ship

Where to Stay

Deluxe Guest room with 1 King bed and a Pool view.

Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino

Photo courtesy of Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino

Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino

Stay just a short drive outside of downtown San Juan at the skirts of Puerto Rico's central mountain range. Guests of Four Points by Sheraton Caguas Real Hotel & Casino can enjoy beautiful mountain views and easy access to local area attractions. Explore Puerto Rico during the day and the casino at night. If you are looking for a pool day, grab a chair and lounge by the tropical pool.

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the purple queen room at Coqui del Mar.

Purple Queen Room at Coqui del Mar

Photo courtesy of Coqui del Mar

Coqui del Mar

LGBTQ+ owned guesthouse, which has earned recognition for its vibrant and wild times. It is a fully clothing optional, adult-only location that is well-liked amongst the gay community of Puerto Rico, especially for their weekly Saturday evening gay pool parties. The guesthouse different options for their guests, from gay hostel-style shared rooms with twin beds, to more spacious, private apartment-style units with private kitchens. They also offer “gay tours” that traverse the local rainforest or off-the-beaten path beaches.

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the rainbow room with a king size bed and seating area.

Casa Flamboyant Bed & Breakfast

Photo courtesy of Casa Flamboyant Bed & Breakfast

Casa Flamboyant Bed and Breakfast

LGBTQ+ owned boutique guesthouse secluded within the El Yunque National Forest. Embraced by the natural surroundings of the beautiful rainforest, the intimate guesthouse offers a special romantic getaway with relaxing yoga and outdoor massage services available on-site. There are 3 room options available to guests: the large rainbow room (325 sq ft), the ginger terrace (143 sq ft), and the Taino room (100 sq ft).

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hotel room with a queen bed overlooking the ocean.

Tryst Beachfront Hotel

Photo courtesy of Discover Puerto Rico

The Tryst Beachfront Hotel

Formerly known as the Atlantic Beach Hotel, The Tryst Hotel continues the LGBTQ tradition of its predecessor. It offers top-notch amenities that can meet the needs of all types of travelers. The main attraction is the property’s penthouse suite, which offers a sweeping view of Condado beach – popularly known as the “gay beach of Puerto Rico”-, plus two bedrooms and all basic technology-related amenities such as Wi-Fi and a flatscreen TV to ensure a wholesome stay. The boutique hotel also features the Tryst Petite, a small room for single travelers who are looking for a comfortable and intimate stay right in front of the beach. The Tryst Hotel is the only beachfront hotel in Condado beach.

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king size bed positioned in front of the window overlooking the ocean.

Hotel Miramar San Juan

Photo courtesy of Hotel Miramar San Juan

Hotel Miramar San Juan

Hotel Miramar is a smaller, 48-room hotel, but boasts the same standard amenities of traditionally larger hotels. Among the standout resources offered at Hotel Miramar, its front desk concierge service goes above and beyond by offering to arrange car rentals, tours and other special services, making it the ideal option for LGBTQ travelers looking for a breezy vacation. The hotel also features an open-air fitness zone and gymnasium for the active travelers, while those looking to relax can visit the roof top pavilion, ocean view terrace and a cozy café all on the hotel’s premise. Near the hotel’s vicinity is La Placita de Santurce, a must-visit entertainment destination for all food, drinks and dance enthusiasts. Everyone is welcomed at La Placita’s street party, making it an easy choice for LGBTQ travelers to visit.

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comfort king bed at the wave hotel condado in puerto rico.

The Wave Hotel Condado

Photo courtesy of The Wave Hotel Condado

The Wave Hotel Condado

The Wave Hotel is another boutique hotel located just steps away from the LGBTQ-friendly Condado beach. Travelers that stay at this hotel can do so with confidence knowing that it offers incredible amenities and three different types of rooms ranging from double twin beds to the “Comfort King” room. The rooftop at the Wave Hotel also offers a stunning view of the beach, mountains and nearby lagoon. After a sunny day at the beach, guests can spend their evening on the opposite end of the property where the LGBTQ scene comes to life. There are multiple bars where guests can try an island staple, the Piña Colada and dance to their heart’s content.

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king size bed with a sitting room and terrace in the background.

Palacio Provincial

Photo courtesy of Palacio Provincial

Palacio Provincial

Located in Old San Juan, the impressive 19th-century hotel is a harmonious blend of traditional and modern. It offers a rooftop pool deck with ocean views, as well as an outdoor restaurant and bar. The location is LGBTQ+ friendly and welcomes all guests regardless of gender identity or orientation.

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the elizabeth room with red walls, queen bed and separate sitting room.

Dreamcatcher by DW

Photo courtesy of Dreamcatcher by DW

Dreamcatcher by DW

Located in San Juan, Dreamcatcher is a unique stay for the eco-consciousness traveler as it is the Island’s only “vegetarian gay owned hotel.” Everything on site is organic centered around locally sourced produce and community focus. Guests can pick from a variety of rooms and suites, each with their unique flair to promote wellness and a restful stay.

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Where to Eat

The side image of La Casita de Rones with a a fountain displaying rainbow colors.

La Casita de Rones

Photo Courtesy of La Casita de Rones

La Casita de Rones

It's a tough call but at La Casita de Rones, you can eat AND drink. This rum bar has it all including the Rums of Puerto Rico, which are the 5 primary brands found in Puerto Rico. The full-service restaurant offers up flavorful local cuisine in a lively atmosphere. Ask to sit on the patio so you can enjoy the Caribbean atmosphere and get the full effect of paradise as you sip on your rum flight.

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vegan salted caramel cheesecake with candied nuts.

Salted Caramel Cheesecake from El Grifo

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

El Grifo

One of the best vegan restaurants you can find. It's worth the trip to Caguas if you're in Puerto Rico. The focus is on local, sustainable plant-based culture. They have a vegan beer, vegan salmon and lox, and even vegan cheesecake all made fresh and in-house. (except the beer). Food is prepared when ordered whether it is dine-in, take-out, or through their online store. El Grifo also offers in-person Vegan Cooking Classes; if you can't make a class while visiting the island, you can always pick up their digital cookbook!

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three different plates of food from funche restaurant.

Funche Restaurant

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

Funche Restaurant

What do you get when you cross Creole with the Caribbean flavors of Puerto Rico? You get Funche (pronounced Foon-chey) of course. Funche is tucked away into a little corner shop that resembles a strip mall parking lot. This unassuming location packs them in and offers up some of the freshest cuisines around. Available for lunch, dinner, and groups, you can order from the menu or get a tasting course, which we recommend. This is a restaurant that is Michelin quality in food and presentation and it is a must-visit without a doubt.

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hanging wood sign with El Nido Moda arte barra and the address inscribed into it.

El Nido Puerto Rico

Photo courtesy of El Nido Puerto Rico

El Nido

El Nido is located at one of the mass transit train station stops and is a combination fashion-art-bar. Imagine, hopping off the train, stopping for a quick bite and a cocktail all the while shopping local brands and artists. El Nico has two locations and offers music from local artists as well. Seriously, it's like an everyday street fest with food, drink, vendors, and sometimes, music.

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a group of composed plateson the bar and a La Central Menu underneath it.

La Central by Mario Pagán

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

La Central by Mario Pagán

Dine at La Central as Chef Mario Pagán takes you on a journey of bold flavors as you get immersed in Puerto Rico's roots and traditions through food. La Central pays homage to Puerto Rico's history of "la caña de azúcar" by using sugar cane and rum in its dishes. After watching the mixologists at the bar create spectacular cocktails, take a trip to the VIP room lounge that is available for cigars and more cocktails.

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Where to Drink

vats of beer at fok brewing company.

Fok Brewing Company, Caguas Puerto Rico

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

Fok Brewing

This brewing company started its beer business with just 3 flavors and soon expanded to 21 full-flavored beers. They brew locally and distribute throughout the island. You can watch some of the brewing processes by the large vats they have on-premises. As far as food goes, there are 3 chefs that focus on local and sustainable food from surrounding farmers and local brands. They have a large outdoor space with tables and a stage where they host local musicians. During the pandemic they were even hosting a drive-in theater at no cost to the customers so everyone didn't feel so confined to their homes.

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a counter with different flavored bottles of sangria from the sangria factory.

The Sangria Factory

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

The Sangria Factory

If you love sangria, then you'll love Los Hermanos Sangria. They use locally produced rums and fruit to make their sangria. They carry flavors such as tamarind, passion fruit, mango, and many more. They have a tasting room if you can't quite make up your mind which flavor you want. Unfortunately, they don't ship products out, they are only available for pick up only.

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ariel view of arena medalla seating area and bar.

Arena Medalla

Photo courtesy of Arena Medalla

Arena Medalla

This is the bar to go to when you want to have a beer, watch sports or listen to music. It all happens on the 30-foot panoramic LED screen. After the game, stick around and listen to the band or see what the live DJ is playing. You can head upstairs and play some pool, sit at one of the several large-group-sized lounge areas, and just enjoy the people and the sound. It's the ultimate sports viewing experience for a reason.

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Things to Do

tour guide from the spoon experience holding an orange umbrella.

The Spoon Experience

Photo courtesy of The Spoon Experience Instagram

The Spoon Experience

Take in a Sip & Savor Cocktail Tour with The Spoon Experience. This is a fun walking tour of Old San Juan where you visit local drinking establishments and enjoy cocktails that represent the spirit (no pun intended) and traditions of the island of Puerto Rico.

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The William Miranda Mar\u00edn Botanical and Cultural Garden overlooking a large pond.

The William Miranda Marín Botanical and Cultural Garden

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

The William Miranda Marín Botanical and Cultural Garden

Visit this living museum and explore the flora that is native to Puerto Rico. You can explore the botanical gardens and see how they cultivate tropical trees and plants. Learn about the history of the Old San Juan Sugar Mill and about the local sugar industry. You can take a tour through the gardens to see the different flowers and plants found on the island; you may even find some local wildlife such as iguanas.

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tobacco leaves in a display case.

Museo del Tabaco Herminio Torres Grillo

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

Museo del Tabaco Herminio Torres Grillo

Take a tour of this Tobacco Museum located in the town of Caguas which is the ONLY tobacco museum on the entire island. Housed in an old colonial building that used to be a blacksmith shop, you can learn about the variety of tobacco leaves used, how they dry them, and how they are still handmade by expert cigar makers who roll and cut each cigar in a separate air-conditioned room.

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rows and rows of rum barrels in the aging process.

Visit a Rum Distillery

Photo courtesy of Joe Eats World

Visit a Rum Distillery

There is definitely no shortage of rum distilleries to visit in Puerto Rico. These are some of the best of the best rum distilleries you can visit and we definitely recommend doing at least one...ok, all of them.

San Juan Artisan Distillers

Makers of Ron Pepón and Tresclavos, you can tour this distillery that has its own sugar cane crops behind the building. See how they process the rum from harvest to bottle then head to the tasting area and have a sip. San Juan Artisan Distillers was the first distillery in Puerto Rico to produce artisan rum and their Ron Pepón is made from sugar cane juice instead of molasses.

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La Destileria Craft Spirits

This craft micro-distillery is located in the mountains of the Jayuya rainforest. Drawing from the purity and craftsmanship of this old town that has ancestral roots to the Taíno Indians. La Destileria uses non-traditional distilling and aging methods to produce its spirits and is the only certified craft distillery in Puerto Rico. They even produce Pitorico which is their version of traditional Puerto Rican pitorro, also known as Caneshine.

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Ron del Barrilito

You won't find any older rum than Ron del Barrilito in Puerto Rico. They are the oldest Puerto Rican rum distillery on the island and the rum has been produced the same way in the same place since 1880. Take a tour of the facilities, see how they store the barrels, then move on to the bottling and distribution area. Once you're finished with the tour, you can take a tasting course and learn all about the famous rum. Then head over to the cocktail bar and pick out your favorite rum cocktail but it's not complete until you visit the gift shop and take home a treasured souvenir.

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interior view of distrito t-mobile with pink lights on.

Distrito T-Mobile

Photo courtesy of Distrito T-Mobile

Distrito T-Mobile

Distrito T-Mobile is a five-acre experiential complex and arena that combines technology with shopping, dining, art, and entertainment. It is the embodiment of the Puerto Rico people and culture by way of its happy, vibrant, and energetic atmosphere. Truly a place to enjoy yourself and eat, drink, play; and quite possibly, dance.

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Mjolnir

Like many of the recent Marvel Cinematic Universe films, LGBTQ+ fans awaited the release of Thor: Love and Thunder in open anticipation of the inclusivity that both Marvel and Disney had promised. However, the fans were only setting themselves up for disappointment when the film was finally released.

Despite passionate assurances from studio heads to key actors, Thor: Love and Thunder was NOT spectacularly gay. It wasn’t even that good…

Premiere Night Promises

A bolt of lightning cuts across a rainbow on a dark and stormy night.

Lightning bold across the sky

Photo by Bill D.

Standing on the red carpet at the London Premiere of the film, director and actor Taika Waititi and fellow cast members Natalie Portman and Tessa Thompson were offered up the inevitable question: “How gay is the film?

Amidst some laughter from the crowds, Waititi gestured towards Portman to respond. The actress (who plays Thor’s love interest, Jane Foster, throughout the franchise) raised the microphone to her lips and thought for a moment, before delivering a quiet yet fateful: “So gay!

Barely a moment had passed before the gathered fans went wild and Taika Waititi gave his own verdict: “Super gay!”. Tessa Thompson made no statement on the ‘gayness’ of the film, instead opting to swing her microphone around suggestively. As more cheers erupted, a second round of “super gay” slipped out of Waititi’s mouth, before he urged the fans to enjoy the film.

Thor: Love and Thunder’s LGBTQ+ Potential

Thor’s movie-goers were definitely hyped up for a gay extravaganza and they had a specific character in mind. The fan-favorite Valkyrie, played by Tessa Thompson, stumbled her way into the MCU during Thor’s third film, Ragnarok. The Asgardian warrior won many people over with her wit, sarcasm, and pure badassery.

After the events of Avengers: Endgame *spoilers*, Thor Odinson gives up his claim to the throne of Asgard and names Valkyrie as king in his stead. This left many fans excited to see what would become of the character, especially after certain revelations were made at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con:

“As a new king, she has to find her queen. So that’ll be her first order of business.”

With these words, Tessa Thompson threw her LGBTQ+ fans into a frenzy, with heavy expectations for the then-upcoming fourth installment of the Thor films. Indeed, in an interview with the LA Times, shortly before the film's release, Tessa Thompson was asked to comment on the sexuality of her character. She responded with several promising remarks, including “there’s a lot of folks that are righteously very hungry for that representation to exist in these movies, as am I”.

*Warning: spoilers ahead!*

So, How Gay Was Thor 4?

To put it simply: not gay at all. Not only did Valkyrie end up without a fabulous new queen, her non-heteronormative sexuality only got the barest mention (a brief line about a previous, now dead, girlfriend). Valkyrie may have made bedroom eyes at some pretty ladies before an action scene spoils the moment, but that’s about as much as we get.

The film does get some credit for introducing a trans character in a minor yet significant role. Thor returns to his people (after a brief stint as a Guardian of the Galaxy) only to find out that the daughter of one of his closest (and deceased) friends is now a boy. The issue is, whether due to personal prejudice or some alien inability to grasp the concept of being transgender, it does take Thor a frustrating few moments to come to terms with the change. And to stop deadnaming.

In fact, the only concession to the queer community was Taika Waititi’s extraterrestrial character Korg finding a husband in one of the closing scenes. This heartfelt moment was somewhat underscored by the revelation that Korg’s entire species is male, meaning he had no other choice but to be ‘gay’.

This Is Not Marvel’s First Queerbaiting Attempt

Close up of an eye reflecting an unknown scene as a rainbow crosses the image.

Photo by Harry Q.

This is, by far, not the first time that LGBTQ+ fans have been sorely disappointed by the workings of Marvel and Disney. In fact, people across many social media platforms have been chiding expectant viewers for once again falling for classic queerbaiting tactics. “Being queerbaited by the MCU is like being a golden retriever with a human who always pretends to throw the ball”, one Tumblr user declared.

Captain Marvel, starring Brie Larson, was the perfect moment for the MCU to introduce its first lesbian lead. Larson’s character seemed to have an intense relationship with another woman, going so far as to help raise her child (before Larson’s Carol Danvers disappeared from Earth for 6 years). Despite leaning into several romantic tropes, the status of their relationship was never fully fleshed out. However, it was also the franchise’s first female-led superhero movie, so maybe they thought that introducing her as a lesbian would make the film too awesome.

The heavily anticipated Avengers: Endgame was also slated to introduce the MCU’s ‘first gay character'. While many fans were excited, particularly as this would be the second of Larson’s appearances on screen, the big gay build-up was a massive letdown. The film’s director Joe Russo made a cameo as a blip survivor mourning the loss of his husband. A five-second throw-away scene that had no impact on the outcome of the film. Big whoop...

Even when we did see a film with a gay lead, The Eternals, there were also ten other straight leads. At that point, it just seemed more like basic probability than an attempt at pushing LGBT+ superheroes into the spotlight.

Why Can’t Disney Let Marvel Be Gay?

The big problem with allowing a few characters to be anything other than cishet is that there are still many countries in the world that outlaw homosexuality. As much as we like to think that the MCU is being made for comic book fans, we all know the purpose of the films is to make money for Disney. And without certain markets in Asia and the Middle East, Disney wouldn’t be raking in up to (and over) one billion dollars per theatrical release.

Is There Any Hope For LGBTQ+ Fans In The MCU’s Future?

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, the second in the much-loved Black Panther arc, will be released in cinemas this November. The studio has confirmed that the film will contain a queer character. Actress Michaela Coel will play Aneka, a warrior, and trainer of the king’s guard. Whether or not her diversity will stand out in the film (let alone endure for more than a 10-second scene that can be easily cut) remains to be seen.


Next year’s The Marvels film, starring Brie Larson, Iman Vellani, and Lashana Lynch may offer the MCU a chance to redeem itself in the eyes of its LGBT+ fans. The studios may feel it’s finally time to offer us the heartwarming lesbian relationship between Larson’s Carol Danvers and Lynch’s Maria Rambeau that seemed to be teased in the first Captain Marvel. Don’t raise your hopes too high, though, as you may yet end up as a stubborn golden retriever waiting for a cinematic universe to finally throw that rainbow ball.