For many couples, the stress of planning their wedding is offset by the fun of planning the honeymoon. While the happy couple will obviously focus on guests, friends and family for their ceremony and reception, they only have to think about themselves as they plan their honeymoon of a lifetime. For LGBT couples, choosing the perfect destination means more than just browsing through lists of popular destinations – it also means considering how friendly locals are to people with a different sexual orientation.
The honeymoon experts at honeymoons.com put together a list of the most popular honeymoon destinations for couples looking to have that iconic LGBT friendly honeymoon experience complete with sand, sun and plenty of local services. Their list was created by interacting with thousands of couples over the years and helping them to plan the perfect getaway. But are these five classic and popular destinations a good match for today’s LGBT couples?
Mexico ticks all the right boxes – it’s relatively close to home for plenty of Americans but still gives them the chance to experience a wildly different culture and land. The views available in cities like Puerto Vallarta and Mexico City provide a romantic, historic backdrop for a visit. Mexico is also refreshingly progressive, recognizing civil unions and same sex marriages in 10 of its states as well as the federal district of Mexico City. Puerto Vallarta has a long history of being a popular vacation sport for all members of the LGBT community and nearby Guadalajara has also emerged as a new popular destination.
Italy is a perennial favorite for couples since it offers a chance to step back in history, enjoy beautiful landscapes and immerse yourself in the romance the country has to offer. Attitudes towards LGBT couples can vary somewhat throughout Italy, particularly in more rural areas. Larger cities offer a lot more leeway and while the country remains widely conservative, they are also extremely openly affectionate. It’s not uncommon for straight men to hug or link arms in public, and so a same sex couple sitting together and holding hands wouldn’t raise an eyebrow. More importantly, people in larger cities simply don’t have a problem with LGBT couples in general and the country now boasts its first openly gay member of Parliament. LGBT tourists are advised to stick to larger cities that already have an established gay culture, but that doesn’t limit your choices in any meaningful way. Milan, Rome, Bologna and the Tuscany region have all become popular and safe places for same sex couples traveling abroad.
3. Jamaica and the Bahamas
Jamaica routinely tops the list of top honeymoon destinations thanks to its remote location, sweeping views and proliferation of all-inclusive resorts. While there are some resorts which will look the other way if a same sex couple were to arrive, absolutely no resorts advertise themselves as being gay friendly since homosexuality is illegal throughout the country and homophobia is a common theme among much of the local culture, including pop music. Further to the north is another popular destination for newlyweds – the Bahamas. While crime and discrimination in this country isn’t as rampant or overt as it is in Jamaica, there are also no legal protections and LGBT relationships are not legally recognized. Though there are some resorts in the Bahamas which offer a welcoming experience for LGBT couples, the region overall does not provide an ideal location or experience for these couples to celebrate their union.
The islands of Hawaii are another classic favorite for couples past and present. Happily America’s 50th state is one of the most progressive states of the union, recognizing same-sex marriage and even issuing new Birth Certificates for post-operative transsexuals. The only significant limitation for LGBT rights in the state is a ban on blood donation by sexually active homosexual men, though, hopefully, that won’t be an issue over your honeymoon. The state also has firm laws in place to protect members of the LGBT community from hate crimes and discrimination. A variety of gay-friendly resorts and local services can be found on the Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui and Hawaii islands of the state.
5. Paris, France
Finally there’s the ultimate city for lovers – Paris, France. France has a reputation for being one of most liberal countries in Europe and they have welcomed the LGBT community to the city of love with open arms. Not only does this country – and its people – recognize same-sex marriage, they have taken down barriers and all members of the LGBT community can serve openly in the military and adopt children. While these issues are far from the minds of couples visiting the city for their honeymoon, France’s open acceptance makes it a place where couples can feel relaxed, comfortable, welcomed and – of course – openly in love.