Also see: Caribbean Anti Violence Project
Curacao Launches New Website For Gay Travelers
Willemstad, Curacau – “Live and let live” That is the philosophy on the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, which has just launched an alternate lifestyle website for visitors, www.gaycuracao.com.
The website is specifically developed to showcase the island as a “gay friendly” destination. It is a unique and in-depth resource for the gay traveler looking for a little help in navigating the island and knowing where to stay and what to do and see.
The Curaçao Tourist Board is committed to welcoming all visitors to the island and hope that this new integrated tool will help spread the word to the gay and lesbian community and encourage travel. “We understand that travelers are concerned about how they will be welcomed and if their lifestyle choice is understood when visiting a destination,” commented Jim Hepple, director of tourism. “This website not only shows that we are open to all walks of life, but that we embrace it and have attractions and hotels that specifically support the lifestyle.”
Gaycuracao.com highlights the many hotels on island that are members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and provides a listing of places to gather and meet other gay travelers, as well as locals.
The website lists the weekend hot spots, citing Limbo Bar, Curaçao’s official gay bar, or Mambo Beach as the place to be every Saturday night while TuTu Tango, Jacob’s Bar at Hotel Kura Hulanda, Wet & Wild and De Gouverneur are the Thursday, Friday and Sunday night hot spots.
One of the other key features of the website is its bulletin boards where past visitors can share their experiences on island and potential travelers can ask questions and seek advice. “The bulletin board is a great community building tool,” Hepple said. “Plus people are often more reassured and feel a greater level of comfort to hear an endorsement of the island’s gay-friendliness from an independent traveler rather then an island sponsored website, and they can find that here.”
(Right) Picture of downtown Willemstad – island of Curaçao
Additionally, visitors to the website can find an overview of the island, its location and history, island activities and highlights and links for making travel arrangements. The island of Curaçao, located outside of the hurricane belt, boasts an eclectic mix of history and culture, which has served to create a Caribbean experience like no other.
Also known for its eco-tourism and pristine diving conditions, Curaçao attracts the adventure traveler as well as those looking to unwind and enjoy its perfect climate. Visitors to Curaçao will enjoy an 18-hole championship golf course, casinos and much more.
American Airlines and Air Jamaica offer domestic flights into Curaçao. Contact hotels or travel agents directly for more information.
To learn more about Curaçao or to receive a free destination DVD contact 1-800-3-CURAÇAO (1-800-328-7222) or visit www.curacao-tourism.com
More information: email@example.com
January 23, 2005
Curaçao courts gay travelers
by Jeanne Cooper
Seven years after the Cayman Islands refused to let a gay-themed cruise dock, another Caribbean island has put out the welcome mat. The Dutch island of Curaçao is encouraging gay and lesbian travelers to visit with the help of a new Web site, www.gaycuracao.com.
Coming six months after the Sandals resort chain dropped its ban on same-sex couples, the move could signal a change of attitudes in the region.
Under the slogan "We Live and Let Live," Gaycuracao.com includes details on gay-friendly lodgings and nightclubs, as well as general tourist information and a message board, where tourists and locals can share their experiences.
The message board is a "great community-building tool," according to Jim Hepple, the island’s director of tourism.
" People are often more reassured and feel a greater level of comfort to hear an endorsement of the island’s gay-friendliness from an independent traveler rather than an island-sponsored Web site, and they can find that here," Hepple said in a statement announcing the Web site’s creation.
Still under development on the site are online links for booking travel arrangements.
From San Francisco, American Airlines is the only airline to offer one-stop service to Curaçao, flying overnight via Miami.
To receive a free DVD about the island, call (800) 328-7222 or visit www.curacao-tourism.com.
April 19, 2005
Live and let live, says the island of Curaçao
by Nelson Alcantara, Los Angeles (eTurboNews)
While the Turks & Caicos can’t seem to make up its mind on where it stands on gay travelers, the island of Curaçao has come out to offer a positive advice: “Live and let live.” This Dutch Caribbean island is not merely being philosophical either; it is proving itself through action by launching an alternative lifestyle Website, www.gaycuracao.com
The Curaçao Tourist Board (CTB) said it is committed to welcoming all visitors to the island and hope that this new integrated tool will help spread the word to the gay and lesbian community and encourage travel. The Website is specifically developed to showcase the island as a “gay-friendly” destination. “It is a unique and in-depth resource for the gay traveler looking for a little help in navigating the island and knowing where to stay and what to do and see,” CTB said.
“We understand that travelers are concerned about how they will be welcomed and if their lifestyle choice is understood when visiting a destination,” commented Jim Hepple, director of tourism. “This Website not only shows that we are open to all walks of life, but that we embrace and have attractions and hotels that specifically support the lifestyle.”
CTB added that the Website has a listing of hotels that are members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association and also provides a listing of places to gather and meet other gay travelers, as well as locals. It also highlights the weekend hot spots, citing Limbo Bar, Curaçao’s official gay bar, or Mambo Beach as the place to be every Saturday night while TuTu Tango, Jacob’s Bar at Hotel Kura Hulanda, Wet & Wild and De Gouverneur are the Thursday, Friday and Sunday night hot spots, the tourism board said in a statement.
Other features include a bulletin board, which Heppe heralds as “a great community building tool,” because “it allows past visitors to share their experiences on island and gives potential travelers the chance to ask questions and seek advice.” Visitors to the Website can also get an overview of the island, its location and history, as well as island activities and highlights and links for making travel arrangements.
This news comes at a time when Fiji, another island destination, is also in the under scrutiny for its treatment of homosexuals. Australian Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender activist Rodney Croome and the Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby are urging the Australian government to take action and demand the release of 55-year-old Australian Thomas Maxwell McCoskar, who is in Fiji serving a two-year sentence for engaging in what Fiji law declares as “unnatural offence and indecent practice between males.”
The Fiji government, however, said they have no knowledge about a protest in Australia over the jailing, local paper The Fiji Times reported. Fiji Foreign Affairs Minister Kaliopate Tavola said on Saturday he was away for a week and did not receive any formal notification from the Australian High Commission of the protest.
So, here is the official tally as far as this subject goes—Curaçao: decidedly a gay-friendly destination, Fiji: decidedly an ungay-friendly destination, and the Turks & Caicos: undecidedly gay-friendly destination.
(Christine Khan contributed to this report.)
June 29, 2007
Becky Alter: out, professional, touring musician fubds gay-friendly bar in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles called De Tropen
My name is Becky Alter. I am an out, professional, touring musician from the US and have found an amazingly gay-friendly bar in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles called De Tropen, at which to perform several shows over the course of the next month and a half. I met with them last night and they encouraged me to reach out to the gay community here on the island. Being that I’m a starving, touring artist, I’m hoping that you might be willing to post a listing of the show (and any other shows that you think would be interesting). This has been my best experience with a mixed, open-minded venue to date. i will also be playing at Hook’s Hut, The Blues Bar, and possibly a few other venues between now and the end of July.
I am attaching a one-sheet bio for you to look over. If I can provide you with more information, or if you think you might have interest in doing an interview, PLEASE feel free to contact me directly. Song samples and photos can be found at www.myspace.com/beckyalter
Curacao, Netherlands Antilles
Fri, June 29, 2007
Thank you so much for your time. I hope to hear back from you soon!
December 08, 2007
Gay-friendly vibe is strong in Curacao: On such a small Caribbean island, there is no real closet
by Julia Steinecke, Special to the Star
Willemstad, Curacao –Nandy’s been out since the age of 15. On her first day of high school, the teacher asked everyone to say something about themselves, something they like. She said, "I like women," and she’s never looked back. Now she’s sitting across from us at the Avila Hotel’s Grill Night with her girlfriend, Julie. We’re a trio of les/bi travel writers and we want to know where the girls are on this steamy desert island. Nandy and Julie tell all: On Tuesdays, the lesbians favour Ay Caramba. On Thursdays, it’s the DJs at Cinco (cinco.an). On Fridays, look no further than Zanta Beach. On Saturdays, head to Mambo Beach (www.mambocuracao.com)Sundays, catch the Happy Hours at the Seaquarium beaches: Kontiki (kontikibeachclub.net), Mambo, and Wet & Wild (wetandwildbeachclub.com). These are all mixed events, full of local men and women, gays and straights, so you have to turn your gaydar to its highest setting.
Curaçao’s tourism board has been hyping the island’s gay-friendly vibe since 2004 when it launched a dedicated website at gaycuracao.com. Now there are 17 businesses in the IGLTA (International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association: traveliglta.com), the highest membership for the Caribbean. Everyone credits the Dutch influence, here in the Netherlands Antilles; I’d also acknowledge the local multicultural mosaic for creating an environment where diversity is the norm. Most residents speak Papiamentu which is a sensuous blend of Spanish, Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, native Arawak and West African tongues. Negotiating sexual orientation is still complex for locals – most islanders attend churches, some of which quietly condemn. Nandy and Julie say Curaçao is friendly as long as you’re not in people’s faces. I look down and notice Julie is holding Nandy’s hand and tickling the inside of her palm as we talk in loud voices in the middle of the Belle Terrace. Like, not making out in public, they clarify.
We pile into their pickup truck and ride through the deserted streets of Willemstad. Downtown, we pass a lit-up square full of tall blond students drinking Amstel. These are The Interns, who come from Holland every year to get experience in their fields and work on their sunburns. We coast by Lyric’s, the gay bar, with its rainbow flag and its list of rules in Papiamentu. Taboos include palabra insolente, (insolent or rude words) uso di droga (use of drugs) and ningun arma (weapons).
We end up back in the east end, at Mambo Beach, which is packed with a young multiculti crowd. Nandy and Julie introduce a few people and begin their running commentary. "He’s nice, but I don’t know about his friends … She’s a lesbian but it looks like she’s playing it straight tonight." The next day, over lunch, another local continues: "That guy’s wife had an affair with another woman and left him. He’s gay but he married another woman, way younger. She’s bi, I think …"
On a small island like this, there’s no real closet.
During our visit, we learn about a male couple who’ve adopted two children; and a suburb called Barragan where eight gay couples have bought houses. Everyone talks about the multi-millionaire businessman/philanthropist who helped kick-start gay tourism marketing when his Hotel Kura Hulanda took out one of the first IGLTA memberships. As for his orientation, Jacob Gelt Dekker tells me: "I have a close family of friends, male and female, with whom I shared the last 45 years." Between chats with locals, we visit some of the 35 beaches, cozy coves with good snorkelling. We tour Willemstad with its candy-coloured buildings, and cross the unique Swinging Old Lady bridge. We eat mero fillet with truffle butter, and stoba (beef stew) with polenta sticks.
On my last day, alone, I wander the streets of Otrobanda, the less touristy side of Willemstad. I pop in and out of discount clothing stores, then pause to watch a children’s demonstration. Hundreds of students in neatly pressed school uniforms carry signs asking for "Respect! No lineups! Medical care!" Near the bridge, I board a minivan taking a circuitous road to the airport. Not all of the island is scenic (there’s the Isla Oil Refinery) but I enjoy this route through several residential neighbourhoods. Passengers greet me as they climb on and off. The music starts slow tempo, with a Papiamentu version of Shania Twain’s Still the One. Then it moves into salsa. By the time we reach the airport, everyone is dancing in their seats, including the driver, who’s waving her hand in the air.