Can you be gay in Jamaica?

Updated: May 3

Well, the short answer is yes! But here’s what you need to know if you want to go there...


LGBTQ Travel has always been tricky, but Jamaica is more open than most places in the Caribbean. There are LGBTQ-friendly hotels out there on the island; however, it’s important to do your research before booking your trip.


The first thing you should consider is that not all resorts are equal.


Some of them offer specific facilities and services to the LGBTQ community, while others don’t. In Jamaica, there are large resorts that welcome everyone and even a few small boutique properties that I highly recommend.


Round Hill Hotel and Villas has welcomed LGBTQ travelers for many years now with their inclusive policies and family-friendly atmosphere. The Round Hill Hotel and Villas is one of the only resorts in Jamaica that caters to LGBTQ individuals. They are family-friendly, inclusive, and safe.


Boardwalk to the beach in Jamaica
Staying in the resort bubble is an easy way to have a great safe time.

A few resorts offer an all-inclusive "bubble stay" experience where you stay in the resort and everything is taken care of for you. These all-inclusive resorts are a great option for traveling to Jamaica while having the benefit of a more relaxed area where you more freely enjoy yourself.


The second thing you should know is that the nightlife in Jamaica is not like it is at home.


Gay Nightlife in Jamaica is an area that has seen an increase in violence towards the LGBTQ community. The violence usually starts with verbal harassment and physical attacks but can escalate to more serious crimes like homicide. Unfortunately, these incidents are not uncommon in Jamaica and are often overlooked by the government.


Cities in Jamaica
Cities in Jamaica are like many in the Caribbean. The resort parts are beautiful while the local homes can be run-down.

If you’re looking to leave your resort and explore the island, don’t expect to find any LGBTQ-specific nightclubs, restaurants, or other establishments. Even in the capital city of Kingston, there are no Gayborhoods.


When you are out exploring, the Buddy System is one way to improve your safety, by having someone watch your back or meeting up with a friend after a night out. When visiting Jamaica for the first time, it is important to always have a plan before drinking or partying at night.


Third, hooking up in Jamaica is risky.


Just like at home, the most popular hookup app in Jamaica is Grindr, which is a geolocation-based app for gay and bi men to chat and meet. One key difference in the app is that most users will opt to leave their profile photo blank or use the classic chest picture instead of a clear face pic. If you plan to open the app while traveling, I encourage you to remove your own face pics and any information that makes you easily identifiable (links to social media).



Hooking up in Jamaica is risky because of the high levels of homophobia on the island. If you do decide to play, sticking with other guests of your resort is one of the safer options. Going out to find local fun is usually asking for trouble unless you’re well prepared to take care of yourself.

 

What are your favorite places in Jamaica? Vote for your favorite destinations by commenting on this article!


Jamaica is a beautiful island that should not be skipped, doing your research before you vacation will help ensure you have a great time. If you’re not looking to do all the leg work of planning a vacation to a new destination, schedule a consultation with Rainbow Getaways. I’ll match you with the perfect destination for your travel personality so you’ll have a fabulous time.


Rainbow Getaways proudly help travelers of the LGBTQ community (and our allies) research, plan, and book incredible vacations where you feel confident and comfortable enjoying and exploring your destination. We plan each vacation to meet your specific needs, so you'll have an experience just as unique as you.


If you haven't already, be sure to request your free copy of The Ultimate LGBTQ Guide to the Caribbean at the bottom of the page.


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