By Caroline Davis
A unique island paradise and the world’s newest country as of October 10, 2010, Curaçao, might just take home the crown for the Caribbean’s most gay-friendly island. Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Curaçao’s “Live and Let Live!” spirit from the Dutch abounds. The island’s resident GLBT group, Gay Plasa, hosted its annual Get Wet Weekend, October 1-3, inviting locals and visitors together for three flamboyantly fabulous days of gay-friendly events and activities. The event is one of the only of its kind in the Caribbean and puts Curaçao leaps and bounds ahead of its Caribbean counterparts.
The Get Wet Weekend opened with a bang at the island’s “Grand Opening Meet and Greet” at the Floris Suite Hotel, where all could mingle, dance and reside in the presence of the island’s glamorous resident Drag Queen, Madame Jeanette.
Fans showed up in droves at the “Drag Queen Competition” the next night, cheering on their favorite drag queens hailing from Curaçao and neighboring islands. The queens of the evening performed in red, white, blue striped one-piece bathing suits in the first act, then donned the extravagant attire of their favorite singing divas in the second act, channeling Whitney Houston, Shakira, Aretha Franklin and more.
A highlight of the Get Wet Weekend: locals and visitors stepping into the shoes of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” cast with a post-drag show boat party docked in the waters of Curaçao’s city center, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Willemstad.
The highly-anticipated Get Wet Weekend provides an opportunity for the island to shine its GLBT-friendly light and invite visitors to relax in the beauty of Curaçao’s diverse landscape, breathtaking beaches, dynamic culture and melting pot of people. But the island is, of course, ideal for jet setting year-round! The majority of hotels on the island are members of the International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association, and Curaçao has a vibrant nightlife with activities for gay travelers and locals, including special nights at the popular Mambo Beach, Lyric’s Gay Café (the island’s sole gay bar) and the Wet & Wild Beach Club, to name a few.
Located between Aruba and Bonaire, just 35 miles north of Venezuela, Curaçao enjoys a prime location on the fringe of the hurricane belt and has avoided major hurricane activity for more than 123 years – making it a spectacular vacation destination for gays any time of year.
Beach-loving visitors can revel in one of the nearly 40 quaint, postcard-perfect beaches, ideal for soaking up the warmth of the Caribbean rays, while scuba diving buffs will discover underwater paradises at more than 60 dive sites around the island.
For those who have had enough of “Get Wet” and want to explore Curaçao’s underwater kingdom sans bathing suits, the island presents the world’s first certified mini-submarine for tourists! Curasub, from Substation Curaçao, lets travelers discover the wonders of the sea at a depth of 1,000 feet off the shores of Curaçao, descending four times daily to unreachable depths for divers.
Looking to spend some more time on land? Visitors adore the Eric’s ATV Adventure tours of the island, for two hours careening across the cacti-filled landscape enjoying views of the azure-blue waters. Or head to the Chobolobo Country Mansion distillery for a taste of the classic Blue Curaçao Liqueur, made on-island by the locals themselves, using the peels of the Laraha oranges.
To learn more about the island of Curaçao visit Curacao.com or for more information on gay-friendly events and activities visit Gaycuracao.com.
By Caroline Davis