Best LGBTQIA+ spots in San Juan

Lonely Planet has partnered with the San Juan-based travel community Platea to provide comprehensive guides, curated lists and insider tips for your next trip to Puerto Rico.

With a larger cluster of gay neighborhoods in Condado, the tourist district, and Santurce, San Juan is arguably the most LGBTIQ+ friendly city in Puerto Rico.

San Juan’s vibrant gay scene offers a variety of accommodations, restaurants, bars, and clubs that cater to the LGBTIQ+ crowd. Daytime fun like sunbathing on the beach, exploring historic sites, and sampling authentic Puerto Rican cuisine is also plentiful.

Here’s our guide to the best LGBTIQ+ spots in San Juan.

Puerto Rico has a thriving LGBTIQ+ community

The country legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 and hosts a trio of massive Pride celebrations throughout the year: San Juan Pride, Winter Pride Fest, also in San Juan, and Boquerón Pride in Cabo Rojo.

The laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, just like in other places around the world, individuals – especially those who identify as trans – can experience bigotry.

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Where to stay

Cozy guesthouses, boutique hotels, and upscale resorts—San Juan’s rugged accommodations can match any type of stay you have in mind.

Coqui del Mar promotes a strong social environment © Jay Summers / Coqui del Mar

Coqui del Mar

Located in Ocean Park, this gay-owned guesthouse fosters a laid-back beachfront community in the Santurce neighborhood. Married owners Rob and Vianney have a wealth of knowledge on the best places to go and things to do in Puerto Rico, even offering guided excursions to the El Yunque Rainforest, Arenales Cave, cruise beaches and some lesser known places around the island.

Coqui del Mar fosters a strong social environment, and the entire first floor and one of the two pools are clothing-optional. Guests can choose from 12 different studios and rooms of different sizes and prices.

Spacious apartments with full kitchens work well for couples, and small shared rooms are ideal for budget-conscious solo travelers.

Beach bikes, kayaks and beach chairs are free during your stay. Eco-conscious guests will appreciate the property’s plastic-free policy as well as its rain barrels, mango tree, and herb garden.

A beautifully arranged bowl of chia pudding with a glass of orange juice and cutlery in the background
Meals at Dreamcatcher are 100% vegetarian with vegan options @ The Dreamcatcher

The dream catcher

As the only vegetarian, gay-owned and operated hotel in Puerto Rico, a stay at this spotless boutique property is an immersion in health, wellness, and diversity. Created by partners Stephan Watts and Roy Delgado, it’s a sublime respite in the heart of Ocean Park, just minutes from the beach.

Each of the nine rooms and three suites is bright, chic, and tastefully appointed, with crisp cotton linens, natural furnishings, soft tones, and distinctive decor like native artifacts, dream catchers, and incense burners scented adding to the intimate appeal.

Meals are 100% vegetarian with vegan options, and the chef uses local ingredients for seasonally inspired menus. Guests can choose from a well-curated list of activities — morning yoga and meditation classes, paddleboarding, salsa parties, snorkeling excursions, and other tours.

Condado Ocean Club

Formerly the Serafina Beach Hotel, this adults-only boutique hotel offers stunning views of the Condado Lagoon and the Atlantic Ocean. Revamped and renamed, it opened as Condado Ocean Club in November 2020 – the first San Juan property to debut after Hurricane Maria.

The 96 rooms (some with terrace) are flooded with natural light, thanks to spectacular bay windows. Gray and white walls with splashes of sea green and turquoise create a tropical-chic backdrop for bohemian-style furnishings and striking murals by local artists.

The venue’s elegant sea-facing infinity pool, lined with nine breezy private cabanas, is perhaps the biggest draw here. Several restaurants are within walking distance, or you can enjoy an on-site meal at Social, where the menu deftly blends authentic Puerto Rican fare with continental cuisine.

Silhouettes of people canoeing at sunset at Condado Lagoon in San Juan
San Juan is home to two main (unofficial) gay beaches – Atlantic Beach in Condado is the most popular © Dennis van de Water / Shutterstock

What to do

go to the beach

San Juan is home to two main (unofficial) gay beaches. Condado’s Atlantic Beach is the most popular, especially on Sunday afternoons when LGBTIQ+ families, groups of friends, and tourists turn up for some quality time in the sun. Ocean Park Beach is the other hot spot: lined with palm trees and stunning homes, this wide stretch of sand is a favorite spot for paddle tennis, kite surfing and other water sports.

Sip rum

Off the sand, San Juan also has a lot to offer. Puerto Rico produces 70% of the rum sold in the United States, earning it the reputation of the world’s rum capital – the industry adds more than $300 million to Puerto Rico’s annual economy and its distilleries have created more than 700 jobs.

Rum production here dates back to the early 16th century. For a taste of this rich history, book a mixology tour or class at Casa Bacardí near the mouth of San Juan Bay.

If you can’t secure a visit, a visit to the Casa Bacardí bar is the way to go – one ticket gets you a tasty drink, a locally made empanada and the chance to relax in a waterside pavilion with a remarkable view of El Morro, Old San Juan’s iconic fortification.

You won’t need a ticket to enjoy La Casita de Rones, the flagship store of Rums of Puerto Rico, a marketing arm of the island’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce. Opened in the heart of Old San Juan in 2016, this distinctive spot combines authentic Puerto Rican tapas and fare with handcrafted rum cocktails, and its well-stocked boutique offers clothing, barware and other souvenirs inspired by the rum.

Take a food tour

A food tour is a delicious way to connect with Puerto Rico’s culture through its culinary heritage, allowing you to sample authentic dishes, talk with local farmers, and gain insight into the island’s history . Spoon and flavor food tours are the most popular options.

A group of people hanging out at Kween's Klub nightclub in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Kween’s Klub is one of the newest LGBTIQ+ clubs in San Juan, Puerto Rico © Kween’s Klub

Where to eat, drink and party

Kween Club

Kweens Klub is the neighborhood’s newest kid, opened in December 2021 by owners Christian J. Marcano and Dr. Jesus Hernandez-Burgos — former drag queens and pageant queens — as a safe and inclusive space for the LGBTIQ+ community and its allies.

Visit on Wednesday nights for Latinx music or Thursdays to cheer on your favorite queen at pageants, drag shows and talent shows. Queer Night is Friday and Saturday where you can dance the night away with a variety of talented local DJs.

Ostra Cosa

Savor lobster-stuffed cheese pancakes or grilled jumbo shrimp at Ostra Cosa, a gay restaurant and bar located in Old San Juan. Service is unhurried, allowing diners to enjoy al fresco dining to a live soundtrack provided by local musicians. Try the Coco Loco, a coconut filled with coconut water and your liquor of choice. When you’re done with the drink, the bartender opens it so you don’t waste the alcohol-infused coconut meat.

Tia Maria Jose de Diego

Formerly called Tía Maria’s Liquor Store, Tía María Jose de Diego is a favorite local gay bar in Santurce and the perfect place for an authentic Puerto Rican party experience. Come for the karaoke, stay for the generous pours.

Minibar Zal Si Puedes

Another gem in Santurce is the Zal Si Puedes mini bar. Located on the first floor of Hotel San Jorge, this intimate neighborhood bar draws on an older decor with evening drag shows and live entertainment.

La Placita

A farmers market by day and a lively party scene by night, La Placita transforms into its nocturnal alter ego around 10 p.m. There’s usually a mixed crowd – LGBTIQ+ locals and tourists – at Chueca Bar and Tapas.

El Local in Santurce

For a house party vibe with eclectic decor and alternative music, head to El Local in Santurce, one of the most inclusive venues in town. Weekly drag shows (including drag kings), karaoke, reasonably priced drinks and a fun, lively atmosphere – what more could you ask for for a good time?

A person holds a large Puerto Rican flag in the colors of Pride.
There are a multitude of LGBTIQ+ events in San Juan © Ricardo Arduengo / AFP via Getty Images

Key events

Puerto Rico Queer Film Festival

Celebrating diversity and inclusion through film and music, Puerto Rico Queer Filmfest is the first and largest LGBTIQ+ festival in the Caribbean. It takes place every November and features international and local feature films and shorts.

Hydro Caribbean Festival

A major circuit event, the Hydro Caribbean Festival is also the first of its kind in the region, with the world’s most sought-after DJs leading the party at some of the city’s best gay-friendly venues.

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