Mexico’s coasts are a glorious, beachy reflection of the country’s progressive attitude, while the Caribbean features two standout LGBTQ2S+ vacation destinations.

1. Aruba

An island that’s still part of the Netherlands, Aruba is not only gay-friendly, it has an entire section on its website devoted to gay tourism. Aruba refers to itself as “one happy island,” and a number of hotels and resorts are Travel Alternative’s Group approved, with staff receiving diversity training. Same-sex wedding ceremonies are gaining in popularity on the island, while the capital city of Oranjestad is home to a number of LGBTQ2S+ bars and clubs.

2. Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

Photo by Sean Pavone/Getty.

When it comes to LGBTQ2S+ rights in the Caribbean, this island stands out. Melissa Gumbs, who was born here and lives with her girlfriend in Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side of the island, says, “We hold hands, we hug. We used to live in the Netherlands, and the transition has not been weird.” The French side is more open still, and its nightclub, Eros, in the Saint Martin capital of Marigot, is widely considered to be the best LGBTQ2S+ club on the island.

3. Riviera Nayarit, Mexico

Photo by The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort.

An area rather than a city, this 300-kilometre stretch of the west coast starts immediately north of Puerto Vallarta and ends at Tecuala. Southern Riviera Nayarit—which teams up with Puerto Vallarta for Pride each May—is the spot where you can go a little higher end. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort won the 2018 Gay Travel Award for the best LGBTQ2S+ friendly beach resort in the world, and website promises it will immerse guests in “unsurpassed luxury.”

4. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Photo courtesy of the Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board.

Puerto Vallarta has been the LGBTQ2S+ capital of Mexico since people found out Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton holidayed there regularly. The party hasn’t stopped since. Though the city’s Lázaro Cárdenas strip is especially popular with gay men, LGBTQ2S+ tourism has become such a mainstay of the economy that you’re likely to get a friendly welcome whatever initial in the acronym you identify with.

Discover more inclusive LGBTQ2S+ cities around the world

[This story appears in the May 2019 edition of WestJet Magazine.]