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Dominican Republic Among Least Gay-Friendly Latin American Countries According To New Report — Why It Doesn’t Apply To Punta Cana

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Even though the Dominican Republic is widely considered one of the most welcoming and friendly destinations in the Caribbean, a new report shows that the tropical country is one of the least advanced in the Americas with regard to the rights of sexual minorities.

Punta Cana Beach

And while the country as a whole is among the most conservative in the Caribbean, Punta Cana stands out as an exceptionally open and tolerant hotspot with an array of gay-friendly venues.

With the rights of sexual minorities making headlines in 2023, here’s more about the situation in the Dominican Republic.

The Dominican Republic Ranked Second-Last In Gay Rights Regionally

While many attribute the Dominican Republic’s soaring arrival figures to its warm and welcoming culture, a new report sheds light on the country’s poor track record when it comes to the rights of LGBTQ individuals.

aerial view of Punta Cana with resorts and beach

According to the Inter-American Development Bank, the Dominican Republic is ranked second-last in a 22-country comparison, with only Jamaica fairing worse.

The study, which analyses public discourse, including public acceptance, as well as the legal and social rights of sexual minorities, determined that the Dominican Republic remains highly religious and conservative. 

The report also points out that the public in the Dominican Republic has an overwhelmingly negative view of sexual minorities, which contributes to discrimination and stigmatization.

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With just a quarter of the population backing same-sex marriage, it is unlikely that the legal situation of LGBTQ people will change in the short term. That said, sexual minorities are allowed to express themselves freely in the country, and same-sex relations are entirely legal.

Is The Dominican Republic Safe For Gay Travelers?

Some gay travelers might feel concerned about traveling to the Dominican Republic due to the country’s poor ranking on this new list. However, gay travelers are welcomed in nearly all hotels and resorts across the country.

Massive outdoor pool area in a Punta Cana resort

That’s especially true for Punta Cana, which has become a safe haven for LGBTQ travelers and is the country’s most popular destination for gay travelers.

Home to an abundance of welcoming bars, nightclubs, and resorts, Punta Cana has a lot going on for it. With an unparalleled selection of adult-only resorts, the coastal destination is an excellent choice for sexual minorities, who can feel safe in one of the world’s premier tourism hotspots.

Santo Domingo airport, passenger checking into their flights

Travelers can find several top-rated nightclubs and other party venues; Paradise Garage Punta Cana, located just a few hundred meters from several of the town’s resorts, is one of the go-to places for countless gay travelers

Offering phenomenal shows (including dinner performances), this vibrant establishment welcomes all travelers, regardless of sexual orientation. Open from Wednesday to Sunday, it’s a great choice for some of the best entertainment in town.

Partygoers at a Punta Cana beach during sunset

Maroca Club is another nightclub that has been gaining popularity as one of the city’s leading party venues. With fun thematic evenings and night-long parties, this centrally-located nightclub is a great addition to any Punta Cana itinerary.

Before embarking on a trip to the Dominican Republic, it’s important to opt for larger cities, which tend to have an open-minded and tolerant attitude, as well as gay-friendly establishments. 

A street in Santo Domingo with the country's flag

Punta Cana is welcoming toward gay travelers, but that may not be as much the case in other parts of the country. Unfortunately, LGBTQ travelers should be mindful when expressing affection in public, which may be met with stares or even condemnation.

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