We stayed in the Condado section of San Juan, which back in the day used to be the gay mecca of Puerto Rico.
Condado is becoming increasingly gentrified, condo-ized and family friendly as Puerto Rico seeks to attract more tourism dollars to pay down its huge debt and recover from the Great Recession (Unemployment is still twice the level of the mainland United States at 16 percent).
The Atlantic Beach Hotel, which used to cater almost exclusively to gays, was purchased by a straight owner who locals said is very homophobic. Puerto Rico opened its own Eagle leather bar but the placed closed down for lack of interest. San Juan’s only bathhouse closed about a year ago after churches protested (Despite its tolerance for LGBT people Puerto Rico can still be a very Catholic and conservative place.)
And the biggest gay clubs are inland from the beach in slummier neighborhoods where it is not unusual to see transsexual prostitutes plying their wares. In fact one of the ladies, this heavy-set brown-skinned black transsexual in a too-tight mini skirt that showed off her bubble ass, hit on Morgan and me when we were walking back to the hotel.
“You’re gorgeous,” she purred in Puerto-Rican accented English.
“You are beautiful too,” I said, and kept walking.
Still there are vestiges of more gay times. Right in the middle of Condado there is the Kinky Condom Shop that sells nothing but condoms, lubes and sex gear. It was even open on Sunday.
And Morgan and I still found plenty to do. Inferno Puerto Rico, a black gay and lesbian group that hosts trips to Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, were having an event at our hotel, the Conrad Condado. Morgan and I hit the pool party. Take it from me, the lesbians were looking hotter than the boys from Atlanta.
We hung out at Circo Bar, where there was a drag show in honor of the late great Donna Summer on the Sunday night before. The house music was thumping but I hate to say it but Puerto Ricans don’t seem to dance as well as the guys back home at the Mill on Saturday night. They just stand around in circles with their friends and bop a little bit when the beat gets good.
On Monday Memorial Day, probably my favorite day, we hung out at the gay beach and just checked out the boys. Here are some photos.