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Top 10 Places To Marry 1. Hawaii 2. San Francisco, California 3. Buenos Aires, Argentina 4. Cape Town, South Africa 5. Tahiti 6. Queenstown, NZ 7. New York 8. Iceland 9. Vancouver, BC, Canada 10. Boston, Massachusetts
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Uruguay approved same-sex marriage in 2010 and remains a welcoming and rarified place for gay travelers. Both the nightlife hotspot of Punta del Este and the boho-chic enclave of José Ignacio are less than a hundred miles up the stunning coastline from the capital of Montevideo, whose bustling historic downtown full of faded Beaux Arts buildings is not to be missed. The boutique, gay-owned Casa Sarandi Guesthouse is a great starting point for exploring the city; from there, rent a car and head for the pristine beaches of Carrasco, visit the 17th-century Portuguese stronghold of Colonia del Sacramento, or find a place to go whale-watching along the coast. For something more secluded and luxurious, tuck away inside one of the modern architectural compounds of Playa Vik, or try one of the surprisingly affordable rooms of Casapueblo, the whitewashed cement citadel created by the late artist Carlos Páez Vilaró.
When the Hawaii Marriage Equality Act was passed in 2013, it further solidified Hawaii’s reputation as a quintessential honeymoon destination for gay couples looking for someplace simultaneously exotic and familiar. Couples with secluded relaxation in mind might pass up Honolulu’s extensive gay-friendly nightlife options for Maui, or better yet, Kauai, which has the more dramatic scenery: the peaks of the Na Pali Coast, primeval rainforest, red-rock cliffs of Waimea Canyon, and Wailua Falls. Book a room at the St. Regis Princeville Resort for unobstructed views of Hanalei Bay, or head to the smaller Koa Kea Resort in Poipu Beach for peak tranquility.
Having given us the world’s first openly gay head of state, Iceland’s embodiment of the liberal Nordic outlook makes it perfect for LGBT honeymooners whose taste in landscapes skew toward the results of violent geological upheaval. Gay life there centers around the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik, which boasts a handful of gay owned and operated bed and breakfasts, and a number of bold and contemporary spaces, like the 101 Hotel, which boasts nice views of the harbor and old town. A stay in the Blue Lagoon Clinic offers the Iceland-only perk of a spa treatment in a geothermally heated lagoon. With the new wave of budget airlines offering transatlantic routes, fares from Boston to Reykjavik have been known to go as low as $99.
Though Provincetown, Cape Cod remains New England’s traditional gay enclave, Maine, which voted to recognize sam-sex marriage in 2012, boasts the kind of romantic coastline inns that great honeymoons are made of. The White Barn Inn in the seaside village of Kennebunkport offers dinner for two in French-influenced, five-star dining room that also happens to be a timber-framed barn, while the kitchen of the Norumbega Inn, which is situated in a turreted stone castle in Camden, is run by a former Culinary Institute of America professor. Head back out on Maine’s coastal Route 1 to find in search of a classic lobster shack, explore the galleries of Portland or Deer Isle, or shove off for an afternoon with any number of sailing companies.
Thousands in Puerto Rico celebrated last Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, which also meant marriage equality for the U.S. territory. The island of Vieques, 8 miles off the Puerto Rican coast, lost its “undiscovered” mystique some time ago, but still promises the same languid pace, beaches, and beautiful coves. (Also, nighttime kayaking to the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay.) Splurge on lodgings at the W Retreat and Spa, or splurge even further and rent an entire Prouve-style villa, in the form of the Casa de Crystal. Head back to the Puerto Rican mainland for a day exploring Old San Juan, which is nicely capped off by an evening bouncing around the city’s many gay bars and clubs.
Hawaii is picture-perfect for a wedding. Getty Images/Flickr Select.
In December 2013, same-sex couples joined the long line of lovebirds who take the plunge each year in Hawaii's palm-trees-and-blue-seas paradise. After the wedding, the honeymoon is ready-made: swim in waterfall pools, sway in beachside hammocks, sip celebratory tropical cocktails, ride horses with local cowboys. The Islands' aloha spirit coupled with generations of diverse populations living in sync result in a laid-back, no-one-looks-twice vibe. O'ahu (especially around Waikiki) and Maui are gay hubs, with plenty of beaches, B&Bs and resorts catering to the LGBT community.
2. San Francisco, California
San Francisco's rainbows come in all shapes and sizes. Getty Images.
The rainbow flag flies higher here than anywhere else in the US. For a half-century the Castro District has been the epicenter of American gay and lesbian culture. An unparalleled number of bars, shops, eateries and hotels cater to the crowd. Consider the city's breathtaking (literally) hills, brooding fog and exquisite foodie fare as lucky bonuses.
3. Buenos Aires, Argentina
The La Boca neighborhood of Buenos Aires, Argentina would add a colorful backdrop to any wedding photo. Getty Images.
Progressive Buenos Aires is one of Latin America’s gay capitals, and it seduces without shame. When you're not carving into a steak washed down by velvety Malbec wine, visit Evita's grave, see an opera at the Teatro Colón and poke around the San Telmo street market, where tango performers get their groove on. The city offers several places to learn the sultry dance, including the Queer Tango Festival (festivaltangoqueer.com.ar), held in late November. Gay-friendly cafes and guesthouses dot the neighborhoods of San Telmo, Retiro, Barrio Norte and Palermo Viejo.
4. Cape Town, South Africa
The majestic beauty of Cape Town, South Africa. Getty Images/Vetta
Cape Town is Africa's gayest city, and it's a beauty all right. Flat-topped mountains, sculpture-lined parks and golden beaches strike a pose. Bohemian gayborhoods such as De Waterkant entertain. Bucolic vineyards stripe the outskirts. And what other wedding destination boasts penguin-spotting tours and shark-cage diving? Stay for a safari honeymoon and add hippos, giraffes, and zebras to the viewing list.
Serene resort bungalows in Tahiti. Getty Images/Flickr Open.
With its coconut groves, blue-green lagoons and chalk-white sand, Tahiti is the quintessential Polynesian idyll. Most hotels are geared up to perform weddings, and they don't get any sexier than at Le Méridien on nearby Bora Bora. Picture your own thatched-roof bungalow with a glass floor over fish-speckled water. You'll likely run into rae-rae, cross-dressers or transgendered folks, who are a highly respected and integral part of the restaurant and hotel industries, as they have been for eons in this culture.