North America covers nearly 25 million square kilometers, 7 time zones and is composed of 3 countries: Canada, the United States of America and Mexico. Three countries, three distinct and unique cultures that make them ideal destinations for the gay community. Although there are different approaches to LGBTQ+ rights in every state in the US, all three countries are among the most tolerant in the world. On top of that, there are so many things to discover: Feel like lazing in the sun? Let’s go to the Pacific coast of Mexico and the gay beaches of Puerto Vallarta. Or travel to Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver and enjoy all the activities of Canada‘s most gay-friendly cities. You may be dreaming of an American roadtrip? Why don’t you go to the West Coast of the United States? Let’s go to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Palm Springs! If you’re in the mood for excess, New York, on the Atlantic coast, is the place to be. As you can see, North America is such a vast continent that there is plenty of choice when it comes to organising the trip of your dreams.
Even though Canada, the United States and Mexico share a part of their history and are now closely linked economically, each country retains its own specificities and charm, to the delight of travellers. Canada is a very welcoming country with one of the most tolerant populations in the world, breathtaking landscapes and many areas that have never been visited by humans. The USA, with its 50 states, will offer you a variety of gay destinations with San Francisco, Key-West, Provincetown, Palm Springs or of course New York. Mexico, with its pre-Hispanic history and postcard landscapes, will seduce you with its climate and ultra-gay-friendly cities like Puerto Vallarta.
Whether in Canada, the USA or Mexico, we can qualify the situation of LGBTQ+ people in North America as favourable. But there are still wide disparities. Canada is the most advanced of the three countries, with strong legislation that has been in place for many years and, above all, a broad scope of application. Indeed, after having legalised marriage or the possibility of adoption for same-sex couples for many years, as well as the possibility of gender conversion, Canada is now shifting into high gear with the release of non-gender specific official documents and is in the process of tackling head-on the issue of conversion therapies, which are already completely banned in some provinces. As for the United States and Mexico, their situation is fairly identical and advanced on the issue of LGBTQ+ rights, but with a disparity that may be strong depending on the state. A very interesting site to give you a barometer of the situation and provide you with more information about LGBTQ+ rights in North America: Equaldex.
In Canada, the currency is the Canadian dollar (CAD), which should not be confused with the American dollar (USD), as their rates are different. For example, 10 Euros will give you about 15 CAD while they will only give you about 12 USD. In Mexico the currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN) and the same example of 10 Euros will give you about 240 MXN. Be aware that the Mexican peso is identified with the same symbol as the dollar ($) so be careful.
Major credit cards are accepted everywhere, but be careful as in some bars in gay neighbourhoods, it is only possible to pay by cash, so be prepared! Also, don’t forget the tip, which is much more than just a thank you. Indeed, the tip is often the only salary of the waitress or waiter that you will have in front of you. The percentage to be left depends on the states. There will always be an average amount required (in Canada/Quebec for example, it is 15% of the bill) which you can then adapt according to the service offered.
Citizens of the European Union, the United Kingdom and many other countries no longer require a visa to travel to North America. However, it is mandatory for Canada/USA to obtain a Canada – AVE or USA – ESTA Electronic Travel Authorization in advance, even if you are only making a correspondence. For Mexico, an entry document will be given to you by the flight crew during your flight.