While performing on tour years ago, Andre 3000 wore a black jumpsuit that I've been thinking about ever since. Emblazoned on his chest were the words: “Across cultures, darker people suffer the most. Why?”
This jumpsuit is my Roman empire. For a while, it was even my Tumblr icon. It’s akin to Frank Ocean’s “Why Be Racist Sexist Homophobic Transphobic When You Could Just Be Quiet” shirt.
It’s a testament to a harsh truth: racism isn’t restricted to the states, it’s a worldwide phenomenon. But thankfully, change is a worldwide phenomenon, too — some places faster than others. For Black travelers, especially African Americans, visiting new places can be a liberating opportunity to experience life without the daily microaggressions of American racism.
Sure, no place is perfect, but once you leave America you realize how much the expectation of racism weighs you down. Many Black travelers become eager to find countries that are more progressive and racially inclusive, even if their demographics aren’t that diverse. From bucket list cities to remote destinations, Black travelers gravitate in droves to certain spots. Some even take to the digital nomad life and retire in these cities.
Some are proven to be statistically safer. Some are English-speaking and Westernized while others are remote and rural. Whatever type of traveler you are, you deserve to feel safe from racial aggression (micro and macro) when you’re on vacation.
According to many Black travelers with different needs and interests, here are the best destinations for Black people around the world.
What percentage of travelers are Black?
According to Black Travel Alliance, 13.1% of the U.S. leisure travel market is Black, generating 458.2 million in Black U.S. traveler stays.
Where is the best place to vacation in the US for Black people?
If you’re looking for Americana with an accepting and exciting ambiance, look no further than New Orleans, Louisiana. The heritage of Black Americans runs deep. After previously enslaved Black folk were freed, they built the city’s infrastructure around culture and music — making it an immersive experience of joy and resistance.
What is the best island for Black travelers?
Want a bougie island adventure without the side-eyes and hostility? I feel you. My time in Long Island is full of racialized horror stories that always make me swear the Hamptons will never be seeing me again. Instead, opt for a trip to the Bahamas. Close to the East Coast and full of gorgeous white sand beaches, it’s heaven on Earth and Green Book-approved.
Other best destinations for Black travelers:
Mexico: Mexico's appeal lies in its vibrant blend of history, cuisine, and warm hospitality. From the bustling markets of Mexico City to the serene beaches of Tulum, Black travelers find a welcoming embrace in a country that celebrates diversity. Its nomadic and expat culture is booming. Will you be the next to join them?
Qatar: Qatar, with its futuristic skyline and cultural renaissance, as well as Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates, are known for being welcoming and accepting of different races as well as beacons of luxury.
Brazil: From Rio de Janeiro to Salvador, Brazil beckons with its vibrant celebrations of Afro-Brazilian culture. Black travelers can enjoy the energy of samba, the flavors of Bahian cuisine, and the warm embrace of a nation that proudly wears its cultural diversity.
Ghana: Ghana's historical significance has made it an epicenter for Black travelers seeking to connect to their heritage. As the gateway to the African diaspora, Ghana offers a poignant journey through the echoes of the past and a celebration of a resilient present. Go in December for the best parties of your life.
Jamaica: Jamaica is known for its blue skies and bluer waters. Also its vibrant Black culture. It's the unmistakable vibe that draws Black travelers—the rhythm of reggae, the flavors of jerk cuisine, and the genuine warmth of the Jamaican people.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica’s Pura Vida lifestyle makes it a welcoming and diverse country. Plus, its commitment to sustainable tourism, coupled with its diverse ecosystems, makes it a safe haven for Black travelers seeking eco-friendly adventure.
Lisbon, Portugal: Europe’s coolest city. Lisbon's timeless charm, blended with a contemporary edge, appeals to Black travelers looking for a European experience with a twist (the twist: fewer chances of racism). The city's history is palpable in its cobbled streets and historic sites, yet it embraces a modern, cosmopolitan atmosphere that resonates with diversity.
Montreal, Canada: Montreal's bilingual identity and diverse neighborhoods make it a unique destination for Black travelers. The city's fusion of French and English influences, along with its vibrant arts scene, offers a captivating blend of culture and sophistication.
Thailand: Beyond the vibrant markets and bustling cities, Thailand's tranquil islands and serene temples provide Black travelers with a retreat into a world of calm and spiritual reflection.
Reykjavik, Iceland: Iceland's dramatic landscapes, from glaciers to geysers, attract Black travelers seeking a connection with nature's raw beauty. One of the happiest cities on earth, Iceland might not be diverse itself but it welcomes diversity from around the world.
Marrakech, Morocco: Marrakech's rich history and hospitality create an enchanting atmosphere, making it a captivating destination for those seeking an immersive cultural experience. It’s position on the tip of Africa and history as a merchant city make it a diverse landscape teeming with adventure and acceptance.