Being a Black traveler means you need to be keenly aware of where in the world you are going. What kind of microaggressions can you expect in a new place? Will you be racially profiled and treated differently? Will people stare at you, take photos of you, or worse- touch your hair or your children’s hair without permission? Sadly, asking these questions about a new location is a reality for Black travelers. In many countries, Black skin is uncommon- thus making a Black traveler stand out. In some cases, the local people are truly curious and mean no ill intent, but unfortunately there are places where Black skin isn’t exactly welcomed. Traveling is supposed to be an exciting adventure, not something that causes worry, fear, and shame. So we’ve compiled a list of places where Black skin IS welcomed. While we obviously can’t speak for the attitudes and actions of individuals in any location, these cities and countries all have a long history of multiculturalism and diversity and are known to be places where Black skin is welcomed and Black travelers generally feel comfortable and safe.
Cities and Countries Where Black Skin is Welcomed
We know- Africa is a continent! But with 54 countries (the most on any continent), there are just SO many amazing options when it comes to exploring Africa. The continent is full of beautiful options for travelers who seek adventure, relaxation, history, culture, food, and music. Some popular countries to visit in Africa include Kenya, South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Egypt, Morroco, and Senegal.
Portugal is a country in which people of color have been integrated into the mainstream for centuries- so black skin is more than welcome in Portugal. Lisbon, Portugal, and Faro all have large, thriving African communities. Lisbon also has a large expat community and is known for being a multicultural, diverse city. Portugal has a welcoming, easy going vibe and it’s delicious food and colorful streets make it a wonderful travel destination. From beaches to castles, Portugal has just about everything and many Black travel bloggers unanimously agree that they’ve all felt welcome and comfortable while visiting Portugal.
While Toronto is well known for being a diverse, multicultural city where all races and ethnicites are welcome, a lesser known Canadian location is also very welcoming of Black travelers and that is Montreal, Quebec. Travel writer Nasir Fleming of Shut Up and Go stated that Montreal has the “beauty and charm of Paris but with less visible anti-black microaggressions than French society.” Montreal has a strong Afro-Carribean culture that is reflected in their art and food scene. Every April, Montreal hosts the Pan-African International Film Festival and with the highest number of restaurants per capita in Canada, you won’t have to go far to find a Haitian or Moroccan restaurant for some delicious food!
Due to it’s rich history, Belize is a multicultural country with citizens of many cultures, languages and ethnicities. Belizian Creole make up about a quarter of the population and account for the strong Afro-Carribean cultural influences throughout Belize. Black travelers will find many Afro-Belizian influences in Caye Caulker, which is about a one hour ferry ride from Belize City. If you’re looking to learn more about the local culture, the Gulisi Garifuna Museum in Belize City explores the culture of the indigenous Garífunaia people. About two hours south of Belize City you’ll find Hopkins Village, a great place to taste local Garífunaia food. So if you’re looking for beautiful beaches and delicious Caribbean food in a place where Black skin is welcome- Belize just might have everything you’re looking for!
Known for it’s hospitality, Thailand is popular among Black female solo travelers and Black travel families. While many Asian countries tend to cause some concern for Black travelers, Thailand has a reputation of being open, inclusive and welcoming. Some travelers have noted that the southern parts of the country are more Black-friendly, with some of the more northern locations having a stronger Chinese influence and potentially few more stares. Thailand is also a very budget friendly location where you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck!
United Arab Emirates
The UAE is known for having a large African-American expat community and many say that the UAE is a place where black travelers can thrive. Many have left the US, the UK, and Africa for the UAE which they find to be a safer more welcoming place to indulge in more of life’s little luxuries without breaking the bank. Believe it or not, local Emirati people are a minority in the UAE, though most travelers and expats do find them to be very open and welcoming. Strong online expat communities will help you connect with ethnic food and even a plethora of salons that work wit ethnic hair-though the best salons tend to be located more so in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Many travelers and expats have noted that ethnic hair doesn’t tend to be politicized in the UAE as it often is in the US. Between it’s accepting culture and the opportunities that offer more financial success and stability than most other parts of the world, it’s no wonder that Black women and families are moving to the UAE in droves!