The best destinations for Black travellers

Here are some of the most welcoming and culturally vibrant destinations that discerning Black travellers are enjoying…

Lynn Brown
21 February 2024

In 2019, a study was released that showed Black travellers in the US alone spent around $109.4 billion on travel and that number continues to increase post-pandemic. Black travellers are very discerning about where they spend these dollars, as they often face particular challenges when they travel. Because of continued issues of racism and discrimination in various destinations around the world, Black travellers are particularly selective about where they spend their travel time and travel dollars. Below are some of the best global destinations that are the most welcoming to Black travellers.

Tulum, Mexico

Tulum is known for its balmy weather and sense of community (Shutterstock)

Mexico in general has been a big destination for Black travellers in the last few years, particularly Tulum and the area known as the Riviera Maya. Beautiful weather, great food, and stunning beaches are just the tip of the iceberg for this destination. There’s also a thriving community of Black expats here that can add an extra layer of comfort, not to mention fun, for visitors by offering advice and support about the best places to go in the area.

Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg is home to Nelson Mandela Square (Shutterstock)

As you might expect, there are several cities across Africa that are popular with Black travellers. The diverse city of “Jo’burg” in South Africa, for example, is a great destination for nightlife, art, and shopping, particularly for anyone interested in supporting Black-owned businesses. But it’s also rich in history and Black travellers who want to learn more about the fight for equality that took place here can visit the Apartheid Museum, Nelson Mandela Square, and the Mandela House Museum.

Salvador, Brazil

Salvador is a vibrant city where travellers can learn about Afro-Brazilian culture (Shutterstock)

More than half of Brazil’s population identifies as part of the African diaspora and nowhere is this cultural connection more obvious than the city of Salvador in Bahia, Brazil. Here, Black travellers can explore the beautiful historic architecture, unique food, and lively nightlife of the city, all while learning more about Brazil’s Black history. Of particular interest is the opportunity to explore Afro-Brazilian culture and spirituality.

Accra, Ghana

Accra is a poignant place to learn about the brutality of the slave trade (Shutterstock)

Another African city that has a lot to offer Black travellers is Accra in Ghana. The largest city in Ghana offers Black-centred events and festivals like Afrochella, as well as museums like the W.E.B. DuBois Memorial Centre. It’s also just a few hours’ drive to both Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle, once principal sites of the transatlantic slave trade. The “Door of No Return” at both of these sites has become a pilgrimage place of sorts for Black travellers from around the world, drawn here by the need to pay homage to the enslaved ancestors who passed through these walls on their horrific journey to the Americas.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica

Puerto Viejo on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is home to Afro-Caribbean and Indigenous communities (Shutterstock)

Though many visitors to this lush Central American country swear by their time on the Pacific coast, Black travellers are increasingly drawn to towns like Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean coast. Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast is steeped in both Afro-Latino culture and the Indigenous communities of the area. Best known for its surfing and thriving Rastafarian community, the town has a relaxed vibe similar to that of the islands and is home to many opportunities to explore Afro-Costa Rican culture whether it be through music, local arts, or the unique food traditions.

Nassau, Bahamas

Colourful Nassau in the Bahamas is home to the Pompey Museum of Emancipation and Slavery (Shutterstock)

African American travellers are especially taken with trips to this island chain off the coast of Florida because of its proximity, but Black travellers from anywhere can enjoy the white sand beaches, lively festivals, and nightlife, and the amazing variety of watersports found here. For those interested in learning more about the island’s Black history, there’s the Pompey Museum of Emancipation and Slavery located inside the historic Vendue House, one of the oldest in the islands.

London, United Kingdom

Visitors to London can head on a Black history walk and visit the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton (Shutterstock)

For more big city vibes you can’t go wrong with London. The multicultural nature of the city means that Black travellers will feel right at home, especially in historically Black neighbourhoods like Brixton and Peckham. There’s also a lot of Black British history to explore here, take a Black history walk or visit the Black Cultural Archives in Brixton. Finally, Black visitors will love annual cultural festivals like The Notting Hill Carnival and Ghana in the Park.

Cartagena, Colombia

Cartagena is an important place to learn about Afro-Caribbean culture and history (Shutterstock)

The vibrant city of Cartagena in Colombia has seen an increase in visitors in the last few years, particularly Black travellers, who are drawn to the city’s Afro-Colombian culture. While in many ways this culture is embedded in the city’s DNA, it can take specialised tours like The Real Cartagena Tour to really dive deep into the history and influence Black people have had here. One of the most talked about aspects can be found in the town of Palenque, a little more than an hour outside of Cartagena. Palenque was established in 1603 as one of the first free Black settlements in the country, by those who escaped enslavement and continues to embrace and share those African roots with visitors to this day.

Dublin, Ireland

Ireland’s capital is much more diverse and welcoming to Black travellers than many initially thought (Shutterstock)

While it might seem strange to recommend a city in the largely homogenous country of Ireland, Black travellers have increasingly reported that the capital city of Dublin is both more diverse and much more welcoming than they may have originally expected. The main draw here seems to be the Irish people themselves, with the city’s many cultural offerings and beautiful scenery coming in a close second.

Toronto, Ontario

Toronto is home to a thriving Black arts scene and the Ontario Black History Society (Shutterstock)

Another place that might not immediately come to mind when thinking about ideal destinations for Black travellers is Toronto, Canada. However, this city is one of the most diverse in the world and there are a myriad of events, businesses, and exhibitions that celebrate and educate visitors about Black Canadians. Take for example the city’s Black Restaurant Week, a campaign that highlights the city’s Black-owned restaurants. There’s also a thriving Black arts scene in the city heading up in spaces like the BAND (Black Artists’ Networks in Dialogue) Gallery and museum lovers can visit the Underground Railroad exhibition at the Oakville Museum at Erchless Estate or the Ontario Black History Society to learn more about the contributions of Black Canadians in one of the country’s most cosmopolitan cities.

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