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New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro

Rio de Janeiro is one of the best places in the world to ring in the New Year (or, as Brazilians call it Réveillon.)  While the northern hemisphere is freezing, the beaches of Rio are warm … and the men are hot!  This guide for 2018 is split into three sections:  getting there, enjoying New Years Eve on Copacabana beach, and finding the best gay parties.

Getting There / Places to Stay

We recommend that you fly down in late December and spend a week discovering Rio de Janeiro.  (Rates for the high season start on flights departing after December 27.)  To book an international flight to Rio, the best websites are:

Once in Rio, you will need a place to stay.  Ipanema Beach is where the boys are.  Copacabana is amazing as well.  Check out our list of the best LGBT friendly hotels and apartments in gay Rio.

For the plane ride down, pick up a copy of Lonely Planet Rio de Janeiro, the best English language guide to the city.  (United States citizens will also need to apply for a Visa to enter Brazil.  Americans won’t be able to board their flights without it.)

Copacabana Beach

Fabulous and free!  The sands of Copacabana (and neighboring Ipanema) are the place to be this time of year.  The New Year’s Eve tradition is to wear white and pay tribute to Iemanjá, the water goddess at the center of Brazil’s Candomblé religion.  Every year, there is a massive party with live music that fills the sands of Copacabana Beach, however if you stay in Ipanema you will only be 20 to 30 minutes away by foot.  The music starts between 8 and 9PM, and the fireworks begin at the stroke of midnight.

Parties, Parties, and More Parties!

Get every last drop out of 2017 before the year ends.  Rio’s gay bars will be open and ready to party after Christmas Day.  There are three major gay parties which will run from Saturday, December 30th through the end of Monday, January 1st.

Joy Party: Pre-New Year Saturday + New Year’s Eve at Sea

Mega-promoters Joy Party have two great events planned.  On Saturday, Dec 30, a line-up of DJs from across Brazil will fill Rio de Janeiro’s MAM for an oriental-themed party.  Then, on Sunday Dec 31st, revelers are welcome on board an exclusive boat to ring in the New Year off the coast of Copacabana beach with a perfect view of the fireworks.  Tickets to both individual events and combo-packages are available online from the Sympla website.

Posto 10 Réveillon 2018

Drinks, food, and fun at Barra da Tijuca hotspot Euphoria Music Bar is an awesome way start 2018.  Euphoria attracts a younger mixed crowd that loves to party to pop music. And ten hours of free alcohol should make things even wilder.  (Pre-order tickets online.)

The Week (Saturday Dec 30 & Monday Jan 1)

Editor’s Choice for Best Nightclub The Week brings you a special edition of their popular “Safado” party to be hosted at Armazém da Utopia.  An international line-up of DJs guarantees that it will be the place to be for the boys who like to party.  (Pre-order tickets online.)  The Week’s next big party starts após a virada (Portuguese for the time after midnight when the fireworks are over.)  Doors will open for the first big party of 2018 where even more DJs and shirtless men will keep the party going.  (Pre-order tickets online.)

Bookmark this page for your gay Rio New Years plans, or subscribe to our newsletter below.

São Paulo Gay-Friendly Hotels

The “gayborhoods” of São Paulo are very diverse.  Which unique flavor is right for you?  Check out our guide to the gay neighborhoods of Sao Paulo to help you find the perfect place to stay from our recommended list of gay-friendly hotels.  From inexpensive places to crash near nightlife to five-star hotels, our shortlist has what you’re looking for.

Update for São Paulo LGBT Pride 2018:
Hotels in the neighborhood Frei Caneca / Consolação are the closest to the parade route.  Check our map of gay Sao Paulo for assistance.

Blue Tree Premium Paulista

Extremely well-run hotel within a ten minute walk from the heart of “Gay Caneca.”
Neighborhood: Frei Caneca / Consolação
Read our full review »

Bourbon Sao Paulo Business Hotel

Straight-laced, yet gay-friendly, hotel next door to the bear and daddy bars.
Neighborhood: Largo do Arouche / Centro
Read our full review »

Hotel Fasano

Five-star luxury in the upscale Jardins district.
Neighborhood: Jardins / Cerqueira César
Read our full review »

Golden Tulip Bela Artes

Well-reviewed and convenient hotel on Frei Caneca street.
Neighborhood: Frei Caneca / Consolação
Read our full review »

Guest Urban Hotel

“Hip, cozy, lovely … The boutique hotel that São Paulo was missing!”
Neighborhood: Pinheiros
Read our full review »

H3 Hotel Paulista

Elegantly simple new hotel.
Neighborhood: Frei Caneca / Consolação
Read our full review »

Hotel Heritage Comfort Inn

Exceptionally priced mid-range hotel.
Neighborhood: Frei Caneca / Consolação
Read our full review »

Mercure Sao Paulo Paulista

An excellent option from the Mercure line of hotels.
Neighborhood: Consolação
Read our full review »

Hotel Moncloa

Low-budget option in the thick of Rua Augusta.
Neighborhood: Largo do Arouche / Centro
Read our full review »

San Michel Hotel

A great home base for exploring Largo do Arouche.
Neighborhood: Largo do Arouche / Centro
Read our full review »

Transamerica Executive: The Advance

Small modern hotel with extra amenities.
Neighborhood: Largo do Arouche / Centro
Read our full review »

Tryp Sao Paulo Paulista Hotel

Sharply stylish hotel catering to the corporate crowd is blocks away from one of the city’s gay epicenters.
Neighborhood: Frei Caneca / Consolação
Read our full review »

Hotel Unique

Exquisite design and stunning views of São Paulo.
Neighborhood: Jardins / Cerqueira César
Read our full review »

 

Bars & Clubs of Gay Lisbon

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Gay nightlife in Lisbon is fun, fabulous, and pretty easy to navigate.  Most of the bars and nightclubs are within walking distance of the  best gay-friendly places to stay in Lisbon.
Download our VamosGay Google Map to Gay Lisbon to your phone before you go  to avoid using mobile data.

If you’re only visiting for a weekend, try Thursday and Friday nights in Bairro Alto, and Saturdays and Sundays in Principe Real.  (Check this calendar of Portugual’s public holidays for dates when nightlife will  explode.)

Gay Parties in Lisbon

Conga is the best and one of the most popular monthly gay parties.  Most parties don’t have a fixed location.  Once you’ve arrived, you’ll encounter party promoters with flyers and free passes for events at any of the larger clubs like Trumps or Construction.

Several major events in 2018 will guarantee parties throughout the city: Eurovision Song Contest (May 8-12),  Lisbon Bear Pride (May 30 – June 4),  LGBT Pride March (June 15), Arrail Gay (late June TBD), Queer Lisboa (September 14-22.)

Gay Bars & Nightclubs in Lisbon

49 da ZDB

Hipster bar connected to Zé dos Bois Gallery
Young men and women come to drink, chill, and enjoy the bohemian vibe of the space.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua da Barroca 49, Lisbon Portugal

Bar 106

This small place to grab a drink is one of Lisbon’s oldest gay bars.  Happy hour until 11:30pm.  Also popular on Sundays.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua São Marçal 106, Lisbon Portugal

Bar Cru

Raunchy mix of bar and sex club.
Being asked to check your clothes at the door might scare off the timid, but once inside, you can join the mix of locals and tourists at the bar in their underwear and take a peek at what’s going on in the “play area.”
Neighborhood: Principe Real
R. São Marçal 170, Lisbon Portugal

Bairru’s Bodega

This wine bar offers a mature oasis as you enjoy the streets of Bairro Alto.  Order their excellent sangria de champagne.  Or try the  ginjinha!
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua da Barroca 3, Lisbon Portugal

Clube da Esquina

Outstanding cocktails and local men make this “corner bar” worth a stop as you explore this popular section of the city.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua da Barroca 30, Lisbon Portugal

Construction Lisbon

Very popular multi-level gay night club.  DJs keep the men on the dance floor.  Sometimes Friday can be so much fun, you’ll want to go back for more on Saturday.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua Cecílio de Sousa 84, Lisbon Portugal

Corvo Real

New, trendy, and highly-recommended!
Cocktails, craft beers, cheeses, oysters, and more upstairs.  After 10pm, step down to the small basement dance floor where the DJ keeps the men moving until 2am during the week, and 3am on weekends.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Calçada Eng. Miguel Pais 18,, Lisbon Portugal

Espaço 40 e 1

Small bar with a mixed crowd.  Take a look at the many equally small bars surrounding it.  Depending on the night, you may be tempted somewhere else, but Espaco 40 e 1 is a popular place to start.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua da Barroca 41, Lisbon Portugal

Finalmente Club

Open everyday from midnight to 6am.  Finalmente remains a popular night spot for gay guys over 30.  Have a drink, enjoy the music, and cruise the crowd.  Finalmente’s legendary and spectacular drag shows start around 3AM.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua da Palmeira 38, Lisbon Portugal

Friends Bairro Alto

Fun and friendly!  Grab a mojito and take a selfie with any of the energetic staff.  Popular with groups, but solo visitors will easily be equally drawn into fun atmosphere.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Travessa da Água da Flor 17, Lisbon Portugal

Lux Frágil

Destination for DJs where the party doesn’t kick into gear until after 2am.  See who’s playing on the clubs website, and be prepared for attitude at the door.  Gay friendly, but the crowd depends on the guest DJs.  It’s near the coast and has a rooftop deck.
Neighborhood: Santa Apolonia
Av. Infante D. Henrique, Armazém A, Cais da Pedra a Sta Apolónia, Lisbon Portugal

Maria Lisboa

A popular stop in the Bairro Alto gayborhood.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua Atalaia 97, Lisbon Portugal

Pride Burlesque

A fabulous crowd (including more and more straights) fills this narrow space for drinks under the chandelier.  Fridays are popular.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua da Rosa 159, Lisbon Portugal

Purex

You’ll find Purex at the top of nearly every list of LGBT bars in Bairro Alto.  This trendy nightspot has a great bar and their Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights fill a void in Lisbon’s weekend-centric calendar.
Neighborhood: Bairro Alto
Rua das Salgadeiras, 28, Lisbon Portugal

Secret Bar

From the owner of Trumps, Secret Bar draws a younger crowd with pop music and themed parties.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua Cecílio de Sousa 72, Lisbon Portugal

Shelter Bar

Bear-ish bare where you can have a drink, hang with old friends, and make some new ones.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua da Palmeira 43 A, Lisbon Portugal

TR3S Lisboa

Meet the friendly staff behind one of Principe Real’s most popular bear bars.  TR3S can be cruisier than the rest and attracts masculine bears from around the world.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua Ruben A. Leitão 2, Lisbon Portugal

Trumps

The most popular LGBT nightclub in Lisbon.  Tourists are very welcome.  Open Fridays, Saturday, Sunday from midnight to 6am.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua da Imprensa Nacional 104 , Lisbon Portugal

Woof LX

You could have a drink at the bar, but you would miss out on all of the bears, cubs, otters, and wolves outside.  The sidewalk outside of Woof LX has become more popular than the bar itself.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua da Palmeira 44A, Lisbon Portugal

Woof X

Ring the bell to enter.  This papa bear bar has a dark side … and a dark room!  Woof X is where many bearded guys go after Woof LX.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua Manuel Bernardes 2B, Lisbon Portugal

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Gay Saunas, Cruising, and Sex Clubs of Lisbon

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Looking for a good a time in Lisbon?  Our Editor’s Choice for Best Sauna is Trobeta Bath (see photo above.)   But, there are many worth competitors who are open and ready for action.  Check out the full list of below.  Plus, a few of Lisbon’s gay bars also have playgrounds and backrooms.  And of course, the less adventurous can always “get a room” from our list of Lisbon’s gay-friendly hotels.

Drako Club

Private sex club for men only with a hardcore edge.  Aside from the traditional slings and dark rooms, there’s also a “pissing zone” and more.  Drako has a popular Wednesday afternoon party.  Check their website to see what’s on their calendar before you go.
Neighborhood: Near the Museu da Saude
Rua Nogueira e Sousa 11, Lisbon Portugal

Olissipo Bath

Brand new facility with a focus on the amenities: pool, sauna, relaxation rooms.  No website at the moment, but here are their hours of operation:
Mon-Thurs 12 noon – 6am , Fri, Sat, and Sun 24 hours.
Neighborhood: Principe Real
Rua Telhal 5, Lisbon Portugal

Praia 19

Legendary beach spot that is worth a day trip to the Caparica coast.  Aside from gay sex, the entire stretch of Portuguese coastline is fun and relaxing.  Post 19 is where you will find the LGBT visitors.  Start with with a drink on the deck of Casa da Praia.  Then, you can wander along the clothing-optional beach and check out the guys.  The notorious outdoor spot was the topic of a documentary short film, Beach 19.
Getting to the beach is not easy.  There are two options.
Either take bus TST 153 to Costa da Caprica.
Or, you have to take a ferry boat, then connect to either a bus (number 135 or 124,) or a charming little train (only available during the summer.)
Neighborhood: Costa da Caparica
2525 Costa da Caparica, Lisbon Portugal

SaunApolo 56

Dedicated to being LGBT-inclusive, SaunApolo 56 welcomes women, bisexual couples, and transgender men and women.  Photos of the facility and a list of services available on their website.
Neighborhood: Conde Redondo
Rua Luciano Cordeiro 56A, Lisbon Portugal

Trobeta Bath ★ Editor’s Choice 2018

Big, clean, safe, and located in the heart of Bairro Alto … Trobeta Bath is popular with tourists from across Europe as well as locals.  There’s enough traffic to almost always guarantee a nice selection of men.  They also have a team of professional masseurs … perfect for a jetlagged visitor.
Rua do Trombeta, 1C, Lisbon Portugal

Cinebolso

Take the metro outside of the “gayborhoods” and into the time warp of an authentic XXX cinema.  Buy a ticket at the box office , walk past the snack bar, and into an actual movie theater.  You’ll find straight sex on the screen, and gay sex in the aisles.  Open from noon until midnight for fans of bi-curious Portuguese men over 40.
Neighborhood: Metro Picoas
R. Actor Taborda 27B, Lisbon Portugal

⚠️ Update for 2018: Last year, unfortunately, The Cock, Virato Sauna, and Setimo Ceu all closed their doors and have been removed from the list.

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Bars & Clubs of Gay Buenos Aires

Navigating nightlife in BsAs (the shorthand code for one of the most gay-friendly cities in the world) is easy.  Each of the neighborhoods is walkable, or accessible by a short metro or cab ride.  Recoleta and Palermo are have the most options.  Pick any of the gay-friendly hotels of Buenos Aires from our list and you will be in the center of almost everything.  (There are even options for gay tango!)

Nightlife starts late with many places opening doors at 11:30PM.  Early birds should try bars like Sitges, Peuteo, and Flux Bar before hitting big clubs like Glam and Amerika (pictured above.)  Restaurants also stay up late and can be great pre-club options.  Use the VamosGay Google Map to Gay Buenos Aires to find over a dozen popular places to eat and navigate your night of bar crawling.

And, don’t forget … our list of gay friendly hotels and places to stay in Buenos Aires will give you the best perfect spots to rest between parties.

Amerika

Size matters! And it doesn’t get much bigger than Amerika.
Full review & details for Amerika »

Bach Bar

Simple bar with a local following.  Gay men and lesbians, but much more popular with the ladies.
Visit Bach Bar on Facebook »

Chupitos Bar

Festive place with a wild menu of specialty shots, and bartenders that keep the party rolling.
Full review & details for Chupitos Bar »

Contramano

Daddies, and Hustlers, and Bears … Oh My!  Experience one of Buenos Aires’ oldest gay bars.
Full review & details for Contramano »

Glam

Editor’s Choice 2016: Best Thursday Night Club (Saturday’s are hot too!)
Full review & details for Glam »

Fiesta Jolie

Young and fun!  Every Wednesday.
Full review & details for Fiesta Jolie »

Flux Bar

The best happy hour cocktail.
Full review & details for Flux Bar »

Jungle Bar

Show place and cruising bar.
Visit Jungle Bar on Facebook »

KM Zero

Strippers and drag continue to draw tourists to one of Buenos Aires most well known bars.
Full review & details for KM Zero »

Palacio Alsina / Fiesta Dorothy

Monthly nightlife spectacle at the grand Palacio Alsina.
Full review & details for Palacio Alsina / Fiesta Dorothy »

Ma.Cho

Catch these parties when you can!  Fun young crowds of locals.  Ma.Cho parties are occasionally in nightclubs like Glam, but sometimes at trendy rooftops, and even pools!  Visit our MaCho gay parties in Buenos Aires page for links to the latest party.  Sometime you can even catch them in Montevideo!
Full review & details for MaCho

Mundo Bizarro

Mostly straight bar with rockin’ food and music attracts a gay crowd with stylish pulp fiction decor.
Full review & details for Mundo Bizarro »

Peuteo

Editor’s Choice: Best Gay Bar
Full review & details for Peuteo »

Sitges

An easy first stop for tourists visiting Buenos Aires.
Full review & details for Sitges »

Zoom

Have a friendly beer … or a hardcore encounter at this bar/bathhouse hybrid.
Full review & details for Zoom »

Gay Carnival “Blocos” of Rio de Janeiro

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The massive parades held in Rio de Janeiro’s arena known as the Sambadrome are the most recognized symbols of Brazilian Carnival around the world.

However, visitors and locals alike can tell you Rio’s smaller blocos da rua (street block parties) are much more fun … and much gayer!  Almost every bloco is infused with a small amount of playful sexuality and gender fluidity.  But, a handful of blocos are widely recognized as gay-friendly (or GLS, the Portuguese acronym for gay, lesbian, and sympathizers.)

Bring your camera as pumped up boys and extra-fabulous drag queens are plentiful.  You will also find loads of visual arts, live music, and satirical social commentary.  In 2018, expect to see many costumes satirizing issues that may go over your head as a foreigner (expect lots of parodies of current Brazilian president Michel Temer and Rio’s mayor Marcelo Crivella.)

To navigate all of these blocos (and find bars, clubs, restaurants, and gay-friendly hotels) use this link to the VamosGay Google Map of Gay Rio 🌎

Banda de Ipanema

The biggest of all of the GLS blocos, Banda de Ipanema is as colorful and gay as the neighborhood they call home.  Founded in 1964, this banda boldly marched at a time when flamboyance was truly dangerous.   Banda de Ipanema blocos are extremely popular, so be prepared to drink and be merry with thousands of other revelers.

Here are their confirmed dates for 2018.  All take place at Praça General Osório, located in the heart of Ipanema.
Sat, Jan 20     5PM – 10PM     Pre-Carnival
Sat, Jan 27     5PM – 10PM     Pre-Carnival
Sat, Feb 10       5:30PM start    Carnival
Mon, Feb 12       5:30PM start    Carnival (kid-friendly)
Tue, Feb 13      5:30PM start    Carnival
Sat, Feb 17       5:30PM start    Post-Carnival tribute

Bloco da Preta

The daughter of Brazilian music legend Gilberto Gil, and an extremely popular musician in her own right, Preta Gil is the mistress of ceremonies for one of Rio’s biggest pre-Carnival blocos. Preta’s gay following is massive, and months before Bloco da Preta there are pre-bloco parties held at nightclubs across Brazil.  The city of Rio de Janeiro estimates Bloco da Preta  attracted nearly 40,000 revelers in 2017.  Expect a large percentage of gays on Sunday, Feb 4, 2018.  The bloco will be downtown at Rua Premeiro do Marco.

Banda das Quengas

In Portugues, quenga means “whore,” although because so much of the sex is free, maybe “slut” would be a better translation.  The dress code for a bloco das quengas draws inspiration from cheap street hookers. Here’s a photo gallery to give you a better idea.  The atmosphere is liberada – free from the rules of society, free from what anyone thinks.

These quengas are fun, but not organized enough to set up a website.  So, we’ll let you know where to find them on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  Their bloco is scheduled to startson Avenida Mem da Sá in the Lapa district.



Cordão da Bola Preta

This is the best reason to break out of the gay tourist bubble of Ipanema/Copacabana!  This well-established group has a massive presence in Centro (downtown) which is mostly straight, but gays are always welcomed.  Check the Bola Preta website (in Portuguese) for their full agenda of blocos for 2018 (and congratulate them on their 100 year anniversary!)   Outside of Carnival, Bola Preta’s feijoada parties with live musicians are a great way to start a Saturday night.

Simpatia é Quase Amor

Back in the heart of Ipanema, the group Simpatia é Quase Amor has more of a hippy vibe where gays are part of a gigantic rainbow where everyone is has a good time.  In 2018, the start times for both events is 2PM, but expect to hang out and drink before the parade actually starts moving.  Join Simpatia é Quase Amor before Carnival, and during Carnival week. Both events take place in Ipanema’s Praça General Osório.

Bloco Toco Xona

By the girls, and for the girls … Bloco Toco Xona is famous for its female bateristas (Carnival drummers.)  Gay boys are welcome too!  For 2017, catch their pre-Carnival show will start at Praça Joia Valansi in the Botofogo district.

Bunytos de Corpo

This  is a very camp, humorous, performance art group whose aesthetics are based on physical fitness craze of the 1980’s.  Leotards, leg warmers, headbands, athletic shorts, and more!  Get physical with Bunytos de Corpo as they run (and drink) through Praça Tiradentes.

Agytoê

Drawing inspiration from ancient Egypt for both their fashion and their decadent approach to celebrations.  Agytoê gets little press outside of Brazil, but you will recognize them (and their devotees) when you see them in downtown Rio on the final night of Carnival.  Dressed in black and gold, they express their art through music and dance, drawing in everyone who passes by.  Start time is still TBD. 

Bars & Clubs

Aside from the blocos in the street, there are more formal bailes (balls.)  The official baile is the Scala Rio Gay Ball.

One last cheap-and-easy option to just drop by any gay bar during Carnival.  Use our list of gay bars and clubs of Rio to find the right one for you.  And, if you haven’t booked your room for Rio yet (hurry up!) and use our list of the city’s gay-friendly hotels.

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View full day-to-day schedule »