Category Archives: latin america

São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade 2018

The largest gay pride parade in the world celebrated its 22nd anniversary when the São Paulo LGBT Pride Parade took over the city on Sunday, June 3, 2018Watch the recording of the live webcast.

The theme of the 2018 parade was Elections: Power for the LGBTI+ Our Vote, Our Voice and the objective is to utilize the movement to influence the upcoming Brazilian elections.  In 2017, over 3 million people took to the streets of Sao Paulo, according to parade estimates.

(Click to launch our Google Map of the parade route including landmarks of gay Sao Paulo.)

In the days leading up to the parade, São Paulo (already one of the most gay-friendly cities in Latin America) explodes with gay activities.  By day, “gayborhoods” like Frei Caneca and Largo do Arouche fill with couples.  And by night, nightclubs like The Week are packed.  We will update this page with a full schedule for the 2018 pride parade when it becomes available.

Getting There

For those searching for air/hotel packages, Expedia offers some of the lowest rates for package deals to São Paulo.  Europeans, Americans, and visitors who are  already in South America have a number of inexpensive options.

View airfare deals »

Hotels & Gay-Friendly Places to Stay

South America’s largest city offers hundreds of great places to stay. Here’s our short list of hotels you can enjoy your stay for pride weekend.

View Gay-Friendly Hotels »

Pride Week 2018 Schedule

Film festivals, art exhibits, nightclub events, and even walks in the park.  The weeks before the actual parade on SundayJune 3rd will have something for everyone.

Thursday  May 31

18th Annual LGBT Cultural Fair @ 10am @ Vale do Anhagabau

Pre-Pride @ 6pm @ Boteco do Massay

Dama da Noite @9pm @ Cabaret da Cecilia

Talent @ 10:30pm @ Thermas Lagoa

Pop Party w/ Freddie Mercury Tribute @ 11pm @ Cantho

Churrasco @ 11pm @ The Week

Bigger @ 11pm @ Club Yacht

Erotika w/ live sex show @ 11pm Danger Dance Club

Friday  June 1

1st Annual Trans Pride March @ 2pm @ Largo do Arouche

“Os Rapazes da Rua Augusta” Play @ 9pm @ Teatro Bibi Ferreira

Bear Underwear Party @ 11pm @ Eagle Sao Paulo

Pre-Pride Strippers and Drag @ 11pm @ Bar Fama

Best Stripper Contest @ 10:30pm @ Thermas Lagoa

Gang Bang @ 11pm @ Wild Thermas

“Bigger” Party @ 11pm @ Blue Space

Maryana Mercury @ 11pm @ Bar Queen

Kevin @ 11 @ Zig

Sexta Destruidora @ 11pm @ Bar Verde

Matinee: Eterna 2018 Party @ 11:30pm  @ The Week

Dando (nude sex party) @ 11pm @ Club 380

Fun! @ 11pm @ Bubu

Freak Chic @ 11:30pm @ D-Edge

Saturday June 2

Free Walk Tour LGBT @ 3pm @ Largo do Arouche

Miss Brazil Gay Universe @ 9pm @ Memorial da America Latina

Milkshake Festival @ 4pm @ Anhembi Arena

We Party Mantra (co-promoted by The Week) @ 5pm @ Clube Aquatico Portuguesa

Ursound Mega Pride @ 11pm @ Audio Club

Main Party @ 11pm @ The Week

Sunday  June 3

22nd Annual LGBT Pride Parade 🏳️‍🌈 @ 10am @ MASP (location on Av. Paulista.)

Fresh Pride @ 3pm @ Hotel Prince Tower

Pool Party @ 4pm @ The Week

Sign-up for our mailing list and be the first to know the full agenda!

Saunas & Sex

Every sex club, cinema, and sauna will be very active for Pride Week. We’ve listed them all on one page. Dive in!

View Sao Paulo saunas and sex clubs »

Photos from Pride 2018

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*Note for American visitors in 2018:  Travel to Brazil requires a visa.   Get visa info you will need in time for June’s pride parade from the U.S. State Department website.

Gay Guide to Carnival 2019 in Rio de Janeiro

In 2019, Carnival will begin on Friday, Mar 1 and run through a wild extended weekend to Tuesday, March 6.  The day after is Ash Wednesday when the parties are over (for the most part) and you will find the streets of Rio de Janeiro quietly getting back to normal. Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival is considered the world’s largest, hosting approximately two million participants per day. In 2004, Rio’s carnival attracted a record 400,000 foreign visitors.



Getting There & Where to Stay

Purchasing a package of a flight including a hotel stay can be a great way to save money.  (Expedia has some of the cheapest package deals we have found with international flights to Brazil.)  However, for those who want to book flights separately, try Skyscanner.com, Expedia.com, Iberia,  LAN / TAM Airlines,  and CheapFlights.com

Visitors from select countries can now apply online for a tourist visa to Brazil before their trip.

For lodging, Booking.com remains the best, cheapest, way to find both hotels and flats (with Expedia ranking a close 2nd.)  Visit our full list of gay-friendly places to stay in Rio de Janeiro by clicking on the link below.

View all gay-friendly hotels in Rio »

Day-By-Day Schedule to Carnival 2019

Hopefully, you can arrive before Carnival week (and stay after.)  By January, Rio will be in full swing.  Visit any of the gay bars and clubs on our list and you will find a good time.  Click below the full calendar of events from Carnival 2018.  It will give you an idea of what to expect in 2019.

View the Carnival 2018 schedule »

Gay Block Parties? LGBT-Friendly Blocos

From the butch, to the femme, and everyone in between, Carnival in Rio offers the perfect excuse to show off your muscles or your glitter.  Here’s our short list of the city’s most  gay-friendly block parties, but you’ll find many of Rio’s blocos are fabulously welcoming.

List of Rio’s LGBT Carnival Blocos »

Travel Tips

To keep this section short, our guide will assume you know how to navigate the dangers of big cities and foreign countries.  Download digital version of Lonely Planet: Rio de Janeiro for the best English-language guide to the city, and a good source for basic travel tips.

  • Mobile data – research the international data packages provided by your carrier.  In Brazil, SIM cards with data plans are cheap and easy to activate.  As a foreigner, you can activate and use SIM cards from TIM, Claro, and Oi.  We recommend Claro. Read our guide to SIM cards and mobile plans for foreigners visiting Brazil.
  • Bring a 2nd phone.  That iPhone 4S in your drawer is perfect for navigating the city with apps.  Phone theft is rampant in blocos and nightclubs.  It can also hold your new Brazilian SIM card.
  • Google Maps – pre-plan your route (by foot or Metro) and save them as “offline” maps.  Download our Google Map now.
  • Bring your drivers license to nightclubs.  Dragging around your passport is not necessary; a driver’s license / photo ID is fine.
  • Avoid mosquitos  – Aside from dengue fever, many mosquitos in Brazil are now carrying the zika virus.  Bring your own DEET mosquito repellent .  Pharmacies in Rio sell the cheap stuff.
  • Debit/credit cards – Highly recommend one with a “chip.”  Credit card cloning is still a problem in South America.  A pre-paid Visa for small purchases and hotel guarantees is a good idea.
  • Ask your front desk – All of the hotels on our list of gay-friendly places to stay in Rio know the city and are happy to help.  Use them!
  • Watch your drink! – Criminals who drug tourists usually target women, but in Brazil gay men are often targets.
  • Be careful who you bring back to your hotel – At some hotels, you can walk directly to your elevator, some may ask for ID from your guest(s)  When in doubt, you can always go to one of Rio’s many gay saunas.
  • Wear shoes – Yes, your new Havaiana flip flops are cute, but the streets will be come a muddy mess of spilled beer and urine.
  • Don’t sweat every little expense – The club that wants to charge a cover of R$20 … That’s about US$6.50 right now.
  • Be OK with the fact you won’t see it all – Don’t overload your agenda.  Make a note of what you would like to come back for in 2019.



Online Resources During Carnival 2019

Get info and ask questions by following VamosGay on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.  Or, leave a comment below!

Sign-up for Gay Carnival in Rio Newsletter


We’ve got all of the inside info, but we love to share it with our friends. Like VamosGay on Facebook and/or join our email list.

This gay guide to Carnival in Rio will give you everything you need to plan your trip before you go, and all of the information you need during Carnival week.  Bookmark vamosgay.com/carnival-rio on web and mobile!

Rio de Janeiro Gay Pride 2018

If you mark your calendar for Rio de Janeiro’s 2018 Pride Parade, perhaps you should mark it with a pencil, because you may have to erase it.

The past two years where difficult for Brazil, and particularly rough for the city of Rio de Janeiro, were the ongoing financial crisis crippled many institutions.  Financing for the pride parade fell through several times.  The parade was actually cancelled an rescheduled multiple times (which came as a shock to many travelers who booked flights and hotels.)

Join our VamosGay Rio mailing list and get the latest updates.

Plan your trip now with our guide to the top gay-friendly hotels and places to stay in Rio de Janeiro!  And check back for a full schedule of festivities once pride week events are confirmed.

View the VamosGay Guide to Rio »

Carnival in Rio 2018 – Gay Event Schedule

« Return to Carnival 2018 Home

Festive block parties, chic nightclub events, and over-the-top Samba parades … Carnival in Rio de Janeiro has a multitude of fun experiences for gay travelers.  (And, you can heat things up even more with our listings of Rio de Janeiro’s gay saunas and sex clubs!) Here’s the full list of gay-friendly events for Carnival 2018!  Leave your feedback for VamosGay via email, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.



Sat Jan 13
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Bloco Toco Xona: Pre-Carnival
One of the the most popular blocos for girls-who-like-girls, Bloco Toco Xona welcomes gay boys too!  This year, Toco Xona will celebrate their 10 year anniversary.  Learn more from our guide to LGBT blocos.
Sat Jan 20
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda de Ipanema
In the heart of gay Ipanema, this banda is biggest of all of the gay-friendly blocos.  Learn more from our guide to LGBT-friendly blocos.
Sat Jan 27
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda de Ipanema
One more pre-Carnival bloco which is sure to pack the streets around Ipanema beach.  After the street party winds down, catch the sunset on the beach, have a shower, and try dinner at Felice.
Date TBD
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Simpatia é Quase Amor
Get in the spirit with this pre-Carnival bloco from the free-spirited Simpatia e Quase Amor.  Learn more about them from our guide to LGBT-friendly blocos. So far, this bloco has not provided a date and time for 2018, but we hope to have an update soon.
Sun Feb 4
9:30A-1:30P
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Bloco Fogo e Paixão
This bloco of “fire and passion” is very queer friendly … and a great place to warm-up your party muscles before Bloco da Preta.  Event info, and video of a past Fogo e Paixao block party.
Sun Feb 4
8AM- 1PM
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Bloco da Preta
The biggest gay-friendly pre-Carnival bloco featuring singer Preta Gil.  Carnival organizers estimate attendance of 400,00!  The warm-up starts at 8am, but the parade will “launch” at 10am.
Fri Feb 9
11:PM
Location:
The Week RJ
Google Map »
Carnaval at The Week
Carnival opens with a bang at Rio’s biggest and best gay nightclub.  DJs keep the sweaty dance floors moving at The Week.
Sat Feb 10
3PM – 9PM
Location:
TBD
Google Map »
Bloco Toco Xona (unconfirmed)
By the girls, and for the girls!  This bloco is known for its skilled female Carnival drummers.  Gay guys are always welcome to join in on the fun.
Sat Feb 10
5 :30PM
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Banda de Ipanema
The first of three Carnival week blocos from the biggest GLS/LGBT-friendly banda in Rio.  Catch them again on Monday and Tuesday. Learn more about Banda da Ipanema from our guide to GLS blocos.
Date TBD
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Simpatia é Quase Amor
Get a second shot of peace-and-love, as this gay-friendly bloco returns to Ipanema.  The start time is 2pm, but this laid-back Sunday parade will start … whenever it starts.
Sun Feb 11
1PM – 1AM
Location:
Mansão Carioca
Google Map »
Joy Party at Mansão Carioca
The party continues at the gorgeous mansion known as Mansao Carioca.  Enjoy the line-up of DJs by the pool and check out the eye candy. Highly recommended!
Event info & tickets
Mon Feb 12
Time TBD
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Bloco Bunytos de Corpo (TBD)
Jazzercize your way down to Praça Tiradentes for a bizarre (yet fun) gay-friendly bloco celebrating the fitness craze of the ’80s.  (Note: Bunytos de Corpo has not officially announced anything for 2017, but they do enjoy surprises.  We’ll update this listing ASAP.)
Mon Feb 12
4PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda de Ipanema
Return to Praça General Osório for more samba, good vibes.  This Monday edition will be kid-friendly
Date TBD
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Simpatia é Quase Amor
Free-spirited bloco brings everyone together to parade through Praça General Osório.  Check our guide to LGBT-friendly blocos for more on Simpatia é Quase Amor.
Tue Feb 13
5:30PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda da Ipanema
Carnival Tuesdays can to be slow.  Spend a relaxing day on the beach, find a gay friendly restaurant for lunch then hang out in Ipanema for one last party with the Banda.
Tue Feb 13
6PM
Location:
Lapa
Google Map »
Banda das Quengas
What’s more fun than a slut-walk?  A block party of whores!  (That’s the literal translation of this bloco‘s name.)  Your excuse to dress like a five dollar hooker and get drunk in the streets has arrived.  (Start time not confirmed yet.  Will update this listing when it’s official.)
Tue Feb 13
11PM
Location:
Scala Rio
Google Map »
Scala Gay Ball
The grande finale of Carnival!  Located in the Scala nightclub with three sections, DJs, live samba, food and drinks.  Doors open before midnight, but 1AM is a better time to arrive.  Learn more info on the Scala Rio Gay Ball.
Tue Feb 28
All-Night
Location:
Everywhere
Google Map »
Hit the Bars!
Every gay bar in Rio will be running some sort of promotion.  If you choose to skip the Scala, you can still have a fun time.  (And don’t forget, the gay saunas will be open for those looking for a different kind of fun before Ash Wednesday when Carnival is officially over.)

« Return to Carnival 2018 Home

Scala Rio Gay Ball

« Return to Carnival 2018 Home

Carnival events in Rio de Janeiro can be placed into one of three categories:

  • blocos da rua – These are block parties originally organized by neighborhood groups.  One of the oldest, Banda de Ipanema, is also a gay-friendly bloco
  • bailes (formal indoor balls) – These cabaret-style balls are a long standing tradition with food, drinks, and amazing live performances.
  • parada / desfile – Huge spectacular parade in which escolas de samba (Samba schools) compete for the grand prize in Rio’s massive Sambadrome arena.

The Scala Rio Gay Ball is a baile (one of its many names is the Baile Gay do Rio Scala.)  During Carnival, many balls are held at the Scala Rio nightclub, but they save the best (and most fabulous for last.)

Getting There / Getting Tickets

In 2018, The Scala Rio Gay Ball will take place on Tuesday, February 13.  Doors open at 11:00PM, but we recommend entering after midnight.  There are many blocos nearby in the Cinelândia neighborhood.  There are various levels of tickets: one is general admission that gives access to an open-bar and snacks (R$118 = US$35), the others are VIP levels that have full dinner and a separate area (prices vary.)

Some websites offer tickets, but we recommend ordering them through the front desk of your hotel.  Any of the hotels on our list of gay-friendly hotels in Rio will be happy to assist!

The Scala Rio nightclub is easily accessible via Metro (the Cinelândia station connects with stops in Copacabana and Ipanema.)  Consult our Google Map of gay Rio.

What to Expect

The Scala Rio Gay Ball began as a costume ball, but over the years the rules have loosened.  Some attendees pull out all the stops with Vegas showgirl style drag, or full S&M leather gear.  Superhero costumes are increasingly popular as well as spooky outfits you might expect for Halloween.  Attendees are free to not wear costumes, so throw on a festive hat and you’ll be welcome to join the fun.

If you enter at midnight, the ball will appear a bit lame.  The fabulous people are still out partying in the streets.  However, if you are with a group, it is a good hour to relax a bit and enjoy the free drinks.  You can also watch the red carpet full of travestis in full drag regalia.  At the entrance of the Scala Rio nightclub, camera crews will be set up to broadcast the over-the-top drag queens.

The main hall has a DJ and the dance floor can get crowded.  Once the live samba band takes the stage, the true feeling of Brazilian carnival takes over.  The atmosphere is very friendly, full of Brazilians and tourists looking to have a good time.

The crowd is a mix of ages, but men over 40 will feel very comfortable.  Gays who are looking for a circuit party where they can dance until dawn with their shirts off will be much happier at The Week.

Share your Carnival experience or get more from VamosGay via email, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

« Return to Carnival 2018 Home

Gay Bars & Clubs of Rio de Janeiro

First-time visitors to the Latin American paradise known as Rio de Janeiro can follow a simple formula.  Stay at a hotel in zona sul (the southern zone of the city where Ipanema and Copacabana are located.) From zona sul, you can enjoy the beach by day and party hard by night at local bars and clubs.

Rio’s other gay bar crawl can be found in the Lapa neighborhood (with a few spots technically in Centro, but less than 20 minutes away by foot.)  Lapa is not gay per se, but open to anything and everything fun.  On the way to gay parties at Buraco da Lacraia and Sinônimo, you will inevitably be swept up in the rhythms of live music or tempted to stop for a bite of some of Rio’s most mouthwatering restaurants where gays and straights come together.

Rio de Janeiro explodes with activity during Carnival, Gay Pride, and New Year’s Eve.  And don’t forget to download our Google Map of Gay Rio de Janeiro to navigate the city.

00

Avenida Padre Leonel Franca 240
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil      Google Map »
⛔  3/15/2017 — Bad news … 00 has closed its doors after over 10 years of fun.  We’ll update this if/when news becomes available.
Take a short taxi trip to Gávea and pay the pricey cover fee for the perfect way to end your weekend.  The Sunday night party at 00 is highly recommended.  The crowd is hip and young.  The club itself has both an indoor area with a restaurant, and a large stylish outdoor space.

Anexo Lounge

Rua do Rezende 52
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil      Google Map »
This Lapa pub has enough great food to be on the lists of both gay-friendly bars and restaurants.  Aside from the dinner menu and drinks, weekends often feature live performances.  The Anexo Facebook page is the best way to know before you go.  Saturdays are particularly good.

Bar 49

Rua Teixeira de Melo 48
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google map »
⛔ 1/1/2017 – Unfortunately, this trendy (mostly straight) bar with a mix of beautiful people and local artists has closed.
Read our full review of Bar 49 »

Boate 1140

Rua Capitao Menezes, 1140
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil      Google Map »
Locals love this gay party palace in Jacarepaguá.  Brazilian beats and Brazilian guys and the rock the house every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Check the Boate 1140 website for the occasional Thursday promotion and more info about the club.

Buraco da Lacraia

Rua André Cavalcânti 58
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   Google Map »
Escape the gay tourist bubble of Copacabana and Ipanema for a truly unique Brazilian experience.  Every Friday night, pay one cheap cover to enter and have all of the beer (or soft drinks) you can handle.  If you enter around 10:30 you can catch their legendary cabaret show of politics/comedy/performance art.  Take the stairs up to a 2nd dance floor where sexy garçons wearing only an aprons and a bow ties will happily serve you drinks.

Estilo da Lapa

Avenida Mem de Sá 127
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   Google Map »
Very small bar with cheap drinks and small plates.  The crowd is almost exclusively gay locals.  Popular with couples.  Worth stopping in on a weeknight for a beer before 11pm.

Fosfobox

Rua Siqueira Campos 143 (loja 23 & 24)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil      Google Map »
This long-running gay-friendly Copacabana music venue is named after a type of matchbox and tucked within a small shopping plaza, Fosfobox is a small club with a big focus on music.  On any given night you may encounter techno, house, or neo funk.  View the lineup and get more info on the Fosfobox website.  Fridays tend to be the gayest.

Galeria Cafe

Rua Teixeira de Melo 31
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google Map »
Highly recommended on Friday nights!  First time visitors to Rio are often surprised by the current lack of gay nightclubs in Ipanema.  (Rest in peace, Dama de Ferro.)  However, every Friday, Galeria packs in the young hotties and a few of their straight female BFFs.  Music ranges from “flashbacks” to the 80’s and 90’s to pop divas of today like Rihanna.  Galeria is not very big and gets sweatier (and sexier) as closing time approaches.

Le Boy

Rua Raul Pompéia, 102
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google Map »
⛔ Closed 4/4/2016 – No info on re-opening ⛔
The legendary Le Boy is a must-visit for any gay tourist visiting Rio.  Located on the edge of Copacabana, within walking distance of Ipanema, Le Boy attracts hordes of tourists, hot local men … and unfortunately a few criminals.  (Watch your wallet, cellphone, and drink.  “Boa Noite Cinderela” is the phenomenon of slipping drugs into stranger’s drinks and robbing them.)  Le Boy stays faithful to the gay nightlife formula of pumped-up go-go boys, fabulous drag queens, club remixes of pop favorites, and strong drinks.  At 3AM, the darkroom section becomes very active.
Read our full review of Le Boy »

La Cueva

Rua Miguel Lemos 51
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil   Google Map »
The oldest remaining gay bar in Rio de Janeiro is worth a visit if you are staying in Copacabana.  There is often no cover, or the cover includes two free beers.  La Cueva (Spanish for “the cave”) is located below street level and has a cavernous look and feel.  The bar (with a small dance floor) markets itself as a bar for ursos (bears), but it is extremely popular with maduros (older guys) as well.

Papa G

Travessa Almerinda Freitas 42
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil      Google Map »
Located an hour away from the tourist zone of Copacabana, Papa G rewards gays and lesbians who are up for the trip with big parties Wednesday through Sunday.  Musically, it’s a great place to party to Brazilian beats like pagode and funk from both DJs and live performers.  Strong drinks, and outrageous drag shows, make Papa G a club to remember.

Sinônimo Lapa

Avenida Mem de Sá 118
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google Map »
With two levels of dance floors and a rooftop, Sinônimo is the biggest gay option in Rio’s bohemian Lapa neighborhood.  The crowd tends to be 60% gay guys, %30 lesbians, and %10 straight boys and girls.  The first floor often features live music.  Fridays are recommended … Maybe after leaving Buraco da Lacraia at 1:30AM semi-wasted on free beer?

TV Bar

Avenida Nossa Sra. de Copacabana 1417
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google Map »
This relatively small bar with a dance floor is located inside a former TV network facility.  The crowd is young but with enough tourists sprinkled around to make everyone will feel welcome.
Read our full review of TV Bar »

Up Turn Bar & Lounge

Avenida das Américas 2000 
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil     Google Map »
Very lively bar on Saturdays for anyone curious to visit the Barra da Tijuca neighborhood.  Get more info and view photos on the Up Turn Facebook page.

The Week

Rua Sacadura Cabral 135
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil    Google Map »
The place to be every Saturday.  You will have no complaints about the high cover charge once you see how The Week brings together the best DJs, performers, and boys in Brazil.  Highly recommended!
Read our full review of The Week »