Category Archives: latin america

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 2020 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 2019 before the year ends.  Rio’s gay bars will be open and ready to party after Christmas Day.

Rio BeatsHouse 2020

You only live once, so open your wallet, book a room at the JW Marriott and reserve a ticket for Rio BeatsHouse 2020.  For the 2nd year, this all-inclusive event will be hosted at the five-star JW Marriott and will be best way to ring in the New Year.  Check the availability at the JW Marriott now and let the countdown begin.

The Week Réveillon 2020

Party boys from across the globe come together every year for Réveillon at The Week RJ.  This year, the mega party will take place at Espaco Costa Hall with a stunning view of Guanabara Bay.  Click here to get more info and to buy tickets online..

Wallpaper Prime Copacabana @ Pestana

Gay-friendly, over-the-top, party to ring in the new year.  The parties organized by the Wallpaper Brasil promoters never fail to impress and this New Year’s réveillon party should be amazing.  Click here to buy tickets online, and to check rates and availability for rooms at the Pestana Rio Atlantica, click here.

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

Gay Guide to Carnival 2020 in Rio de Janeiro

In 2020, Carnival will begin on Friday, February 21 and run through a wild extended weekend to Tuesday, February 26.  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 2020

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.

Like VamosGay on Facebook and/or join our email list below to get the 2020 schedule as soon as it’s available.

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 2020.



Online Resources During Carnival 2020

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!

Travel Deals for 2020

Have you realized a new decade is coming?  Now is the perfect time to plan your travel for 2020!  Here is the VamosGay shortlist of websites with the best travel deals.

Flight Deals & Vacation Packages

Expedia.com – Pretty good for flights, but highly recommended for packages deals.  You may find lower rates if you search hard enough on other sites, but when buying an entire package, Expedia customer support is the strong arm you may need to change or cancel an expensive flight and hotel combo.

Iberia Airlines – European carrier with many cheap flights to South America.  Add them to your list of sites to search and you’ll be surprised.

TAM / LAN Airlines – The merged juggernaut of South American carriers (now known as LATAM) offers many direct deals.

Skyscanner – This site can be simple if you are just looking for the lowest price, but also lets users dig in and compare prices across airline companies and departure dates.  A great place to squeeze out the lowest price not just for Latin America, but across the globe.

Cheapflights.com – The name says it all.  If it doesn’t have the lowest price for an international flight, it will definitely link to it.

Where to Stay

Booking.com – Highly-recommended one-stop shopping for hotels.  Consistently low-prices and the option to book without pre-paying makes this a favorite.

AirBnB – Fabulous places to stay across the globe with large number of gay men.  If you’ve never stayed with AirBnB before, start browsing and get a discount.

Getting Around with Uber

Taxis in Latin America don’t have the best reputation.  Uber provides a safe and easy option for club hopping or just getting to the airport.  Click any of these links for Buenos Aires, Mexico City, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and Sao Paulo.  (Use the discount code ubervamosgay for a lower rate.)

Tour Guides

Viator Rio de Janeiro – Need a personal tour guide you can trust to show you the best of gay Rio de Janeiro? We recommend Viator’s Guided Tour of Rio de Janeiro’s gay nightlife.

Gay Guide to Santiago Chile

In 2015, Chile legalized same-sex civil unions lifting the nation one step higher on the list of gay travel destinations.  Chile’s energetic capital city Santiago has been the epicenter for the country’s flourishing gay culture with a multitude of hotelsrestaurants, bars, and adults-only places to visit.

This guide to gay Santiago has a particular focus on the Bellavista neighborhood, the heart of the city which lies between the Mapocho River and San Cristóbal Hill.  Bellavista is known as Santiago’s bohemian quarter, with new hip restaurants, boutiques, and avant-garde galleries occupying loft spaces and lordly mansions that punctuate tree-lined streets awash with colorful antique homes. Many of the city’s esteemed intellectuals and artists live in Bellavista, following in the footsteps of its most famous denizen, Pablo Neruda.

In the evening, Bellavista pulses to the beat of music pouring from its many discos and bars. Gay nightlife is easy to find on the colorful Bombero Núñez street.  On weekends, there is an evening handicrafts market that runs the length of Pío Nono. The area is served by the Baquedano Metro subway station, located just across the river.  (Try our Google map of gay Santiago to help navigate the city.)

Update for the VamosGay 2019 Guide to Santiago
This year, Chile and a number of other countries were rocked by protest and civil unrest.  In October 2019, the capital city Santiago became ground zero for the Chilean protests.  Santiago is still one of the top LGBT-friendly destinations and social life continues despite the protests near major landmarks.  But, check international news reports and be aware of the situation.

Bars & Clubs

A to Z listing of every bar, lounge, and club.

View all »

Hotels

Gay-friendly places to stay in Santiago.

View all »

Restaurants & Cafes

Meals to remember, or just a late night snack.

View all »

Sex & Saunas

An up-to-date list of Santiago’s hottest spots.

View all »

Gay-Friendly Paraty & Villa Harmonia

One of the most popular gay-friendly bed-and-breakfast in Paraty, the charming destination just outside of Rio de Janeiro.

Paraty is best described in the Lonely Planet Guide to Rio de Janeiro as …

… a nature-lover’s paradise, offering some of southeastern Brazil’s prettiest coastal and mountain scenery. Dozens of pristine beaches are easily accessible by boat or bus, while inland, the Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina protects a lush remnant of mata atlântica (Atlantic rainforest).

Throughout the year, Paraty brims with Brazilian and international vacationers. The town’s cosmopolitan flavor is further enhanced by the multitude of artists, writers and chefs, both Brazilian and foreign, who have settled here.

Villa Harmonia is well located within walking distance of Paraty’s main attractions. The well-staffed bed-and-breakfast is very gay friendly, although, expect the over half of the guest to be friendly heteros. For gay couples, we highly recommend booking the “superior room with the garden view. Click below for more info, photos, and to check availability.

View hotel details/lowest rate

Paraty is full all year, but the high season starts in November and continues through March. In 2020, Carnival runs from Friday, February 21 and run through a wild extended weekend to Tuesday, February 26. But, we recommend the week before Carnival in Paraty. And Villa Harmonia is an excellent place to spend it!

Gay Guide to Buenos Aires

Legendary nightlife, extraordinary architecture … and porteños (the Spanish word for the men of the port city Buenos Aires.)  These are a few of the many of the reasons why Argentina’s capital city remains a gay travel mecca.  Our 2019 guide to the Buenos Aires’ bars and clubs is an excellent way to find the best of the city.

Booking.com

For gay travelers, the city’s pride parade (the Marcha del Orgullo Gay) often takes place on first Saturday of November (this year, 29th Annual Pride Parade is scheduled to start at 11am on Saturday November 2, 2019.)  This date is perfectly timed with the start of spring in South America.  Tourists will find warm temperatures, hot guys, and blooming jacaranda trees.

International flights to Buenos Aires are frequent, but not cheap (check for flight deals to EZE airport.)  A few years ago, visitors from certain countries are required to pay a “reciprocity fee” before entering Argentina, but this fee for US citizens has been revoked.

For general tourist information, we still recommend the Lonely Planet: Guide to Buenos Aires.  Combine it with our up-to-date gay guide below and you will fall in love with Buenos Aires!

Bars & Clubs

A to Z listing of every bar, lounge, and club.

View all »

Hotels

Best gay-friendly places to stay in BA.

View all »

Restaurants & Cafes

Use our Google Map to find over a dozen popular places.

View map »

Visit Montevideo

Take a short trip and discover this gay-friendly city.

View all »

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.  In 2019, Gay Pride will take place on Saturday, November 2nd starting at 11am at the Plaza de Mayo and ending at 6pm at Plaza Congreso.

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 »

Euphoria

Relatively new addition to the row of gay and gay-friendly bars on Gurruchaga street.  During the week, it’s one of the few options open on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, as well as the weekend.
More info and updates on the EuphoriaBA Instagram

Furiosa

Weekend parties (mostly at Club Niceto on Saturdays)
More info and events on the Furiosa Facebook

Fiesta Puerca

Saturday night dance party (mostly held at Teatro Vorterix) with a young mixed crowd.
More info and events on the Fiesta Puerca Facebook

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 »

Glam

Editor’s Choice 2019: Best Thursday Night Club (Saturday’s are hot too!)
Full review & details for Glam »

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 »

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

New Inside

Lively gay gastropub and a nice option for drinks and a bit to eat before 10pm.  Also, a fun spot on to spend a late Sunday afternoon.
More info and events on the New Inside Facebook

Peuteo

Editor’s Choice: Best Bar Buenos Aires 2019
Full review & details for Peuteo »

Sitges

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

Work Bar

On Thursdays and Sundays, drink specials attract a nice selection of men.  DJs are the main attraction on Fridays.
More info and updates on the Work Bar Facebook

Zoom

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