Category Archives: brazil

“Boa Noite, Cinderela”

There is something darkly sinister about the Portuguese phrase “Boa Noite, Cinderela.” It sounds like something an evil witch in disguise would say to an innocent Disney princess before feeding her a poisonous treat.  In Brazil, it describes the phenomenon of drugging victims in bars to later assault or rob them.

Outside of Latin America, mostly women are targeted with this type of crime, and sexual assault is usually part of the equation.  South of the Equator, gay men are often the prey.  The predators may also be gay, or they may be heterosexual.  Assailants only need to act gay long enough to befriend and flirt with a single gay man before slipping a drug into his drink.

The substance itself could be an existing party drug which creates the desired effect (Special K, GHB, or Rohypnol.)  Or, it could be scopolomine, a particularly scary drug with the abilities to subdue victims, make them compliant in their own robbery, and leave them with memory loss.

The goal is almost always robbery, and the story almost always ends with the victim awakening hours, sometime even days, later with no memory of what happened after they met their attacker.

Recently, the crime has entered the digital age with an assailant using Grindr to pick up, drug, and rob gay men in Sao Paulo.

The tips to staying safe are obvious, but worth sharing:

  • don’t accept drinks from strangers
  • keep your eye on your drinks (bottles and cans with smaller openings are more difficult to slip a drug into)
  • take your drink with you (to the dance floor, or the men’s room)
  • if you do take your eye off your drink, just dispose of it and order a fresh one
  • use the buddy system (or, set up a check-in with someone if you go out alone)
  • don’t party too hard if you do go out alone; it’s hard to tell the sensation of a knockout drug kicking in if you’ve already had ten caipirinhas
  • take only what you need for that night in your wallet
  • if traveling, make sure your room key is unidentifiable (trash the little envelope labeled “Copacabana Palace, Room #318”)

One final tip is to share your story if you have been victimized.  When attacks have happened in the gay bars of Sao Paulo, victims and their friends have taken to Facebook to post warnings and even distribute surveillance camera images of their attackers.

Best Apps for Gay Travel in Latin America

Planning a trip to Argentina, Brazil, Chile, or Uruguay?  From our travels to all four countries we’ve  created the following list of must-have apps for gay men. (And don’t forget our guide to mobile data and SIM cards.)

Google Maps

Essential!  Google Maps over the years has evolved into one of the best ways to navigate unknown territory.  The latest update provides the best public transportation directions available.  And for walkers, try plugging one earbud in to listen to turn-by-turn audio directions to avoid walking to avoid exposing your mobile phone while barcrawling at night.  (Pre-load our Google Maps for Buenos Aires, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, and Sao Paulo for offline browsing.)

One note for Buenos Aires, the Moovit app is a highly recommended supplement to Google Maps with some of the best tips for the city’s public transportation system.

We assume most visitors will be walking, taking the bus/metro, or being driven by taxi, but for visitors who will be driving, the Waze app is essential too.  And after you finish driving, Onde Parar is the best way to find a parking spot (only available in Brazil.)

99Taxis

More popular, and more available, than Uber in Latin America, the 99Taxi app uses both contracted drivers, and the existing pool of yellow and white taxis.  Options like the ability to pay via PayPal are great.  One downside is drivers who accept your request and then cancel if a better option appears.  99Taxis was recently in the news after one of their homophobic drivers expelled a gay couple in Rio during Carnival.  The company quickly terminated the driver from their service.

WhatsApp

This recommendation is mostly for Americans, since the extremely popular WhatsApp is one of the most downloaded mobile apps in the world.  In Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America, everyone already knows the app allows free messaging, photo/video sharing, phone calls over wi-fi, and location sharing.

Grindr

“But, I’m not one of the those types of guys who uses Grindr.” Yes, the world’s most popular mobile app for gay men does have a slutty reputation, but Grindr is what you make it.  You can create a G-rated profile stating that you are only looking to meet new people … Or, create and X-rated profile looking for sex.  Enjoy Grindr and be safe!

Other hook-up apps with sizeable populations in Latin America are Hornet, Scruff, Adam4Adam, and Disponivel (more about that one below.)

Disponivel

What began as a hook-up website whose biggest competitor was ManHunt (remember them?) has since made the leap into the age of mobile apps to be one of the most popular ways to find men in Brazil. The Disponivel app’s interface now has an English option, but often reverts, or has untranslated Portuguese elements.

TripAdvisor

Still on top after all these year!  If you must have one app for general city info and tourism recommendations (in English), TripAdvisor is the way to go.  If your phone has enough storage space, try Foursquare, Yelp, and Vespa.

VamosGay

No, we don’t have a mobile app, but we do have a mobile website! Choose the “Add to Home Screen” option and you’ll see a shiny new icon on your phone which will take you to our listings for restaurants and nightlife whenever you need them.

Carnival in Rio 2017 – Gay Event Schedule

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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 2017!  Leave your feedback for VamosGay via email, Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

Sat Feb 4
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda da 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 Feb 11
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Ipanema
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 Feb 11
3PM – 8PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda da 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.
Sat Feb18
2PM – 8PM
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.
Sun Feb 19
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 19
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.
Sat Feb 24
11PM – 7AM
Location:
Scala Rio
Google Map »
Viemos do Egyto – Masked Ball
Drawing inspiration from ancient Egypt for both their fashion and their decadent approach to celebrations. Tickets and info on Facebook.  Learn more from our guide to GLS blocos.
Fri Feb 24
11:PM
Location:
The Week RJ
Google Map »
Masterbeat Magic at The Week
Carnival opens with a bang as DJs Ana Paula, Brett Henrichsen (Masterbeat-USA) Tommy Love, and more keep the sweaty dance floors moving at The Week.
Fri Feb 24
6PM – 6AM
Location:
Sambadrome
Google Map »
Treta’s Carnival Friday at Sambadrome Sapucaí
Take a break from the street blocos and party inside the exclusive lounge of the Sambadrome, the massive arena which is home to the city’s grand Carnival parade.  Info and tickets on Facebook
Sat Feb 25
3PM – 9PM
Location:
Praia do Flamengo 340
Google Map »
Bloco Toco Xona
By the girls, and for the girls!  This bloco is known for its skilled female Carnival drummers.  Gay guys are welcome to join them for their 10 anniversary.
Sat Feb 25
2:30PM
Location:
Solar de Santa
Google Map »
Joy Party at Solar de Santa – Day One
The “beautiful people” come together in Santa Tereza for a party with awesome DJs.  Solar do Santa is a stunning colonial mansion with great views of Rio.  Partying into the sunset here is highly recommended. Event info
Sat Feb 25
5 :30PM
Location:
Centro
Google Map »
Banda da 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.
Sat Feb 26
11PM
Location:
The Week RJ
Google Map »
Forever Tel Aviv “So Happy” at The Week
Dance until dawn with the circuit boys at The Week on a night featuring an lineup of DJs from across the globe.
Sun Feb 26
2PM
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 26
2:30PM
Location:
Solar de Santa
Google Map »
Joy Party at Solar de Santa – Day Two
The party continues at the gorgeous colonial mansion known as Solar de Santa.  Enjoy the line-up of DJs by the pool and check out the eye candy. Highly recommended! Event info
Sun Feb 26
2:30PM
Location:
Solar de Santa
Google Map »
Sunday Night at 00 (Zero Zero)
Staying in Copacabana or Ipanema?  Take a short cab ride to Gavea for a night at 00 (pronounced “zero zero”)  An attractive, young (yet mature) crowd of straight and gay Brazilians can be found every Sunday in any of 00’s indoor and outdoor spaces.
Mon Feb 27
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 27
4PM
Location:
Ipanema
Google Map »
Banda da Ipanema
Return to Praça General Osório for more samba, good vibes, and boys from Ipanema.
Mon Feb 27
11PM
Location:
Vivo Rio
Google Map »
The Week Presents: Abel at Vivo Rio
DJ Abel headlines a party too big to be contained by The Week.  Head over to the Vivo Rio space for the massive party.  It will be the place to be on Monday night.
Tue Feb 28
2PM – 8PM
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 28
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 28
6PM
Location:
Lapa
Google Map »
Banda das Quengas (TBD)
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 28
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.)

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Carnival, New Year’s, and Gay Pride: Event Calendar for Rio de Janeiro in 2016

What days are best for gay travelers interested in Rio de Janeiro?  All 365 of them are fabulous, but three holidays: New Year’s, Carnival, and Gay Pride.

Scroll down for specific dates in 2016, travel tips, and events in the city.  Outside of the holidays, use the VamosGay Guide to Rio de Janeiro.  It has the best, most up-to-date listings for gay-friendly hotelsbars, restaurants, and adults-only fun in Rio!

New Year’s Day / Reveillon 2016

Thursday, December 31 – Friday, January 1
From the fireworks on Copacabana Beach to the city’s biggest gay after-party … Click here for the VamosGay Guide to New Year’s in Rio

Carnival 2016 in Rio, Salvador, and Florianópolis

Friday, February 5 – Wednesday, February 10
Three of the biggest Carnival destinations in Brazil are also three of the gay-friendliest.  Guides to all three cities are coming soon!  Follow VamosGay on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for the latest news.

Gay Pride 2016

Sunday, November 13, 2016
Every color of the arco-iris shines as the LGBT Pride Parade fills Rio de Janeiro.

Summer Olympics 2016

August 5 – 21, 2016
A guide for the many gay tourists who will be visiting the Cidade Maravilhosa!  Click to visit the VamosGay Guide to Olympics 2016 in Rio.