If you are one of the millions who viewed disco icon Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive” hand washing video, you have seen a great metaphor for the current COVID-19 crisis. Let’s stay safe, keep our spirits up, and hold on for the future.
Most major cities across the globe have pride month events scheduled for 2020, and most of them will be forced to cancel and reschedule. Here’s a brief summary for the cities we cover on VamosGay: Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Montevideo, Santiago, Buenos Aires, Mexico City, and Lisbon. Try skyscanner.com to compare the latest international airfares. (Note: The information below is current as of July 25, 2020.)
🇦🇷 Buenos Aires Sat, Nov 7 (unconfirmed) 🇵🇹 Lisbon (unknown) 🇧🇷 São Paulo cancelled for 2020, new date June 6, 2021 🇧🇷 Rio de Janeiro Sun, Sept 27 (confirmed) 🇨🇱 Santiago Chile Sun, Jun 28 (online only) 🇲🇽 Mexico City Sat, Jun 27 (online only) 🇺🇾 Montevideo (Fri, Sept 25 confirmed)
⚕️ Coronavirus News Update: Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the organizers of São Paulo’s Pride parade announced that the event (originally scheduled for June 14), would be re-scheduled for November 29. However, as optimism for a quick recovery faded, the group declared the 2020 parade is cancelled and announced the date for the event in 2021.
On Sunday, June 6, 2021, the largest gay pride parade in the world will celebrate its 24th anniversary. Past parades have attracted over 3 million people took to the streets of Sao Paulo, according to estimates. In 2021, the city of Sao Paulo will also push back its Carnival celebration from February to an undetermined date in June.
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.
Watch the Replay: Pride Parade 2019
The theme of the 2019 parade was a commemoration of the 50 year anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
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. For international flights, we always use SkyScanner.com to compare airfares and find the lowest rates all of the major airlines.
As a tourist, staying connected to essential travel apps like Google Maps, WhatsApp messenger, and (let’s confess … Grindr) can be difficult, because unlike most countries, Brazil remains a difficult place for foreigners to acquire a SIM card with a mobile data plan. In preparation for World Cup 2014, Brazil’s mobile companies released special packages targeting international visitors. However, after the World Cup games, these are now almost impossible to find.
To help foreign visitors (gay and straight) find the best options, VamosGay researched all of the pre-paid options (also known as pre-pago) available in Brazil via the nation’s four biggest operators: Claro, Oi, TIM, and Vivo.
Factors for deciding the best option for foreigners included:
ability to acquire without a Brazilian national ID number (CPF)
availability of short-term plans (daily and weekly, not monthly)
ease of recharging credits
stores with English-language staff
bonus wi-fi hot spots
Details for each operator is listed below, but the clear winner and the provider that we recommend is Claro. Read more about all four below and please leave a comment if you have updated information.
Our first, and most important criterion was the ease of purchasing a SIM card without a CPF (the Brazilian national ID number.) To acquire a Claro SIM card and mobile data plan, just take your passport to any Claro store. You will find one at most airports and shopping centers. Unfortunately, it’s rare to find English-speaking attendants in any of Brazil’s mobile stores. However, Claro and TIM stores located in the tourist centers of the country’s biggest cities are the most likely to have helpful associates who fala inglês.
The Claro team is the friendliest and will most likely direct you to their “Internet Turbinada” plan which delivers 50MB per day for the low price of R$0.99. The deal gets event better with data used by WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter being thrown in for free.
Heavy data users can upgrade to daily packages of 65MB for R$1.29 or 85MB for R$1.99. The SIM card itself from Claro will cost you R$10, but its a powerful 4GMax chip that includes automatic connections to wi-fi hotspots throughout the city.
One downside for tourists: Claro like all Brazilian operators offers no English-language customer support. With that said … go get a Claro SIM card and get online! (And remember, newsstands and grocery stores can sell SIM cards and are convenient places to buy credits, but you should make your initial SIM card purchase at a Claro store since only they can activate your line with your passport.
Beware of the pre-paid plan which does not require a Brazilian national ID … but does require a Brazilian credit card. That’s a nasty surprise for tourists who sit down at an Oi store and start the paperwork with their passports in hand.
There is such a thing as the “Oi Visitor” package. For R$40, the user gets a SIM card and R$30 in free credits. It was a popular option when the World Cup games brought millions of foreigners to Brazil … but now, good luck finding an Oi location which carries it.
Currently, rates for Oi are nearly identical to Claro (R$0.99 per day) but without the perks. For this reason, Claro remains a better option for foreigners.
The only mobile company that didn’t bother targeting World Cup tourists plans to ignore their needs for the Summer Olympics too (as far as we know.) It’s a shame since Vivo offers great service, and used to be available for foreigners without a CPF number ten years ago. However, as of today, Vivo is not an option for international visitors.
Spotty service and shady billing are the hallmarks of one of Brazil’s most popular cellular service companies. TIM mobile gained a huge market share thanks to advertising and its early success offering unlimited calls and messages between TIM customers.
For foreigners, the company offers TIM Visitor, a special SIM card with 1.5GB of download data. The package lasts for 7 days and cost R$24. Like all of the operators listed, add-ons such as international calling and SMS can be added for additional fees. In the case of TIM, international calls are R$1.00 per minute and SMS is $0.50 per message. Despite being a partially European company, contacting Europe via TIM does not deliver any special discount.
In conclusion, Claro wins.
Load up your phone with our best apps for gay travel in Latin America, get a cheap Claro SIM card, and have a fun (and safe) time in Brazil. And, don’t forget to make sure your apps are not draining your battery and mobile data. Here are a couple of articles with useful tips … Android and iPhone
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.)
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.)
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.
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.
“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!
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.
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.
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.
A 36 year-old businessman will file a claim with the organization “Rio Without Homophobia” against a driver hailed using the 99taxis app (a popular alternative to Uber in Latin America.)
The plaintiff and his boyfriend were ejected from the car in the dead of the night on Avenida Almirante Barroso in downtown Rio. The reason for expelling the couple? One boyfriend fell asleep during the ride resting his head on the other’s shoulder.
The story of the homophobic 99taxis driver sparked a firestorm on Brazilian social media. Shortly thereafter, 99taxis issued a statement in a follow up story by O Globo announcing that the driver in question had been dismissed.