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New Year’s in Rio de Janeiro

⚕️ Coronavirus News Update:  On July 25, the city of Rio de Janeiro officially cancelled celebrations to celebrate the start of 2021 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Last year, the beachfront celebrations brought together 3 million revelers. ⚕️

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.

Coronavirus updates gay travel

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 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)

Mexico City: Best of Zona Rosa

As much as we love the Ciudad de México, creating a guide to one of the largest cities in the Western Hemisphere (with nearly 9 million chilangos, as Mexico City natives are often called) is a difficult task.  For first-time tourists, exploring the city can be even more difficult … but absolutely worth it.

We recommend starting with the Mexico City’s best, safest, and most fun gayborhood …. Zona Rosa!

⚕️ Coronavirus Update:  As of May 2020, Mexico City’s Pride Parade (Marcha del Orgullo LGBT de la Ciudad de México) is still scheduled online-only on Saturday, June 27. )

Getting There & Where to Stay

Ok.  First, you will need to actually get to Mexico City.* is our favorite places to search for and keep track of deals.  Some airlines offer deals directly from their websites: and,  For package deals with airfare and hotels, your best bet might be Expedia.

*Two big travel dates to be aware of in 2020 are Gay Pride Weekend (Jun 27) and Mexican Independence Day  weekend (Sept 15 – 17.)

After your plane lands, we highly recommend using Uber to get around Mexico City.  It’s safe and cheap. Try calculating your fare with the Uber’s Mexico City fare calculator and get a discount with the promo code “ubervamosgay.”

As you search for a place to stay In Mexico City, you will find many openly gay guys renting their spaces through AirBNB (and, the gay-owned and operated MisterBNB is also available. ) However, for a wild weekend in Zona Rosa, you might prefer a hotel for your busy weekend.  We recommend two gay-friendly options:

Room Mate Valentina

This can be a your perfect home base as you spend the weekend bar crawling though Zona Rosa.  Simple, modern, and stylish, the Valentina is a boutique hotel that is literally steps away from the action.  The front desk is very helpful and very gay friendly.   More info, photos, and lowest rates »

Hotel Geneve

The historic décor of this grand old hotel includes antiques and works of art.  Located in the heart of Zona Rosa, the Geneve tops many lists of LGBT-friendly hotels in CDMX (as Mexico City is known.)  More info, photos, and lowest rates »

Aside from our top two picks, we can also recommend these LGBT-friendly hotels in Zona Rosa:  Hotel del Principado, Hotel PF, and Hotel Suites Amberes.

Exploring the City by Day

Mexico City is full of world class museums, shopping centers, and street fairs to keep your daylight hours busy.  Two books available in print and Kindle that we recommend to first-timers is Lonely Planet Mexico and a newer travel book named Mexico CIty: An Opinionated Guide for the Curious Traveler.

From the starting point of Zona Rosa, follow the Paseo de la Reforma, Mexico City’s spacious grand avenue which connects many of the city’s neighborhoods and is a gold mine of museums and art galleries.  Find the most popular locations on our Google map to the Best of Gay Zona Rosa.

Restaurants & Cafes

At any newsstand, pick up copies of Chilango Magazine and Time Out: Mexico City.  They are colorful and informative ways to see the thousands of places to eat in CDMX.  For this quick-and-easy “gaycation” guide, here are two cafes and five restaurants that we highly recommend.

Cielito Querido Cafe

Take your magazines find a comfy spot at Cielito. There are a few locations in and around Zona Rosa where you can have a coffee break (or meet your Grindr date.) You can also try the similarly named Cafe Punto del Cielo.  Both are great alternatives to Starbucks which has many locations in Mexico City.

Cafebrería El Pendulo

A cafe within the grandeur of a library, Cafebreria El Pendulo also features live classical music on the weekends.  Visit the Pendulo website to check out photos and get more info.  Our map links to the the Zona Rosa location at 126 Calle Hamburgo, but there are 5 other branches of El Pendulo throughout the Mexico City.


This cherished 100 year-old spot was best described by the Fodor 2016 Travel Guide. “Bellinghausen’s partially covered hacienda-style courtyard at the back, set off by an ivy-laden wall and fountain, is a midday magnet for executives and tourists. A veritable army of waiters scurries back and forth serving such tried-and-true favorites as filete chemita (broiled steak with mashed potatoes) and chamorro Bellinghausen (make-your-own tacos of minced lamb shank).”

La Casa Del Toño

The best place for Mexican classics!  Gays and straights line up for tables at the Zona Rosa location of La Casa Del Toño (one of six throughout Mexico City.)  Nothing posh, just really good food.  Click the menu on their website and prepare to salivate.

La Fonda Del Refugio

Old enough to be the favorite Zona Rosa restaurant of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, La Fonda Del Refugio opened in 1954 as the first upscale restaurant to celebrate Mexico’s humble culinary tradition.  This article from Culinary Backstreet delves into the history of La Fonda Del Refugio and what visiting foodies can expect today.

Bars & Clubs: Zona Rosa’s Top Ten

One question gay first-time visitors always ask about Mexico City …
“How safe is Zona Rosa?”

The honest answer is that bar crawling through Zona Rosa feels as safe as Barcelona, and some might argue even safer than a big city like San Francisco.  On the map below, you will notice that many bars are only minutes away from each other (some are even next door neighbors.)  Our listings link to each club’s Facebook page where you can get the most accurate hours of operations for your visit.  The map also list many bars and clubs that didn’t make our top ten list.

El Almacen

The mature and masculine start the night with cervezas at El Almacen, one of the first gay spots in Latin America.  The layout is perfect for the lost art of cruising (let your Grindr app have the night off.)  While waiting to hook up, enjoy one of El Almacen’s weekend strip shows.  Wednesday are exceptionally wild and strippers go all the way.

BB Show Bar

From muscular physiques to swimmer’s builds, BB Show Bar specializes in male strippers.  Great shows on a good night, but a bit inconsistent.

Botas Bar

“Where the strippers dance for you, and not your girlfriends.”  The motto of Botas Bar is a direct slap at the straight go-go boys who ignore gay patrons to spend time with their female BFFs.  Under the direction of nightlife impresario and former porn star Charly Diaz, Botas Bar features some of the hardest working strippers in CDMX.  They’re always happy to join you at your table and offer “private dances.”  Occasional guest dancers from adult film industry.  Thursdays through Sundays from 9PM to 4AM.

La Botica

Discover the joys of mezcal, a distilled alcoholic spirit derived from the heart of the agave plant.  In Mexico, mezcal is generally consumed straight and has a strong smoky flavor.  La Botica is a friendly bar where you can order a glass, chat with friends, and even enjoy some karaoke.  Save the strippers and drag shows for later.

Cabaretito Fusión

And speaking of drag … Cabaretito (the little cabaret) has some of the best in the city.  There is nothing posh about this Zona Rosa institution, but the dance floors are fun and flirty.  Boys may want to skip Thursdays which are popular with lesbians.

Dirty Dance Bar (formerly Lolipop)

Highly recommended on the weekends!
When Lollipop, one of our favorite nightspots on Calle Amberes, closed for “renovations” we feared the worst.  However, the nightclub’s new incarnation as Dirty Dance Bar maintains the best elements of the multi-level club where you can groove to hip hop, top 40 dance remixes, or latin pop.


Upscale, young, attractive, with a nice mix of straight boys and girls.  This multi-level nightspot is not a dive bar, so don’t expect dive bar prices.  The outdoor area in the summer is extremely popular and there is more than enough room to dance.  Lots of lesbians on Thursdays.


The best bear bar in Mexico is so much more.  Nicho’s is also the place to cruise for hot 40 and 50 year-olds.

Papi Fun Bar

The perfect place order an Indio (one of the region’s most popular brands of beer) and start the night.  There’s a small dance floor, but Papi Fun Bar is mostly a place to chat, laugh, flirt, and make out.  But don’t be shy … Papi Fun Bar’s glass windows (and the guys inside) are a popular attraction for anyone passing by.

Vaqueros (El Nuevo Vaquero)

Mexican cowboys (known as vaqueros) dress to impress from the cowboy hats on their heads down to their pointy cowboy boots.  Most nights skip the dress-code.  Visitors are welcome to step in for a drink and a good time.

Saunas & Sex

Along the streets of Zona Rosa, there are various sex shops and adult bookstores, in addition to the three popular options listed below.

Club San Francisco

Technically this is a gym (wink wink) with condoms at the front desk.  Club San Francisco gets a nice mix of young Mexican men and American visitors.

Erotika Love Store

With more toys than Santa Claus, Erotika Love Store is a popular destination in the “pink zone” for straight couples shopping for dildos and sexy lingerie.  Their cabinas de pelicula (video porn booths) are a popular with the gays.


The best gay sauna in Zona Rosa is technically outside of the zone in the Polanco district.  Check out our map and see if the walk isn’t too long for you, or if you prefer to take a quick Uber ride.  Either way, SoDoMe is a spacious, newly-renovated space that you won’t forget.  Check out the SoDoMe website for all of their amenities and photos.

Events & Circuit Parties

Here are just a few of Mexico City’s biggest gay party promoters.  Check the link for each to find out if any events will be held during your visit: KarmaBeat, Living, and VD Mas.

Get More of Gay Mexico City

Zona Rosa is just the beginning!  Follow VamosGay on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to find out when our complete guide to Ciudad de Mexico is available.