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.

The Gay Neighborhoods of São Paulo

 Finding gay men in South America’s largest city can be difficult, but not impossible if you know where to look.  Scroll down for a neighborhood-by-neighborhood breakdown.  Or, click the button below to view the Google Map of Gay Sao Paulo.

Launch Google Maps

Frei Caneca / Consolação

Also known as “Gay Caneca” this is an LGBT-friendly (or some might say LGBT-dominated) section of the Consolação neighborhood.  Its borders are roughly defined by the massive and bustling Avenida Paulista and the very gay and very cruisey Shopping Frei Caneca.

Nightlife in Frei Caneca remains anchored by long-standing night club A Lôca which also reflects the youthful nature of the neighborhood.

View neighborhood listings

Largo do Arouche / Centro

Much like New York City’s West Village in the 1980s, Largo do Arouche is dirty, a bit dangerous, but never boring.  Easily walkable in 15 minutes, this “gayborhood” flourishes as a home for the entire queer rainbow.  Bears, daddies, lesbians, and transsexuals are equally at home.  Bars and clubs in Largo do Arouche are all about having a cheap good time.  There’s no architecture or design to admire, just alcohol, music, and good times.

The area’s biggest dance clubs are Cantho and Danger Dance Club, but most of the party is actually in the middle of the street on Avenida de Carvalho in front of popular bars like Soda Pop and Caneca de Prata.

On the other side of the praça (the park at the center of Largo do Arouche,) sex clubs and cinemas continue to operate while homeless gay and trans youth provide their own brand of entertainment on the streets.  This area is the most dangerous of São Paulo’s gay neighborhoods.  Tourists should use extra caution, but have a good time.

Largo do Arouche is a section of the greater Downtown area (known as Centro, which is mostly straight.)  One way to experience quickly experience Centro is to take a 15-minute walk up to Avenida Iprianga for the city’s best cocktails at Bar da Onça and the best coffee at Cafe Floresta.  Both are inside of Edifício Copan, one of the largest buildings in Brazil and the creation of the country’s premiere architect Oscar Niemeyer.

View neighborhood listings


Not gay per se, but on it’s way! Pinheiros is currently in the midst of a gentrification boom as trendy young gays hunt for apartments, culture, and nightlife. The neighborhood had long been a Saturday afternoon destination for the gay-friendly outdoor fair at Praça Benedito Calixto.  Hip restaurants like Le Jazz and Suri Ceviche Bar continue the list of places worth visiting.  After dark, Pinheiros is home to Bubu Lounge, whose Friday night party is highly recommended.

View All Listings

Jardins / Cerqueira César

Across the divide of Avenida Paulista, chic boutiques and upscale restaurants make the neighborhood known as Jardins one of the most desirable districts in São Paulo.  (Jardins and Cerqueira César are often used interchangeably in guidebooks to refer to the same region.  Stick with Jardins when chatting with locals.)

For visitors, Jardins has many hotel, bar, and restaurant options and is within 15 to 30 minutes walking distance from most of the gay hot spots in Frei Caneca.

View All Listings

Full List of São Bars & Clubs

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.

São Paulo Gay Bars & Clubs

South America’s biggest city knows how to party!  São Paulo has three major “gayborhoods” which make bar hopping possible, but not always easy.

Click below get a complete list of São Paulo’s gay bars and nightclubs

View All Gay Bars & Clubs

Plus, navigating Gay Sao Paulo just got easier with the our Google Map.  Use it find bars, clubs, hotels, and restaurants, then click on any location to get the most up-to-date review from!

Launch Google Maps