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Gay Guide to Carnival 2022 in Rio de Janeiro

As the world re-opens for post-COVID travel, hopes are high for Latin America.  Brazil continues to race towards vaccinating its population, and projections a great for the next Carnival.

In 2022, Carnival will begin on Friday, February 25 and run through a wild extended weekend to Tuesday, March 1.  The day after is Ash Wednesday when the parties are officially 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 2019, Rio’s carnival attracted a record 1.62 million 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.)  Fortunately, many airlines are offering flexible cancellation policies to encourage post-COVID travel.  For great deals, try searching Skyscanner.com, Expedia.com, Iberia,  LAN / TAM Airlines,  and CheapFlights.com

Will you need a visa to enter Brazil?  In 2019, citizens of the US, Canada, Australia, and Japan received visa-free access to Brazil for tourism. Get the full list of nationalities and visa requirements from the consulate of Brazil.

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 2022

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 2021 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 5 in your drawer is perfect for navigating the city with apps.  Phone theft is rampant in blocos and nightclubs.  A second phone can also hold your new Brazilian SIM card.
  • Google Maps – pre-plan your route (by foot, bus, or subway) 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 mosquitoes  – The zika virus crisis has subsided, but not disappeared.  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)  The safest bet for hookups is to go to one of Rio’s many gay saunas.
  • Wear shoes – Yes, your new Havaiana flip flops are cute, but don’t be one of gringoes who goes home on crutches.
  • Don’t sweat every little expense – The club that wants to charge a cover of R$50 … That’s about US$9.25 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 2023.

Online Resources During Carnival 2022

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!

Gay São Vicente, Santos, Guarujá – Guide to the São Paulo Coast

Take a break from the concrete jungle of São Paulo and ride to the sands of LGBT-friendly Santos, Guarujá, and  São Vicente.
⚕️ Updated September 2020: Beaches have officially reopened following months of COVID-19 quarantine.  Nightclubs and saunas remain closed, but gay-friendly beach stands like Quiosque da Cris are open for drinks on the sand. Continue reading Gay São Vicente, Santos, Guarujá – Guide to the São Paulo Coast

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.*  Skyscanner.com is our favorite places to search for and keep track of deals.  Some airlines offer deals directly from their websites: Iberia.com and AirFrance.com,  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.

Gay Guide to Lisbon

The Lonely Planet Guide to Lisbon describes the Portuguese capital as a “city armed with Gothic grit and glamour” and we wholeheartedly agree.  If you have learned a bit of Portuguese from traveling with our guides to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, now is the time to explore Lisbon.

Getting There & 2020 Travel Dates

Skyscanner is one of our favorite places to search for and keep track of deals.  More deals can be found at Iberia.com and AirFrance.com,  For package deals with airfare and hotels, try Expedia.

Upon landing, many Europeans can happily connect their mobile devices, but everyone else can visit Vodafone’s airport kiosk. 
They offer 30 GB of data over 15 days for only €15 (SIM card included.)  Perfect if you have a dual SIM phone for travel and use our Google Map to gay Lisbon to navigate the city.

Lisbon is the 3rd sunniest city in Europe and welcomes visitors all year round.

⚕️ Coronovirus Update:  As of March 2020, the previously planned events for the year are under review and no longer confirmed.

Here are a few 2020 dates for the LGBT travel calendar.
Lisbon Bear Pride       May 27 – June 3
LGBT Pride March       June  20
Arrail Lisboa Pride       June TBD
Queer Lisboa
       September 18 – 26

Hotels & Places to Stay

Some travelers are looking for a stylish suite to make their Instagram followers jealous.  Others, want a charmingly simple flat within walking distance of the city’s attractions.

The Late Birds Lisbon tops our list of gay-friendly places to stay. Click below for the full list of places we highly recommend.

View list of gay friendly hotels of Lisbon »

Bars & Nightclubs

Strip down to your jockstrap and have a Super Bock (a popular Portuguese beer) or dress up and enjoy champagne with your husband.  Lisbon has a wide spectrum of gay nightlife.  Click below for the full list.

View Gay Bars & Clubs of Lisbon »

Restaurants & Cafes

Lisbon is a gastronomic paradise!  We are still working on our full list of gay-friendly recommendations, but until it’s ready, use our Google Map of Gay Lisbon to discover the best food, ambiance, and service.

Saunas, Dark Rooms, and Gay Beaches

Trombeta Bath is the city’s biggest sauna and has the highest number of daily patrons.  But, there are many other places to have a hot time in Lisbon.  You can even hop on a ferry and sail over to Lisbon’s clothing-optional gay beach!  Check out our list of hot spots for 2019 (updated to exclude several that recently closed.)

View the Saunas and Beaches of Lisbon »

Get the Lisbon News from Our Newsletter

Punta del Este

The guide book Lonely Planet: Argentina summarizes Punta del Este, Uruguay (a popular side trip for those visiting Buenos Aires) as follows …

With its many beaches, elegant seaside homes, yacht harbor, high-rise apartment buildings, pricey hotels and glitzy restaurants – Punta del Este is one of South America’s most glamorous resorts and easily the most expensive place in Uruguay. Extremely popular with Argentines and Brazilians, Punta suffered a period of decline during the Uruguayan and Argentine recessions, but has come back with a vengeance.

Punta del Este’s scenic coastline is divided into two regions: Brava (Spanish for “fierce”) and Mansa (Spanish for “tame”). The limit between the two marks the end of the Río de la Plata and the beginning of the Atlantic Ocean, and split is signaled by the Mano de Punta del Este, which the sculptor designed to warn swimmers about the danger of rough waves. Beaches on the Mansa side feature thick and golden sand, while on the Brava side the sand is white and fine. Every beach of the peninsula has public access.

For Gay Travelers

Playa Chihuahua is where the boys are … and a large section of it is “clothing optional.”  Chihuahua is about 20 minutes away by car from Playas Brava and Mansa and offers a great escape from the frenetic shopping and tourist activity of Punta.   A short walk from Playa Chihuahau, you will find Undarius Hotel (formerly named Casa Mario, but under the same friendly gay ownership.) Undarius is a B&B for gay men with a laid back vibe.

Looking for a gay bar or nightclub?  You won’t find one. (Many out-dated gay guides to Punta del Este mention Kronos and Mercury, but both are now long gone.)  Instead, you will find a few great mostly straight, but gay-friendly places.  (Click here for our Google Map to Gay Punta del Este.)

Getting There

Punta del Este’s international airport (PDP) may be small, but it is serviced by a large number of regional and international carriers. Check the following websites for cheap deals.

Hotels & Places to Stay

2122 Hotel Art Design

Full of indoor amenities, the 2122 is set further back from both coast –  a location that removes it from touristy annoyances while remaining within walking, or a short cab ride, of most of Punta’s nightlife and shopping.

View hotel details/lowest rate

Conrad Punta del Este Resort & Casino

Featuring a casino, spa facilities, 2 swimming pools, 2 tennis courts and 4 restaurants, the Conrad Punta Del Este Resort & Casino features plush accommodations in front of La Mansa Beach.

View hotel details/lowest rate

Serena Hotel

Luxury on the beach!  The Serena is popular with gays and straights.  Click below for photos and reviews.

View hotel details/lowest rate

Undarius Hotel (formerly Casa Mario)

Gay owned and operated!  Undaris is gay-only and clothing optional.  But, don’t let the nudity scare you off.  You can wear your trunks and lounge with a drink, or go for a nude swim in the pool.  There is a range of rooms from private suites, to dormitory-style lodging.

View hotel details/lowest rate

Where to Play – Bars & Beaches

OVO Nightclub & Dayclub

Over the top (and overpriced) this is where the beautiful people converge at night to party to the beats of international DJs.  By day, OVO is more laid back, catering to tourists.

Moby Dick

A classic pub which, over the years, has become a meeting spot for gays and lesbians.  Grab a beer and then head out to one of the many restaurants nearby where you can continue the night.


Mostly straight club where gays are welcomed.  Soho also hosted a huge party for the first annual Punta Pride festival.

Looking for ways to connect in Punta?  Grindr remains one of the best ways for meetup with locals and your fellow gay travelers.  Also, the front desks of any of the gay-friendly hotels listed below give excellent recommendations!

Restaurants and Cafes of Gay Friendly Santiago Chile

Like most big cities, Santiago offers a wide spectrum of options from high-end restaurants to late-night fast food joints.  For gay travelers the cluster of restaurants, bars, and clubs in Bellavista are extremely popular.  The “restaurant row” of the neighborhood is Pio Nono street which is easily walkable from the string of gay bars on Bombero Núñez.

Aside from restaurants, a decent percentage of Santiago’s gay bars offer tapas-style menus.  (Use the VamosGay Google Map of Santiago to plan your trip, or navigate the city on your mobile phone.)


José Victorino Lastarria 276
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Winner of the TripAdvisor’s 2015 Travelers’ Choice Award, Bocanariz is the place to try Chilean wines.  The accompanying food menu is equally phenomenal.  Bocanariz is located in the Lastarria district, home to the Museo de Bellas Artes, and adjacent to the gay neighborhood Bellavista.


Avenida Italia 805
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Excellent cuisine from Spain in a stylish setting.  Cazaluz is located in Santiago’s Italian district within a 25 minute walk, or a short cab ride to Bellavista.

Ciudadano Restaurant

Seminario 400
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Great Italian food with a trendy crowd.  Ciudadano attracts mostly hip young heteros, but gay guys often stop by for beer and pizza.

El Caramaño

Purisima 257
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Very authentic Chilean food.  Family-style dining where you can try the classics of Chilean cuisine.  No hipsters, just great food.

El Toro

Loreto 33
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Very gay-friendly restaurant celebrating the flavors of Spain.  The waiters keep things lively.

Fuente Alemana

Avenida Libertador Bernardo O´Higgins 58
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Fans of gigantic tasty sandwiches adore this neighborhood restaurant.


Dardignac 98
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Traditional dining spot with Chilean dishes that even the young and trendy can’t resist.  One of the best places to try chorrillana, Chile’s most iconic (and heavy) fast food.

Los Miserables

Calle Antonia Lopez de Bello 14
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
No, that’s not a typo for a French restaurant.  The name really is Los Miserables and it’s popular Bellavista Mexican joint.  Fans of San Francisco taquerias will feel right at home with tasty burritos and tacos.

Patio Bellavista

Pio Nono 73
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Located in the heart of the neighborhood, Patio Bellavista is home to over a twenty restaurants, food stands, and gift shops.

White Rabbit

Antonia López de Bello 118
Santiago, Chile      Google Map »
Weekend brunch with friends is not as popular in Chile as it is in Europe and the US.  However, Bellavista bistro White Rabbit may change that with their phenomenal brunch menu.  See for yourself at the White Rabbit website.