Gay Latin America: It’s muy caliente!

Lima-based Scott Marquardt joins Peter and Rob in the recording studio to break down what’s hot in gay Latin America.

For a downloadable version of Episode 8, click here.

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Today’s Podcast Takeaways:

Peter, Rob and Scott covered a lot of ground in today’s podcast. To keep things simple, we’ve compiled their recommendations by country and city, as well as included a few overall tips.

General

  • Avoid booking hotels in the centre of major South American cities. While it may seem logical to stay central, downtown cores tend to be quiet and often sketchy after dusk. Gay people in particular will have better luck finding nightlife in outer neighbourhoods.
  • If you’re looking to chat or connect with locals, Grindr is the most popular app in Latin America. Scruff is more popular with tourists. NOTE: Most hotels in Latin America don’t allow visitors.

Argentina: Buenos Aires

  • Where to Stay: Palermo and San Telmo are your best bets.
  • What to Do: The Evita Peron Museum and burial site, as well as the historic San Telmo Market are both great options.
  • Overall: Buenos Aires (and Argentina) are very safe and welcoming of the LGBT community. It was the first country in Latin America to legalize gay marriage back in July 2010.
  • NOTE: The Instagram account featuring the “classically handsome” men Scott mentions, seems to have closed. Alas!

Brazil: Rio de Jainaro, Florianópolis and Paraty

  • Where to Stay: In Rio, Peter suggests staying in fashionable Ipanema — pictured in the header image. This is where you’ll find the gay beach.
  • What to Buy: Traditionally, Brazilians prefer to wear sungas (again, see header image) at the beach. They also prefer cangas to beach towels.
  • Other Destinations: Relax in Paraty, a quiet escape a short drive from Rio. Also, if you’re mainly interested in islands, beaches and surfing, book a few days in Florianópolis in southern Brazil.
  • Please note that this podcast was recorded before Brazil elected far-right candidate Jair Bolsonaro to be the country’s next president. We highly recommend that LGBT travellers evaluate their ability to travel safely in Brazil before booking travel to the destination.

Chile: Santiago & Valparaíso

  • Where to Stay: Foodies should stick to Lastarria. Alternatively, Barrio Bellavista is a university hood, attracting a younger bohemian crowd. Finally, Las Condes is more upscale.
  • Where to Eat: Sarita Colonia is a must-try, featuring delicious Peruvian cuisine juxtaposed with a kitschy atmosphere. Alternatively, Bocanariz is a lovely wine bar. Finally, take a stroll through the seafood section of Central Market for a taste of  world-famous Chilean ceviche.
  • Other Tips: Santiago is a beautifully maintained city and has great public infrastructure. Embrace the picturesque parks on a run or bike ride.
  • Other destinations: Enjoy a day or two in Valparaíso, the seaside UNESCO World Heritage town approximately an hour and a half drive from Santiago. Busses run here every 15 minutes and the drive is primarily through scenic wine country.

Peru: Lima & Cusco

  • Where to Stay: The gay scene is primarily located within the coastal neighbourhood of Miraflores. From here you’ll enjoy beautiful views, plenty of nightlife, cafes, restaurants and a charming new park right along the coast.
  • Where to Go Out: Massive ValeTodo features two sprawling dance floors. It’s only open Fridays and Saturdays.
  • Where to Eat: Lima is a foodie’s mecca. Rob recommends Central Restaurante for the high end, “well worth it” experience. NOTE: Central books out months in advance.
  • Other Destinations: Cusco is the gateway city to both the Inca Trail and Machu Picchu. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage City and features an unexpectedly vibrant nightlife. While there are no gay bars per se, the LGBT community is embraced in most establishments.

Columbia: Bogotá

  • Where to Go Out: Experience Theatron,  a five-level high gay club featuring countless dance floors, theatres, a wine bar, rooftop, concert hall and more. Aim to go on a Friday or Saturday for the real experience, though it has limited openings most days of the week.

Mexico: Mexico City

  • Where to Stay: Try Polanco, a high-end upscale neighbourhood featuring galleries, shopping and some of the city’s best fine-dining restaurants. Alternatively, La Condesa was inspired by Paris and features broad avenues, parks and plenty of outdoor cafes.
  • Where to Eat: Rob is head over heels for Pujol — in his words, “Try the two-layered mole.”
  • What to Do: Aside from eating, The National Museum of Anthropology is renowned. Even non-museum fans tend to walk away pleasantly surprised.

Costa Rica: San Jose

  • Where to Go Out: Club OH! — Expect live shows, attractive dancers and a heavy mix of electro, dance and top 40 music.

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(Header Image: A Brazilian model walking Ipanema Beach in a blue sunga. Credit: Shutterstock)

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