Rio de Janeiro as a Gay Destination
Rio de Janeiro is arguably one of the top gay destinations in South America. This is a city that welcomes visitors with an unmistakable Latino charm and invites holiday-makers to return to experience the intoxicating passion once more. The country's gay credentials are firmly entrenched – gay and lesbian Brazilians enjoy almost complete legislative equality. In 2011, the Superior Court of Justice ruled that couples already united by a civil union should be recognised as married and in doing so the court set a fantastic precedent. It was also the Brazilian Government who first pushed for gay rights at the United Nations.
One of the city's big attractions are the beaches – they are justifiably beautiful. Thanks to Barry Manilow, Copacabana is world famous. For gay and lesbian travellers there are dedicated beaches that let you mix with like-minded enthusiasts. If you'd like to be the girl from Ipanema, seek out the stretch of beach east of the street Farme de Amoedo – this is Rio's most famous gay beach. Coqueirão is the other gay beach destination – look for the tallest coconut tree near lifeguard station Posto 9. The clothing optional beach is at off-Barra. However this beach isn't exclusively gay.
Rio boasts a nightlife that will defy your imagination. Le Boy, in Copacabana's Posto 6, is one of the staple clubs on the scene and holds 1,000 party-goers. Another popular club open only on the weekend is Cine Ideal, which regularly hosts special themed parties. For a more intimate affair, check out W Club in Ipanema or Dama de Ferro, which is named after the Former British PM, Margaret Thatcher. Lesbians will appreciate La Girl - a women-only dance club.
Gay and lesbian travellers will generally be received warmly at any hotel in Rio de Janeiro but exercise discretion. Most tourist hotels are conveniently located in Copacabana near the night clubs and bars.
Browse our accommodation options in Rio de Janeiro.
Rio de Janeiro's Pride Parade, first held in 1995, utilises the city's most beautiful aspect to spectacular effect – the stunning horse-shoe shaped Copacabana Beach provides the perfect backdrop for the parade. The vibrant march, usually held on a Sunday in October, begins at midday near Posto 6 and progresses along the beach to a rhythmic pulse. A staggering one million enthusiasts watch the parade each year. At the conclusion of the formalities, the city is engulfed in one big fiesta with party-goers filling the bars and clubs.
Incidentally, the Rio parade is Brazil's second largest pride celebration after São Paulo's, where around three million people attend. The São Paulo parade is generally acknowledged as the largest pride parade in the world.