Rio De Janeiro is a vibrant and exciting gay destination, known worldwide for its pristine sandy beaches, annual carnival and stunning landscape.
The city is an iconic destination and offers gay travelers the chance to enjoy a variety of LGBT bars, clubs and venues in one of Brazil’s most liberal cities. Rio’s diverse and vibrant gay scene is easily visible and it’s common to see the acronym ‘GLS’, which stands for Gays, Lesbians and sympathisers (a local term for allies), featured on adverts for the city’s best venues.
The most prominent gay district in Rio De Janeiro is Ipanema, famous for its buzzing gay nightlife and stretching beaches, however, gay-friendly venues can be found with ease throughout the city.
Galeria Café is situated in the very heart of Ipanema and for 22 years it’s been one of the most prominent meeting spots for Rio’s gay community. The club is known for its diverse and eclectic crowd and is focused on providing an inclusive experience for all its visitors. A range of parties, exhibitions and shows can be enjoyed at the club depending on when you visit.
An essential club for any gay traveler in Rio De Janeiro is The Week Rio. Spread across two floors and boasting multiple bars and even an outside swimming pool, The Week is Rio’s biggest and most popular gay dance club and just a short distance from the waterfront in the Northern Centro area of the city.
Boite 1140 is Rio De Janeiro’s number one club for drag shows. Despite being slightly further out of the city center unlike most of Rio’s gay bars, 1140 has regular drag shows as well as hosting some of the world’s top DJs.
The oldest gay bar in Copacabana – La Cueva – was founded in 1964 and is still one of the city’s most popular destinations. The interior of this cosy club is designed to look like a cave and offers a more intimate alternative to many of Rio De Janeiro’s bigger venues. Especially popular amongst the older gay community, La Cueva plays Brazilian and electronic music until late.
After a long day of sightseeing in Rio the Ritz Leblon is the perfect place to unwind. This 4-Star hotel offers a range of amenities in addition to its sleek and air-conditioned rooms; including a sauna, swimming pool and gym. The Ritz Leblon is only a short walk from the waterfront and Leblon Beach.
If you’re looking to stay in one of the trendiest locations in Rio De Janeiro then look no further than the Sol Ipanema Hotel, which sits opposite Posto 9, one of Ipanema’s famous lifeguard posts. The rooftop pool and seafront views make Sol Ipanema Hotel the ideal place to soak up all the beauty the city has to offer.
Also boasting an impressive rooftop pool and terrace, Atlantis Copacabana Hotel is a modern and stylish option for anyone visiting Rio De Janeiro. The hotel is situated near many of the city’s popular shops and Copacabana Beach is only a five-minute drive away. The affordable rooms at Atlantis Copacabana Hotel make it the perfect option for those traveling on a budget.
Rio is famous for its stretching sandy beaches that attract millions of visitors every year. There are also several beaches that have developed reputations amongst the gay community, which are equally beautiful.
The most famous gay beach in Rio De Janeiro is in front of Rua Farme do Amoedo, an iconic gay street in Ipanema. Visible by its large rainbow flags, the beach is known as Farme beach and attracts a beautiful and diverse crowd. The beach is separated from the main promenade by a row of palm trees which give a feeling of privacy in some areas. If you’re looking for parties to attend in the evening, keep an eye out for the promoters handing out leaflets up and down the beach.
Despite not being known exclusively as a gay beach, Praia Do Abrico is an inclusive and gay-friendly nudist beach located outside of the main city. Accessible by car and bus, Praia Do Abrico is the most popular nudist beach in the city and whilst selfies are allowed, be cautious when taking photos as many visitors go there for complete privacy.
Rio has so much to offer when it comes to beautiful scenery and impressive sights. Many of the city’s most famous attractions are located relatively centrally and can be easily accessed by the bus and metro networks.
One of the seven modern wonders of the world and standing at an impressive 98 feet, Christ the Redeemer is an art deco statue of Jesus Christ, completed in 1931 by French sculptor Paul Landowski. The iconic statue sits at the top of 220 steps and whilst it may get busy during peak tourism months, it offers stunning panoramic views across Rio De Janeiro.
Escadaria Selaron is often regarded as one of the most beautiful staircases in the world. The designer of the staircase originally began by renovating the poorly maintained steps in front of his house and is now a masterpiece of tiles of all colours and materials from around the world. Escadaria Selaron is a popular destination on many walking tours of Rio De Janeiro and is only a five-minute walk from the nearest metro station.
If you’re not afraid of heights and want unrivaled views across Rio, then consider taking the famous cable cars up to the summit of Sugarloaf Mountain. Sitting at the mouth of Guanabara Bay, Sugarloaf Mountain has appeared in countless films and the cable car ride up takes only three minutes from start to finish.
Read More: Things to do in Rio De Janeiro.
Brazil has some of the most advanced LGBT rights in South America, same-sex marriage has been legal since 2013 and homophobia and transphobia are criminalised under the country’s anti-racism law.
In 2019, the election of a new right-wing government led to concerns over the rights and safety of LGBT people in Brazil, particularly as a result of comments made by the country’s president Jair Bolsonaro. Despite a challenging landscape for LGBT people, Brazil remains one of the world’s most advanced countries in terms of LGBT rights and protections.
Rio De Janeiro is an international gay capital and hosts some of the biggest and most impressive pride celebrations every year. Celebrations happen in October and attract visitors from across Brazil and the world.
by George Pizani | More: Gay Rio de Janeiro