5 LGBTQ+ Friendly Tourist Spots in Latin America

Latin America has progressed a lot regarding its views on the LGBTQ+ community, what with Cuba legalizing same-sex marriages in 2022, and same-sex marriage and concubinage being legal in all of Mexico.

While there’s still a way to go, some of its countries have become go-to’s for any LGBTQ+ person looking to have some fun while also exploring culturally safe spaces where they can freely express themselves.

Photo by Norbu GYACHUNG in Unsplash

Let’s take a look at some of the more popular ones:

São Paulo, Brazil

Source: Nathana Rebouças in Unsplash

Brazil is known for being one of the more legally advanced Latin American countries regarding LGBTQ+ rights. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal there since 1830.

So, where’s the fun at? 

Definitely São Paulo. It hosts the biggest Pride Parade in the world since in 2006, with 2.5 million people taking over Avenida Paulista every year. Imagine all sorts of giant floats, dance shows, a yearly slogan, and heavy government support (even politicians participate), and you’ll have a general idea of what to expect. But if you’re looking for something calmer, Avenida Paulista itself becomes a leisure strolling boulevard every Sunday, as it becomes closed to vehicles and attracts all sorts of families and couples. If you’re in for more artistic activities, the Museum of Sexual Diversity is a must. Other great nightclubs include Bofetada Club, Metropol Bar, and Dédalos Bar.

Montevideo, Uruguay

Source: Guilherme Hellwinkel in Unsplash

Almost no South American countries can compare to the progressiveness of Uruguay, where same-sex activities with equal age of consent have been legal since 1934, and anti-discrimination laws have been in place since 2004. The best time to visit Montevideo is from October to March, with November-December noted by locals as the sweet spot between this timespan – people aren’t on holidays yet and the weather’s good enough to get things done. The Montevideo Pride Parade is held in September. Some nightlife spots to check out include Il Tempo, Chains, and Viajeros, and the cafés in neighborhoods like Ciudad Vieja, Pocitos, and Punta Carretas. 

Bogotá, Colombia

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While admittedly a newcomer in LGBTQ+ friendly tourist destination lists, Colombia has quickly become a popular destination to visit for LGBTQ+ people, thanks to its amazing gastronomy, LGBTQ-friendly scene and general affordability. Same-sex discrimination has been banned in Colombia since 2011, and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2016, so its cultural views on the community are quit progressive. Bogotá has no shortage of events and shows, LGBTQ+ themed or not. Bogotá Pride and Equality Week both take place in June-July. There’s also the Pink Cinema in September, and both the Gay international festival and LGBT trade in November. Of note is the Theatrón, known as the central point of the gay community and the largest gay nightclub in Latin America, with space for up to 5000 people on Saturday night. It has 13 different floors with different musical styles, and a drag show or contest on Saturdays. But if you’re looking for something less intense, Kaputt or Bear Love Café will do.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 

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Puerto Vallarta is a popular resort city located on the Pacific coast of Mexico, in the state of Jalisco. It’s considered one of Mexico’s top destinations for LGBTQ travelers, as it was historically a popular destination for artists and writer who laid the foundation for it culture of openness and acceptance. If visiting, make space in your bucket list for its Malecón, a boardwalk by the sea lined with sculptures, shops, restaurants, and bars, the perfect spot to enjoy beautiful ocean views. Its Zona Romántica, known as the Old Town, is even more so. This neighborhood is filled with a myriad of art galleries and boutique shops. And don’t miss the colorful Basilio Badillo street, often referred to as the “Restaurant Row.” 

If you’re instead interested in beach-going, Los Muertos Beach will do. Its popular hanks to its water sports scene, beach clubs, and bars. 

Wilemstad, Curaçao

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Some people call Willemstad “Netherlands in the Caribbean”, contrasting vibrant Dutch historic forts with white sand beaches and turquoise waters. What you’d find in cold fields of tulips an entire ocean way, you’ll find here surrounded by at least 40 different beaches. Its well-blended mix of cultures makes it an appealing destination if you’re looking for sun, sea, and culture in one place. Male and female same-sex sexual activities are legal here, and same-sex discrimination is outlawed. However, same-sex couples cannot legally marry on the island, only recognizing those registered in the Netherlands. Gaze Bar is the place to go if you want to hit the LGBTQ+ nightclub scene in Willemstad. It features karaoke nights, drag performances, and music.

By: Sebastian Calderon

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