Bogota Colombia Attracting More LGBT Travelers
Beaches, Nightclubs and Fashion!
The next big vacation spot for gays?
Colombia is now just behind Brazil and Argentina on the South American travel “gaydar,” according to the Miami Herald .
Colombia is a rather scary mystery for many. Colombian kidnappings and violent drug wars are so ’90s. The dangerous internal struggles that for decades so gripped Colombia have been on the wane. Colombia’s tourism drought has finally eased, revealing surprises and delights for modern visitors.
Colombia’s capital and, with about 7.5 million people, by far its largest city, Bogotá has the country’s biggest gay scene, one that’s surprisingly established and palpably still booming. South America’s first dedicated LGBT center, Colombia Diversa , opened here in 2006, and just received the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission’s 2010 Felipa de Souza Award for its groundbreaking work in improving the lives of the country’s LGBT citizens.
Progressive homosexual rights laws are among the reasons American LGBT travelers are making the trek there. Great shopping and beaches, plus an awesome fashion scene, are drawing tourists, too, and Colombia’s just three hours from Miami.
Gayborhood Located on the city’s north side just south of Zona G, Chapinero Alto (aka Chapinero, or “Chapigay,” or “Gay Hills”) is Bogota’s booming gay district, filled with bars, cafes, and even a gay-cruisy grocery store.
Someone at Lonely Planet said,”I have just stayed at a great gay hotel in Bogota called the High Park Hotel. It is the first, and only gay hotel in Bogota and bills itself as 100% Gay an Lesbian. Ironically it is run by a very charming and nice older straight couple. They make you feel entirely at home and you will do everything to help make your stay wonderful-though the proprietor speaks only limited english and his wife doesn’t speak any. They will arrange for an english speaking guide if you like–but I didn’t use this service I and got around Bogota just fine on my own with my very limited Spanish.”
Others at Trip Advisor also say it’s OK and more of a guesthouse, not really a hotel.
Colombia offers a wealth of diverse non-gay-specific but still-gay-appealing travel possibilities, including wilderness trekking to the ruins of Ciudad Perdida, extreme adventure mecca San Gil, and sun-basking on stunning Playa Blanca. Playa Blanca is a beautiful isolated beach on an island off Cartagena. Cartagena, is an old colonial city with a beautiful historic center and an impressive castle.
I have been told, if you go here, pack lightly! Shopping in Zona Rosa is a must. You will find all the top labels, and for much cheaper than in the US or Europe—Diesel jeans go for half price! Shops and boutiques line the streets, but you should also go into the Centro Commercial Andino and the Rápido shopping centers.
Whether you are gay or not, Bogotá is a wonderful city. But it is especially welcoming to gay and lesbians travelers who have little choice in the historically macho Latin society.
Aside from the gay popular scenes of colorful Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, word on the street is that Bogotá, with its friendly chicos and chicas, cheap and accessible shopping, and unlimited number of cultural activities, is home to the third largest gay culture scene in South America. AND GROWING!