Buenos Aires Sets Up PINK POINT for the Gay Lesbian Traveler

The city of Buenos Aires
has long been regarded as one of the hottest international destinations for gay tourism. Now, with the passing of the Same Sex Marriage Law in Argentina, the country has already seen a surge in gay travel. Yet some, who have never been, wonder whether Buenos Aires really is as gay-friendly as it seems to be.

Unlike many cities known for being gay friendly, there is no “district” in Buenos Aires housing a slew of gay bars and nightclubs. This often makes it difficult for gay tourists to find exactly what it is they are looking for. There is nothing worse than being in strange territory, trying to navigate your way around.

“A lot of gay students and tourists that come to Buenos Aires get lost in this big jungle of a city, and without any specific districts or signs to help them out, it can be overwhelming,” said Erik Hovenga, Managing Director of Ecole del Sur Travel Agency and founder of The Royal Family , a gay-friendly language school. “The truth is, Buenos Aires is very open to gay life, but have you ever seen a rainbow flag hanging outside a bar in Buenos Aires?”

Hovenga, who moved to Buenos Aires from Holland in 2005, decided that what Buenos Aires needed was an information spot where gay travellers could go and get the low-down from the people that know best.

“In Holland during the Gay Olympics of 1998, they started constructing gay tourism information points all over the city which would collect information from hotels, restaurants, bars and nightclubs for gay tourists. That idea sprung into a global phenomenon that came to be known as ‘Pink Points,’ which is exactly what we’ve brought to Buenos Aires.”

Buenos Aires’ first Pink Point is located in the centre of the city, on the intersection of calles Florida and Lavalle. Not only will the information centre give gay tourists a comprehensive description of gay hotspots in Buenos Aires, it will also inform them of which spots to avoid: though gay life in Buenos Aires is viewed as being quite open, not all gay tourists have had positive experiences.

Derek McIver, a Suffolk University graduate student, decided to take a much-needed break from his studies and spend some time in Buenos Aires with his boyfriend.

“We originally had reserved a room in the Microcentro, but the room they gave us had two separate beds – even after we had specially requested a king-size bed. They refused to give us a king-size bed and we knew it was because we were a gay couple.”

Luckily, the couple was able to make a last-minute reservation at Axel Hotel , known internationally as a chic, gay-focused hotel. But their first encounter with the Microcentro hotel exemplifies that though there is a strong gay presence in the city, the underlying machista spirit of Latin American culture can permeate and stunt the progress homosexuals have made in Buenos Aires.


“Unlike many places in the United States and Europe, to come out and declare that you’re gay isn’t always acceptable, sometimes it depends on the circumstances,” said Hovenga. “Even nightlife can be hidden: in fact, you have to ring the doorbell of the bar a lot of the times and wait for someone to open it to you.”

What Hovenga aims to accomplish by opening a Pink Point in Buenos Aires is to put gay life out in the open: “Now, we’ve started Pink Points, which will have a clear sign in the middle of a major shopping area of Buenos Aires, so that everyone can see that there’s a place for gays and lesbians in the city,” he said.

Pink Points will provide gay tourists with a map of gay-friendly hotels, bars and nightclubs. It will also sell tourists pre-packaged tours of city sights and offer concierge service for those tourists that struggle with their Spanish. Most importantly, the Pink Points location will cater to all: homosexuals and heterosexuals alike.

“Gays and lesbians have fought hard for their rights across the globe and in Argentina,” said Hovenga. “We want to celebrate Argentina’s new gay marriage law by making Buenos Aires a completely open gay-travel city. This is something we really believe in and think can be a huge success!”

NOTE – Gay pride is  the first Saturday in November! and Gay Tango week is coming in  December!

The first Pink Point, located at Lavalle 669, inside of Galerias Luxor, officially opened to the public on 2nd September. Hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sundays from 3pm to 8pm.

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