Category Archives: South America

YES to Marriage Equality and Trans Rights in COSTA RICA

Costa Rica says YES to marriage equality and transgender rights!

Tens of thousands of Costa Ricans celebrated gay pride on Sunday in the capital, San Jose, in the first such march since the country’s constitutional court promised same-sex couples the right to marry starting next year.

The court voted last August to legalize gay marriage and said later the ruling would take effect in May 2020, making Costa Rica the first country in socially conservative Central America to recognize that right.

The ruling is legally binding in Costa Rica and 19 other countries throughout the Western Hemisphere that currently recognize the convention.

IACHR oversees are Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.

They also rule over Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Suriname and Uruguay.


To book  your perfect vacation  to Costa Rica, call our Travel Expert!  Dave  @  1-800-252-2660


Best Pools in the World

CHILE has some of the best pools in the world.

A pool by the ocean?

In 1997, Fernando Fischmann, Chairman and Founder, decided to develop a real estate tourism project: San Alfonso del Mar, in Algarrobo–a small town on Chile’s central coast. The waters of the Chilean coast are cold, inhospitable and dangerous (swimming is prohibited in the area), so it was difficult to imagine how a project could be successful and unique from ones that already existed.

(Photo above – The enormous man-made pool, set along the coastline, is larger than 20 Olympic-size pools and holds a whopping 66 million gallons of water, according to The Daily Mail. Crystal Lagoons, the creator of the pool, claims it’s six times bigger than its closest competitor, the Orthlieb Pool in Casablanca, Morocco.)

To solve this dilemma, Mr. Fischmann dreamed of creating a large lagoon with crystal clear waters that would provide visitors the chance to swim and enjoy water sports in a safe, clean environment and warm waters. He travelled the world in search of the technology to turn his dream into reality. However, the technology did not exist. The only available option was to construct a very large conventional swimming pool, but this was neither technically nor economically feasible given its high costs.

His solution would result in a worldwide patent (reg. #43534) and a new company called Crystal Lagoons Technology.



Gay Travel News: AXEL Closes their Buenos Aires Hotel

 Axel Hotels announces that Axel Hotel Buenos Aires won’t be part of  their portfolio any longer from  October 1st on.

It’s been 6 years plenty of good experiences, adventures and anecdotes
that we will never forget, and we want to thank all of you. This
decision represents a growth opportunity for Axel, as it will help to carry out the expansion plan in short term. Axel Hotel Buenos Aires has meant a very important step for the LGBT community in South America, especially in Argentina

Currently, we have consolidated all together the LGBT segment in the
country, but there’s still a long way to go. We are happy to welcome you
at any of our Axel Hotels in Barcelona, Berlin and
Gran Canaria. 
We also hope to give you
soon good news about new destinations.”

For those who don’t want to miss the opportunity to visit Buenos Aires, from tomorrow, you can book and enjoy the same facilities through


Brazil Pushes for Gay Marriage Across Their Nation

BRAZIL welcomes Gay Marriage! The authorities in Brazil have ruled that marriage licences should not be denied to same-sex couples.

The National Council of Justice, which oversees the Brazilian judicial
system and is headed by the chief justice of the Supreme Court, said
government offices that issue marriage licenses had no standing to
reject gay couples.

The Supreme Court “affirmed that the
expression of homosexuality and homosexual affection cannot serve as a
basis for discriminatory treatment, which has no support in the
Constitution,” said Chief Justice Joaquim Barbosa on the council’s
website, referring to a 2011 ruling by the top court.

also said there was no reason for the government’s marriage licensing
offices to wait for the Brazilian Congress to pass a law authorising
same-sex marriage.

The council that oversees the country’s judiciary said it was
wrong for some offices just to issue civil union documents when the
couple wanted full marriage certificates.

Correspondents say the decision in effect authorises gay marriage.

However full legalization depends on approval of a bill being examined by the Congress.

Tuesday’s resolution by Brazil’s National Council of Justice
was based on a 2011 Supreme Court ruling that recognised same-sex civil


Being Gay and Gay Travel in Costa Rica

GAY TRAVEL to Costa Rica has dramatically increased over the last 10 years.  However, it’s NOT in the top 10 gay friendly places to visit!

While certain politicians, such as former president Óscar Arias, have
expressed some support for LGBT-rights, Costa Ricans tend to be socially
conservative when it comes to sexual orientation and gender identity
issues, in large part due to the strong influences of the Roman Catholic
Church and cultural traditions about machismo.
Gay friendly? Gay tolerant? Is their really such a thing as GAY Costa Rica, and are the Ticos really THAT accepting of the gay traveler. The answer is “YES,” but with a few caveats. First, the Tourism Board here understood a long time ago, that GAY people have plenty of cash to spend, and after all, ‘Green’ is ‘Green’ no matter who’s spending it. Costa Rica doesn’t CARE if you’re GAY, but they damn sure don’t want to see GAY.  Don’t Ask, don’t tell, don’t hold hands. Don’t act GAY!  They do not want to see it!  So, here’s a  take on traveling Costa Rica as a gay person or couple and what you may or may not be able to get away with. Check out our video on Gay Travel in Costa Rica .

The CostaRican Times did a great article about BEING GAY IN COSTA  RICA. 


Gay Travel in Brazil Valued at $23 BILLION

We have written about the many gems of South America plenty of times before. (As well as the travel safety warnings).

With cities such as Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo ranking in the top 20 global destinations for LGBT travellers during 2013, South America Gay Tourism is a BILLION $$$ Industry. By some estimates, about 23 billion.

(DID YOU KNOW, Sao Paula has the biggest gay pride in the world?)

All this  new research  and data – undertaken by the world’s leading LGBT consulting firm Out Now Global
– reveals for the first time that the value of Brazil’s own LGBT
tourism market is USD$22.9 billion dollars. This figure is a significant
percentage of the total annual global value of (LGBT) leisure travel
spending, which is on course to reach a record USD$181 billion during

The new report gives the clearest-ever picture of the immense scale and potential of Brazil’s LGBT tourism market.

With a per-capita annual travel spend of $2,583 Brazil’s nearly nine
million LBGT people represent a large opportunity for companies and
destinations willing to show their commitment to this market through
appropriate staff training, effective tailored communications and the
delivery of products and services that reflect the concerns of this
growing tourism market.

“LGBT people have grown weary of the number of destinations, hotels and
airlines all claiming to be gay-friendly,” Darren Cooper, from OUT NOW said. “LGBT people do
not experience tourism when they view an advertisement. Whether an LGBT
person has a great holiday is directly correlated to how welcomed they
feel when they stay with a hotel and visit a destination – and it is the
tourism industry staff who serve them during their holiday who have the
most direct bearing upon how well-respected LGBT people feel.”

Copies of the ‘Brazil LGBT2020 Travel Report – 2013’ can be downloaded here

Gay Travel Brazil – A Murder every 24 Hours

The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association is  holding  its 2012 Convention in Brazil this week, while violence against gays in that country is making headlines – again.

“Murders of gays and lesbians [in Brazil] are on the rise,” according to the online news site The Daily Beast.
“Attacks against gays have climbed steadily for most of the last
decade, with 272 murdered in 2011—one every 36 hours, according to GrupoGay da Bahía, a leading gay-rights group that tracks anti-gay violence.

This year, GGB reports, it’s even worse, with 75 murders in just the
first 10 weeks. That’s one every 24 hours.”

These statistics are shocking for a country often cited as one of
the gay-friendliest in South America. However, reports of gay-murders in
Brazil are not new. According to a January 2011 article by Gay City News, there were 121 gays murdered in 2007, 187 in 2008, 198 in 2009 and 250 in 2010.

– I am wondering what is the count of locals being murdered vs tourists?

Sérgio Carrara, a professor at the Institute of Social Medicine at
UERJ, the State University of Rio de Janeiro, believes that the number
of gay-murders is likely under reported. In the same Gay City News
article, Carrara is quoted as saying, “The absence of a law against hate
crimes means most of these crimes are treated with silence.”

While Brazil allows same-sex marriage and is home to one of the
largest gay pride celebrations in the city of São Paulo, its efforts to
pass measures designed to curb anti-gay violence have failed.

As word of Brazil’s gay-murders spread, it is possible that U.S. LGBT
travelers will decrease their travel to the country. As part of the 16th Annual Gay & Lesbian Tourism Report
by the gay travel research and marketing firm Community Marketing,
Inc. 81% of gay men and 84% of lesbians in the U.S. report they would
“avoid destinations that have a reputation for anti-gay violence.”  Um, yeah!


Buenos Aires Argentina Still Leader in LGBT Gay Travel…but More of Latin America is Expected to Follow

Latin American cities
        jockey for gay tourists

Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Rio all want to claim bragging rights as the Latin American mecca for gay tourism.

For the last few years, Buenos Aires has been growing in popularity with gay travelers. Plus, will the fall of the Peso, it is super affordable!

It is estimated that this year, 20% of the travel revenue flowing into Argentina, is from LGBT travelers.

Global Post writes, “Rio de Janeiro is trying to lure tourists with pictures of muscular men.

But the brochure, with the slogan “live the Rio sensation,” isn’t aimed at women.

It’s for gay men.

And it’s part of an effort by Rio to position itself as the global capital of gay tourism.

Brazil is the largest nation to recognize same-sex civil unions and this week marks Rio’s inaugural diversity week. It follows months of gay-friendly initiatives, including vocational training for transvestites, anti-bullying projects aimed at gay and lesbian students and legislation outlawing discrimination in nightclubs.

The country is hoping that its openness will also prove a moneymaker, drawing gay men — and their money — from around the world. Last year 25 percent of Rio’s tourists, or about 880,000 people, were gay, reports the Guardian.

But Rio isn’t the first Latin American city to try to lay claim to the gay tourist market.

After Argentina legalized same-sex marriages, Mexico City offered a free honeymoon to the first couple of wed under the new law.

Last year, the city opened an office that caters to gay tourists with the goal of turning Mexico City into the No. 1 gay-friendly destination in Latin America, reported CNN.

And Buenos Aires isn’t about to give up its reputation as a gay mecca. Last year Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize gay marriage.

Gay tourism makes up about 20 percent of overall tourism to the country, according to the tourism ministry.

“Whichever angle you look at — be it travel, be it where you stay, be it dancing tango — there’s everything for gays now,” said Welsh tourist Kalervo Barker. “We we gays tourists feel really comfortable here.”

There is an informative video at Global Post, worth watching.


Gay Travel in Sao Paulo Brazil…Biggest Gay Pride in the World June 3 – 7 2010


It doesn’t matter what you like, São Paulo is big enough to welcome every kind of people  and she really does it with  a wide-ranging  of entertainment options. The largest city in Latin America and the fourth in the world, it is the cosmopolitan center of Brazil, from where all innovations and ideas are spread to the rest of the country. For that reason, the government and private institutions give some support to sexual, and also religious, ethnical and cultural diversity. Welcome to the heart of Brazil, welcome to the city that never sleeps, at least she does not do it alone, did you get it?



Through the blood vessels of this heart which carries all the Brazilian diversity with a social seasoning of foreigners from all over the world who come to the city for different reasons, and are able to realize the Brazilian receptive way and in addition, the importance of treating everybody well on a globalized world. The city has over 17 thousand kilometers of streets and avenues where there is a flow of 3.5 million people every day. The city looks like a worldwide metropolis and is part of a circuit which includes London, Paris, New York, Tokyo and Berlin due to the fact of being a cultural melting pot.


Important museums are located in the city and there are ten of them in  Ibirapuera Park . Such museums are seen as significant spaces to divulgate arts and cultural production, e.g, Modern Arts Museum (MAM), Afro-Brazilian Museum, Contemporary Arts Museum and Astronomical Observation Planetarium. MASP, São Paulo Arts Museum, is one of the main museums of the city and the country, located on Paulista Avenue, it is a rendezvouz spot of musicians, poets, dancers, writers, actors and actresses and all kind of people as many as its free space can shelter.

Pinacoteca do Estado de São Paulo  is a prominent headquarters of arts, located in the surroundings of Luz Station and a venue of great exhibitions such as Tarsila do Amaral, Henri Matisse. Estação Pinacoteca, close to the main Pinacoteca building, hosts an Andy Warhol exhibiton until the end of May, his largest exhibition in Latin America. Across the street you have the Portuguese Language Museum, information center of Brazil’s mother tongue and a place of Brazilian writers and poets exhibitions who contributed to what is so called Brazilian Portuguese nowadays. The masterpieces are presented in a creative and intriguing way, making use of LED, screens, interactive models placing the audience into them in an updated dynamic.

Its cultural variety can be seen in its many theaters and drama spaces in the city. Being the cradle of the most renowned Brazilian theater groups, such as Centro de Pesquisa Teatral  (CPT), Teatro Oficina, Os Satyros, and Parlapatões. The convergence point is Roosevelt square, known as a place where the biggest concentration of theaters per square meter in the city is located. It is a microcosm with its characters, stories, dramas.

 GLBT network is in charge of much of the tourist business in the city, mainly during the Pride Parade, which takes place every June on a Sunday after Corpus Christi celebration. That is the second largest event of the city and over R$ 189million are circulated in less than a week, behind the Formula 1 race competition which income is more than R$ 200 million. That is the result of a partnership between government and militancy.

There are over 100  Gay Pride Parades and celebrations each year in Brazil – but the biggest in the WORLD takes place  in  Sao Paulo June  3rd – 7th, 2010 .  (3.1 million people  in 2009!) 


The whole city  supports  Gay Pride.  Through the Coordenation of Sexual Affairs (CADS), the city hall guarantees R$1 million funds in infrastructure. The state government through the Sexual Diversity Policy Coordenation aids on the structure and schedule carrying out. The Federal government backs up the initiative with a sponsorship of R$ 320 thousand.

 The private sector also makes investments due to the income provided by those who take part of the parade and it is not only on the parade week or day, but all over the year. Hotels located on Paulista avenue have an increase of 20% of occupation during the parade, increasing the general occupation to 90%, according to SPTuris. In order to organize all that flow, the city hosts Brazil GLBT Business Chamber, an organization founded to help entrepreneurs make their services and products to GLBT customers better and better, putting up bars, pubs, nightclubs, saunas, restaurants, NGOs and press together. Aiming to offer good service and products, being all set to receive tourists.


When a visitor goes for a tour in the city, he/she can count on a LGBT Tourist Information Center established since the beginning of 2010. The service network includes 17 tourist agencies, a change and exchange office and a gay hotel – the 155, located downtown.

 According to SPTuris (São Paulo Tourism Office), the official Tourist Office, during the Parade, around 350 thousand people visit the city – 70% of them come from the state of São Paulo, 25% from other states and 5% are foreigners. They guarantee an income of R$189 million in just a week.


The city watches new ideas in different areas popping up, such as a Brazilian LGBT Sports Committee, in charge of arranging gays, lesbians and transsex volleyball and soccer championships. The organization carried out the first Uniliga with volleyball and indoor soccer matches with the city hall’s support, promising to export the idea to other Brazilian states such as Minas Gerais, Santa Catarina and Rio de Janeiro.


Want to dance?

There are also two GLBT samba schools . One of them is the brand new Monalisa Paulistana that first appeared during 2010 Carnival and aims at a place on the special samba school group. The other one is Arco-Íris, part of the main group and has its show with a lot of transsex, gays and lesbians taking part of it, and also friendly people who love the festival.



Another group which makes the city more exciting is one organized by drag queens from a nightclub called Blue Space , known as the best nightclub for drags’ shows. Every year on São Paulo’s anniversary there is a soccer match on the street – drags X employees of the nightclub, a dispute which has the
objective of making people laugh and strengthen the relationship with the neighborhood.

When traveling to any big city that is strange to you, be cautious and use common sense.

Don’t take the risk of having fake beverage, known as “bebida batizada”. It is better to buy the ones you know with sealed bottles. Buy them at establishments and not from people who sell them on the streets.

Don’t take much money when you leave your hotel and don’t forget your ID. In case you are stolen, the damage will not be that big.

 Leave backpacks and purses at home. Only take them if they are really indispensable and keep on the front of your body in order to watch them.

Brazil has a hot weather, so use light clothing.

Prefer to be with a group of people. Bad intentioned actions may be avoided. The hint is also worthwhile if you want to take shots or record something. Be careful with your electronic devices.

If you have any unpleasant problem, call the Police. They are able to protect you and give you some advice on what to do.

The subway (Metrô)  is the safest means of transportation. Buy your tickets in advance in order not to handle money many times.

 If you drive somewhere, give preference to park in private parking lots. Car keepers on the street are not reliable.

Keep your wallet into a pocket or in a difficult place to be found.

Pay attention when using the cell phone. Most cases of robbery occur when a person is making use of a cell phone.

Be careful with beggars on the streets asking for help or talking about some of their diseases.

São Paulo has an excellent gay life. Over 40 bars, clubs and saunas.
Please note, that some saunas are frequented by rent boys so agree a price before you have fun.

Play Safe!  Wear  condoms!

Thanks  to  Alex Bernades  of  Revista Via G  Magazine  in Brazil,
our Guest Author and Travel Partner this month!

New Gay Travel Guide


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!


Gay Brazil – HOMOPHOBIA Must Stop!


Last year, Brazilian chief Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, held the First National Conference of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transvestites and Transsexuals to condemn the biblical belief that homosexuality is wrong!

Brazil Without Homophobia
is a national program run by the Lula administration that teaches that homosexual orientation is unchangeable, and seeks to construct a culture in Brazil that is “affirming” towards homosexuality.

The president of Brazil says “opposing” homosexuality makes you a sick person, and he believes such thoughts need to be criminalized.

LAST WEEK,  during  Gay Pride in  SAO PAULO – At least 21 people were injured when a homemade bomb exploded at a spot where participants gathered after the gay pride parade in Brazil’s largest city. 

A 17-year-old boy who took part in the parade remains in a coma at a Sao Paulo hospital after being attacked by a group of unknown persons who found him alone on an empty street after the nearly eight-hour parade.

Another youth was attacked in Roosevelt Plaza where the march ended, and a third was stabbed in Largo do Arouche Plaza.

Calling for “the criminalization of homophobia,” Lulu said opposition to homosexuality is “perhaps the most perverse disease impregnated in the human head.”

If the bill was to pass,  violators will face up to five years in prison!

Brazil is very much a country of contrasts. When someone hears the word Brazil, one thinks of the great Amazon forest, fantastic beaches, great soccer players, Carnival time – and that’s all. 

Brazil, the most important country in South America, certainly has MUCH more to offer – warm people, great cities with everything from slums to high technology, a wide range of weather patterns, an awesome mixture of cultures and races – and much more! 



Made in Brazil – New Gay Brazil Travel Site is Launched in Time for Sao Paulo Pride Events

A new travel site,  THE LOVE LAND , is offering tourist information, cultural programs and packages has been launched with the aim of encouraging travellers to visit Brazil for the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade.


With contents in English, the site  has been launched with information about the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade, which happens on May 25 this year. The objective is to promote Brazil as friendly destination for the GLBT (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender) public and to motivate foreign tourists visiting the event to see other destinations in the Country.

On the site there is information about the simultaneous cultural programs to the event, links for tourist packages suggested by Brazilian Association of GLS Tourism, ringtones, downloads of pictures of the favorite Brazilian destinations for these tourists and related links.

The site launched for the first time last year and received a great response from the international public. The choice of the Loveland name refers to the respect that Brazil offers visitors from all over the world, regardless of their sexual identity.

“We intend to show a multicultural Brazil, which welcomes and respects diversity. And we take advantage of the São Paulo Gay Pride Parade to invite foreign tourists to know other cities and areas of our Country”, explains Embratur’s president Jeanine Pires.

The São Paulo Gay Pride Parade is considered the largest parade in the world of its kind, and last year attracted more than 3.5 million people – about 37% of those being visitors from other cities and countries.