One Day in Queer Rio – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , January 11th, 2019

Queer Rio - The Globetrotter Guys

We fell in love with queer Rio De Janeiro very quickly. It is one of those rare places where you have the best of both worlds, it can be both a city break and a beach break all in one. Rio is a vibrant city intertwined with beautiful beaches, rainforests and mountains and we cannot recommend it enough.

You are bound to have seen pictures of the iconic Christ the Redeemer (aka the ‘Big Dude’), Sugarloaf Mountain and Escadaria Selaron. The best way to see all these iconic landmarks is to book an organised city tour of Rio De Janeiro, especially if you are short on time.

Rio has so much to offer which is why we want to share with you the best city tour of Rio De Janeiro we went on during our time there. It was the easiest way to see the best of Rio De Janeiro in one day.

Big Dude City Tour: Rio De Janeiro

After a lot of research through friend recommendations and through Tripadvisor we decided to book our city tour of Rio De Janeiro with Brazil Expedition. They get 4.5 on Tripadvisor and rank very highly for city tours in Rio De Janeiro so we felt very confident with our choice.

For us, we wanted to see the big ticket, iconic landmarks and so chose to go on the ‘Big Dude Tour’. This allowed us to see so much of Rio De Janeiro in just one day. It was lead by a professional English speaking guide and lasted 7 hours – a very efficient way to see the city!

Here is what we saw on our Big Dude City Tour of Rio De Janeiro!

By Sion & Ben – Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Queer Rio Travel Resources


Gay Rio de Janeiro – The Globetrotter Guys

Author: , October 20th, 2018

Gay Rio de Janeiro - The Globetrotter Guys

Rio De Janeiro has been high on our travel bucket list for a long time! When we think of Rio, we think of stunning landscapes, beautiful beaches, icons like Christ the Redeemer, Sugarloaf Mountain and of course, bronzed Brazilian boys!

Rio is the second most populated city in Brazil. It’s an incredible place where nature meets the city and the two landscapes intertwine creating an urban jungle. It was nothing like we had seen before. You could be within the city surrounded by skyscrapers, only to turn and look out over Guanabara Bay and see over 100 islands.

But of course we had to ask, is Rio De Janeiro gay friendly? After spending 10 days in Rio and exploring ‘gay Rio De Janeiro’ we have put together our Rio gay travel guide!

Is Rio De Janeiro Gay Friendly? – First Impressions

Each time we arrive at a destination and explore, we quickly get a sense of how comfortable we feel as a gay couple. We knew that there would be gay clubs and bars we could go to, after all Rio is a major city! However, we are talking about what its like to simply walk around and be an openly gay couple. We are happy to report that we felt at ease immediately!

Full Story at The Globetrotter Guys

Brazil Gay Travel Resources


Queer Rio – Gay Star News

Author: , December 14th, 2017

Rio de Janeiro - queer Rio

Over 2 million people travel to Rio de Janeiro each year for some of the world’s greatest Réveillon (New Year’s Eve) celebrations. Revellers gather along the iconic Copacabana beach to send off the past year in style.

While Réveillon is a great time of year to visit this vibrant city, Rio is a year-round destination that always offers something of interest.


Rio’s famous carnival is held before the celebration of Lent each year – a tradition that dates back to the early 1700s. Drawing around two million people to the streets of Rio on each day of the carnival, it’s considered to be the world’s biggest carnival. It’s during the carnival that you’ll see the spectacular parades of the city’s samba schools. This is a time for music and dancing and partying in the streets.
In 2018 the carnival will be held from 9 February to 14 February.

By Gareth Johnson – Full Story at Gay Star News

Brazil Gay Travel Resources

Rio Pride Draws Tens of Thousands

Author: , December 15th, 2016

Rio Pride

Tens of thousands gathered at Copacabana beach on Sunday to celebrate the 21st Rio Pride Parade.

Organizers said this year’s parade was focusing on passing legislation in Brazil that would allow adults to legally change their gender on identity documents and eliminate bureaucracy involved in gender confirmation surgery, reports the Associated Press.

They called on the public health system (SUS) and private health plans to pay for hormonal therapy and surgery.

By Jeff Taylor – Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

Brazil Gay Travel Resources

My Rio de Janeiro – Carlos Melia

Author: , September 3rd, 2016

Carlos Melia - Rio de Janeiro

So I landed in Rio de Janeiro, for two weeks, during the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. I have been in Rio countless times, but always discovering new locations, hotels, restaurants and attractions. These are some of my findings during my recent visit. Also see all my minute-to-minute past/current/future posts and experiences in Rio de Janeiro.

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroI came to Rio de Janeiro, commissioned by my corporate client NBCUniversal, to create bespoke experiences for the VIP guests and executives during the course of the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics. Two full weeks of hard work, but also with time to explore the city on my own and discover new options to share with you all.

I was lucky enough to take part of most of the main Olympic events, like the Opening Ceremony at the Maracana Stadium and some of the Gymnastics Competition at the Olympic Village.

Rio de Janeiro is destination with such sex-appeal and so many layers to be explored. Of course during my time either working or on my own private time, I have enjoyed most of them. Of course during my time there, I came 4 times to the Corcovado to see the Christ Redeemer on a private experience we’ve created for our guests. Or spent time walking by Botafogo overlooking the Bay of Guanabara , Urca and the Sugar Loaf or walking by Copacabana and Ipanema Beach while enjoying a fresh coconut. But most of you know this side of Rio de Janeiro.

I had to repeat some of the top experiences I have scouted in the past, for my clients to enjoy and embrace the soul of the Carioca spirit. One of them, which BTW I strongly recommend, is the behind the scenes Samba City Experience, where you can see the world of Samba from the backstage. My choice is Escola de Samba Pimpolhos da Grande Rio. See more here. Nobody should leave Rio de Janeiro, without at least mastering a few basic Samba moves.

Also, an obligated stop, is always Lasai Restaurant, which we privatized for our group, for the opening Gala Dinner. A MUST try when in Rio de Janeiro.

But enough with the basics – which you can read more on my previous posts on Rio de Janeiro – and on to the new discoveries. It is not a secret, that my favorite district in all Rio de Janeiro, is Santa Teresa. A bohemian enclave, located atop Morro Santa Teresa. Originally an upper class borough famous for its winding, narrow streets and many opulent villas. Santa Teresa aristocratic past is long gone,but it has been revived as a fashionable hotspot. Home to several artists and art studios and galleries. The offer of restaurants and bars is also varied. Most of you might have heard of Aprazivel Restaurant, a lovely local gourmet option with panoramic views. But during my last visit, I’ve discovered some alternative options, which I consider most original and charming.

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroFirst was Espirito Santa Restaurant by Chef Natacha Fink. where you can not only try the traditional Moqueca, but also amazing fresh options and traditional recipes from the Amazons, created using international gourmet techniques. And trust me, the fusion is impeccable.

Another fantastic option, only steps away, will be Bar do Mineiro Restaurant. Perhaps this one more local and daunting, if you venture to try the classic Feijoada.

Make sure to spend sometime exploring the center of Santa Teresa, it is very interesting and its bohemian personality is rather contagious. Just walk around and do not forget to visit the famous Escadaria Selaron ( the famous stairs of Santa Teresa ). Once ready to move on, get back to the center of Santa Teresa, to take the Tram all the way to Lapa and thought the aqueducts dating from the 18th century. Next stop upon arrival to the Lapa Tram Station, would be the Rio de Janeiro Cathedral, only five minutes walk away.

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroThe Tram service in Santa Teresa is free of charge, and it will take you on a 10 minutes ride, from Morro Santa Teresa, all the way down to Lapa neighborhood and Terminal Tram Station, after crossing the Lapa Aqueducts. The tram has been designated a national historic monument and it ranks as one of the oldest city trams in the world plus the oldest electric railway in all of Latin America.

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroThe Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, better known as the Metropolitan Cathedral of Rio de Janeiro, is dedicated to Saint Sebastian, the patron saint of Rio de Janeiro. Designed by Edgar Fonseca in a modern style based on Mayan architectural style of pyramids. Built between 1964 and 1979.

But the adventure continues, if you wish to do so. Next take a stroll across Downtown all the way to the new district of Puerto Maravilha. There you will find the Museu do Amanha, by Santiago Calatrava. ( I strongly recommend buying your tickets for the Museum online ).

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroSunset was about to hit, it was time to look for the best options to enjoy a beer o r caipirinha, with an amazing view, followed by a nice meal. And, indeed, I found two options, totally new to me. The first one very casual and simple, but featuring stunning sunset and panoramic view at the Forte de Copacabana at Copacabana Beach. The second one, more formal at the brand new Hotel Yoo2 Rio in Botafogo.

As I’ve said, I have been many times to Rio de Janeiro, and have never before paid attention to the Forte de Copacabana, at the end of Copacabana Beach towards Apoador and Ipanema Beach. And wow, I could not believe how I have missed this place for so many years. What I did like most about it, is that like me, many other tourist are not even aware of it, therefore it is very quiet. Since it was still early, and sunset still was minutes away from hitting Copacabana Beach, I decided to explore the Forte de Copacabana, which was very interesting.

OK – 5.30PM and it was the perfect time to seat over a chilled local beer and some of my favorite cod fish balls with lime, and enjoy the sunset. Of course after sunset, once it got dark and the lamps went on, we stayed there over Caipirinhas and shrimp moquecas till 10PM. There are two restaurants, and you may choose the one that is best to your liking.

The other options I tried, on a different evening, was this time the Rooftop overlooking Botafogo, the Sugar Loaf and the Christ Redeemer, followed by dinner at their restaurant, at the brand new Yoo2 Hotel Rio in Botafogo. The hotel is lovely, the rooftop is fantastic with a nice menu of Tapas and drinks. The restaurant, on the other hand, hmmmm nothing special to be honest, decent food but totally forgettable. Let’s give them sometime to settle-down, since they have just opened.

Carlos Melia - Rio de JaneiroAnother day was about to begin. The sun was rising and I was awake for an exciting – still way too early – morning, scouting new venues to host a private Champagne Brunch with breathtaking view of Rio de Janeiro. Not an easy task, but we did find the perfect one, and I must say, it is my new hotel crush in Rio de Janeiro.

The rest of my time in Rio de Janeiro, went along reining the world of luxury travel – literally, planing unique and bespoke travel experiences for my clients. Oh yes … and also eating as many Cod Fish fried balls as I could… ha ha ha ….

Was time to say goodbye to Rio de Janeiro and head to my next destination…. Quite an experience attending my first ever Olympics Games.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog

Brazil Gay Travel Resources

Ipanema: Rio’s LGBTIQA Hot Spot

Author: , August 22nd, 2016

ipanema - Gabriel Heusl

With the Olympic Games well under way and the first medals snapped up, the worlds eyes are on Rio de Janeiro. But despite the hustle and bustle around the venues and inside the athletes village, living in Rio follows its own pace and its a fairly relaxed one.The city is, by far, Brazils gay hub: apart from welcoming over one million visitors flocking to the city each year, Christ the Redeemer also casts a watchful eye over the citys own, home-grown community. After all, 14.3% of Rios citizens identify as part of the LGBTI community.

At a population of 12.3 million people in the metropolitan area, that accounts for about 1.7 million people and those who arent LGBTI themselves are often described as open minded and extending a warm welcome to people from every walk of life.

Brazils second-biggest city may not have a clearly defined gay quarter, but ask around and people will generally point you in the same direction: towards the Rua Farme de Amoedo, in the affluent South Zone neighbourhood, or bairro, of Ipanema.

By Stephanie Gerdes – Full Story at Gay Star News

Brazil Gay Travel Resources

Image from Wikipedia, by Gabriel Heusl

City Sundays: Rio de Janeiro

Author: , January 17th, 2016

City Sundays - Rio de Janeiro

Hey all,

Welcome to our weekly series on the blog and our Facebook travel groups – City Sundays. Each week we’ll select a different LGBT friendly city to talk about, and we’ll invite our innkeeper and travel agent/tour operator friends to come talk with us about it as well.

Today, Rio – a sprawling city at the edge of the Baia de Guanabara where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The city is one of the most popular gay travel destinations in the world, and the annual Mardi Gras is a huge draw. With miles of beaches and a huge LGBT scene, Rio’s a fantastic LGBT travel destination.

Have you ever been? What did you do while you were there?

Do you wanna go?

Let’s chat! Join the conversation here:

Gay (Men) Travelers: Gay Travel Club
Lesbian Travelers: Lesbian Travel Club
Transgender Travelers: Transgender Travel Club
Bisexual Travelers: Bi Travel Club
LGBT Families: LGBT Families Travel Club

Check out our Brazil/Rio page here:

And our Rio de Janeiro articles on the blog here:

Carlos Melia – Exploring Rio’s Vidigal Favela

Author: , August 16th, 2015

Carlos Melia - Favela Vidigal

I would say that one of the best experiences I did, during my recent visit to Rio de Janeiro, to curate unique travel experiences for my VIP clients coming to the 2016 Summer Olympics next year, was something was ranking high in my travel bucket list, after being in Rio for many times in the past. Venturing into the intriguing world of a Favela, was quite interesting, and what I found atop Morro do Vidigal – which gives name to the Favela Vidigal – was indeed unexpected.

While I was touring around Rio de Janeiro with my expert guide Isabella, as the sun was setting over the bay at the neighborhood of Urca, she said to me …” Would you like to go an explore a Favela…” My first thought was, Is it safe – meaning ARE YOU CRAZY. Second, since we were touring around on a luxury E Class Mercedes Benz, I was, are you sure we can go with this car?

Of course deep inside I was YES LET’s DO IT, but my years of experience and at my age, I am more cautious and take less risks than in my young years. Since she saw I was very interested she said, look we will go to Favela Vidigal, which is safe and on top of that, this car is fully bullet proof. As she said that off we went.

For those of you not familiar with the term Favela, is a heavily populated urban informal settlement characterized by substandard housing and squalor. Also could be known as shanty towns or slums. You find many in Rio, and the most visited perhaps is Rocinha or Santa Marta – known for Michael Jackson’s music video.

Carlos Melia - Favela VidigalThe first half of our trip we did it inside the car. It was quite an experience. The streets are very narrow and steep, and since the traffic runs along both ways, quite a few times we were stuck. The first time I did get a bit nervous, but everyone around was so nice and trying to help, that made me feel very comfortable. Once I saw that locals couldn’t careless of our presence there – specially with the Mercedes Benz, I asked my guide… Would it be too crazy to get off and walk all the rest of the way. She smiled and said, I was waiting for you to ask. So we did.

People on the streets, coming back from work, climbing the steep slopes back home. Tourists living in the Favelas like locals. Cariocas at the local bars having beer and local delights. I was cautious all the way up, but I kind of blended with the crowd very easily and was one more.

Carlos Melia - Favela VidigalOnce we reached the top to meet our driver. Since the streets are so narrow, he had to go all the way up, to be able to get back down. Isabella told me she would share with me a tucked away gem, and she did. A charming bar and hostel with breathtaking views of Rio de Janeiro from atop Morro do Vidigal. Mirante Do Avrao hostel and Belmonte bar. I mean talking about a room and a table with a view. So unexpected. I love this kind of hidden gems, specially getting to them after such a raw and local experience.

Belmonte Bar, other than stunning views, offers a variety of typical drinks and delicious cuisine, the bar is the perfect place for guests to mingle and make new friends.

To me this is what travel is all about. Unique life experiences. And this is what I do call Luxury at its best. On our way down, our driver was waiting for us with a big smile on his face, ready to take us back to Copacabana to my hotel the Belmond Copacabana Palace.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | Brazil Gay Travel Resources

Carlos Melia: Behind the Scenes Samba Experience

Author: , August 14th, 2015

Samba in Brazil - Carlos melia

If there is an experience you must have when in Rio de Janeiro, it is SAMBA, and what best than doing a behind-the-scenes tour to the world of the “samba schools” of Rio, which has remained mysterious and hidden. Let’s open the doors to reveal the secrets behind it. For this I came to the Samba City in the district called Little Africa, A beautiful, ancient and historical part of the port of Rio, where samba and the very first samba school was born. Hosted by one of the last year winning Escola de Samba Mirim Pimpolhos da Grande Rio ” Samba School “.

Grande Rio is non-profit organization and a Samba School for Grande Rio’s children, that uses carnaval’s arts and popular culture as a tool for education. Grande Rio is one of the newest schools, nevertheless currently one of the most successful members of the First League (Special Group). It has come close to winning in all the last 10 years. It is currently ranked the second best among all Rio samba schools. Samba School Grande Rio represents Duque de Caxias, a satellite town of Rio de Janeiro.

Samba - Carlos MeliaWere you aware that there are more than 80 samba schools in Rio with more than 100,000 dancers? Carnival is the most exciting event of the year where thousands of people travel worldwide just to experience this electrifying atmosphere. I wasn’t there for this particular time of the year, but I’ve got to experience the long yearly process of getting ready for their day view at the Sambodromo. This attraction, which takes place in Samba City, immerses visitors in the preparations that take place prior to the Carnival. You can actually experience some of the activities first hand. Opened in 2004, this facility provides 14 of the top samba schools adequate space to build their floats and prepare their song and samba routines., to give them an opportunity to create, learn and develop their skills by using carnival language. We were hosted warmly by the Grande Rio School, for a 2 hours Samba Experience, which was highly educational, interesting and fun.

Samba City is located in full contrast, next to “Providencia”, the first favela of Rio de Janeiro, and next to the new development of Porto Maravilha, which will be ready for the 2016 Summer Olympics. Even if you don’t go to Rio de Janeiro during the Carnival you can still experience this incredible celebration at Samba City. One of the highlights of Pimpolhos is to give back to their community, in this case to the shanty town of Providencia. Pimpolhos da Grande Rio’s mission is to promote education and social interaction through arts and culture, offering long-life learning opportunities for children, youth (ages five to eighteen) and their families.

Carlos Melia - SambaYour tour will begin at the warehouse where the floats and costumes are made. It is one of the 12 warehouses in Cidade do Samba the one that counts with the most technological machinery. The next stop on the tour is the sewing area where you can see some of the beautiful sparking costumes the samba dancers will be wearing during the Carnival. The costume designers and tailors will show you how the costumes are designed and sewn.

The warehouse, an old building from the early 20th century that is a large part of carnaval history. It is the place where Pimpolhos produces three allegoric floats, 2000 costumes and undertakes most of its social projects. Here each school produces more than 4000 costumes and 12 allegoric floats. Some of the costumes below, might look familiar to you, if you are a follower of the Carnivals.

Moving forward you will be invited to a room where you will see a very interesting video and brief lecture on the history behind Samba, its beginnings and how it became part of the Brazilian culture. Carnival has been celebrated in Brazil and in Rio de Janeiro for centuries, but samba schools were only first inaugurated in Rio Carnival in the 1920s. At the end of the 19th century, immigrants from Bahia state brought with them the tradition of playing candomble and dancing a bahian dance called the samba. In the slums of downtown Rio, a place referred to as ‘Little Africa’, they established a number of religious houses devoted to religious ceremonies where they played and danced the early forms of samba. The first group to call itself a samba school was a group founded in 1928 and called Deixa Falar, which came from the district of Estacio, located on the hill above Praca Onze, considered the cradle of samba. They called themselves samba school because they met right next door to a local children’s school.

And once the educational part is done, was time for fun!!!!! A 25 minutes Samba show including dancing, percussions, and don’t be shy, because you will be part of it in every way. You will learn how to dance, and how to play the music. But this was just the beginning, because after our workshop we moved to the dressing rooms to try on our customs and be ready for our own moment on the Samba spotlight.

Such an amazing experience, which not only gave me a full insight on Samba, but also showed me some moves. Of course as we were ready to come to an end of the tour, we were escorted to the a bar area to close our tour over refreshing and well deserved Caipirinhas. For more information on this tour and how to book it, do not hesitate to contact me.

By Carlos Melia – Full Story at the Carlos Melia Blog | Brazil Gay Travel Resources

Breakaway Backpacker – Dying in Rio

Author: , June 16th, 2015

Jaime DavilaI rolled out of bed and looked at my clock it was 3am. I felt exhausted and weak. I needed to go pee though really bad. I sat there a moment and finally found the energy to get up and walk to the toilet down the hall from my dorm. I went in and instead of peeing ended up throwing up. I had no clue what I was throwing up because I had not eaten in the past 3 days. I then peed and walked back.

As I was walking back I felt my eyes roll back and I hit the floor hard. I had fainted and for a brief second had no clue what was happening. I got up and could barely walk. Then I heard someone ask if I was okay. I said, “no I just fainted”. He jumped out of bed to help me to bed. It was the German who has been on the bunk above me the past few days. I don’t know his name or much about him. He knows I’m sick and ask me how I’m doing every time he comes and goes from the room. He’s only seen me in bed sick. I’m glad he got up.

He told me I had to go to the hospital. I told him yes please. While he searched for the nearest hospital I gathered my things. I put all the medicine I was taking in my backpack along with my passports and credit cards and cash. I didn’t have insurance so knew this wasn’t going to be cheap. I didn’t care though I had been sick long enough and wasn’t getting better. I honestly thought I was dying. Lucky for us the hospital was a few blocks away. He helped me walk outside and we took a cab and arrived at the hospital.

By Jaime Davila – Full Story at Breakaway Backpacker | Brazil Gay Travel Resources