Uruguay is a country you cannot afford to skip from your Latin America itinerary. It has so much to offer, whether it’s surfing beaches, good wine, stunning scenery, delicious steaks and of course marijuana.
With wintertime approaching here in the Northern Hemisphere, what’s a gay beachcomber to do? Why not flip the seasonal script and head south of the equator, where summer will be here before you know it? Here are six fun options for the beach-loving queer traveler to consider checking out in the coming months.
1. Punta del Este, Uruguay. The scenic coastline in this small South American country is a popular short trip from Buenos Aires, located a short flight or a ferry ride away. Queer travelers have been drawn to this well-to-do area of the country for years, but they also head west to the quieter Playa Chihuahua beach, located not far from the airport. This is also a nude beach, a testament to the open-minded society here (Uruguay legalized gay marriage back in 2013). And check out the male-only gay hotel located here, Undarius, if you’re looking for some fabulous lodging.
2. Praia Mole, Florianopolis, Brazil. Florianopolis, located between Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires, is a stunning island hugging the southern Brazilian coastline. The city is legendary for its nightlife and its beaches. Praia Mole may be one of the most beautiful — and while it’s not an exclusively queer beach, it’s a very popular gathering spot for the local LGBTQ community.
South America is a destination that will make you fall in love with life. The Latino soul is addictive, with music and dance so deeply ingrained at the heart of everything.
After our big trip in Asia, we spent a further 15 months travelling in South America and absolutely loved it. We found it an enthralling destination, with something to capture everything we love when travelling. Most countries are extremely gay friendly, with places like Bogota in Colombia having the largest club we’ve ever been – Theatron, and Sao Paolo Pride attracting over 3 million people making it the largest pride event in the world.
As foodies, we loved the culinary scene of Argentina and in Lima, Peru. For culture, indigenous traditions can be seen everywhere, particularly from the Incas in Bolivia/Peru, as well as the Maipuche Indians in Chile. And finally, for trekking adventures, Patagonia is a must. These are our 10 favourite highlights from South America following our big trip there in 2016/2017.
#1 The Galapagos Islands (Ecuador)
The Galapagos are an archipelago of volcanic islands in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, around 600 miles (1,000km) from Ecuador’s coast. This is one of the few places in the world where you can get so close to wildlife. There’s also a rich underwater world to discover – we saw sharks, rays, turtles and many tropical fish each time we went snorkelling.
The islands here also have some very dramatic landscapes, which are crying out for a space in your Instagram gallery. We loved the Galapagos Islands so much, we visited twice during our big South America trip. Check out our video from our trip here:
#2 Trekking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (Peru)
For us our Inca Trail to Machu Picchu was a definite highlight of South America. It’s a tough 4 days trek through the Sacred Valley, reaching altitudes of up to 4,215m (13,828 ft).
The Inca Trail is one of the most famous treks in the world. It is 27 miles (44km) long, and was initially part of a highly advanced network of around 40,000 trails built by the Incas to connect the distant corners of their kingdom. It also had religious and ceremonial importance to the Incas as it was part of their route of pilgrimage to Machu Picchu.
The real highlight of course is on the final day when you finally reach Machu Picchu.
Uruguay is a country you cannot afford to skip from your Latin America itinerary. It has so much to offer, whether it’s surfing beaches, good wine, stunning scenery, delicious steaks and of course marijuana. Uruguay is one of the most progressive countries in the world and certainly the most in Latin America. It was one of the first in the continent to allow gay marriages, legalise abortions in 2012 and established a welfare state in 1903. And of course the marijuana which it’s so famous for: since December 2013, Uruguay legalised the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana for recreational use. Most will add on Uruguay as part of their Latin America trip to Argentina or South Brazil, so we set out a variety of options for a 1 week itinerary. Our Uruguay travel itinerary can also be done in 2 weeks if you like to travel at a slower pace like we do. We also assume that you will be taking the boat from Buenos Aires to Colónia as your entry point, but you can also fly in to Montevideo and start from there.
Looking for a gay friendly Uruguay place to stay? Well look no further – ’cause after 2 weeks travelling around this super gay friendly country, we’ve come up with our 10 best gay friendly hotels to stay in Uruguay: Gay Friendly Hotels in Montevideo #1 Sofitel Carrasco Description: overlooking the Rambla beachfront, this glamorous former casino palace was built in 1821. It boasts a mix of French classic architecture with a modern twist. Check out the Philip Starks horse lamps in the grand, impressive lobby. Their suites offer amazing views over the Rio Del Plata, and have 2 huge walk-in showers. The indoor swimming pool and spa are particularly inviting after a day cruising down the Rambla.
Uruguay is like the Netherlands of Latin America – an extremely liberal country and global leader of LGBT rights. Same sex sexual activity has been decriminalised in Uruguay since 1934, anti-discrimination laws in place since 2003, adoption laws since 2009 and gay marriage implemented in early 2013. There are also many government supported events, in particular the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Uruguay‘s annual gay travel conference in September. In addition, Uruguay was the second country in Latin America (after Cuba) to legalise abortions in 2012 and the first in the continent to establish a welfare state in 1903. There’s of course another reason why it reminded us a lot of the Netherlands, which kicks off our 10 fun and interesting facts about Uruguay:
#1 POT PARADISE: LENIENT MARIJUANA LAWSThe coffee shops of Amsterdam are famous worldwide; Holland’s cannabis laws are well known for being one of the most relaxed in Europe. Uruguay has the same reputation amongst its Latino neighbours. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalise the cultivation, sale and consumption of marijuana for recreational use. Instead, the focus by the Uruguayan government is to prosecute large scale traffickers and regulate the industry by taxing it.
Looking for gay friendly Uruguay hotels? Well look no further – ’cause after 2 weeks travelling around this super gay friendly country, we’ve come up with our 10 best gay friendly hotels to stay in Uruguay: GAY FRIENDLY HOTELS IN MONTEVIDEO #1 Sofitel Carrasco Description: overlooking the Rambla beachfront, this glamorous former casino palace was built in 1821. It boasts a mix of French classic architecture with a modern twist. Check out the Philip Starks horse lamps in the grand, impressive lobby. Their suites offer amazing views over the Rio Del Plata, and have 2 huge walk-in showers. The indoor swimming pool and spa are particularly inviting after a day cruising down the Rambla.
Lonely Planet and Skyscanner. And now by the Nomadic Boys…especially when this is what you see on your way into the country: Uruguay itself is an extremely gay friendly country, not only across Latin America, but in the world. Gay rights in Uruguay have long been secured and respected: homosexuality was decriminalised in 1934, anti-discrimination laws firmly in place since 2003, adoption laws since 2009 and gay marriage implemented in early 2013. There are plenty of things to do in the city for the gay traveller, so we’ve put together our gay travel guide to Montevideo featuring the best gay bars, clubs, events and hotels to stay in the city.
What’s the first country that comes to mind when you think of tango? We’re guessing Argentina, right? You’d be half right. Back in the 1880s, the tango was invented by the urban lower classes in the Rio de la Plata basin, which includes both Buenos Aires and Montevideo. As such, both Argentina and Uruguay claim equal ownership of the tango. In 2009, they made a successful joint application to have tango listed in the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. We attended the Uruguayan LGBT Chamber of Commerce conference in September 2016, where tango was showcased. To our surprise, two extremely handsome gay Uruguay boys, Juan and Rodrigo, took to the stage and blew us away.