Gay Rio Travel Guide: Updated January 2020
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! P.s – if you are planning a trip to Rio check out our Complete Packing List for Rio as well!
- 1 Gay Travel Rio De Janeiro: Is Rio De Janeiro Gay Friendly?
- 2 Gay Rights in Brazil & Gay Life in Rio De Janeiro
- 3 Gay Accommodation: Rio De Janeiro
- 4 Gay Scene Rio De Janeiro
- 5 Gay Clubs Rio De Janeiro/ Gay Bars in Rio De Janeiro
- 6 Gay Beaches, Rio De Janeiro
- 7 Gay Tours Rio De Janeiro
- 8 Gay Saunas – Rio De Janeiro
- 9 Gay Pride – Rio De Janeiro
Gay Travel Rio De Janeiro: Is Rio De Janeiro Gay Friendly?
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!
It became apparent that there were many other gay couples around the city who seemed quite happy to be affectionate with each other. We aren’t talking about making out in public, but there were couples on the beach lying on one another, cuddling up, sat side by side giving little pecks on the cheek etc. This was very reassuring for us to see as it attracted no negative attention.
As we continued to explore further afield we started seeing pride flags proudly displayed on the beach in Ipanema, another very good sign.
It turns out, that after doing some further research, this makes perfect sense. Rio is one of the most open minded and diverse cities in the world and a huge hotspot for gay travel.
Over the last ten years, there have been many LGBT focused initiatives in Rio. These include anti-bullying measures and discrimination protections. The mayor has described it as a city without prejudice and where tolerance is natural. Kiss who you want where you want!
With up to 25% of Rios 880k+ annual tourists being LGBT, it is no wonder Rio is a top gay travel destination! So with that in mind, on to our Rio De Janeiro gay guide!
Gay Rights in Brazil & Gay Life in Rio De Janeiro
LGBT rights in Brazil are relatively advanced for Latin America and continue to develop. LGBT couples have the same legal protections as non-LGBT couples and have had same-sex marriage since 2013. Adoption has also been legal since 2010.
Most recently, in 2018 those wishing to alter their legal sex no longer need to go through and prove surgical procedures – which is a much more dignified process.
However, after reading that it might confuse you to know that Brazil as a whole (we are not talking about Rio now) has one of the highest LGBT murder rates in the world.
It is no help that Brazil’s new President as of 2018 labels himself as an out and proud homophobe. In one his most recent interviews he was reported to say:
“If you want to come here and have sex with a woman, go for your life. But we can’t let this place become known as a gay tourism paradise. Brazil can’t be a country of the gay world, of gay tourism. We have families,”.
This is of course, terrifying for the LGBT community of Brazil and could insight further violence.
However, there are still some positive steps being made. In 2019 Brazil’s Supreme Court has voted in favour of making homophobia and transphobia crimes.
Offences are to be punished under the country’s racism law until Congress approves specific legislation to protect LGBT people.
Now don’t let this put you off visiting Rio De Janeiro by any means. We are talking about Brazil as a whole and it is a huge country. Rio De Janeiro is a very touristy city and you should feel welcome and safe as an LGBT tourist.
Do bear in mind that it is a city and regardless of who you are, crime can be high so please do take appropriate caution. Our best advice is stick to the tourist places, don’t carry lots of valuables and use UBER to get around at night.
Gay Accommodation: Rio De Janeiro
You might not need to look for gay hotels in Rio De Janeiro since it’s a very gay friendly place. However, if you are looking to support those that perhaps go the extra mile, or are gay owned then take a look below.
Gay Friendly Hotels in Rio De Janeiro
Casa Cool Beans B&B
Casa Cool Beans B&B is a gay owned guesthouse. It is situated in Santa Teresa, not too far from Lapa – one of the main places to go for a night out. Being gay owned, the hosts can give you lots of local gay tips about the nearest bars, places to eat and so on.
Cost: It is a holiday home so bookings are for groups of 10 upwards. For example 2 nights with 10 people is c$400 and so on.
Address: R. Laurinda Santos Lôbo, 136 – Santa Tereza, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20240-270, Brazil
Hotelinho Urca is another gay owned and run B&B located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain. As a result, you will have some stunning views if you stay here. The hotel is very near to a small beach which some prefer to Copacabana! Rooms are decorated with charm and have wifi, air con etc.
Address: Rua Marechal Cantuaria, Rio de Janeiro, 22291-060, Brazil
Casa Verde is owned by a gay couple and can be found in Sao Conrado between Copacabana and Lapa. Expect to be surrounded by nature in this adult only guesthouse. It is well located at an even distance from the main tourist attractions.
Address: Estrada da Canoa, 1579, Rio de Janeiro, 22610, Brazil
Santa Teresa Hotel
Santa Teresa Hotel is not a beachfront hotel, instead it is nestled in the hillside of the Santa Teresa neighbourhood. It is a luxurious hotel, with jungle elements and because its on a hillside, you have beautiful views of Guanabara Bay. Make sure you do not miss the restaurant, spa and large outdoor pool!
Address: Santa Teresa Hotel, R. Alm. Alexandrino, 660 – Santa Teresa, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hotel Atlantico Copacabana
If you want to be on the famed Copacabana beach take a look at Hotel Atlantico Copacabana. It’s just a few blocks back from the beach, which of course helps with the cost. It has been popular with gay tourists for a long time and boasts a beautiful pool with views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Address: Rua Siqueira Campos, 90 – Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 22031-072, Brazil
Other Options (‘Sex’ Hotels in Rio De Janeiro…)
There are also hotels that offer very short stays – we are talking about a few hours and we think you know what for! This can actually be a safer option than taking someone back to your actual hotel for sex whilst in Rio De Janeiro as you do not have to worry about all your valuables.
You will find many of these types of hotels around the gay bars. As ever, there are stories about guys in clubs luring tourists into these hotels and taking their wallets/phones so please still have your wits about you and be careful – have fun and be safe!
Gay Hostels Rio De Janeiro?
We have not come across any gay owned hostels in Rio De Janeiro. However, given how gay friendly Rio is you need not worry! Just make sure you check out TripAdvisor before you book to make sure you are getting a good one!
Note: Do you know of any? Email us at [email protected] to let us know and we will add to our guide.
Gay Scene Rio De Janeiro
With Rio being one of the top gay destinations in the world you will be spoilt for choice. The main gay areas in Rio De Janeiro are Ipanema and Lapa, although you will find bars and clubs spread everywhere.
There is a little something for everyone. All types of bars, clubs, beaches and saunas to give a few examples. Of course, there is so much more to Rio than this, but for the purposes of our gay guide to Rio, lets first look at the clubs:
Gay Clubs Rio De Janeiro/ Gay Bars in Rio De Janeiro
Rio De Janeiro gay clubs are distributed across the entire city with the highest concentration being around Lapa, Copacabana and Ipanema.
There is little distinction between gay clubs and gay bars in Rio. For the most part you will start with drinks and end up dancing by the end of the night with the very handsome Brazilian gay guys. The only real difference between places is the venue size – for the size queens amongst you, you will want to check out the superclub ‘The Week’:
We have split the gay clubs and bars by area:
Gay Bars Lapa
Lapa is very popular with all types of tourist and has many gay clubs dotted around. It is not known as a gay neighbourhood but we noticed plenty of couples walking around hand in hand – it felt very relaxed and open.
The Week Gay Club – Rio De Janerio (Lapa)
The Week is the biggest gay club in Rio De Janeiro. It is a Superclub with multiple floors and hundreds of (typically muscle) guys dancing the night away.
The cost to get in is around $15 and they will give you a drinks card. You use this to get drinks during the night and then settle your bill on the way out by giving them the card back. With it being such a popular club the drinks are expensive compared to other places – but it is popular for a good reason!
Do not forget to take ID, we believe you can take a photocopy so you don’t have to have so many valuables on you.
Music: Brazilian, techno, electronic (small amount of remixed pop)
Address: R. Sacadura Cabral, 135 – Saúde, Rio de Janeiro – RJ, 20081-261, Brazil
Buraco da Lacraia
This gay bar is for fun and not to be taken too seriously. Here you have a dancefloor playing a mix of pop and Brazilian music, stage shows, karaoke (which people love) and a dark room! Don’t miss the shows on Fridays.
On the second floor the servers wear only aprons and bow ties – they will be sure to catch your eye!
Drinks all night are included with you entrance ticket of around $14.
Music: Pop and Brazilian (and whatever you want with Karaoke!)
Address: Rua André Cavalcânti 58 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is a bar/restaurant that you might want to start at a bit earlier in the night. If you are looking for a more lively night here then you should go at the weekend for performances.
Take a look at their social media pages to see what events are coming up.
Music: Depends on the night but at the weekend expect different DJs playing a mix of electronic, remixes etc
Address: Rua do Rezende 52, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gay Bars Copacabana
After you have had a couple of gay nights out in Lapa, check out the gay bars in Copacabana. There is not quite as many but it is still worth spending a night out here!
This is a small gay friendly club in Copcabana (Fridays are the ‘gayest’). It plays a real mix of music from chart pop to techno and house. Take a look on the website in advance to see what night is on.
If you arrange tickets through Facebook you can sometimes get a cheaper price.
Music: Mixed, pop, techno, house
Address: Rua Siqueira Campos 143 (loja 23 & 24) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is the oldest gay bar in Rio in Copacabana. The name translates to ‘The Cave’ given its below street level. This place advertises itself as a bear bar.
Music: electronic, Brazilian and retro
Address: Rua Miguel Lemos 51, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
This is a small gay bar in Copacabana and is popular with a younger crowd (tourists and locals).
The host drag nights and sometimes there is a small cover charge but drinks are reasonably priced. Other nights an open bar is included in the price so keep up to date on their Facebook page.
Music: Mixed depending on the DJ
Address: Avenida Nossa Sra. de Copacabana 1417 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gay Bars Ipanema
Although the gay beach is situated in Ipanama there are not too many gay bars here. TV Bar which we mention above is just on the edge of Copacabana and Ipanema so could be counted for both. However, you should check out:
If you want a gay bar in Ipanama then this is the one for Friday nights. There is a young crowd and you can expect (our favourite) stereotypically gay pop music. It is a relatively small club and tends to get packed.
Music – 80s, 90s and modern pop.
Address: Rua Teixeira de Melo 31 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gay Beaches, Rio De Janeiro
There are two gay beaches in Rio that you should visit. Farme Gay Beach Ipanema and Bolsa Gay Beach Copcabana.
You will easily find both just by spotting the rainbow flags proudly raised. The beaches here are very social. A place for drinks with friends, top up your tan, show off your new speedos and meet new friends. You can also find club promoters around selling tickets to the parties later than night.
Gay or straight, Rio De Janerios beaches are stunning and you will not be disappointed!
Farme Gay Beach Ipanema
The Farme gay beach Ipanema can be found opposite the Golden Tulip Hotel (now closed). The gay beach is between lifeguard posts 8 and 9.
The beach has a huge gay flag and you will see a sudden change in crowd. The crowd is locally named as ‘Barbie boys’ – think tanned muscly gay Brazilian guys.
Bolsa Gay Beach Copacabana
This gay beach in Copacabana is not quite as popular as the one in Ipanema.
It can be found in front of the Copacabana Palace Hotel. This might typically attract an older crowd but is much more easy going and relaxed compared to Farme gay beach.
Gay Tours Rio De Janeiro
If you are looking specifically for Rio gay tours then we would recommend checking out the following:
Rio Gay Tours – Private Tours
Rio Gay Tours is run by Marcelo. He is a native Brazilian with a degree in Tourism and can speak English fluently.
He offers tours dedicated to the iconic spots and barrios in Rio, as well as night-time gay bar crawls, shopping trips, full day excursions, food tours and even a guide to the Sauna scene. The idea is that you get to experience Rio through the eyes of a local and learn lots about the culture. Having looked through all the reviews on TripAdvisor – this is highly recommended!
Gay Saunas – Rio De Janeiro
If gay saunas are your scene here is what you need to know:
- They are either ‘with boys’ or ‘without boys’ – i.e male prostitutes/escorts depending on what scene you are looking for.
- The busiest times to go are between 6-10pm
- There is no obligation to do anything, relax and have a drink or go and use the private facilities – it’s up to you.
- Always be prepared, don’t take valuables and have fun!
There are four gay saunas to choose from, Rio G Spa (Copacabana), 117 Club (Lapa), Termas Leblon (Copacabana) and Meio Mundo (Lapa).
Gay Pride – Rio De Janeiro
Being such a gay hotspot, Rio Gay Pride is huge!
LGBTI Pride Rio de Janeiro usually starts towards the end of September and lasts for the weekend.
On Saturdays expect parties and performances until sunrise. The main parade is usually on the Sunday at around midday from Copacabana Beach to Avenida Atlantica! Get your rainbow flags at the ready!
Rio De Janerio is a truly beautiful place. While there are lots of things on offer aimed at the LGBT tourist don’t forget to just be a typical tourist too! Explore Tijuca National Park, Sugarloaf Mountain, Christ The Redeemer, Escadaria Selaron and so much more!
If you have any more LGBT tips then let us know in the comments below! We hope you visit and have the most amazing time!
Check out these other posts about Rio to make sure you are prepared:
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Take a look at our other gay guides including our gay guide to Costa Rica!